The House passed “Kate’s Law” on June 29 in a 257-167 vote, giving the Trump administration a win in its ongoing efforts to increase penalties on illegal immigrants entering the country. Santa Barbara’s Congressmember Salud Carbajal voted “no” on the bill, expressing concern in a statement that the bill was too broad since it targets non-criminals as well as convicted criminals.
Carbajal said he would have supported the bill if his amendment — exempting human-trafficking victims and political asylum seekers — had been added. But he said the amendment, offered the day before the vote, “went nowhere.”
“This conflates people who need to be addressed, people who have committed serious crimes, with people who are otherwise decent people, innocent people, but who crossed the border,” Carbajal said.
He added that he supports the deportation of illegal immigrants with felonies and multiple misdemeanors like DUIs.
“Kate’s Law” would impose greater prison sentencing for immigrants re-entering the U.S. illegally. The bill is named after Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, in 2015. Lopez-Sanchez had been deported on five separate occasions in the past and had just finished a four-year federal prison term for returning to the country illegally. He’d been turned over to San Francisco authorities and released shortly thereafter.
The House also passed the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” in a 228-195 vote, paving the way for a federal crackdown on sanctuary cities, a title that Santa Barbara has been wary of adopting. The bill would withhold federal grants from cities that embrace the sanctuary label.
Both bills are headed to the Senate.
Editor’s Note: This story was corrected to give the vote date of June 29 and to state that Kate’s law addresses immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally more than once.