In late June, President Trump met with a dozen or so family members of Americans killed by undocumented immigrants as part of a push for two new laws targeting illegal immigration. “We’re calling on all members of Congress to honor grieving American families by passing these lifesaving measures in the House, in the Senate, and then sending them to my desk for a very rapid signature,” he said at the White House meeting, a day before the lower chamber approved both bills. “I promise you—it will be done quickly.”
Immigration restrictionist groups aren’t so sure about that promise, though they share the president’s desire to curb entries into the United States and force undocumented immigrants out. In their view, and in actuality, the legislation faces difficulty in the Senate, where lawmakers have been mired in a debate over health care and have plans to take up tax reform next. These advocates see the legislation, at best, as a path toward a broader, more stringent immigration measure. But at worst, the bills could be just another letdown.
Ahead of the June meeting, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte had introduced the pair of bills. One was Kate’s Law, which imposes tougher sentences on offenders who were previously deported and returned to the United States illegally. (It was named for a young woman, Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed by a man who’d been deported five times before reentering the country.) The other was the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which hits on Trump’s campaign promise to punish jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The bill cuts off some federal grants for these self-described “sanctuary cities,” like San Francisco where Steinle was shot. “The bills crack down on dangerous sanctuary policies that needlessly put innocent lives at risk,” Goodlatte said in a statement at the time.