The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (HR 3009) sponsored by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) passed the U.S. House on July 23, 2015, and is now awaiting action in the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The measure would withhold federal alien assistance funding from states and localities that have policies in place that give sanctuary to illegal immigrants and prohibit law enforcement officials from gathering information about citizenship or immigration status.
First proposed in 2011, the measure has become a priority following the murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant felon who had been deported five times.
Public opinion strongly favors punishment of these sanctuaries. According to recent Rasmussen polling, "62% of likely U.S. voters think the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants," and "58% believe the federal government should cut off funds to cities that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants."
There are now "more than 200 cities, counties, and states across the U.S. that protect criminal aliens," reports the Center for Immigration Studies. Its July 2015 report, Rejecting Detainers, Endangering Communities: Sanctuaries Release Thousands of Criminal, notes that "the majority (63 percent) of the individuals freed by local agencies had serious prior criminal records."
Kate Steinle's tragic death is the catalyst for another federal legislative initiative called Kate's Law (H.R. 3011) introduced by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ-5) on July 9. This legislation would establish mandatory five year prison sentence for illegals who return to the U.S. illegally after being deported. Kate's Law, which has become a cause for Fox TV’s Bill O’Reilly, is pending in the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.