Two key Republican lawmakers are crafting a bill that would punish “sanctuary
cities,” force parents of undocumented teenagers to wear electronic
ankle monitors so their children do not skip deportation hearings, and
establish five-year minimum prison sentences for immigrants who illegally
re-enter the United States after being deported, according to a congressional
aide and a draft of the proposed legislation obtained by The Washington Post.
The bill by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.),
which was being reworked Tuesday, also would increase detention space
and boost the number of immigration judges on the border to speed deportations.
It calls for increased criminal prosecutions of immigrants who cross the
border illegally and would reimburse governors who deploy their state’s
National Guard to help patrol the U.S. border, according to a congressional
aide with direct knowledge of the bill and who spoke on the condition
of anonymity because the bill is in its preliminary stages.
The White House declined to comment on the bill Tuesday.
The wide-ranging proposal, which is being refined with input from the Department
of Homeland Security, aims to boost border security and immigration enforcement
in the interior of the United States.
But hard-line anti-immigration groups who have seen drafts of the proposed
legislation say it falls short by failing to provide for
President Trump’s long-promised border wall; sanctions against businesses that hire undocumented immigrants; or
E-Verify, the employment-verification system that has been a staple of previous immigration talks on Capitol Hill.
These critics also say that even if the bill passed the House, it would
be unlikely to pass the Senate, where Democrats have signaled that they
would be unwilling to compromise on legislation unless it includes a path
to legal residency for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“There’s not a single thing about work-site enforcement or
anything at all against employers,” said Jessica Vaughan, the director
of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, who has
seen a draft of the bill. “It’s tinkering around the margins.”
The proposal comes after several court challenges by Democrats and civil
liberties groups that have temporarily paralyzed many of Trump’s
efforts to crack down on undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities,
among other provisions.
also has run into trouble securing financing from Congress for a bigger wall on the U.S.-
Cornyn chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on border
security and immigration, while McCaul heads the House Homeland Security
Committee. Both lawmakers have questioned proposals to build a border
wall, especially as border-related apprehensions have declined —
resistance that has earned the congressman the nickname “No-wall
The most recent draft of their bill seeks to
punish sanctuary jurisdictions by significantly expanding the pool of federal grant money that could be
cities and towns that prohibit or limit cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement deportation agents.
A federal judge in California last month
temporarily blocked Trump’s plans to strip a more limited amount of grant funding from sanctuary cities. But the reasoning
the judge gave was that only Congress can impose conditions on federal funds.
There are more than 100 sanctuary cities that refuse to turn over immigrants
they have arrested for state or local crimes to ICE for civil deportation
Vaughan said the Cornyn-
McCaul measure combines separate proposals that perhaps could pass on
their own, including a bill known as “Kate’s Law,” named
for Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed in 2015 in San Francisco,
allegedly by a Mexican national who had been deported several times but
had returned to the United States. There is also a proposal that mirrors
legislation from Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) that would prod sanctuary
cities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
Earlier this year, Cornyn said he was working with members of Congress
and the Trump administration on legislation that would secure the border.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again that border
security is really a question of political will,” he said at the
time. “The last administration did not have it, and I know this
administration does have the political will to get it done, so we are
trying to work together to demonstrate to them what we think the means
to achieve that goal should look like.”
Robert Law, director of government relations for the
Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the draft proposals contain some useful tools for enforcing immigration
law, but in general the bill “still keeps missing the mark.”
“It’s the same failed attempt every single Congress,”
said Law, whose group favors slashing legal immigration in addition to
stepping up deportations. “New Congress, and nothing changes in
actually securing the border.”
Ed O’Keefe contributed to this report.
REVILLA LAW FIRM, P.A.
Miami immigration lawyers and deportation defense firm
Our Miami immigration attorneys have represented thousands of immigrants
around the United States and helped them avoid deportation from this country.
In light of recent immigration policy changes, we understand the fear
of deportation has been elevated and we are dedicated to providing the
most compassionate and competent legal representation. We know that immigration
matters can take an emotional toll and our goal is to guide you through
the process and explore any form of relief that is available to your legal defense.
We also offer a free in-office consultation in our Miami location with
Former U.S. Immigration Prosecutor and Miami immigration attorney, Antonio
G. Revilla III.
We welcome you to contact us with any immigration matter.
Call (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323
Telephone consultations are also available for a nominal fee.