WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the US House voted on HR 3004, also known as “Kate’s Law”. The bill, named after Kate Steinle, who was murdered by an immigrant who reentered the United States illegally multiple times. HR 3004, claims to strengthen the punishment for illegally reentering the US however many argue the bill would also target those seeking asylum in the US.
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) released the following statement on HR 3004:
“Today, I voted against H.R.3004, or ‘Kate’s Law,’ which is opposed by dozens of religious groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, the Church World Service, the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Refugee and Immigrant Center Alliance, the New Hampshire Conference United Church of Christ Immigration Working Group, the American Friends Service Committee, T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
“Let me be clear: the killing of Kate Steinle was a horrible and inexcusable crime, and my heart goes out to her family and loved ones. This should never have happened. We must investigate the breakdown in policy that led to Kate’s tragic death. This bill would, however, have serious negative consequences by increasing the likelihood that innocent asylum seekers, trafficking victims, and other non-criminal immigrants will be imprisoned. These victims would be in trouble if they presented themselves at ports of entry to seek help.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez who is accused of murdering Kate Stienle, was convicted of multiple illegal reentry offenses under current law. Between September 1998 and March 2015, Mr. Lopez-Sanchez spent a total of 16-and-a-half years in federal prison as a result of three illegal re-entry convictions.
Congresswoman Shea-Porter also voted against HR 3003 a bill to strip local municipalities of federal aid for having policies that hinder immigration officers or fail to enforce federal immigration laws. The bill is directly targeting so-called “sanctuary cities” who have declared that they will not uphold Trump’s deportation initiative.
President Trump attempted to push through similar policies through an executive order in January. The order was blocked by a federal judge in April.
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) released the following statement on HR 3003:
“I also voted against H.R.3003, which the US Conference of Mayors strongly opposed and the Fraternal Order of Police said would unjustly ‘penalize law enforcement and the citizens they serve because Congress disagrees with their enforcement priorities with respect to our immigration laws.’ We must stand up for proper funding for law enforcement. It is unjust to jeopardize our local police agencies, which are already underfunded and understaffed. The policies this bill seeks to end are designed to improve trust in law enforcement and help our police officers do their jobs effectively. We should not take away local communities’ and law enforcement agencies’ ability to decide how to do their jobs.”