Washington, Jun 29 (EFE).- The House of Representatives on Thursday approved two bills designed to toughen measures against undocumented immigrants, a victory for President Donald Trump, who had promised during his campaign to take these actions, although neither one has yet been approved by the Senate.
The first of the measures, approved in a 228-195 vote, would cut federal funds for so-called “sanctuary cities,” those municipalities that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities in arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants.
The other legislative initiative, approved 257-167, would impose harsher penalties on criminals who have illegally entered the US multiple times.
“During my campaign, I met many grieving families who all had the same plea: lawmakers must put the safety of American families first,” said the president in a statement after the results of the votes in Congress became known.
“Today, I applaud the House for passing two crucial measures to save and protect American lives. These were bills I campaigned on and that are vital to our public safety and national security,” Trump continued.
The president was commenting upon the first law, known as Kate’s Law, which “increases criminal penalties for illegal immigrants who repeatedly re-enter the country illegally.”
“The bill is named for Kate Steinle, who was killed by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times. Every year, countless Americans are victimized, assaulted, and killed by illegal immigrants who have been deported multiple times. It is time for these tragedies to end,” said the president.
The second bill, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which takes action against sanctuary cities, “restricts taxpayer grant money to cities that prevent their police from turning over dangerous criminal aliens to federal authorities,” Trump said.
“Sanctuary cities are releasing violent criminals, including members of the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang, back onto our streets every single day. Innocent Americans are suffering unthinkable violence as a result of these cities’ reckless actions,” he declared.
The bill also includes what are known as Grant’s Law and Sarah’s Law, which “prevent the release of dangerous criminals awaiting removal proceedings, are named for two slain Americans whose parents I spent time with during the campaign,” the president said.
Trump also emphasized the work of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who he said is freeing cities from the grip of criminal gangs, many of the members of which are foreigners, often from Central America.
Although the measures passed easily in the House, the Republican majority in the Senate – where votes on them are pending – is much narrower and it is probable that Democratic lawmakers will be able to block their approval.