Senate fast-tracks sanctuary cities bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are fast-tracking a bill aimed at cracking down on sanctuary cities after a shooting earlier this year sparked a political firestorm around the issue. 

 
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The procedural move will allow the proposal to skip over the Senate committee process and head directly to the Senate floor where it can be brought up for a vote. A spokesman for Vitter's office said they are "hopeful" the legislation could come up for a vote later this month after the Senate returns from next week's recess.
 
Republican Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioLongtime GOP incumbent will not seek reelection Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? MORE (Fla.), who are both running for president, as well as Sens. John CornynJohn CornynSenate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' McConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Texas), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyComey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee GOP to kill language exempting staff from new ObamaCare repeal bill House cyber chairman wants to bolster workforce MORE (Iowa), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonDem senator blasts VA for outsourcing veterans suicide line Trump signs executive order creating new VA office Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts MORE (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonTrump signs executive order creating new VA office Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Lawmakers targeted as district politics shift MORE (Wis.), David Perdue (Ga.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.), are also backing Vitter's bill. 
 
The issue has been on Republicans' radar since the death of 32-year old Kathryn Steinle, who was shot in San Francisco, allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times. 
 
Vitter said it was "outrageous" that policies haven't changed since Steinle's death. 
 
"Our legislation will stop sending sanctuary cities federal taxpayer dollars, so hopefully they get a clue,” he said. "We need to send a loud and clear message to any sanctuary cities that their dangerous policies are not acceptable."
 
A handful of Senate Republicans, including Vitter, tried to use an education bill in July to tighten federal money for cities that don't follow federal immigration law, but were unsuccessful. 
 
The Louisiana Republican's legislation would also increase the maximum punishment for undocumented immigrants who try to renter the United States after being deported from two years to five years in prison, as well as establishing a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison for immigrants in the country who renter the United States after being removed three or more times.