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 CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (Fla.), who are both running for president, as well as Sens. John CornynJohn CornynMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Hoyer suggests Dems won't support spending bill without DACA fix MORE (Texas), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Five hurdles to a big DACA and border deal Grand jury indicts Maryland executive in Uranium One deal: report MORE (Iowa), Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy Isakson'Apprentice' winner Randal Pinkett on Trump: 'No question in my mind he’s a racist' GOP senator: Trump 'owes the people of Haiti and all of mankind an apology' Reforming veterans health care for all generations of veterans MORE (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators eager for Romney to join them The House needs to help patients from being victimized by antiquated technology Comey’s original Clinton memo released, cites possible violations 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.