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.
Senate fast-tracks sanctuary cities bill
Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate Democratic super PAC sets fundraising record Five takeaways from Florida Senate debate Liberal groups call for delaying cures bill to next year MORE (R-Ky.) finished the fast-track process on legislation from Sen. David VitterDavid VitterDavid Duke gets debate slot in La. Senate race GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (R-La.) that would limit federal funding to sanctuary cities for not complying with federal immigration law.
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 CruzCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Commerce official will hit critics of domain name transition The media is rigging the election by reporting WikiLeaks emails MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioOne way or another, 2016 was all about Donald Trump's hands Poll: Clinton has 4-point lead over Trump in Florida Five takeaways from Florida Senate debate MORE (Fla.), who are both running for president, as well as Sens. John CornynJohn CornynPotential Cruz challenger: 'Don't close off your options' Report: Investor visa program mainly funds wealthy areas GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (Texas), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Sanders to Justice Department: Block AT&T purchase of Time Warner Freeing the False Claims Act MORE (Iowa), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonIs Georgia turning blue? GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Dems seek cash to expand Senate map MORE (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonVulnerable GOP senator hits opponent over campaign finance GOP plan: Link Dems to an email scandal GOP senator: Dems making ‘concerted effort to produce fraudulent votes’ 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.