Reid blocks Cruz on tougher penalties for illegal immigrants
Senate Democrats blocked legislation Wednesday from Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (R-Texas) that would create tougher penalties for undocumented immigrants who reenter the country after being deported. 
Cruz, who is running for president, tried to get unanimous consent to pass his legislation — referred to as "Kate's Law," after Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed in San Francisco allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times. 
Under the proposal, undocumented immigrants would face additional prison time if they reenter the country, including a minimum five-year sentence if they were previously convicted of an aggravated felony or of illegally reentering the country twice. 
Cruz said Congress needs "leadership" on the issue, adding, "enough hot air. ... With whom do you stand? Do you stand with violent criminal illegal aliens or do you stand with American citizens?" 
"The new mandatory minimum sentences created by this bill would have a crippling financial effect, and that's an understatement, with no evidence that they would deter future violations of the law," he added. 
Cruz's request came a day after Democrats and some Republicans criticized Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE (R-Wis.) for suggesting that immigration reform won't be taken up until after President Obama leaves office. 
Reid added on Wednesday that since the Senate passed immigration reform in 2013, "All we've seen from Republican leaders, and their caucuses, is bills attacking immigrants."
The Texas Republican fired back, saying it was "sad" that Reid "chooses to stand with violent illegal criminal aliens instead of the American citizens" and is boxing legal immigrants together with undocumented immigrants. 
"I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba," he added. "For the Democratic leader to cynically suggest that somehow immigrants should be lumped into the same bucket with murderers and rapists demonstrates the cynicism of the modern Democratic Party." 
Similar legislation was included in a broader immigration bill from Sen. David VitterDavid VitterYou're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat Overnight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator MORE (R-La.), which was blocked by Democrats last month during a procedural vote on ending debate to move to his proposal. 
Vitter's legislation would have also cracked down on so-called sanctuary cities that don't comply with federal immigration law, such as San Francisco, where Steinle was killed.