Sessions visits Philly, criticizes sanctuary city policy

Sessions urged Philadelphia to “consider carefully the harm they are doing by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement.”

Sessions

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Philadelphia on Friday, speaking to federal, state and local law enforcement at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and repeating his opposition to sanctuary cities.

“I urge the city of Philadelphia and every ‘sanctuary’ jurisdiction to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their residents by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement and to re-think these policies,” he said.

The speech comes as the Senate considers two related bills that have passed the House of Representatives.

Reps. Bob Brady and Brendan Boyle voted against Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act.

Kate’s Law passed, 257–167. It was supported by 233 Republicans and 24 Democrats, and opposed by 166 Democrats and one Republican.

The bill enhances penalties for deported felons who return to the United States. It is inspired by Kate Steinle, who was shot to death in 2015 in San Francisco by an illegal Mexican immigrant using a stolen gun. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the alleged killer, had seven prior felony convictions and had been deported five times, only to return each time.

The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act passed, 228–195. It was supported by 225 Republicans and three Democrats, and opposed by 188 Democrats and seven Republicans.

The act withholds certain federal grants from jurisdictions that violate federal law by prohibiting their officers from communicating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It protects jurisdictions that comply with detainers from being sued, while allowing victims of crime to sue jurisdictions that refuse to comply and subsequently release criminal aliens onto the streets.

The act also contains Sarah and Grant’s Law, which ensures unlawful immigrants convicted of drunken driving or arrested for other dangerous crimes are detained during their removal proceedings. The provision is named after Sarah Root and Grant Ronnebeck.

Last year, an illegal Honduran immigrant allegedly driving drunk and street racing struck Root’s car as it was stopped at a red light in Nebraska and killed her. Eswin Mejia was arrested, released on bail, then disappeared and remains on the loose.

In 2015, Ronnebeck was shot to death while working at an Arizona convenience store by an illegal Mexican immigrant who was free on bond while facing deportation for a felony burglary conviction.

Both bills were authored by Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign them, if they pass the Senate. ••