Senate Democrats launched filibusters Wednesday to protect sanctuary cities and to shield repeat illegal immigrants from a mandatory minimum 5-year prison sentence, calling the bills an attack on immigrants and saying GOP lawmakers were following the lead of Donald Trump.
The votes came slightly more than a year after the July 1, 2015, slaying of Kate Steinle, whose death at the hands of an illegal immigrant shielded by San Francisco’s sanctuary policy ignited a fierce debate over localities’ laws that limit or ban police from turning immigrants over to federal deportation officers.
Steinle’s death drew attention to victims of illegal immigrant crime — a part of the illegal immigration debate that’s often overlooked.
But Democrats said the GOP’s solutions of stricter penalties on repeat illegal immigrants, and punishing cities and counties for shielding illegal immigrants, were the wrong path.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid complained that jailing illegal immigrants who repeatedly sneak into the U.S. after being deported would end up overcrowding American prisons, and would cost billions of dollars.