Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, are at work on passing "Kate's Law," a priority of President Donald Trump's.
However, McCaul and Cornyn have placed language for "Kate's Law" in a border security bill that has drawn criticism, according to a Wednesday report in The Hill.
Trump, during his presidential campaign, put focus on the murder of Kathryn Steinle by a Mexican immigrant who unlawfully had reentered the U.S., the Hill reported. The "Kate's Law" language would set a five-year mandatory prison sentence for anyone charged twice with illegally reentering the U.S. or who has prior aggravated felony convictions.
Lynn Tramonte, America's Voice deputy director, told the Hill that she wondered if Cornyn and McCaul included the "Kate's Law" language in order to get support for the border security bill from those who favor reduced immigration.
Tramonte added her criticism for the bill, saying immigration laws are "already harsh and extreme … the problem is, the more radical they make their bill, the less likely it is to pass."
The border security bill includes the addition of 10,000 detention beds each year for four years, and an increase in the numbers of border patrol agents from 21,000 to 26,370. The proposal also includes a requirement for U.S. attorneys to prosecute people that are caught within 100 miles of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Hill.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., chairman of the Immigration Taskforce of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told the Hill that Cornyn's plan harms reforms to immigration policies that would improve border security and accountability.
"I'm sure whatever he and Rep. McCaul come up with will be popular with the White House and Trump's base, but the problem they face is that American voters think we need more practical solutions than walls and round-ups," Gutierrez said in a statement.
A Washington Post report on May 16 also criticized the bill, saying it does not include border wall funding, sanctions against businesses that hire the undocumented, or E-Verify, an employment verification system that has been part of previous immigration talks.
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