October 20 was a dark day for millions of Americans concerned that local law enforcement in many communities refuse to honor Immigration Customs and Enforcement detainers in order to help deport dangerous felons. The Senate cravenly blocked S. 2146 (the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act) that, had it been law years ago, would have saved many lives. By denying a vote on Sen. David Vitter’s bill, cities such as San Francisco will continue to shelter criminal aliens like Juan Sanchez-Lopez, the five-time deported, seven-time convicted felon who murdered Kate Steinle in broad daylight.
S. 2146 cosponsor Pat Toomey (R-PA) argues
for protecting Americans from criminal aliens.
Although S. 2146 received 50 votes, it fell short of the total needed to reach the Senate floor for debate. Americans are understandably outraged at the Senate’s failure to agree on an issue as important as public safety.
Later the same day, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to reaffirm its sanctuary city status. After the vote, Supervisor Malia Cohen said to a cheering crowd: “All of us in this room agree that the death of Kathryn Steinle was senseless and tragic, but what many of us disagree on is the role – if any – that San Francisco's existing sanctuary and due-process-for-all ordinances played in the event.” Another Supervisor, David Campos, said he is proud of San Francisco and hailed the vote as a victory over “the national level of scapegoating immigrants.”
A San Francisco Chronicle story wrote that “Supervisors said they wouldn't let hateful commentary undermine a long-standing policy that improves public safety and embraces immigrants.” Arguing that sanctuary city regulations improve public safety only a few months after the 32-year-old Steinle was gunned down walking along a popular, frequented pier is idiotic and insulting.
Because S.2146 was basically two bills rolled into one, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley proposes separate stand-alone votes, one on the portion of the bill that would impose a five-year mandatory prison sentence for aliens who re-enter the country after one conviction for a violent felony or two convictions for immigration violations, and a second vote on defunding sanctuary cities.
Analysts correctly predicted that attaching the defunding measure to the mandatory sentencing provision would doom the bill.