Barletta Backs Bills to Strengthen Enforcement of Immigration Laws

Jun 29, 2017
Press Release
House Passes Kate’s Law and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act

Click here to watch Barletta’s floor speech.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed, two bills – Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act – to strengthen enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws and keep Americans safe.  Barletta co-sponsored both bills and worked with leadership to bring them to the House floor for a vote.  Before the vote, Barletta spoke on the House floor and urged his colleagues to pass both bills.

During his floor remarks, Barletta discussed meeting the family of Derek Kichline, a 29-year-old father of three young children who in 2006 was murdered while working on his truck in Hazleton by an illegal immigrant who had been released by law enforcement a number of times, including by the sanctuary city of New York.  He also highlighted his discussions with the family of 21-year-old murder victim Carly Snyder of Northumberland County, who was stabbed 37 times by an illegal immigrant from Honduras in 2005.

“I have never forgotten these stories,” Barletta said.  “I understand that there’s nothing we can do to bring these people back.  I know there’s nothing we can do to relieve the pain their families still feel.  But by passing these bills, we can prevent these crimes from happening to other families.”

Barletta stressed that both of these murders could have been prevented if the federal government would have enforced our immigration laws.

“Let me be clear: Violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants are preventable,” Barletta said.  “The illegal immigrants who committed these violent crimes should not have been present in this country, and certainly should not have been walking around free.  Too many mayors and local governments think that they are above federal law.  These bills send a clear message to the American people that their government is serious about keeping them safe.”

The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, H.R. 3003, cracks down on sanctuary cities by clarifying that no entity or individual may prevent a government from enforcing immigration laws or cooperating with immigration officials.  The bill holds that if a local government is sued for enforcing immigration laws, the federal government must step in as a defendant.  It also includes language named after Sarah Root, a 21-year-old who was killed when an illegal alien drove the wrong way on the highway into her car while driving drunk, and Grant Ronnebeck, who was gunned down by an illegal immigrant who was free on bond while facing deportation.  That provision holds that illegal immigrants must be detained during removal proceedings when they are arrested or charged with causing serious injury or death.

Kate’s Law, H.R. 3004, increases penalties for illegal immigrants who re-enter the United States after being deported.  The bill is named after Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman whose accused killer was a seven-time felon who had been deported five times previously.  ICE had previously requested an immigration detainer on the accused killer, but local officials released him because San Francisco is a sanctuary city, which does not honor such requests.

“Today was a test of the willingness of Congress to stand for families across this country who have lost loved ones to crimes committed by criminals who had no business being in this country in the first place,” Barletta said.  “By passing these bills, we are finally standing up for victims, like Derek Kichline, Carly Snyder, and Kate Steinle, instead of criminals.”

Yesterday, Barletta was one of four U.S. House members who met at the White House with President Donald J. Trump for a roundtable discussion about the need to pass legislation to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws.  During the meeting, family members of individuals who were murdered by illegal immigrants told their personal stories and urged Congress to pass the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law.