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Two California Democrats join with House Republicans to vote for 'Kate's Law'

Eric Swalwell (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)
Eric Swalwell (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

There would be tougher penalties for people repeatedly caught crossing the border illegally, and millions of dollars less in federal funds for so-called sanctuary jurisdictions such as Los Angeles under two House immigration bills approved Thursday.

Both bills would fulfill President Trump’s campaign promises if they became law, but the Senate has killed similar legislation and is unlikely to be able to reach the 60-vote requirement to pass the bills.

The House voted 257 to 167, with 24 Democrats crossing party lines, to pass “Kate’s Law,” which would create harsher mandatory minimum prison sentences for people who repeatedly enter the U.S. illegally.

It is named after Kathryn Steinle, who allegedly was shot and killed in ​​​​San Francisco in 2015 by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican immigrant who had repeatedly entered the country illegally and was released from jail by sheriff’s officials despite a request by immigration officials to keep him behind bars.

Two California Democrats, Reps. Jackie Speier of Hillsborough and Eric Swalwell of Dublin, joined Republicans in voting for the bill.

Swalwell grew up with Steinle and is still in touch with her family, he said.

“This bill is not perfect, and it’s shameful that the Republicans did not allow any debate…. But it does improve our ability to punish individuals who repeatedly break the law and to deter those who may do so,” he Swalwell said in a statement.

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