U.S. Lower House approves bill against ‘sanctuary cities’ of immigrants

Washington, Jul 24 (EFE).- The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday approved a bill that would leave no funds to ‘sanctuary cities,’ where illegal immigrants are protected against deportation.

The bill, passed with 241 votes in favor and 179 against, would deny government grants to law enforcement agencies and immigration services in cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in identifying, arresting and deporting illegal immigrants.

It is now awaiting the Senate’s vote even as the White House threatens to veto it.

The legislation, spearheaded by Republicans, was prompted by the alleged murder of a young girl, Kate Steinle, on July 1 in San Francisco, by an illegal Mexican immigrant who had been deported five times and had seven convictions for serious crimes.

The alleged murderer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had taken refuge through immigration authorities in San Francisco, one of the hundreds of cities, including New York and Los Angeles, across the country that have questioned the country’s deportation policy.

“The American people have the right to not give their tax dollars to municipalities and states that do not follow federal law,” said California CongressmanDuncan Hunter, author of the bill.

“The fact that San Francisco and L.A. and other cities disagree with the politics of federal enforcement does not give them a free pass to subvert the law,” he added.

In response, the White House threatened to veto the legislation, saying the Lower House has wrongly fixed a “broken immigration system” and the bill belittles the government’s efforts for deporting the most dangerous criminals.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman and Democrat Xavier Becerra, criticized the initiative calling it the ‘Donald Trump Act’, referring to the controversial Republican presidential candidate’s derogatory remarks on Mexican immigrants and his proposal to raise a ‘great wall’ on the border withMexico, where he visited Thursday.

Trump had, in fact, also lashed out at ‘sanctuary cities’ post the alleged murder of Steinle.

Meanwhile, Jim Steinle, father of the young victim, Tuesday urged an immigration legislation change before a Senate Committee and Thursday, before another committee of the House of Representatives, he said Congress should promote measures to take illegal immigrants like Sanchez, off the streets.

“It’s unbelievable to see so many innocent Americans that have been killed by undocumented immigrant felons in recent years,” said Steinle, adding that between 2010 and 2014, 121 undocumented immigrants have been charged with murder in the country. EFE