WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), a member of the Homeland Security Committee, joined the House in passing two bills to strengthen public safety by combating dangerous sanctuary policies that permit criminals to go free and by enhancing penalties for deported felons who return to the United States.
“[W]e are a nation of immigrants… We are also a nation of laws. Both must be respected and honored by all of us. Left, right or center we can all agree that our immigration system is broken, and, given that broken status, it’s the responsibility of this body to fix it. This goal cannot be achieved by selectively choosing which laws we enforce, and which ones we ignore,” said Fitzpatrick speaking on the House floor. “As a former FBI agent, I worked each day to defend Americans and keep our nation safe. As a federal prosecutor, I prosecuted cases that resulted in the removal of violent felons who were in our country illegally, in order to keep our communities safe. I have seen firsthand the threats our nation faces from a fragmented and broken immigration system and a porous border. We cannot and must not allow partisanship to prevent sensible fixes from being implemented. Our nation’s security depends on us.”
Legislation passed by the House included:
Kate’s Law [H.R. 3004], which Fitzpatrick co-sponsored, is named for 32-year-old Kate Steinle, who was murdered two years ago by a 5-time deported criminal illegal alien with seven prior felony convictions. The legislation increases penalties for unauthorized aliens who reenter the country following their removal from the U.S., including federal prison sentences up to 25 years for previously-deported aliens with criminal records. This bill will further empower our law enforcement agencies to keep violent gangs and criminal cartels, including those like MS-13, out of our communities. So far in fiscal year 2017, ICE has removed 2,798 gang members, compared to 2,057 gang members in all of fiscal year 2016.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act [H.R. 3003] strengthens the law to combat dangerous ‘sanctuary city’ policies – like those in Philadelphia - that shield unlawful and criminal immigrants from federal immigration enforcement. This bill would prevent states and localities refusing to follow federal law and cooperate with federal immigration authorities from receiving certain Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security grants while allowing victims of crime to sue jurisdictions that refuse to comply. According to a recent Harvard-Harris poll, 80 percent of Americans support ending the practice of sanctuary cities that refuse to turn over criminal illegal immigrants to Federal authorities.
As a member of the bipartisan Task Force on Denying Terrorists Entry into the United States, Fitzpatrick is working to examine pathways by which extremists might infiltrate the homeland and seek to identify gaps in government information sharing and vetting procedures. As such, he has advocated for physical security pieces in the arsenal of options for addressing border security, as well as increased technological support for Customs and Border Pratol agents, bolstered aerial surveillance, and additional manpower. To this end, the administration has prioritized the hiring of 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents and 10,000 ICE agents.