The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday is expected to pass two pieces of legislation aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants after receiving the unqualified support of President Donald Trump.
The House is expected to approve the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act" that would withhold some federal grants to so-called "sanctuary city" jurisdictions that do not comply with certain federal immigration laws. Approval is also expected of "Kate's law," that would increase penalties for illegal immigrants who return to the United States. It is named for Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed in San Francisco in 2015. An illegal immigrant who had been deported five times was charged with her murder.
Both bills would need to approval from the Senate to become law. Trump's Republicans control both chambers.
Pro-immigration advocates have criticized the legislation as a threat to civil liberties.
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump demanded action against sanctuary cities, which provide some protection for illegal immigrants because they have laws that limit how much cooperation local police can have with federal immigration authorities.
The "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act" would prohibit sanctuary cities from adopting policies that restrict police officers from asking individuals about their immigration status or the immigration status of others.
Under the House bill, illegal immigrants would face mandatory detention for past convictions of an expanded number of offenses, such as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The bill does not impose time limits after which past convictions for such offenses would not trigger detention.
On Wednesday at the White House, Trump staged an emotional event to promote both bills, with parents of several young people slain by undocumented people given the opportunity to speak.
"We're calling on all members of Congress to honor grieving American families by passing these life-saving messages in the House, in the Senate and then sending them to my desk for a very rapid signature," Trump said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland and Amanda Becker; editing by Grant McCool)