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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 2193 - Kate's Law

July 06, 2016



(Sen. Cruz, R-TX, and eight cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes S. 2193. The bill fails to offer the comprehensive reforms needed to fix the Nation's broken immigration laws and would impose severe and unprecedented mandatory minimum sentences that would undermine the discretion of Federal judges to make sure the punishment fits the crime in each case.

The Administration continues to believe that it is critical to fix the Nation's broken immigration system through comprehensive commonsense legislation that builds on existing efforts to strengthen border security, cracks down on employers hiring undocumented workers, streamlines legal immigration, increases the efficiency of the immigration court system, and offers an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to get right with the law if they pass background checks, contribute to the Nation's economy by paying taxes, and go to the back of the line. While the Senate passed comprehensive legislation with strong bipartisan support over three years ago that would do just that, the House of Representatives failed to take any action. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bipartisan Senate bill would grow the Nation's economy by 5.4 percent and reduce Federal deficits by nearly $1 trillion over 20 years. The Administration continues to urge the Congress to address all of the problems with the Nation's broken immigration system and take up commonsense legislation that will offer meaningful solutions to those problems.

This piecemeal legislation does not offer those kinds of reforms. Those who reenter our country without authorization are already subject to substantial criminal penalties, and these proposed mandatory minimums are arbitrary, severe, and unprecedented. The Congress should not undermine the discretion of judges to apply existing law and to impose penalties that fit the crime in each individual case. Rather than focusing on this misguided legislation, the Congress should support the Administration's ongoing efforts to secure the border and keep our Nation safe.

The Administration has taken unprecedented steps to achieve those goals. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deployed historic levels of front-line personnel, technology, and infrastructure to the border to reduce the flow of unlawful migration and illicit contraband while fostering legal trade and travel. DHS is pursuing a Department-wide strategy that marshals resources from across the agency along the Southern Border and draws on experienced law enforcement officials. The Department has put in place effective new enforcement priorities to ensure that its limited resources are focused on apprehending, detaining, and removing the worst offenders—national security threats, convicted criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers. Finally, DHS and the Department of Justice have put in place new procedures to reinforce the process for the detention and removal of immigrants who are serving sentences within the Federal corrections system. Today, over 99 percent of those in immigration detention fit within one of the enforcement priorities, and 91 percent of all interior removals in FY 2015 were convicted criminals. This legislation would not advance any of those efforts.

If the President were presented with S. 2193, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 2193 - Kate's Law Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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