The Republican dominated Senate failed to pass a couple of bills that would have stripped funding to cities with sanctuary policies sheltering illegal aliens from deportation.
The Senate, with 54 Republicans versus 44 Democrats and two independents, both of whom generally caucus with the Democratic Party, voted 53-44 in favor of the bill that would have stripped funding. But because the vote didn’t meet the Senate’s own self-imposed filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to act, the measure died.
“We are failing to adequately deter deported illegal aliens from illegally re-entering the country, especially those with violent criminal records,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, Fox News reported.
Cruz sponsored one of the bills; his would have granted the courts the right to sentence illegals caught re-entering the country to a 10 years in prison. It failed on a 55-42 vote.
Sen. Pat Toomey sponsored the other; his would have prevented federal tax dollars going to cities with sanctuary policies. Toomey’s stemmed from the widely reported 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle as she walked a California pier with her father. An illegal immigrant with a felony record who was deported on several prior occasions was charged in her murder.
“Sanctuary cities are Orwellian in their logic,” Toomey said, after his bill failed on a 53-44 vote, Fox News reported. “They give extra protection to dangerous criminals, just because they happen to be in the country illegally.”
Both bills were subject to the Senate’s 60-vote standard to move forward – a threshhold described by one legal mind as “artificial” and an outrage to the constitutional process.
“Since the Senate operates under a self-imposed filibuster rule requiring 60 votes to act, senators representing 11 percent of the national population can veto laws supported by senators representing 89 percent of the population,” wrote New York University School of Law professor Burt Neuborne said in an April 2013 written opinion for the Hill. “That’s not democracy. It’s more like being governed by the British House of Lords. Actually, it’s more like being governed by the American House of Cowboys.”
Neuborne at the time had been criticizing the failure of Democrat-pressed gun background checks passing through the Senate, despite a vote of 55-45.
The White House had already indicated disapproval with both measures, saying in a statement neither bill provided “comprehensive reforms needed to fix the nation’s immigration laws.”