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Trump calls on Congress to crack down on illegal immigration

President Trump called on Congress to pass two bills that will come to a vote tomorrow: one that would cut funding to "sanctuary cities," which provide safe haven to undocumented immigrants who might otherwise face deportation, and another "Kate's Law," which would increase the maximum penalty for criminals who entered the country illegally.

"We're calling on all members of Congress to honor grieving American families by passing these lifesaving measures in the House, in the Senate, and then sending them to my desk for a very rapid signature," Mr. Trump said in a White House meeting Wednesday with families of victims of violent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

In the meeting, the victims' families shared stories of their lost loved ones. One mother who lost her son fought back tears, saying that if the legislation were "done earlier, my son would still be here." Another grieving mother brought the remains of her son with her to the White House and praised the Mr. Trump's decision to run for president.

Both bills will receive a vote in the House tomorrow. The Republican-proposed sanctuary cities bill, titled the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act," would withhold federal funds from cities or states that don't cooperate with federal laws regarding undocumented immigrants. It also states that local law enforcement cannot be precluded from asking immigrants about their legal status.

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The second bill, "Kate's Law," is named after 32-year-old Kate Steinle who was shot and killed in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant with seven felony convictions who had already been deported five times. If passed, it would impose a mandatory five-year minimum sentence on immigrants who have previously been deported and re-enter the country.

According to the White House website, "the bill is consistent with the Administration's broader efforts to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws and improve the security of our Nation's borders."

Earlier Wednesday, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas D. Homan also encouraged the House to vote in favor of the bills, describing them as "the most significant piece of legislation I've seen that's going to help keep our communities safe and law enforcement officers safe."

"The America I grew up in, you respected the laws, you revered law enforcement professionals, and I just see in the last several years there's almost this feeling that it's okay to not comply with the law, it's okay to not comply with law enforcement officers," Homan said. "No longer are we going to vilify the men and women of ICE for doing their job, they're American patriots, every one of them," he later added.

In a White House briefing Wednesday, Homan said that the administration's priority is the removal of criminal aliens, but that anyone in the country illegally is subject to deportation. He also explained that with regard to Kate's Law, the more deportations undocumented immigrants have on their records, the more severe the penalties they could be subject to.

"If we don't have border security, if we don't enforce the laws that's written in the books, you're never going to patrol the border," Homan said. "Why do you think we have 11-12 million people in the country now? Because there has been this notion that if you get by the border, you get in the United States, you have a U.S. citizen kid, no one's looking for you. But those days are over." 

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