Senator Ted Cruz skirmished with Senate minority leader Harry Reid Wednesday over a bill that would impose mandatory-minimum sentences on criminal immigrants who return to the United States following deportation.
The Texas Republican took to the Senate floor to celebrate last night’s electoral defeat of San Francisco sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who defended the city’s sanctuary policy this summer after Kathryn Steinle was killed there by an immigrant who had been deported five times. “That is a striking statement of where the American people are on this issue,” he said Wednesday.
Reid dismissed the legislation as “yet another attack on the immigrant community” when he objected to Cruz’s unanimous consent request. “The new mandatory minimum sentences . . . would have a crippling financial effect — and that’s an understatement,” he said. “We have no evidence that they would actually deter future violations of the law.”
“Lee, who has aligned with liberal Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dick Durbin of Illinois to ease mandatory minimums for certain crimes, is uncomfortable with such binding punishments for immigration offenses, and he’s threatening to oppose sanctuary cities legislation that includes mandatory minimums,” Politico reported in August.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.