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SJR-4 Immigration: Kate’s Law.(2017-2018)

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Senate Joint Resolution
No. 4

Introduced by Senator Morrell

January 25, 2017

Relative to immigration.


SJR 4, as introduced, Morrell. Immigration: Kate’s Law.
This measure would call upon the United States Congress to immediately pass legislation, “Kate’s Law,” which would create a mandatory minimum federal sentence of 5 years in a federal penitentiary for an individual who has returned to the United States illegally after having been deported and previously convicted of a felony in the United States.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, One of the primary responsibilities of every elected official in the nation is the public safety and protection of the citizens they represent; and
WHEREAS, Americans have always had a passion for fairness and have long recognized the vital part immigrants have played in who we are as a nation; and
WHEREAS, America has had a long tradition of welcoming immigrants, and this tradition continues as we invite all who yearn to be free, and with a respect for the rule of law, to join us; and
WHEREAS, Immigrants from around the world have made countless contributions in shaping our country into what it is today. As President Lyndon B. Johnson put it, “We flourish because we’re fed from many streams.”; and
WHEREAS, Ours is a nation founded not on a particular race or language, but on a set of economic, political, and moral principles. These principles are, as President Abraham Lincoln said, the “electric cord” that binds us together as one people and one nation; and
WHEREAS, The safety of our citizens is enshrined in the United States Constitution, as one of our founding fathers Alexander Hamilton wrote America’s safety depends on the energy of a common sentiment, uniformity of principles and habits, and a love of country. These are essential to protecting our civil liberty; and
WHEREAS, Almost every elected official in the nation, upon their oath of office, pledges to uphold the United States Constitution and the laws of the jurisdiction to which they are elected; and
WHEREAS, We must all work together to ensure that our government respects the limits of its power, that we ourselves maintain a proper respect for our system of laws, and as a part of that system of laws, border security must be a key component in our conversation about immigration; and
WHEREAS, Throughout the nation, cities such as the City of San Francisco have created policies and ordinances establishing themselves as “sanctuary cities” in an attempt to shelter undocumented immigrants and usurp the rule of law, in direct conflict with elected officials’ oaths of office; and
WHEREAS, These sanctuary cities have refused to enforce the laws of the United States government when, through direct or indirect action, they harbor individuals who have been deported numerous times after committing many crimes, including serious felonies; and
WHEREAS, Harboring violent criminals protected by the policies of sanctuary cities has contributed to the problem of many citizens of the United States suffering great bodily harm, including death; and
WHEREAS, The most recent tragedy, the senseless killing of Kathryn (Kate) Steinle on July 1, 2015, by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times, convicted of seven felonies, and who had been given safe harbor by the city law enforcement of the City of San Francisco, has brought this issue to the forefront of the national debate; and
WHEREAS, Those city officials directly ignored a detainer request by the federal government to detain and return the prisoner for timely deportation; and
WHEREAS, By ignoring the federal government, their constitutional duties, and their sworn responsibilities to protect the citizens of the State of California and the nation, those elected officials have subjected their citizens to preventable violent crimes; and
WHEREAS, Some of the strongest national advocates of immigrant rights, such as United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, have criticized the sanctuary cities and specifically the City of San Francisco for not properly working with the federal government to ensure that convicted felons who are in the country illegally are deported in a timely fashion; and
WHEREAS, It is clear that only the federal government has the power and tools to secure the border and protect our citizens from the actions of elected officials who refuse to uphold the United States Constitution and federal law and who refuse to cooperate with federal officials when it comes to the deportation of undocumented immigrants with felony criminal records; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature calls upon the United States Congress, as a national response to the tragic death of Kathryn (Kate) Steinle, to immediately pass legislation, entitled “Kate’s Law,” which would create a mandatory minimum federal sentence of five years in a federal penitentiary for an individual who has returned to the United States illegally after having been deported and previously convicted of a felony in the United States; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.