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H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law

Floor Situation

On Thursday, June 29, 2017, the House will begin consideration of H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law, under a closed rule. H.R. 3004 was introduced on June 22, 2017, by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.


Summary

H.R. 3004 protects public safety by enhancing penalties for deported felons who return to the United States. Specifically, the bill provides for:

  • A sentence of not more than 10 years for an alien convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors or a felony

  • Imprisonment of not more than 15 years for an alien convicted of a felony and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least 30 months

  • Imprisonment of not more than 20 years for an alien convicted of a felony and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least 60 months

  • Imprisonment of not more than 25 years for an alien convicted of murder, rape, kidnapping, terrorism, or 3 or more felonies of any kind

  • Imprisonment of not more than 10 years for an alien who has been denied admission, deported, or removed 3 or more times, who then reenters the U.S.

In addition, any alien who is removed prior to completion of a term of imprisonment who then reenters the U.S. can have the remainder of their sentence reapplied. 


Background

After an alien has been legally removed from the United States, federal criminal law makes it a felony for that alien to reenter, or be found in, the country without approval of the government. Under federal statutes, an alien who commits illegal reentry may be punishable with a fine, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both. If the alien reenters or is found in the U.S. without government approval after a criminal felony conviction for a non-aggravated felony or after three or more misdemeanor convictions for drug-related crimes or crimes against persons, they may be charged with a fine, imprisonment of not more than 10 years, or both.[1]

The bill is named after Kate Steinle, who was murdered in San Francisco by an unlawful immigrant who had previously been deported five times and was convicted of multiple felonies. In another tragic example, Nicodemo Coria-Gonzales—a criminal immigrant previously deported at least five times—is reportedly responsible for nearly a dozen sexual assaults. He allegedly kidnapped a woman and attempted to light her on fire using gasoline, and kidnapped and raped a 68-year old woman.[2]

According to Chairman Goodlatte, “For years, the lack of immigration enforcement and the spread of dangerous sanctuary policies have failed the American people and cost too many lives. The deaths of innocent Americans, such as Kate Steinle, Sarah Root, Grant Ronnebeck, and too many others, are tragic. Their deaths are especially devastating since they could have been prevented if our immigration laws had been enforced. “The House Judiciary Committee is working to improve our nation’s immigration laws and policy, and today I have introduced two, straightforward bills to enhance public safety. The bills crack down on dangerous sanctuary policies that needlessly put innocent lives at risk. They enhance penalties for deported felons who return to the United States and ensure unlawful immigrants convicted of drunk driving, or arrested for other dangerous crimes, are detained during their removal proceedings. We owe it to the families of those who lost loved ones to take action to prevent these horrible crimes. They have waited far too long.”[3]


Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is not currently available. However, through an unofficial estimate, CBO finds implementing HR 3004 could affect direct spending and revenues through changes in collections of criminal fines and subsequent spending of such fines, but any such effect would be insignificant each year over the 2018-2027 period. In addition, the bill could possible decrease direct spending related to changes in foreign-born populations in the United States.


Staff Contact

For questions or further information please contact Ryan Hofmann with the House Republican Policy Committee at (202) 225-3021.

 


 

[2] See the Committee on the Judiciary’s Press Release, June 23, 2017

[3] Id.

115th Congress