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FAMM Condemns Expensive, Unhelpful “Kate’s Law” Bill

Categories: Featured, Newsroom, Press Release

Vote expected this week in Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ContactLeila McDowell; lmcdowell@famm.org; 202.822.6700

Today, FAMM urged Congress to reject Kate’s Law (S. 2193), a bill sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and up for a vote this week in the U.S. Senate.

If passed, the bill would create a new, five-year mandatory minimum sentence for thousands of people convicted of illegal reentry each year. The sentence would apply to people convicted of illegal reentry, if they also have a prior “aggravated felony” conviction (which includes everything from murder to theft or failing to appear in court) or two prior illegal reentry convictions. The mandatory minimum sentence would apply regardless of the nature or circumstances of the person’s prior offenses or the person’s reasons for being in the country.

“Like all mandatory minimum sentences, passing Kate’s Law might feel good, but it won’t make us safer,” said FAMM’s director of federal legislative affairs, Molly Gill.

“Requiring courts to send all immigration violators to federal prison for at least five years might lock up some violent people longer, but it will definitely lock up many, many nonviolent ones longer. This mandate will cost billions of dollars, dollars better spent on fighting terrorism or supporting law enforcement and victims.”

This year in Congress and in states across the nation, lawmakers of both parties have acted to repeal or reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Oklahoma, Maryland, Florida, and Iowa have reduced or eliminated mandatory minimum sentences this year. Multiple bipartisan bills introduced in both Houses of Congress would scale back federal mandatory minimum sentences, saving money and focusing limited Justice Department dollars where they are needed most.

“Lawmakers of both parties are realizing mandatory minimum sentences aren’t the silver bullets they thought they would be 30 years ago,” said Gill. “They won’t stop illegal immigration any more than they have stopped America’s opioid crisis. Passing Kate’s Law would be repeating the mistakes of the past and doing a disservice to taxpayers.”

FAMM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for sentences that are cost-effective, protect public safety, fit the crime and the individual, and preserve families.

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