Only five Republicans in the U.S. House voted Thursday against a law cracking down on so-called "sanctuary" cities that restrict cooperation with federal authorities over immigration enforcement.
One of them, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, is from Miami-Dade County, which is not a self-styled "sanctuary" but does limit local police assistance to the feds. The law passed by the House was drafted in reaction to the murder of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by a man who had been deported five times to Mexico.
"Sanctuary cities are one of the many symptoms of our deeply flawed immigration system," Curbelo said in a statement. "However, had this bill been the law of the land prior to the death of Ms. Steinle, it would not have prevented this heinous crime. Sanctuary cities are dangerous because they inadvertently promote lawlessness, but H.R. 3009 will not stop this unfortunate practice.
"This bill does nothing to secure our border, reform our visa system, or account for unauthorized immigrants living in our country, and is unlikely to ever become law. Instead it wrongly punishes law enforcement officials in many states. It's time to stop playing politics with immigration and advance serious solutions that will prevent future victims, finally giving America an immigration system worthy of the world's greatest nation."
Another Miami Republican, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, told Politico after the vote that he favored the bill because he believes in "zero tolerance to serious criminals."
President Obama has said he would veto the bill, which would strip "sanctuary" cities from federal funds.