The Only Republican to Vote Against Kate’s Law?

None other than my representative, Justin Amash…


Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) was the only Republican to vote against Kate’s Law, a law that would impose harsher penalties on deported aliens who try to return to the United States.

Kate’s Law passed through the House 257 to 167, 24 Democrats voted for the bill. Congressman Amash was the only Republican to vote against Kate’s Law.

Kate’s Law was named after Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman murdered by an illegal immigrant who remained in the United States despite multiple deportations.

The Michigan lawmaker also voted against H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, a bill that would defund cities that prevent their police from turning over illegal aliens to federal authorities.

Rep. Amash explained his opposition to both Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, citing that they would violate the Constitution in a tweet. He did not elaborate how exactly these bills violate the Constitution.

Here’s the tweet:

Although Amash hasn’t provided a public in-depth explanation yet, I can tell you that a local activist called Amash out on Facebook for his vote, and Amash took the time to respond to his post and address some other questions as well.

Amash charged that Kate’s Law violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. While the legal system grants due process to everyone in the U.S., even if they’re illegal aliens, Kate’s Law deals with illegal aliens who return to the U.S. after being previously deported for crimes. Why on earth should we tolerate these “bad hombres” who already came to the U.S. once (or twice or more) to cause trouble? To catch them and not give them stiffer punishment would be preposterous.

In regards to the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, Amash argued that although Congress passes immigration laws, Congress cannot compel state governments to participate in something against their will by withholding federal funds. This is known as the “anti-commandeering doctrine.” The Supreme Court established that doctrine in the 1992 New York v. United States case, and Amash interprets the Tenth Amendment in light of it. But those who have illegally entered the U.S. are by definition violating federal law. Sanctuary cities are cities that cooperate with individuals violating federal law, so I don’t see how enforcing an immigration law is unconstitutional.

That’s all the explanation I’m aware of. Amash has yet to show how these two bills also violate the First, Fourth, and Eleventh Amendments. If his interpretations of the Fifth and Tenth Amendments in this context are suspect, then I imagine his interpretations of the others are even more suspect.


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