By Rachel Stoltzfoos
Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk teamed up with the vast majority of Senate Democrats to block a bill Tuesday that would crack down on sanctuary cities. He was the only Republican to vote against the measure.
The bill would increase penalties for illegal immigrants who return to the U.S. after they’re deported, and would threaten to withhold funds from cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agents.
All but two Democrats and Kirk blocked a vote on the bill Tuesday, which fell six votes short of the 60 it needed to proceed to the floor. Democratic senators Joe Donnelly, representing Indiana, and Joe Manchin, representing West Virginia, voted with Republicans in support of the bill.
“Confronting a crime problem in a city like Chicago requires more resources, not fewer resources, for law enforcement to keep our kids away from gangs,” Kirk told The Daily Caller News Foundation, referring to the millions of dollars the sanctuary cities in his state would lose in federal funds if the bill passed.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit research group opposed to increased immigration, identified Champagne County in central Illinois, Cook County near Chicago and the city of Chicago as sanctuary cities in a new interactive map published in October.
The number of these U.S. cities, counties and states that refuse to prosecute illegal immigrants or cooperate with federal enforcement is increasing, along with the number of criminal releases, the Center for Immigration Studies recently reported. Roughly 340 jurisdictions are hindering immigration enforcement, and together these sanctuaries are releasing about 1,000 criminal aliens per month.
On the eve of the sanctuary cities vote, Kirk also promoted a gun control bill he is co-sponsoring with four Democrats. Illinois families “shouldn’t have to live in fear of illegal guns in the hands of criminals,” he tweeted.
— Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk) October 19, 2015
South Carolina Republican Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham was noticeably absent from the vote, but a spokesman told TheDCNF he would have supported the motion to proceed had he been in Washington.
“It was abundantly clear Senate Democrats were not going to allow this important issue to move forward,” he told TheDCNF, pointing out one vote wouldn’t have changed the outcome regardless.
Kirk’s tweet wasn’t popular among some patriots:
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