- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2018

President Trump signaled Friday that he’s going to drive the immigration issue straight into November’s elections, telling voters to oust Democrats who voted to protect sanctuary cities and voted against stiffer penalties for repeat illegal immigrants.

Mr. Trump specifically called out Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Jon Tester of Montana, all Democrats up for re-election this year.

“Politicians who put criminal aliens before American citizens should be voted out of office immediately,” Mr. Trump said in a speech to the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Dallas.

The president said the U.S. suffers from “the worst” immigration laws in the world and said he’s proposed a number of changes that Congress has ignored. He said if they would pass his plans, it would make a dent in both illegal immigration coming across the border and in the number of illegal immigrants with criminal records already in the interior of the U.S.

“If we had the right laws — which we could have very quickly, with cooperation — we wouldn’t even have a problem,” he said.

He singled out two bills for quick action. One would punish sanctuary cities by withholding federal money from communities that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. The other, Kate’s Law, would boost penalties for repeat illegal immigrants. That legislation is named for Kate Steinle, would was killed by in 2015 while walking the San Francisco waterfront by a five-time illegal immigrant who’d been released from jail because of San Francisco’s sanctuary policy.

Administration officials are bracing to make a major push for an immigration crackdown this year, ahead of the November election.

Mr. Trump on Friday said he won’t accept a spending bill in September, the next government shutdown deadline, unless it includes money for border security.

Democrats have resisted Mr. Trump’s efforts for stiffer immigration enforcement, saying they would only have that discussion as part of a broader bill that includes citizenship rights for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

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