A handful of Democrats in the House of Representatives defected from their party line to support Kate's Law, a bill that increases the penalties for deported felons who return to the United States illegally.
On Thursday, 24 Democrats voted with Republicans to pass the legislation, though 166 other members of the caucus voted no on the bill. Only one Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., voted against it.
Kate's Law is named after Kate Steinle, a woman murdered two years ago in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times and convicted of seven felonies. As Washington Examiner's Kelly Cohen reported on Thursday, "Under the bill, if a deported alien reentered the U.S. illegally with a felony conviction or three misdemeanors on their record, he or she would go to prison for up to 10 years. Someone who is caught illegally crossing the border after having been deported three or more times would also serve up to 10 years."
A version of the bill was championed by President Trump on the campaign trail, making it notable that two dozen Democrats cast their votes to support it this week. With Trump's approval ratings low, Democrats are under pressure from an increasingly vocal base to resist his agenda in full. Siding with the president on any legislation is a risk that could result in allegations of collusion, though it also gives centrists in swing districts the ability to campaign on a bipartisan record.
Among the two dozen Democrats who voted for the bill were Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a vocal opponent of Trump; Rep. Charlie Crist, R-Fla., who served previously as the Republican governor of Florida; and longtime Maryland congressman Dutch Ruppersberger. Earlier this week, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced his team would whip against the bill, but with an understanding that the "public perception" of voting against it could hurt vulnerable members.
As I reported yesterday, the bill will need to pick up eight Democratic votes in the Senate, making it unlikely that Kate's Law will land on President Trump's desk for signing.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.