A pair of immigration-related bills passed the House of Representatives Thursday, advancing a key element of President Trump's agenda.
The moral underpinning of the law is that the U.S. government's responsibility is to its own citizens, over and above any concern for non-citizens.
One of Thursday's bill was Kate's Law, a bill for which conservatives from Ted Cruz to Bill O'Reilly have ardently advocated since Kate Steinle's tragic death in 2015.
House Democrats overwhelmingly voted against the bill, but it proved to be a sticky political move. Considering the circumstances of Steinle's death, House Democrats had to tread lightly as they opposed the law. Their goal was to neither appear insensitive to immigrant communities by voting yea, nor to be complicit in allowing more illegal, felonious immigrants to transgress without impunity by voting nay.
In the end, most voted Nay, arguing that Kate's Law would over criminalize those entering the country illegally for the sake of reuniting with family members, in a move largely motivated by love.
Republicans have viewed this position as putting the interests of those outside of our country over the interests of American citizens.
In an interview with the Examiner, Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., had this to say for those arguing that Kate's Law would adversely affect such immigrants:
"Kate's death adversely affected Kate's family. And we should be concerned first and foremost about protecting the citizens of the United States of America."
Byrne continued, pointing out a tension many on both sides of the debate have wrestled to resolve, but something's gotta give, he says.
"I have sympathy with families that are in situations that some immigrants are, certainly, I'm a human being. But as a government official, it's my job to do everything reasonable to protect the people of the United States and having open and porous borders, where criminals and perhaps indeed even terrorists can get in and hurt Americans is not acceptable."