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Obama Administration Threatens to Veto Bill Penalizing Sanctuary Cities

President Obama
President Obama / AP
• July 23, 2015 12:23 pm

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The Obama White House on Thursday threatened to veto legislation that would cut off federal funding from state and local governments providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants.

The Hill reported that the Obama administration plans to veto the "sanctuary cities" bill, which is scheduled for a vote on the House floor Thursday and is expected to pass.

In a statement, the White House insisted that the legislation, which would cut off funds from cities helping illegal immigrants, "undermines current administration efforts to remove the most dangerous convicted criminals" and does not further comprehensive immigration reforms. 

The White House cited 2014 executive actions by President Obama which were crafted to "prioritize deporting felons not families" as evidence of the administration’s current "efforts" to rid the country of dangerous illegals.

"The Congress should give [the program] a chance to work, instead of displacing that collaborative approach—which prioritizes the worst offenders—with the coercive approach of this bill, which makes no such differentiation," the White House insisted Thursday. 

Under the Obama administration, 2.5 million illegal immigrants have flooded the country.

In the wake of the shooting of San Francisco woman Kate Steinle, allegedly by an illegal immigrant with a history of crime and deportations, a majority of likely U.S. voters believe the Justice Department should cut off funds to sanctuary cities for providing asylum for illegal immigrants to the United States.

The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act , introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) following the Steinle shooting, would withhold federal funds from state and local governments that have policies barring federal officials from enforcing immigration laws in their areas.

As the Obama administration prepares to veto the "sanctuary cities" bill, the president is also moving forward with a plan to expand a waiver program that would permit even more illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. instead of returning home and applying for legal status from abroad.

UPDATE 4:55 P.M.: The House passed the "sanctuary cities" bill in a vote 241-179 Thursday.