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McCaskill Reverses Position From 2016, Says ‘I Will Probably Vote for Kate’s Law’

Sen. Claire McCaskill
Sen. Claire McCaskill / Getty Images
• July 6, 2017 7:56 pm

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Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) said that she will "probably" vote for Kate's Law at a town hall event Thursday after opposing a version of the immigration enforcement bill in 2016.

McCaskill's comment was reported by Politico, which is following the senator as she holds town halls across Missouri in counties that President Donald Trump won in November.

Kate's Law would enhance penalties for illegal immigrants who re-enter the country after being deported. The bill is named after Kathryn Steinle, who in 2015 was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco at the age of 32. Authorities said the killer was Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a convicted felon who had had been deported five times but had returned to the United States.

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The bill needs 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster. It failed with 55 yes votes in 2016.

All Senate Republicans and three Democrats—Sens. Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.)—voted for it.

WGEM journalist Jeremy Culver, who spoke with McCaskill on Thursday, noted that the senator opposed the 2016 version of the bill for its mandatory minimums.

The new version of the bill expands the maximum sentences for repeat offenders and allows prosecution for those who help illegal immigrants cross the border.

Kate's Law passed the House in June and will be headed to the Senate soon. Immigrant advocacy groups and the ACLU oppose the legislation.