WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The House of Representatives is making a serious push to address illegal immigration. The House passed two pieces of legislation that severely punish immigrants guilty of crimes and strip funding from so-called sanctuary cities. A Texas woman tells our says her life would be drastically different had these laws been in place.
Courtney Hacking lost her husband and two kids in a car crash involving a man who had been deported, but re-entered the country.
Courtney Hacking endured the unimaginable, and she says it was avoidable. Her husband Peter, 4-year-old Ellie and 22-month-old Grayson, were killed in a car crash. The man who hit them had been deported but made his way back into the country.
"With stricter immigration laws, my husband would still be here, my children would still be here, and many others around the country wouldn't have lost what they have lost," said Hacking.
The Nevada, Texas native says when she heard the news, she was angry, both at the man and the U.S. government for not doing enough to prevent it. Recently, the House passed legislation called "Kate's Law" that would strengthen the punishment for undocumented immigrants previously deported, attempting to re-enter the country.
"I hope that as a result of that, people don't have to deal with the trauma that my family has faced," said Hacking.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) represents Hacking's district. He says this legislation will have a deterrent effect.
"If you don't punish bad behavior it will continue and that's why we've seen so many incidents where we've had folks that are in this country illegally killing or causing the death of American citizens," said Ratcliffe.
The legislation passed alongside Kate's Law would punish so-called "sanctuary cities" which, Ratcliffe says, aid undocumented immigrants. Avideh Moussavian from the National Immigration Law Center says the government is going too far.
"The legislation has provisions in it that are blatantly unconstitutional. So the provisions would be challenged in the courts," said Moussavian.
The legislation would strip sanctuary jurisdictions of some funding for failure to comply with immigration enforcement. Moussavian says this stems from the Trump administration's aggressive push for reform.
"There is really an intense focus from this administration to make life as miserable, uncertain, and painful as possible for immigrants who are here," said Moussavian.
The fate of the legislation now lies with the Senate.