The three Republicans from Iowa who serve in the U.S. House have voted for bills designed to deny federal money to so-called “sanctuary cities” and ensure immigrants who are in the country illegally are detained if they’re charged with a serious crime.
Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, was among the lead sponsors of the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” because of the tragic death of Sarah Root. She’s the 21-year-old from Council Bluffs who police say was killed on an Omaha street by a drag-racing drunk driver who fled the country.
“Her father, Scott Root, testified before the committee and he said this: ‘They bailed the killer of my daughter out of jail for less money than it took to bury her and he was out of the country before we could have the funeral,'” King said during House debate this afternoon. “Those words were some of the most chilling and mournful words that I have heard in this congress.”
Sarah Root’s mother, Michelle, sat in the gallery of the U.S. House as King and Congressman David Young of Van Meter spoke in favor of the bill.
“My vote today is about policy, but it is in honor of Sarah Root,” Young said.
Young noted President Trump supports the two bills.
“Yesterday, I was at the White House with President Trump and the parents and relatives of those daughters and sons who were killed they those who are here illegally,” Young said. “Their stories are very heavy and they should weigh on all of us.”
Young called Sarah Root’s death “senseless.”
“In late January of 2016, Sarah’s parents — Michelle and Scott Root — started their day with joy. You see, on that day their beautiful daughter, Sarah, graduated. She had the whole world ahead of her, but for Michelle and Scott the day ended with loss and tragedy,” Young said. “…Sarah was killed by a drunk driver here illegally…and then through incompetence and uncertainty about the law and policy or both, but for sure a lack of common sense, Sarah’s killer was released and today Sarah’s killer is free.”
Young concluded his remarks by praising the Root family for their political activism.
“They fight to make sure no other parent or loved one has to go through the tragic ordeal they had to go through,” Young said. “…They continue to advocate and so must we.”
Republican Congressman Rod Blum of Dubuque also voted for the bills, but debate time was limited and he did not speak on the House floor. Iowa’s other Congressman, Dave Loebsack of Iowa City, was among the Democrats who voted “no” on both bills.