WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed a package of bills Thursday that will address many of the loopholes in the U.S. immigration system.
As part of the package, Sen. Kennedy re-introduced a bill to end the State Department’s diversity visa lottery program. This program currently distributes 50,000 visas every year at random with no consideration of employment, family relation or need. According to reports, at least six terror-linked foreigners have entered the U.S. through this program.
Sen. Kennedy also introduced legislation that will make the penalty for overstaying a visa the same as the penalty for illegally entering the country. The penalty would be a criminal misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $3,000, imprisonment up to one year or both. Nearly 50% of illegal immigration stems from visa overstays, and there is currently no criminal penalty addressing this violation
Finally, Sen. Kennedy joined Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) in introducing the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act. This legislation will ban sanctuary city policies that forbid local law enforcement officials from complying with federal immigration laws. The legislation will also deny sanctuary cities taxpayer-backed federal grant money until they make changes to their dangerous policies.
“We need effective immigration laws that look like they were designed on purpose,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This package of bills contains simple solutions to ongoing issues with our immigration system in the United States. Our immigration system is at a breaking point, and it’s about time we take action.”