WASHINGTON - The issue of immigrant violence was brought close to home by the murder of a Muslim teenager in Virginia, but it is also a national topic of conversation.
On Thursday, the House will vote on Kate's Law, which will increase penalties associated with immigrant crime. The bill is named after Kathryn Steinle, a 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed in 2015 in San Francisco. The man charged with her murder has been previously convicted for felony crimes and been deported to Mexico five times prior.
Lawmakers will also vote on the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which aims to stop funding of sanctuary cities that protect people who came here illegally.
President Donald Trump has not only promised to build a wall to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country, but he has also promised to crack down on illegal immigrant crime in the United States.
Laura Wilkerson is familiar with this issue after her youngest son Joshua was tortured to death and his body lit on fire by an illegal immigrant back in 2010. She said that President Trump is not only keeping his promises, but he is also listening.
“I feel like he is listening,” Wilkerson said. “He looks you in the eye, he remembers my name, he remembers Joshua's name, and he gets it. He hears the pain. He has seen us cry and seen what we have come through even though over the last year itself we are all in different phases of this grief, and he is listening to us and heard us and we are so grateful.”
On Thursday, the president hosted a roundtable with Wilkerson along with other family members of immigrant violence in light of the efforts to pass Kate's Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act in the House.
We asked Wilkerson what she would like to say to people who do not support legislation like this.
“Just tell the horrible truth of how Josh died and it was torturous,” she said. “It was planned, torturous and his body was set on fire after death. I don't think that I can convince people, but what I can do is tell the truth of my story and then people seem to hear truth. You know, it doesn't change. It's the truth and never in a million years thought that it would happen to my family, and it could happen to another one.
“There are so many that I know already that it has happened to and so that is what we want to stop. It's got to stop killing Americans for the benefit of somebody who is not legally in this country.”
In a statement released Wednesday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he said that the passage of bills like Kate's Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act can restore sanity and common sense to our system.