Republicans Insist They're Tackling 'The People's Priorities,' But Illegal Immigration Is Not on the List

By Susan Jones | July 22, 2015 | 12:06 PM EDT

In this July 9, 2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

(CNSNews.com) - "Here in the House, the people's priorities continue to be our priorities," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told a news conference on Wednesday -- one day after the father of Kate Steinle, a murdered San Francisco woman, urged Congress to pass legisation that would take felonious illegal aliens off America's streets for good.

"We feel if Kate's Law saves one daughter, one son, a mother, a father, Kate's death won't be in vain," Jim Stienle told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.    

But on Wednesay, Boehner listed "the people's priorities" as entitlement reform; human trafficking; veterans' health care; free trade, EPA regulations; the National Defense Authorization Bill; and the Iran nuclear deal.

Other Republican leaders appearing with Boehner talked about the 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act; education legislation; homeland security and the attack on Marines in Chattanooga.

Completely missing from the list of "the people's priorities" was the issue of illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

It was same thing Tuesday, when Senate Republican leaders held their own news conference on Capitol Hill to announce they have reached agreement with Democrats on a six-year highway funding bill.

Some of those senators also mentioned the Iran nuclear agreement, but as was the case Wednesday with House leaders, no one mentioned illegal immigration until the very end of the news conference, when a reporter asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, "Does does the Senate need to take action on sanctuary cities?"

"Yeah. On the timing of that, I couldn't tell you right now," McConnell replied. He then asked Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to comment on Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing -- the one at which Jim Steinle testified.

Cornyn mentioned the "heartbreaking" stories told by "family after family from all sorts of background, races, ethnicities and walks of life who have been victimized by criminals who have flouted our laws and committed these crimes, many of them against minoirities as well."

Cornyn said he expects legislation to be introducted and hearings to be held: "My hope is we'll be in a position to vote a bill out of the Judiciary Committee and present it to the majority leader for his considereation in due course."

While Republican leaders pursue the people's priorities, Donald Trump has announced plans to visit the Texas-Mexico border on Thursday.

He's going to Laredo, the Associated Press reported, where he will hold a news conference and meet with members of a  union that represents border control agents. He also plans to address the law enforcement community.

Trump's campaign has generated headlines since it began, when he warned that Mexico wasn't sending its best citizens to the United States.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best,” he said last month when he announced his candidacy. "They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting."

Although he's been pilloried and boycotted ever since, Trump has not backed down, and one of the parents who testified at Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing said she appreciates that:

Laura Wilkerson's son was murdered several years ago by a so-called "Dreamer," an illegal alien brought to this country as a child.

"I say that America has enough criminals of its own, and we don't need any other countries'," Wilkerson told "The Kelly File" Tuesday night.

Host Megyn Kelly then asked Wilkerson about Donald Trump:

"I don't know Donald Trump. I don't know what he stands for actually, but I know it felt great to hear him speak the truth. He spoke from -- he spoke the truth. It felt like we were being heard. It was a relief to me. He said what he wants to say and doesn't backtrack on it. What he said had truth in it. So it did feel like finally somebody is hearing and listening."

"Do you believe there is apathy on this still in Washington?" Kelly asked Wilkerson.

"Oh yes. There is no question about it -- until it happens to you, you don't know the pain, and it's not going to happen until somebody makes a move. It's a shame. Kate Steinle that died last week in San Francisco was just another one on top of it. There will be many today, many tomorrow, many the next days, until somebody decides it's enough."


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