By Tim Hunt
Congressman Swalwell votes No on Kate's lawUploaded: Aug 20, 2015
Pleasanton resident Michael Austin asked Congressmen Eric Swalwell in an email why he voted no on Kate's Law. Michael posted Swalwell's response on Town Square, noting "He did not answer the question, but provided the response below:"
"Thank you for contacting me to express your support for H.R. 3011, Kate's Law. I always appreciate hearing from my constituents, and I am glad to receive your input on this important issue.
I was horrified to learn of Kate Steinle's senseless murder. My thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family; I have known the family for years and have called personally to express my deepest condolences. We must act to ensure something like this never happens again. Sanctuary city policies should never be used to shield dangerous criminals from deportation. As you may know, Kate's Law would impose mandatory minimum sentences on aliens who illegally reenter the U.S.
More broadly, this is yet another example of how our immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive reform. As a prosecutor, I brought to justice people who entered out country without documentation and committed serious crimes. Such people must be deported quickly after serving their sentences. At the same time, those coming here should always be treated with respect and dignity. Many are hard working, and they are very important to our economy. We have to fix out broken immigration system in a comprehensive way to allow for their economic participation, protect our borders, and enforce out immigration laws".
Michael's follow-up correctly notes Eric's close connections with former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who Swalwell has said has mentored him. I think, as Michael does, that a majority of the 15th House District voters would have supported Kate's law. Yes, it is a reaction to a horrible tragedy?but also a necessary one?as is stopping federal funds from flowing to sanctuary cities such as San Francisco.
Who you hang around with is a critically important. Eric benefitted greatly from his courage to take on 20-term incumbent Pete Stark and the understandable and palpable desire among voters for "anyone but Pete."
When Jim Steinle went to Washington D.C. to testify in favor of the bill, Eric personally gave him a tour of the Capitol.
Given the registration is the district, it's likely the seat is Swalwell's for as long as he wants?even if he veers sharply left on issues such as on-demand abortion (regardless of the development of the baby) and immigration. In his successful 2012 campaign, he was more centrist than Stark. It is unlikely he will be defeated from the left?it would have to be another candidate who can pick up the independent and Republican votes using Swalwell's 2012 playbook.