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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Bills to Strengthen Enforcement, Integrity of Immigration Laws Introduced in House

Four bills that would strengthen interior enforcement of immigration laws; remove the ability of the President to unilaterally shut down immigrationenforcement; ensure jobs are preserved for legal workers; reform the United States’ asylum laws and make sure unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous trek to the United States are safely returned home have been introduced in the House.

The legislation is expected to be marked up by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 3 and 4.

“There are many issues plaguing our nation’s immigration system but the biggest problem is that our immigration laws are not enforced,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in a statement. “While presidents of both parties have not fully enforced our immigration laws, President Obama has unilaterally gutted the interior enforcement of our laws. Additionally, Obama administration officials consistently exploit weak asylum standards to approve baseless claims.

Goodlatte said, “By refusing to enforce the laws against illegal immigration, President Obama’s immigration policies collectively undermine the integrity of our immigration system and send the message to the world that our laws can be violated with impunity.”

He said, “The bills introduced by Representatives Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, Lamar Smith (R-Texas) — the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee – Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and Subcommittee on Homeland Security Appropriations chairman John Carter (R-Texas), would “end many of the Obama administration’s disastrous polices that wreak havoc on our immigration system and strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws. We must ensure enforcement of our immigration laws before we can address other broken aspects of our immigration system, such as high-skilled visa reform and addressing our broken agricultural guestworker program.”

Introduced by Gowdy, The Michael Davis, Jr. in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act would ensure the President can’t shut down immigration enforcement unilaterally by granting states and localities specific congressional authorization to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. It also would beef-up national security and protect American communities by improving visa security, facilitating the removal of dangerous criminal aliens and barring terrorists from entering and remaining in the United States.

“For decades, Americans have been promised a secure border and an immigration system that works for all Americans,” Gowdy said in a statement, stressing that, “Those promises have not been kept and both political parties bear responsibility for that. This legislation allows state and local governments to assist in the enforcement of our federal immigration laws. By doing so, we remove the ability of this or future Presidents – of either party – to systematically shut down portions of the law to suit their political purposes.”

“If we are serious about finding a long term solution to our immigration system, we must address interior enforcement,” Gowdy added. “This bill, which is one part of the committee’s step-by-step process to address our broken immigration system, will ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and help us earn back the trust of the American public.”

Smith said his Legal Workforce Act would ensure jobs are preserved for Americans and legal workers. The legislation would require all US employers to use E-Verify, the web-based system that checks the Social Security numbers of newly hired employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records to ensure they are eligible to work in the US.

Almost 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Meanwhile, seven million people are working in the United States illegally,” Smith concluded, adding, “By expanding the E-Verify system, this bill will ensure that new jobs only go to legal workers.”

“The Legal Workforce Act is crucial legislation that puts legal workers first and enjoys broad support with the American public. It’s also free, quick, easy-to-use and effective,” Smith said, noting that nearly 575,000 American employers voluntarily use E-Verify, and an average of 1,400 new businesses sign up each week to use the verification service, which Smith said confirms 99.7 percent of work-eligible employees.

Smith added that a recent Paragon Insights  poll showed that 71 percent of voters support Congress passing new legislation that strengthens the rules making it illegal for businesses in the US to hire illegal immigrants.

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month, Smith described The Legal Workforce Act as a tool that “turns off the jobs magnet that attracts so many illegal immigrants to the United States.”

The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act introduced by Chaffetz would close loopholes in current law that encourage illegal immigration, such as weak standards for asylum claims that enable the “administration’s rubberstamping of fraudulent applications and policies, and effectively ends ‘catch and release,’” he stated.

“Even before the President’s promises of amnesty went into effect, our borders were being inundated with unaccompanied children and teens responding to the incentive of a broken asylum policy,” Chaffetz insisted. “This incentive, combined with President Obama’s promise of executive amnesty, continues to lure ever increasing numbers of immigrants across our borders. Congress can respond decisively with resources to swiftly process asylum seekers. The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act not only addresses the immediate concern with unaccompanied children, but closes long-exploited holes in our asylum practices.”

“Additional judges, attorneys and other resources will ensure children are processed, reunited with their families and sent home as swiftly as possible,” Chaffetz assured. And, “Just as importantly,” he added, “the bill addresses the delays that have enabled people to game the asylum system. We can expedite the removal process by reducing the multi-year waiting period and strengthening standards for those who claim ‘credible fear’ for adjudication of asylum claims.”

The Protection of Children Act introduced by Carter would ensure unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous journey to the United States are safely returned home. For those who stay with a sponsor in the United States while awaiting their immigration hearing, the legislation would provide greater transparency and safety of these minors to ensure they are not inadvertently delivered into the hands of criminals or abusers.

“For far too long,” Carter said, “drug smugglers have continually used loopholes in our nation’s immigration law to make billions, all while preying upon the weakest in our society. The Protection of Children Act of 2015 stops this abuse and removes the loophole humantraffickers have used for years.”

Carter said, “Last year, we saw the affect these loopholes have on our country and southern border when tens of thousands of juveniles marched across the border and into our cities, all at the taxpayer’s expense. The great state of Texas has felt this burden, probably more than any other state. This administration needs to stop ignoring the obvious problem, burdening the American public and putting innocent lives at risk.” 

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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