The House Committee on the Judiciary yesterday approved a bill that would recognize a state’s inherent authority to enforce federal immigration laws and negate the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesties. The committee also endorsed a bill that would strengthen asylum standards in a manner that prevents the “rubberstamping” of fraudulent claims and effectively ends the process of “catch and release.”

The Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1148), which was authored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., would enable states to act as a force multiplier in the enforcement of immigration laws. There are only about 5,000 ICE agents nationwide but there are over 200,000 state and local police that can strengthen interior enforcement.

Commenting on the bill, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said “There are many issues plaguing our nation’s immigration system but the biggest problem is that our immigration laws are not enforced…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….Congressman Gowdy’s bill remedies this problem by taking the enforcement ‘on/off’ switch away from the president so that one person cannot unilaterally shut down the enforcement of our immigration laws.”

In addition, the bill would:

  • Allow states and localities to enact and enforce their own immigration laws as long as they are consistent with federal law;
  • Withhold specific grants from sanctuary cities that defy federal enforcement efforts;
  • Facilitate and expedite the removal of criminal aliens. For example, if a country won’t repatriate one of their nationals, the bill would allow DHS to detain the criminal alien and order sanctions on the country; and
  • Defund Obama’s “unilateral, unconstitutional actions on immigration, whether it be appropriations funds, agency-collected fees or anything else.”

The Committee also approved the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 1153), which was authored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

At least 70% of asylum cases contain proven or possible fraud, according to a DHS report. But in the initial screening process, officials said aliens demonstrated “credible fear” in 92% and 80% of these claims in Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014, respectively. The aliens are then released into the U.S. with a work authorization while their case is pending. Many never show up for their hearing. For unaccompanied alien minors who do, about 60% had their claims approved in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2015.

The bill would:

  • Tighten the credible fear standard aliens must meet in an effort to curtail fraud and end the “catch and release” of aliens apprehended at the border;
  • Specify the precise instances in which parole can be used to bring into the U.S. otherwise inadmissible aliens, and to release detained aliens;
  • Force the Department of Health and Human Services to cooperate in the deportation process by releasing to DHS the location of alien minors who are or have been in its custody;
  • Prohibit paying for lawyers for unaccompanied alien minors (UAM) in removal proceedings, which is the historical norm for all removal proceedings; and
  • Clarify that an alien is not considered a UAM if certain immediate relatives are available in the U.S.

Read more from the Judiciary Committee and HS Today.

Interior Enforcement
Obama's executive amnesties
immigration fraud

Updated: Thu, Apr 2nd 2015 @ 1:25pm EDT