Last Friday Rep. James Sensenbrenner was named as the new Chairman of the House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee for the 115th Congress. Rep. Sensenbrenner has been a long time advocate for border security and tougher enforcement against illegal aliens.
In 2005 Rep. Sensenbrenner sponsored the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act that called for mandatory E-Verify, additional fencing along the southern border, and changed illegal border crossings from a civil offense to a criminal offense. The bill became known as the “Sensenbrenner Bill” and was passed by a bipartisan effort of 239-182 vote in the House but was defeated in the Senate.
Rep. Sensenbrenner was also the author and sponsor of the REAL ID Act of 2005, a modified version of this bill was passed in 2005 as a response to national security concerns after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Eighteen out of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were able to get state-issued IDs that allowed them to board an airplane. In their report the 9/11 Commission wrote, "For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons".
The REAL ID Act requires states to collect and verify certain information about applicants for driver’s licenses and state ID cards in order to be used for official federal purposes, such as boarding an airplane or receiving a passport. Under the REAL ID Act states have to verify that a person is in the U.S. legally to receive a REAL ID compliant card. Immigrants on temporary visas will have their REAL ID card expire on the same date their visa expires. States are still allowed to issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens but these ID cards cannot be used for federal purposes and must look different from REAL ID compliant cards.
Sensenbrenner has also been critical of the Obama administration’s lax enforcement policies saying that these policies encouraged the 2014 border surge.
“The crisis, however, is of the president's own making. During the past six years, the administration has bypassed Congress and implemented policies that have encouraged individuals to break the law and enter our country illegally,” Rep. Sensenbrenner wrote in an op-ed in 2014.
Read more on this story at The Washington Times.
Updated: Mon, Apr 10th 2017 @ 1:55pm EDT