US House Committee Tackles Tough Immigration Bill

By Erica Werner, Associated Press

June 18, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key committee in the Republican-led House of Representatives moved Tuesday toward approving a tough enforcement-focused U.S. immigration bill over objections from Democrats and disruptions from protesters shouting “Shame, shame, shame!”

Meanwhile in the Senate, a Republican lawmaker floated a compromise border security proposal he hopes can win over support for sweeping immigration legislation under consideration there that opens the door to citizenship for 11 million immigrants now here illegally.

And on a day of fast-paced developments on an issue that is a top priority for President Barack Obama,
House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, moved to quiet speculation that he might bring the Senate immigration legislation up for a vote despite opposition from many conservatives in his chamber. Some of these conservatives are concerned they might face a challenger next year in a primary election if they do not take a tough stand on immigration overhaul.

“Any immigration reform bill that is going to go into law ought to have a majority of both parties’
support if we’re really serious about making that happen. And so I don’t see any way of bringing an
immigration bill to the floor that doesn’t have a majority support of Republicans,” Boehner said. He added that enforcement along the Mexican border would be key for any immigration bill, “And I frankly think the Senate bill is weak on border security.”

As Boehner addressed reporters, the House Judiciary Committee was meeting to consider a bill, called the
Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, by Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Republican. It would empower state and local officials to enforce federal immigration laws, make passport and visa fraud into aggravated felonies subject to deportation, funnel money into building more detention centers, and crack down on immigrants suspected of posing dangers.

As soon as Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, gaveled the proceedings open, more than a dozen protesters who had been seated in the hearing room stood up and began clapping and chanting, “Shame, shame, shame! More of the same!” They were ushered out but their cries could still be heard in the hallway and Goodlatte stopped the proceedings until the protesters had been dispersed.

Goodlatte said that the bill under consideration — the first immigration bill to come to a vote in a House committee this year — “provides a robust interior enforcement strategy that will maintain the integrity of our immigration system for the long term.”

But Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat, said that “this bill must be opposed, it would turn millions of undocumented immigrants into criminals overnight.” She predicted mass protests were the bill to become law, along the lines of what happened in 2006 after the House passed a similarly tough enforcement bill.

The move by the House Judiciary Committee comes less than two weeks after the full House voted to overturn Obama’s 2012 election-year order to stop deportations of many immigrants brought here illegally as youths.
Together the two moves highlight the challenges ahead in getting a comprehensive immigration bill through
Congress this year, as Obama wants. For many House conservatives, the priorities when it comes to immigration remain enforcing the laws and securing the border, not allowing the millions here illegally to gain legal status or citizenship.

Still, No. 2 House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer predicted Tuesday that if the Senate passes an immigration bill with bipartisan support, “I think the Republican leadership will be under great pressure to let the House work its will” — congressional jargon for letting the House take up legislation even without majority support from the majority Republicans.

“I think the presidential wing of the Republican Party is absolutely convinced they need to be for an immigration bill,” Hoyer said, saying they believe they have to “forge some bridge” to the Hispanic community. He added, “That same motivation does not apply to the congressional wing” of the Republican party. The Hispanic community went overwhelmingly for Obama in last November’s election.

As in the House, border security is at issue in the Democratic-led Senate, where senators have been jousting over how to strengthen the provisions in a far-reaching bill being considered on the floor this week to remake the nation’s immigration laws. The bill would allow tens of thousands of high- and low-skilled workers into the country, and require all employers to check their workers’ legal status. At its heart is a 13-year path to citizenship for people now here illegally, but that is contingent on certain border security goals being met.

Republican critics say those “triggers” are too weak and have been demanding amendments to strengthen them. The Senate planned to vote Tuesday on an amendment by Sen. John Thune, a Republican, requiring 700 miles (1,226 kilometers) of double-layered border fencing before anyone here illegally could get a permanent resident green card.

14 Comments on this post.

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  • Delia
    18 June 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    We don’t need immigration reform. We need immigration ENFORCEMENT!

  • O
    18 June 2013 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    Democrats always are on the unlawful side, open border is their forte. Its about time the INS laws be enforced by the States, since the Federal, the like of Obama couldn’t care less about the INS laws enforcement, proven on his record, time and time again, Obama let jailed illegal aliens on the loose, all this BS talk, Obama have deported more illegal aliens are nothing but lies, a propaganda to quiet down the conservatives. These illegal aliens are impeding the waiting applications of future legal residents. So why legalize these illegal aliens when there are tons of aliens waiting to come to the USA legally. Shame, shame, shame on these illegal aliens lawbreakers running loose instead of being deported, what a nerve, let see what are the extent of their nerves once arrested, the very right thing to do for the Rule of Law to prevail.

  • medeliaright
    19 June 2013 at 6:17 am - Reply

    Almost too late, the House has approved the measures already…..

  • jorge buesa
    19 June 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Hey look if America wants to keep the 11 million Illegal people here in America ! Why don’t you free some from prison waiting to be DEPORTED OUT OF AMERICA ! ! I Think all of you don’t know what to DO with the Illegal people ! Oh you thinking about is VOTE TIME IN TO OFFICE ! ! All of you shouldn’t be in Office your not helping the REAL AMERICAN PEOPLE ! ! American People shouldn’t VOTE FOR YOU !

  • jr(catholic counter capitalist)
    19 June 2013 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Mr Obama, turn down that BORDER!!!

    • Medeliaright
      19 June 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      I disagree jr with all due respect.. Borders must be secured better because its the numero UNO reason why not only illegal aliens are here but also illegal drugs. Allow more people to come to us legally by other means of visas? Sure why not this is America anyways, but securing the borders is sure priority.

      • jr(catholic counter capitalist)
        20 June 2013 at 12:15 am - Reply

        I meant to say tear down not turn down. lol. Just my political view as an anarchist, pacifist anarchist to be exact and counter capitalist. 🙂

  • Delia
    21 June 2013 at 5:09 am - Reply

    illegals already driving wages down and putting others out of work. A ripped off from citizen and all legals .

    • medeliaright
      21 June 2013 at 6:58 am - Reply

      OMG ! Delia – you are so stupid ! How in the world did Illegal immigrants caused low wages while they themselves are victims of low wages or in many cases below minimum wage earners… Have a better argument !

      • Delia
        21 June 2013 at 10:15 am - Reply

        U.S. JOBLESS WORKERS SHOULD HAVE PARAMOUNT PRIORITY PERIOD.

        • medeliaright
          21 June 2013 at 11:55 am - Reply

          Delia here’s one for you, PERIOD ! ……… A Big PERIOD.

      • Wil
        21 June 2013 at 9:01 pm - Reply

        Medeliaright this is how. The way illegals bring down wages is simple. Since they are illegal the employer will offer them a lower wage. Are they going to decline the offer? No, they will not! That means if a legal worker applies for the same job, the employer ask them why should I hire you when I can hire this other person for less. In the 70’s through the 90’s the meat packing industries wages were on the rise. After they started hiring illegals the wages fell by approximately 9 -12 dollars an hour less.

  • jr(catholic against right wingers)
    21 June 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    700 miles of double-layered border fencing? How can I apply for this job? They should hire the dreamers fot the construction of this border.

  • jr(catholic against TheTeaParty!)
    21 June 2013 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    The USA being the mecca of Capitalism consumes more resources than any other countries in the world. If Cspitalism is dismantled and borders between countries deconstruct we would not only prevent alienating people but also puverize consumerism, right wing conservatism among other things!

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