We are a nation of immigrants and our immigration system has contributed to the greatness of the United States. However, we can all agree that our nation’s immigration system is broken.
The way for Congress to remedy this problem is to methodically look at each of the various components that need to be fixed and take any final bill through the traditional legislative process. Immigration reform is too important and complex to not examine each piece in detail.
The House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, has held numerous hearings on our immigration laws, and we have already passed several stand-alone bills that address particular issues, like enforcement of immigration laws, within our immigration system.
As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I have strongly advocated for immigration reform that focuses on enforcement and upholding the rule of law, including elimination of enforcement waivers that have been abused by previous and current Administrations. To be clear, any immigration reform proposal must first guarantee that our immigration laws are enforced both at the border and within the United States. I remain opposed to amnesty, as I always have been. I do not support a special pathway to citizenship that rewards those who have broken our immigration laws.
Immigration reform is not an easy task, yet a solution is not out of reach. By taking a methodical approach to these issues, it will help us craft better legislation that will benefit Americans and provide a workable immigration system. This will ensure we get immigration reform right this time so that we don’t have the same problems in the future.
The House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, has jurisdiction over our nation's immigration laws. The Committee has been working to thoroughly examine each aspect of our immigration laws.
Because the federal government has been grossly inadequate in the internal enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1148), which strengthens the interior enforcement of our immigration laws by granting states and localities the authority to enforce federal immigration laws and defunds President Obama’s unilateral executive actions on immigration.
I am an original cosponsor of the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147), which would make the E-Verify system mandatory for employers. I believe it is important for businesses to hire only those eligible to work in the U.S., not illegal aliens, and to have tools available to determine employment eligibility quickly. That is why I support efforts – like E-verify – to require employers to verify the legal status and work eligibility of employees. This will also ensure that qualified U.S. workers are not displaced by illegal workers.
Although an internal Department of Homeland Security report shows that at least 70 percent of asylum cases contain proven or possible fraud, the Obama Administration has set records for approving claims. The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 1153) strengthens asylum standards to prevent the Obama Administration’s rubberstamping of fraudulent claims, effectively ends “catch and release,” and prevents American taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for unlawful immigrants’ lawyers.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the Protection of Children Act (H.R. 1149), a bill to ensure that unaccompanied alien minors (UAMs) 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 bill provides for greater transparency and safety of these minors to ensure they are not inadvertently delivered into the hands of criminals or abusers.
I am a Member of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, which is dedicated to the strong enforcement of our immigration laws and the protection of our border.