One of America's greatest strengths is that we are a nation of immigrants. The immigrants that built this country did so by following the law, working hard to contribute to the economy, and by becoming productive members of American society. While our country is a nation of immigrants, our current immigration system has become broken and is in dire need of reform and repair. The inability of the federal government to succeed in both real immigration reform and in effectively enforcing our nation's current laws has come at a high cost to our security, our economy, and the livelihoods of American citizens. Our illegal immigration and border security problems are among the greatest challenges facing our country today. It is important that we work to secure the border and end illegal immigration while benefiting from controlled and reasonable legal immigration.
I strongly oppose illegal immigration and blanket amnesty or any other reward to those who have intentionally and knowingly broken our nation's immigration laws. Doing so simply encourages continued lawbreaking and greater illegal immigration in the future. Since the onset of President Obama's unilateral executive actions, I have worked with my Republican colleagues to craft a conservative and constitutional response that would roll back the administration's unlawful, unwise, and unconstitutional actions on immigration. The President's willingness to ignore the rule of law and neglect the requirements of our nation's constitutional system harms our country and must be stopped.
In the 114th Congress, I remain committed to taking a step-by-step approach on immigration so that we carefully and methodically review each component of federal immigration policy, including securing our borders. History points to the need for this step-by-step approach. By now, we have learned what happens when Congress rushes legislation or the Executive Branch bypasses the American legislative process. We want to produce better solutions so that the result is a secure border and a workable immigration system for our country for years to come.
Specifically in response to the horrific and illegal policies of “sanctuary cities” and the corresponding rise of illegal aliens committing crimes, on July 31, 2015, I joined my friend and colleague Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in introducing the House companion to the Protecting American Lives Act. My legislation closes the most dangerous immigration enforcement loopholes and ensures state and local compliance with all Federal immigration detainers of aliens in custody. It requires state and local jurisdictions to notify the federal government when a criminal alien is in their custody; it withholds federal funds from any state or local jurisdiction that releases an alien after a federal detainer has been placed on them; and it establishes a 5-year minimum prison sentence for deported aliens who attempt to illegally re-enter the United States. Ultimately, if jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with law enforcement enforcing federal law, those jurisdictions should not be receiving federal funds. We cannot stand by and allow more innocent lives to be lost.
In the 114th Congress, I have also been proud to support several pieces of legislation that protect American workers, secure our borders, deport criminal aliens, and counters illegal immigration including:
- H.R. 1147 – Legal Workforce Act (Lamar Smith (R-TX)
- Requires all U.S. employers to use E-Verify
- H.R. 1148 – Michael Davis, Jr. in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
- Ends the President's Ability to Unilaterally Shut-Down Immigration Enforcement
- H.R. 1149 – Protection of Children Act of 2015 (John Carter (R-TX)
- Provides swift repatriation of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs)
- H.R. 1153 – Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2015 (Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
- Closes asylum loopholes and effectively ends "catch and release"
- H.R. 1332 – Deny Amnesty Credits Act of 2015 (Randy Weber (R-TX))
- Excludes illegal aliens and deferred action recipients from earning tax credits
- H.R. 1716 – No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act of 2015 (Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA))
- Prevents illegal immigrants from receiving social security credit through stolen, fake, or fraudulent social security numbers
- H.R. 2942 – Stop Catch and Release Act “Grant’s Law” (Matt Salmon (R-AZ))
- Ends the program known as “catch and release”
- H.R. 3011 – Establish Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act “Kate’s Law” (Matt Salmon (R-AZ)
- Increase penalties on aliens who repeatedly illegally enter the country
- H.R. 583 – Timely Repatriation Act (Ted Poe (R-TX)
- To provide for sanctions on countries that have refused or unreasonably delayed repatriation of an alien who is a national of that country
More on Immigration
This week, President Bush announced that the Treasury Department will release up to $17.4 billion for low-interest loans to American automakers. While Ford, for now, has enough financial resources to operate independently, General Motors and Chrysler are expected to accept the loans and the accompanying unprecedented government control in their private enterprises.
Reauthorizing E-Verify: Giving Employers the Tools They Need to Fight Illegal Immigration