The GOP-run House is expected to vote for two modest immigration-reform bills as soon as this week, but pro-American reformers are using the two votes to build loud and energetic public pressure for major reform legislation.
“This week’s immigration votes are House GOP leadership playing small ball instead of swinging for the fences,” said Robert Law, an advocate at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
The two bills are dubbed “Kate’s Law,” and the “No Sanctuary For Criminals” act. Both measures were part of the strong Davis-Oliver Act, which was approved by the House immigration committee in late May.
The GOP leadership declined to bring the entire Davis-Oliver bill up for a floor vote, but did choose to schedule votes on the two portions, “Kate’s Law,” and the sanctuary cities bill. The GOP leaders also changed “Kate’s Law” by removing the core of the bill, which is a set of mandatory minimum penalties for illegals who reenter the United States.
“Kate’s Law and the sanctuary bill are baby steps in the right direction, but it’s baffling that they aren’t bringing up Davis-Oliver for a vote,” said Law. He continued:
The Davis-Oliver Act is exactly the type of “big league” legislation President Trump constantly talks about and provides federal and state law enforcement the tools they need for meaningful immigration reform. The House Judiciary Committee already marked up and passed Davis-Oliver and I am 100% certain it would pass the full House today if brought up for a vote. The decision to leave Davis-Oliver on the sidelines is a missed opportunity.
But White House officials also want to pump up public support for the two bills so they can pressure the GOP’s business-aligned leaders — especially House Speaker Paul Ryan — to also schedule a vote for the broader Davis-Oliver bill.
That is a difficult goal because Ryan and many other GOP leaders — plus their business backers — are not trying to stop illegal immigration. Instead, they welcome a continued inflow of legal or illegal willing foreign workers— who also double as taxpayer-aided consumers — even though Trump’s pro-American reform policies won the 2016 election for the GOP.
“If this is the best we’re going to get after an earthquake election, then we’re going to have to turn up pressure on Congress,” said Bob Dane, the executive director of FAIR.
“There’s nothing the matter with Kate’s Law or the sanctuary city law, but my concern is that [GOP leaders] are going to wash their hands of the immigration issue and they’re going to move on,” Daine told Breitbart News. He continued:
This president needs to start exerting some executive leadership with the [Hill] leadership or he will get rolled by Ryan and [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, who consider Trump an outlier… Trump and his team better be ready for obstruction and delays, not just by the Democrats, but by the Republicans [in Congress] who feel they are the rightful architects of our immigration system…
[For voters] the most important thing is to remind their lawmakers — and they need to do it now — that they support the president’s agenda … Call your lawmakers — and use honey, not vinegar — get involved in local [reform] groups, hold your lawmakers accountable for how much of the Trump agenda they have moved forward.
People have to be ready to support alternative people in GOP and Democratic primaries… [because] this is no time to play small-ball — this is a limited, maybe once in a lifetime, opportunity to get it right.
[GOP leaders] have decided to go with piecemeal bills… but we’re going to need more.
The ACLU and other left-wing groups are strongly criticizing the two minor bills, partly to reduce support for the substantial Davis-Oliver bill.
“These bills are riddled with constitutional violations that completely disregard the civil and human rights of immigrants,” said a June 28 statement from the ACLU. “Despite claims to the contrary, Kate’s Law and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act will make our communities less safe by undermining the trust that law enforcement builds with its communities — citizen and immigrant alike,” the claimed the ACLU, which favors greater immigration into the United States.
The ACLU continued:
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act would force state and local law enforcement agencies to violate the Fourth Amendment by requiring them to imprison people without due process or probable cause at the request of federal immigration agents. By authorizing officials to hold immigrants without a bond hearing, the bill would allow them to be wrongly incarcerated for years during court proceedings. The legislation would also withhold millions of dollars in federal grant money to the over 600 jurisdictions nationwide that abide by the Fourth Amendment.
Kate’s Law would increase already strict penalties for undocumented immigrants who reenter the United States, while ignoring any humanitarian considerations. The bill also limits immigrants’ ability to challenge prior removal orders in court regardless of whether they were lawfully obtained, in violation of due process.
Kate’s law is named after Kate Steinle, who was shot by an illegal immigrant in California in 2015. The killer had been repatriated five times, but returned five times because of poor border security and because of sanctuary city laws.
NumbersUSA, another pro-reform group, provided a summary of the sanctuary law:
H.R. 3003 would strengthen the section of U.S. federal code that defines sanctuary jurisdictions — section 1373. It also adds penalties to the code to include the blocking of certain federal law enforcement grants to jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts or pass ordinances preventing local officers from cooperating with federal officers. It strengthens the authority of detainer requests issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and provides immunity for local officers who cooperate with ICE. It also establishes a private right of action of victims (and their families) of murder, rape, or a felony, to sue a state or locality if the crime was committed by an alien who was subject to a detainer but released by the state or locality anyway. The statute of limitations is 10 years.
NumbersUSA also summarized the GOP leaders’ version of Kate’s law which could be approved this week:
The original version of Kate’s Law, H.R. 361, introduced by Rep. King, would create mandatory minimum sentences for illegal aliens who illegally re-enter the United States and have been convicted of certain crimes. The new version, H.R. 3004, increases penalties, but removes the mandatory sentencing requirements, allowing judges to determine the severity of the sentence.
On Wednesday, Texas GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, a long-standing immigration reformer, promoted the sanctuary bill, saying “this legislation keeps dangerous criminal immigrants off our streets and out of our neighborhoods [and] it holds sanctuary cities accountable for breaking federal immigration laws.”
Both bills are useful, said a lobbyist for NumbersUSA. But GOP leaders in Congress should pass a larger series of bills, including Sen. Tom Cotton’s ‘RAISE’ legislation and Sen. Chuck Grassley’s legislation to require companies to electronically verify that job applicants are legal, he said.
“NumbersUSA looks forward to the Davis-Oliver Act, and the four additional immigration-enforcement bills from the House Judiciary Committee, coming to the House floor so they can be passed by the Senate and signed by the President,” said Rosemary Jenks, government relations chief for Numbers USA.
The U.S. workforce is roughly 152 million, plus roughly 8 million working illegal immigrants. That number excludes several million “prime-age” American men and women who have dropped out of the workforce into poverty.
Many polls show that Americans are very generous, they do welcome individual immigrants, and they do want to like the idea of immigration. But the same polls also show that most Americans are increasingly worried that large-scale immigration will change their country and disadvantage themselves and their children.
The government-engineered annual flood of legal immigrant foreign labor spikes profits and stock values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, and sidelines marginalized Americans and their families.