But not for that reason. That reason being the appointment of Elton Gallegly (R-CA) as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. He is no real disappointment. Obviously Steven King would have been better, but not by much.
The real disappointment is the lack of imagination and aggressiveness in the rest of the Republican caucus. Bills on immigration are set to be debated and voted on, but they are not going to make much difference on the number of illegal aliens in the U.S.
Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) announced that his committee would begin its work on immigration by tackling the issue of worksite enforcement. “The House Judiciary Committee will promote work site enforcement efforts that make sure scarce jobs go to legal workers,” said Smith. “And we will continue to support the use and expansion of E-Verify.” (CQ Today, Jan. 4, 2011). To help lead the charge on these issues, Rep. Smith also announced that Representatives Elton Gallegly (R-CA) and Steve King (R-IA), would serve as the chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. (See FAIR Press Release, Jan. 7, 2011; CQ Today, Jan. 7, 2011)
Under the leadership of Rep. Smith, Gallegly, and King, immigration enforcement will likely receive increasing attention in the House, as already evidenced by bills introduced the first day of the 112th Congress. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) introduced
legislation (H.R.140) aimed at ending automatic citizenship for children born to illegal aliens (birthright citizenship). (Politico, Jan. 5, 2011; CQ Today, Jan. 7, 2011) Specifically, the bill amends Section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to grant birthright citizenship only to children born to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
Additional immigration enforcement bills already introduced include:
H.R.45 by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) – Bill would amend the INA to impose mandatory sentencing ranges with respect to aliens who reenter the U.S. after having been removed.
H.R.98 by Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) – Bill would amend the INA to enforce restrictions on employment in the U.S. of illegal aliens through the use of improved Social Security cards and an Employment Eligibility Database.
H.R.100 by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) – Bill would provide for enhanced Federal, State, and local assistance in the enforcement of the immigration laws and amend the INA to authorize appropriations to carry out the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).
H.R.152 by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) – Bill would authorize the National Guard to provide support to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
Wow, authorizing National Guard deployment to the border. What a change, what hope, what difference would it make? Unless the NG is deployed in numbers over 30,000, armed and authorized to make arrests, their impact will and has been minimal.
Other than mandating E-Verify, most of these bills, few with any chance of passing, would make any real difference. There aren't really that many anchor babies. None of these bills would identify or remove any great number of illegal aliens.
What the Republicans need to do, besides mandate E-Verify is:
- fully fund detention of all aliens in removal proceeding;
- mandate detention for all arrested aliens throughout the removal process, from initial arrest through any hearings and until final removal;
- prohibit employment authorization for aliens in removal proceedings other than those making a cognizable claim of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence;
- mandate the use of expedited removal and its expansion to all illegal aliens except those making a facially cognizable claims to legal permanent residency or U.S. citizenship;
- a non-feasance act requiring DHS officials who encounter illegal aliens to take action against the illegal alien;
- prohibit the DHS from waiving criminal and administrative action against aliens;
- mandate cooperation between DHS, the IRS and Social Security Administration as between the three, the government knows where almost all of the working illegal aliens live and work;
- end chain migration;
- make unlawful presence by an alien a criminal offense;
- prohibit adjustment of status by illegal aliens;
- mandate reporting of all illegal aliens who use any public welfare system to the DHS;
- mandate reporting of all illegal aliens attending public pre-secondary and secondary educational institutions to the DHS;
- prohibit employers from using the H and L non-immigrant visa catagories from replacing or refusing to hire Americans or legal permanent residents;
- prohibit adjustment of status by any alien not in a non-immigrant catagory with employment authorization.
These actions, either all or in part, would significantly impact illegal immigration. Minimum mandatory sentences for re-entry after deportation will not affect the entry of many illegals. Mandatory expedited removal would.