Home Bob Goodlatte: Enforcement comes first

Bob Goodlatte: Enforcement comes first


goodlattefourinThere are many issues plaguing our nation’s immigration system, but the biggest problem is that immigration laws are not enforced. While presidents of both parties have not fully enforced our immigration laws, President Obama has made several moves to unilaterally gut them altogether. In order to protect against this, it is essential that any immigration reform start with enforcement.

Over the last several weeks, the House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, has approved four bills focused on enforcement of the law. These bills would strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws, remove the ability of the President to unilaterally shut down immigration enforcement, ensure jobs are preserved for American citizens and legal workers, reform the United States’ asylum laws, and make sure unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous trek to the U.S. are safely returned home.

The Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147) requires all U.S. employers to use E-Verify, a web-based system that checks the Social Security numbers of newly hired employees to help ensure that they are genuinely eligible to work in the United States. Expanding E-Verify nationwide is a critical component to the interior enforcement of our immigration laws and brings the employment eligibility system into the 21st century. The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 1153) closes loopholes in current law that encourage illegal immigration, such as weak standards for asylum claims that enable the Obama Administration’s rubberstamping of fraudulent applications and policies, and effectively ends the current “catch and release” policies of the Administration that result in apprehended illegal immigrants being admitted into the interior of the country rather than being returned to their home country. In doing so, the bill restores the integrity of our immigration system so that it works better for our country and those truly persecuted in their home countries.

Another bill approved, H.R. 1148, introduced by Congressman Trey Gowdy, 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. Additionally, the bill makes our country safer by making it more difficult for foreign nationals who pose a national security risk to enter and remain in the U.S. TheProtection of Children Act (H.R. 1149) ensures that unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous journey to the United States are safely returned home. For those who stay here with a sponsor 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.

By refusing to enforce the law, the President’s immigration policies collectively undermine our immigration system and send the message to the world that our laws can be violated without consequence. These four bills end many of the Obama Administration’s disastrous polices that wreak havoc on our immigration system and strengthen the interior enforcement of our immigration laws. I hope that the full House of Representatives will take up these bills soon. We must ensure enforcement of our immigration laws before we can address other broken aspects of the system.

Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s Sixth District in Congress.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.