Arguing that he is only looking to keep communities safer and combat undocumented immigration, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is pushing through two problematic bills with serious ramifications for due process and for workers, including citizens and permanent residents.
This reminded me of the debate about the ill-fated, dreadful immigration reform bill of 1996 of whom Smith was the architect, and that Bill Clinton, a Democratic president, signed into law. Like a cycle that is coming to its end, the legislator is now looking to finish what he started back then and wants to begin doing this with two bills that were part of H.R. 4437, better known as the Sensenbrenner criminalization of the undocumented bill, that in 2006 generated marches throughout the country, stopped the bill and mobilized Hispanic voters to the polls. Smith co-sponsored the bill.
In past years many of Smith’s bills didn’t progressed, even with a republican majority. But the legislator knows how to wait and now he is loading his cannons, encouraged by the republican majority in the House of Representatives, the political atmosphere that surrounds the immigration debate on the federal and state levels, and his notion that whatever he does or says, Hispanic voters will line up for the Republican party, because as he wrote a few weeks ago “Hispanics like law and order, too”. Even when they try to be pleasant they offend.
At the center of the debate are two bills with titles that invoke security and common sense and that skillfully mask their controversial effects.
The first bill, H.R. 1932, allows the indefinite detention of immigrants that aren’t deportable to their country of origin and that have lost their case. At a first glance, many would agree if the targets were dangerous criminals, but unfortunately in the wide net that Smith has thrown are also for example, asylum seekers or legal residents.