HJC Markup on Series of Cruel, Chaotic, and Costly Immigration and Refugee Bills
On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will begin to markup a series of cruel, costly, and chaotic immigration bills that would enable and expand the Trump mass deportation agenda, despite the massive consequences and costs to America already on display due to the Trump Administration’s extremism.
House Republicans want to abet Trump’s mass deportations
Hindering rather than helping public safety, ripping apart stable American families, and wreaking economic havoc, Trump’s mass deportation strategy undermines our values and sows chaos. Now, House Republicans are seeking to put that grim approach into overdrive. The bills set for markup on Thursday don’t offer any solutions to improve and reform our immigration system, but they do move Trump and House Republicans closer to their goals of sowing maximum fear among immigrants and deporting whomever they can get their hands on.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
Congress should serve as a check, not a facilitator, for a Trump Administration that has zero credibility and is bent on carrying out a radical and un-American immigration crackdown. Instead, House Republicans are seeking to enable and expand this radical vision. The Trump deportation strategy doesn’t enhance community safety, it undermines public safety for all. Instead of focusing enforcement against those who are actual public safety threats, the Trump Administration is going afteranyone and everyone they come across, sending the message that all immigrants should live in fear. Now, House Republicans are advancing legislation that would mean more chaos, more families separated, and no benefit to public safety. Democrats, and Republicans who purport to want to live up to American values and reform immigration system, should not give one more ounce of authority or one more dollar to this Administration.
HJC markup bills
Specifically, the House Judiciary Committee is seeking to advance the following package of bills: the Davis-Oliver Act (formerly known as The SAFE Act); the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2407); and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act (H.R. 2406). As Elise Foley of HuffPost characterized:
The House Judiciary Committee is set to mark up multiple immigration bills on Thursday, including one from committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would facilitate mass deportations. Borrowing from past legislation to bolster Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the bill would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers to have access to not just standard-issue handguns and stun guns, but also M-4 rifles or equivalents. The little-noticed legislation is one of four immigration-related bills that the Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider, two of them specifically focused on ICE, the third on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the fourth on human trafficking. If passed, they would give the Trump administration more resources to deport immigrants and make it easier to do so.
Among the devastating implications of these bills include provisions that would:
- Criminalize anyone unlawfully present and subject them to criminal prosecution and civil penalties.
- Create President Trump’s massive, militarized federal deportation force that will target even more families and people with longstanding ties to the United States.
- Mandate hiring of 2,500 more ICE agents with mandatory issuance of M-4 assault weapons for deportation officers
- Authorize 12,500 more detention or deportation officers and 60 immigration prosecutors
- Force local law enforcement to use their finite local resources for federal immigration enforcement. Attempt to authorize localities to detain people without probable cause contrary to binding federal court rulings. (Davis/Oliver Act; H.R. 2406, sec. 101(d)(7)).
- Authorize warrantless arrest for civil violations under all circumstances, thereby eliminating the administrative warrant requirement out of the statute. (H.R. 2406 sec. 201(b)).
- Overturn the Supreme Court’s Arizona v U.S. decision by authorizing states to create their own criminal penalty schemes for certain immigration-related offenses. Usher in chaos with no consistent law on immigration.
- Punish localities that are trying to keep communities safe by ensuring that victims and witnesses trust law enforcement and report crimes. Under the Davis Oliver Act no locality can in any way restrict their personnel from engaging in immigration enforcement.
- Deprive humanitarian protections, immigration status, and even citizenship, to refugees and other victims of violence.
- Greatly expand detention bed construction on the cheap by weakening detention standards. Mandate detention for far more people–many who have strong ties to this country and do not pose a threat to public safety. This is a boondoggle for the private prison industry. Exacerbate overcrowding in the federal prison system.
- Detain people without giving them fundamental due process like the opportunity to receive even the most basic custody hearing before a judge.
- USCIS – Permanently reauthorize the E-Verify program despite recognition of system errors that hurt thousands of U.S. workers and the need to improve the program before it is implemented nationwide.
- USCIS – Disregard the significant positive contributions made by immigrants to America by turning USCIS into an agency hyper-focused on fraud and national security rather than seeking to improve the functioning of the immigration system for the millions of American families and businesses that use it each year.
- End extensions of Temporary Protected Status – The Davis Oliver Act will effectively bar the President and DHS from protecting countries still wracked by dangerous situations that prevent the safe return of foreign nationals back to their country.