Saturday, April 20, 2024

House Committee Prepares to Cast First Votes on Immigration

Capitol Hill

A key committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to finally cast its first votes on the tough enforcement-focused measure that Democrats and immigrant groups are protesting loudly.

The “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act” or the SAFE Act, introduced by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, would empower state and local officials to enforce federal immigration laws, make passport and visa fraud into aggravated felonies subject to deportation, funnel money into building more detention centers, and crack down on immigrants suspected of posing dangers.

Gowdy assures the measure would ensure enforcement of immigration laws he accused the Obama administration of ignoring, and offer the promise of real security.

“Nothing undercuts the fabric of this republic like people picking and choosing which laws they’re going to enforce, when they’re going to do it, when it’s politically opportune for them not to do it,” Gowdy said at a recent hearing on his bill.

Pro-immigration reform groups and legislators organized a rally against the markup of the House enforcement bill in the Judiciary Committee today.  They believe Gowdy’s legislation represents bad policy and bad politics by House Republicans at a moment when the Senate is considering a comprehensive bill including a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“A piece of legislation to put a bull’s-eye on the forehead of every Latino in America is just wrongheaded, is the most diplomatic way to describe it,” said Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza.

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