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2015-01-15

Smith bill defunds amnesty, strengthens border

Special to the Courier

Congressman Lamar Smith last week introduced one of his first bills of the 114th Congress, the Repeal Executive Amnesty Act of 2015, alongside republican Congressmen Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania. Smith previously served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and is the founder of the House Border Security Caucus.
From all reports, most Republican members of both the United States House of Representatives and Senate consider President Barack Obama's executive order, announced last fall, as offering amnesty and work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants.
Calling that executive order "extreme and unprecedented," Smith added, "But they were certainly not the only amnesty actions he has taken. Previous actions invited the deadly surge at our Southern border this summer." Smith continued, "We must restore the rule of law and right the wrongs this president has inflicted on the American people and our immigration system. His actions cannot go unanswered."
The bill introduced by Smith, Aderholt and Barletta is designed to defund the president's actions, ensuring those who entered the country illegally would not receive government benefits.
"The bill I have introduced with Congressman Aderholt and Congressman Barletta is a reasonable response to the extreme actions the president has taken to undermine and rewrite our immigration laws and weaken border security," Smith said. "It would also restore the Secure Communities program that law enforcement officials have used successfully to remove hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant criminals."
The Repeal Executive Amnesty Act of 2015 would:
• Defund Obama's executive amnesty, including the memoranda issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
• Prohibit DHS or any other federal agency from using funds or fees made available to them to implement, administer, enforce or carry out any amnesty policies established through executive memos. Among other things, it would cut off funding for the president's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty and the broader executive amnesty program announced on Nov. 20, 2014.
• Bar illegal immigrants granted deferred action or parole by the Obama administration from accessing certain public benefits including Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act - aka Obamacare.
• Prevent illegal immigrants who are granted deferred action from gaining work authorization. The bill would protect American workers by preventing millions of illegal immigrants from legally taking jobs sought by citizens and legal immigrants.
• Reinstate the Secure Communities program terminated by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson on Nov. 20, 2014. Secure Communities has been used to remove more than 375,000 convicted criminal aliens. The bill requires DHS to assume custody and initiate removal proceedings against aliens identified under Secure Communities.
• Restore state and local governments as partners in immigration enforcement by expressly reaffirming that local law enforcement, acting within constitutional limits, has the authority to identify, apprehend, and detain individuals suspected of violating US immigration laws.
In addition, the bill requires federal authorities to take custody of removable aliens at the request of state or local authorities.
• Curb the abuse of parole that has allowed entire classes of inadmissible aliens to enter or remain in the United States. The bill restores the original intent of parole authority, that it be used on a limited, case-by-case basis to allow immigrants to enter the US temporarily for humanitarian purposes.
• End the incentives for smuggling minors into the United States by amending the 2008 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to treat aliens from non-contiguous countries the same way the law treats Mexican and Canadian minors who enter the country illegally.