Goodlatte: Mistrust of Obama held up “immigration reform”

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Last Thursday, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.) spoke at a National Journal and Atlantic Media event underwritten by the National Association of Broadcasters: “Conversations with the Chair.” The topic of immigration drew considerable interest. While addressing the subject, Chairman Goodlatte claimed that both he and Speaker Boehner want to pass “immigration reform,” but that mistrust of President Obama has prevented the House from acting, saying that “the push by some to have the president act unilaterally in areas because they’re frustrated and tired of waiting for the Congress to act is actually very counterproductive to having legislation done.” Goodlatte also stated that the President’s remarks about acting without waiting for Congress with his “pen” and “phone,”  were dangerous and undermined the separation of powers. He also brought up the House Republicans’ “standards” on immigration, standing by them and claiming that the debate among Republicans when they were introduced was about timing rather than substance.

Goodlatte further elaborated his own position on immigration. In keeping with the proposals he’s supported and approved in the Judiciary Committee in the past, Chairman Goodlatte explained that there are three areas of immigration reform he wants to work on: enforcement, increase of H-1B Visas and green cards for foreign graduate students, and finally, finding the “appropriate” status for those who are here illegally. He claimed that, as an immigration attorney, he is aware that America is a “nation of immigrants” but we are also a “nation of laws” and therefore, enforcement must come first. Mentioning that forty to forty-five percent of illegal aliens are here because they came legally and overstayed their visas, Chairman Goodlatte cautioned the audience that enforcement is not only about border security but interior enforcement, a proper entry-exit system, and state and local enforcement.

During the audience question and answer session, as has become routine at public events where immigration is discussed, claims of “living in the shadows” notwithstanding, a young woman in the front row stood up and said “I’m undocumented” and claimed that she had been in the United States since she was seven. She wanted to know if Goodlatte would vote for amnesty, saying “the time is now.” Goodlatte answered: “What I do not support is a special pathway to citizenship for people who are not lawfully here, to go by people who have spent years lawfully going through the process,”  but that he did want to find an “appropriate legal status” for them, especially those “like this young lady” who were brought to the country as children. He then said: “But I also want to make sure that there is not another family in the future that would take a young child through the desert, through dangerous tunnels, in the back of trucks where they suffocate. And we need to have legal immigration, not illegal.” He claimed that therefore, there must be a “zero tolerance” in the future, but that “doesn’t address the people who are already here.”  Enforcement has to be “up and operating” first.

While Chairman Goodlatte made some accurate points, his idea that there is any “appropriate legal status” for illegal aliens that does not reward those who broke the law rather than those who spent years trying to immigrate lawfully is simply unworkable. If those who are here unlawfully are given the right to stay and work legally, this right will be an amnesty that rewards them for breaking the law, whether or not a “special” means of naturalization only eligible to current illegal aliens is created or not. Likewise, there is no way to grant legalization to those who came to this country as children without encouraging more parents to bring their children illegally in the future. No amount of future enforcement, or claims of zero tolerance, can compete with the message that a mass legalization will send to those contemplating entering the country illegally, that America is prepared to reward illegal actions. Tomorrow’s illegal aliens will always have the same claim to clemency that today’s have, as the flawed 1986 amnesty based on the same calculation shows. Nor is the debate now mostly a matter of timing. On the contrary, that the time to work with the Senate and President to pass immigration bills is not now is perhaps the one point the vast majority of House Republican members do seem to agree on, even if the House leadership would like to move.

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Content posted by current and previous members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) staff.

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Talk Radio Hosts Go to DC to Send a Wake Up Call on Immigration

  2. avatar

    Pro-amnesty House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte says President Obama cannot be trusted.on the issue of immigration. Wrong! Based on his words and deeds, Mr. Obama can be trusted completely…to do the wrong thing. You can depend on this President to bypass Congress and ignore the rule of law on immigration enforcement. The truth is there has been a collapse of immigration enforcement under this imperial President. One of his first acts regarding illegal immigration in 2009 was to end unannounced inspections by I.C.E. at businesses suspected of hiring illegal immigrants. The truth is the number of deportations of illegal immigrants in the interior has dropped 40 percent over the last five years. The recent news that 68,000 convicted criminal aliens were released into the general population in 2013 by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, instead of being deported, is proof positive that Obama CAN BE TRUSTED. He can be trusted to violate our immigration laws by aggressively reducing the the number of deportations of unauthorized aliens, and trusted further, to push his nation -wrecking agenda of granting amnesty and legal status to foreigners who are violating our labor, tax, identity theft, and immigration laws.

  3. avatar

    Absolutely correct about the president’s remarks that “I have a pen”, so therefore he will just write executive orders if Congress doesn’t act. If you read the history of this country, there were numerous presidents who were at times thwarted by Congress. It’s the way the system was designed to work. He is simply not entitled to do whatever he wants.

    What I think is becoming obvious is that the Democrats have become the open borders party. You had Nancy Pelosi declaring “in our view” that being here “without documents” is not a deportable offense. There are numerous cities and states that are refusing to cooperate with ICE. We have a president who has all but guaranteed that you will not be deported unless you have committed a major crime. A recent story about an illegal caught after being deported 15 times proves 2 things. The border is NOT secure and there are virtually no consequences for repeatedly crossing without permission. Overstay your visa or keep trying to cross the border until you succeed and we reward you with what is essentially permanent residence.

    The latest spin on the phony “record” deportations is that it depends on what standard you’re using. If you are going to declare something a record it has to be the same standards always used. You don’t say your school has a 100% increase in honor students, but that’s because you decided to put C students on the honor roll. What most people consider a deportation is a person settled here. And arrests and deportations of those people have plummeted.

    • avatar

      If you knew anything about our history you would realize that the Dreamers’ executive order has a past. That past is the Dredd & Scoot US court decision in which declared all balcks illegals including all baies born in US soild and brought in from overseas….so a lawsuit on this against the State Dep,, the dreamer would win since it is the same thing, So therefore the president had the basis to do this

      • avatar

        You’re talking to me about “history”? This president said he didn’t have the power to enact the Dream Act, only Congress could do it. And it’s the Dred Scott decision, and it has nothing to do with illegal entry. The 14 th amendment made black former slaves into citizens.