The latest bills that Republican lawmakers are attempting to push through targets immigration enforcement. These new bills will add thousands of new, assault rifle and body armor equipped, immigration officers. These new bills will add to the already hardline agenda that the Trump administration has taken on immigration.
New policies have already put a strain on federal immigration courts. These latest bills will add to the already large pool of individuals facing deportation further creating a backlog of cases. To cut down on the backlog of deportation cases the President sent immigration judges to cities with the largest amount of deportations awaiting processing.
About the Proposed Bills
There are three new proposals from Republican lawmakers. The first two bills, which are being spearheaded by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA.) pertain to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The intention of these bills is to give the agencies new powers and responsibilities.
The third bill is the one that should be most concerning to immigrants nationwide. The bills name is “Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act.” The name of this bill comes from the two law enforcement officials that an illegal immigrant killed. The Davis-Oliver act would change immigration violations from a civil offense to a criminal offense. The maximum punishment would be twenty years in prison. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY.) said that this provision would “turn millions of Americans into criminals overnight.”
The language of the proposed law would eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era provision that protects children brought to the U.S. without documentation, from deportation. These children had no choice in the matter when their parents made the decision to immigrate to America illegally. The protection they have from the DACA would disappear. These children are not criminals.
The Davis-Oliver Act
Along with changing the way that federal courts classify illegal immigrants, this bill is set to make good on some of Trump’s campaign policies. One of those policies is cutting Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security grants to local and state law enforcement agencies that fail to comply with federal immigration enforcement initiatives. These states and cities, known as sanctuaries, would have federal funding cut from their budgets. Also, under the proposed law states must comply completely with DHS requests for information on immigrants the agency believes to be “inadmissible or deportable.” State and local agencies must provide the DHS with the individual’s name, photo, address, and license plate number, as well as any other identifying information they may have.
Another Trump campaign promise that lawmakers intend to fulfill with this bill is increasing ICE’s ranks. This includes 10,000 new immigration agents, as well as 2,500 detention officers and 60 new full-time prosecutors. Immigration officers in the field would gain new powers under the proposed bill. These powers include the ability to arrest any immigrants with criminal or civil charges pending, without a warrant, even if the agents believe that the immigrant is not likely to escape before they can obtain a warrant.
To be certain that states fall in line with the Trump administration’s immigration policies, Goodlatte is proposing an ICE Advisory Council. This council would be made up of members that are hand picked by himself, the president, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, and the two ICE unions.
More of the Same From the Trump Administration
These bills are the latest in a long line of attempts to criminalize and demonize immigrants. The Davis-Oliver bill tugs on the heartstrings of the American public by utilizing the names of two dead police officers. In reality, it is a thinly veiled attempt to further marginalize the immigrant population.
Opponents of the new legislation say it does little to fix the immigration issue and only focuses on enforcement. Immigration is a complex problem and only enforcing new rules is not going to fix it. The new legislation threatens to tear families apart all while increasing the load on the nation’s immigration courts.
In an article on The Intercept Greg Chen, the director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association said “These bills constitute an unprecedented ramp-up in enforcement. Instead of recognizing that there needs to be a solution that improves the immigration system, these bills fall into line with President Trump’s mass deportation agenda that’s just going to hurt the country and isn’t going to do anything to improve public safety.”
With every new piece of proposed legislature that hits the floor in Capitol Hill, one thing becomes more clear; Republicans don’t want to fix the system, they just want to imprison and deport illegal immigrants.
Pozo Goldstein Can Help
If you or a family member are facing deportation, Pozo Goldstein can help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys in Miami and New York are ready to handle all of your immigration needs.