The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy speaks during an interview with The Daily Caller. (TheDC Video) Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy speaks during an interview with The Daily Caller. (TheDC Video)  

Gowdy re-affirms commitment to immigration enforcement first

In response to a concerns raised by the head of an immigration agents’ union over proposals to legalize undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy re-affirmed his commitment to enforcement first.

“Border security, robust interior enforcement, and restoring respect for the rule of law are the only guarantee to finding a long-term solution and earning the confidence of the American public,” Gowdy, chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, said in an emailed statement to The Daily Caller. “Our history of selective enforcement of immigration laws has made our nation vulnerable, and we cannot allow this situation to persist.”

Tuesday, in response to news that Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte are working on legislation to legalize undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, the president of the National U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Council voiced concern about such proposals.

“As you know the Obama Administration has already bypassed Congress to implement a version of the proposal you are now considering. Of course, to do so, the Administration had to simultaneously suspend laws previously passed by Congress. … What is to stop the Administration from simply issuing another round of non-enforcement orders (written or oral) that would eviscerate any attempted limitations in your bill?” National USCIS Council president Kenneth Palinkas wrote in a letter to Goodlatte, Cantor, Gowdy and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Last week, Gowdy’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security held a hearing about the possibility of granting a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Gowdy noted in his opening statement that “the law treats children differently for a variety of reasons including the fact that children cannot form the intent necessary to violate the law and intent is a necessary element of every criminal offense.”

Wednesday, Gowdy pointed to his introduction of the Judiciary Committee-approved SAFE Act, which grants local and state governments the authority to enforce federal immigration laws, as a means to prevent the administration from circumventing immigration laws.

“The SAFE Act prevents this and future Administrations from unilaterally halting enforcement of our immigration laws,” Gowdy added in an email to TheDC. “As the House continues to pursue a step-by-step approach to immigration, border security and enforcement must be condition precedent to addressing other issues in our immigration system.”

Goodlatte responded to the letter Wednesday as well, also pointing to the SAFE Act and commitment to enforcement first, prior to any legalization.

Follow Caroline on Twitter