Politics

Congressional Republicans Take Major Step To Fulfill Trump’s Immigration Agenda

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent

A bill that would fulfill many of President Trump’s campaign pledges on illegal immigration will move to the House floor after receiving approval Wednesday from the House Judiciary Committee.

The Davis-Oliver Act was introduced by Republican Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, and is a version of a similarly named bill from 2015 put forward in the House by South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy and in the Senate by then-Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

The Daily Caller has reported that the White House is in communication with Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte on getting the legislation passed. “Propose passage of Davis-Oliver bill,” was also revealed to be on White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s whiteboard in a photograph weeks ago.

The bill would call for the hiring of over 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, broaden the definition of sanctuary cities to include those that don’t comply with immigration detainers, strip certain grants from those jurisdictions, and allow local law enforcement personnel to create and enforce immigration law consistent with federal law.

Being in the country illegally is currently a civil offense, but the legislation would make this a crime punishable by jail time. The Davis-Oliver Act would also make all immigrants in criminal street gangs deportable, and punish countries that don’t cooperate with deportation proceedings. The legislation will make drunk driving a deportable offense, and additionally increase penalties for immigration-related crimes such as passport fraud.

In a hearing last week, congressional Democrats criticized the bill by saying it will enact President Trump’s proposed “deportation force.” “It is very honest to say this is a campaign pledge. It is the one of Mr. Trump for a deportation task force,” Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said.

Congressional Republicans, however, have cheered on the bill as a means to have proper immigration enforcement for years to come.

“Despite the progress made within the Executive Branch, our laws still need to be improved to provide the Trump administration with the additional tools it needs and to ensure that all future administrations continue to enforce the law,” Labrador and Goodlatte wrote in a recent op-ed.

The version of the legislation that was introduced in 2015 was endorsed by both the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers.