Immigration and Border Security
The federal government’s failure to enforce the Rule of Law and secure the border are some of the most pressing national security risks facing our country. No one knows this better than the people of Arizona, who have to deal with these problems on a daily basis. The Obama Administration’s unwillingness to uphold the laws of this land has led to large scale illegal immigration, and has inflicted social costs, economic losses, unemployment and crime on U.S. citizens. There is an immigration crisis in the United States, and that crisis is a failure to secure our border and enforce our laws.
It is true that the United States is a nation of immigrants. But more importantly, the United States is a nation of laws. The Rule of Law, in addition to the God-given rights protected by our Constitution, is perhaps the main attraction for those who wish to immigrate to our great country. Having said that, I want to be absolutely clear: I oppose the President’s efforts to grant any sort of amnesty by executive fiat, and I oppose any efforts in Congress to grant amnesty to those who have broken our laws. To do so would be a slap in the face to the millions of people who have respected our immigration process and have waited their turn to come to this country. The executive branch must enforce the laws on the books with equal application and without executive orders that undermine those very laws. But it must also verifiably secure the border with personnel, technology, and weaponry, if necessary.
The status quo is unsustainable, immoral, and very dangerous for the general public. In the last two years, the federal government has released nearly 70,000 convicted criminal alien offenders into our communities. The recent murders of innocent American citizens, Kate Steinle of San Francisco and Grant Ronnebeck of Arizona, by illegal immigrants are a direct result of the Obama Administration’s failure to uphold our immigration laws and secure the border. President Obama and Secretary Johnson have blood on their hands. How many innocent lives have to be lost before this administration understands the dangers associated with their failed policies? The actions and flawed policies of this administration have violated the first and foremost role of the federal government, to defend our homeland and protect our citizens.
President Obama consistently stated during his first six years in office that he did not have the authority to take executive action on immigration. President Obama’s egregious and unconstitutional executive amnesty orders threaten to create a dangerous precedent for ideological lawlessness which cannot be reversed. One of the hallmarks of our Constitutional Republic is the separation of powers among the branches of our government. Our Founding Fathers shed their blood to fight against an oppressive monarchy and set up a government with the necessary system of checks and balances to prevent the type of rule by fiat—a trait that has become all too common with this administration. When the president takes action by executive fiat in defiance of Congress, it is an affront to every bedrock principle of this country and opens the door to further expand our monolithic federal regime.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of our Constitution gives Congress clear jurisdiction on immigration matters. I have consistently supported and introduced legislation to enforce the laws on our books and crack down on illegal immigration. For my leadership and action on these issues, I have a career grade of “A+” with the immigration enforcement advocacy group NumbersUSA and a career 100% rating with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). I will continue my efforts to secure the border, to fight the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty orders, and to demand a return to the Rule of Law.
Ending Sanctuary Cities
The Center for Immigration Studies recently reported that there are more than 276 sanctuary jurisdictions nationwide. These cities and jurisdictions have refused to comply with federal immigration laws and have “released more than 8,000 criminal-alien offenders over eight months. In less than a year's time, nearly one-out-of-every-four released criminals had been arrested for subsequent offenses.”
In July of 2016, the House passed my amendment blocking funds for sanctuary city policies on the House floor by a bipartisan vote of 236-182. The concept of ‘sanctuary city’ policies is in direct opposition to the Rule of Law and our Constitution. These lawless municipalities should not receive federal funding. Click HERE to read more.
I have voted 5 times in recent years to prohibit federal funds from going to sanctuary cities. In May of 2014 and June of 2015, the House passed two amendments introduced by my good friend and colleague Steve King to prohibit funds from going to sanctuary cities. In July of 2015, the House passed H.R. 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities. Click HERE to read more.
H.R. 5141, the Central American Amnesty Termination Act
The Obama Administration unilaterally created an amnesty program in December of 2014 that flies unlawful immigrants from Central American countries to the U.S. The Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program requires parolees to pay for their flights and medical care but provides cash, loans, as well as help with travel to refugees participating in the program at taxpayer expense. Shockingly, these unlawful aliens are put on a path to citizenship and immediately eligible for taxpayer benefits like Obamacare. In July 2016, the Obama administration unlawfully expanded CAM to allow entire Central American families and anyone claiming to be a “caregiver." My bill defunds and terminates the unconstitutional CAM program. CLICK HERE and HERE to read more.
H.R. 3566, Closing the Loophole that Allows Illegal Immigrants to Get In-state Tuition
In recent years, certain states have circumvented the intent of federal immigration law by manipulating in-state requirements and allowing aliens not in lawful immigration status to receive in-state tuition benefits. It defies commonsense that illegal immigrants should receive in-state tuition for a large and prestigious university in California, while American citizens in Arizona have to pay out-of-state tuition to attend the same university. My bill closes the loophole that allows illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition. CLICK HERE to read more.
H.R. 3818, Preventing Amnesty for Cuban Nationals and Terminating the Wet Foot/Dry Foot
For decades, Cuban aliens that touch foot on dry land have been allowed to enter the U.S. without passing a background check or first obtaining a visa. Many of these Cuban nationals have criminal backgrounds, yet, are allowed to stay in this country to work and are also put on a path to citizenship. To make matters worse, these Cold War-era policies that provide preferential treatment to Cuban criminals are costing American taxpayers billions of dollars. I have introduced H.R. 3818, legislation that repeals the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, calls for termination of the “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” policy and ends outdated policies that provide amnesty to Cubans. CLICK HERE to read more.
H.R. 4856, Preventing Amnesty for Gang Members and Violent Criminals
I have introduced legislation that will prevent gang members and violent criminal aliens from receiving amnesty. Shockingly, this administration has given amnesty to gang members and violent criminal aliens, only to see these illegal immigrants return to our communities and murder American citizens. H.R. 4856 makes aliens associated with a criminal gang inadmissible, deportable, and ineligible for immigration benefits. Click HERE to read more.
H.RES.281, Calling on the Obama Administration to Resume Operation Streamline
In 2005, a combination of fencing, new infrastructure, no-tolerance zones and increased manpower drove down the number of apprehensions in the Yuma region by nearly 95 percent, from 119,000 in 2006 to just over 6,000 in 2013. Despite this remarkable success, the Obama Administration defied all logic and common sense by unilaterally crippling law enforcement and terminating Operation Streamline as well as other worthwhile border enforcement programs. Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot was quite frustrated when he contacted me about one of these policy changes, stating such action "undermines the mission of local law enforcement agencies throughout Yuma County." In May 2015, I introduced legislation that demands the Obama Administration resume Operation Streamline and the prosecution of first-time illegal immigrant border crossers. CLICK HERE and HERE to read more.
H.R. 5035, to reauthorize the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP)
SCAAP is a grant program that reimburses states and local governments for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. By law, the federal government is ultimately responsible for immigration enforcement, including the incarceration of undocumented criminal offenders. When deportation or incarceration by the feds is not possible, the law requires the federal government to compensate state and local governments for these incarceration costs. Compensation to local law enforcement agencies under SCAAP currently covers less than 18% of the actual cost of incarcerating undocumented criminal offenders. I spearheaded a successful increase for the SCAAP program into public law, reimbursing states and local governments for the costs of incarcerating illegal immigrants in the process. I have also introduced bipartisan legislation that seeks to reauthorize SCAAP and assist local law enforcement with executing the program’s intended purpose CLICK HERE and HERE to read more.
H.R. 5710, the Military Amnesty Prevention Act
In September of 2014, the Obama Administration took executive action and made illegal aliens eligible for enlistment in the military. Specifically, President Obama’s administration unilaterally expanded eligibility in the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program to include DACA aliens through a September 25, 2014 memo. Prior to this memo, the Executive Branch never attempted to enlist DACA aliens through MAVNI. Furthermore, Department of Defense enlistment rules prohibit unlawful aliens from enlisting in the Armed Forces. My bill prevents the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other unlawful aliens from enlisting in the Armed Forces. Click HERE and HERE to read more.
Utilizing the Power of the Purse
In March of 2016, I led five appropriations submissions to crack down on illegal immigration. Specifically, I utilized the power of the purse to ensure appropriators build the fence, defund sanctuary cities, defund Obama’s executive amnesty programs, defund Central American amnesty flights, and reimburse states for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants. The House Appropriations Committee adopted provisions as a result of my efforts to prohibit funds for Obama's executive amnesty programs and to reimburse states for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants. Click HERE and HERE to read more.
Securing the Border
The Obama Administration has created an immigration crisis by failing to enforce the laws on the books and by failing to secure our border. The Customs and Border Control estimates that the U.S. has 1,989 miles of border with Mexico. In an October 2014 speech, Secretary Johnson reported that our current fence only covers about 700 miles. Shamefully, only a small fraction of federal appropriations has gone towards construction of this fence which covers about a third of our Southern border. In recent years, Israel’s government constructed a security fence to prevent Palestinian terrorists from easily penetrating their country. Reports indicate that this wall has assisted with reducing suicide attacks by as much as 90 percent. Security fences work and completion of a fence along our entire border with Mexico is one of my top priorities, especially as terrorists are continually trying to penetrate America through this porous border.
I am also a cosponsor of the Build the Fence Act and the Secure Fence Restoration Act, two pieces of legislation that aim to finish the double layered fence and gain operational control of our southern border.
In the 113th Congress, I was an original cosponsor of H.R. 4962, the National Border and Homeland Security Act. This commonsense legislation sought to conclude construction of the fence, allow for partnerships with local law enforcement and local governments, create 6,000 new border patrol jobs, and provide our agents with new technologies that allow them to better accomplish their missions. CLICK HERE to read more. In another effort to help secure the border and to prevent future immigration crises from recurring, the House passed H.R. 5230 with my support. H.R. 5230 appropriated $405 million to help secure the border, to disrupt transnational crime, and to provide for detention and removal operations. In addition, this bill also provided funds for National Guard personnel to enforce immigration and customs law.
The National Guard plays an important role in border enforcement by supporting Homeland Security personnel. That is why I offered an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act that passed the House of Representatives and redirected money from DOD bureaucracy in order to bolster funding for the Guard’s Southwest Border Mission. CLICK HERE to read more.
H.R. 3011, Kate's Law
H.R. 3011 is another commonsense bill I introduced with my close friend and colleague Matt Salmon. This legislation establishes a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for any adult illegal alien who attempts to return to the United States illegally after previously being deported. The bill is named after Kate Steinle, a young woman that was shot while walking on a pier in San Francisco with her father by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times. Local authorities had previously been asked to detain Sanchez until he could be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. The city declined and held Sanchez in jail for less than a month on a 20-year-old drug charge before releasing him on April 15, 2015, less than two months before he killed Steinle.
H.R. 2942, Stop Catch-and-Release Act
I joined several of my colleagues in introducing the Stop Catch-and-Release (SCAR) Act. One major dilemma is Homeland Security’s “catch-and-release” practice, which is just like it sounds—it allows apprehended illegal aliens to be released into our communities after being caught while they await adjudication. A number of these released individuals commit crimes while they roam our streets, including a horrific example in which a store clerk in Arizona was shot and killed over a pack of cigarettes. Shockingly, in 2013 the Obama Administration released more than 2,200 illegal immigrants that were awaiting deportations or hearings in court. Even more troubling, many of these criminals had been charged with crimes which include: murder, drug trafficking, sexual assault and kidnapping. This bill prevents illegal immigrants with pending criminal charges from being released back into our communities.
Defunding Obama’s Amnesty Initiatives and Lawless Administration
I have voted several times and spearheaded numerous efforts to prohibit funds from being used to implement President Obama’s various executive amnesty orders. There is too much at risk to let this lawlessness continue. I will continue to fight this overreach and blatant misuse of power. Congress has the power to control spending. We can, and should, defund any unconstitutional, immoral and illegal executive orders and utilize this tool to prohibit the president’s dangerous action. Some of my efforts to defund the president’s unconstitutional executive actions include preventing funds from going to: the memoranda known as the “Morton Memos”; the memoranda issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security on November 20, 2014; the memoranda issued by the President on November 21, 2014; the new Crystal City processing facility and employees therein; and the DAPA and DACA initiatives. CLICK HERE to read more.
Punishing DOJ for Not Enforcing the Rule of Law
I passed an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 which cut funds from the Department of Justice's General Legal Account, specifically targeting the Deputy Attorney General's office until the Attorney General fully enforces current federal criminal immigration laws. In recent years, DOJ has instructed U.S. Attorney’s Offices in some states not to prosecute persons that violate certain criminal immigration laws and to terminate worthwhile enforcement programs like Operation Streamline. I have heard firsthand from local law enforcement in my district that such actions have placed unnecessary burdens on these officers, increased costs, put local communities at risk and encouraged more illegal immigration. In order to change the rampant culture of corruption within this rogue agency, I cut funds for DOJ employees who have failed to enforce our immigration laws. CLICK HERE to read more.
H.R.1148–The Michael Davis, Jr. in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act
This commonsense enforcement bill, introduced by my close friend and colleague Trey Gowdy, defunds President Obama’s executive amnesty orders, expedites the removal of criminal aliens, allows local governments to assist with enforcing federal immigration law and prohibits funds from going to sanctuary cities. The bill was named “after Michael Davis, Jr., a sheriff’s deputy in California who was killed in the line of duty last year by an illegal immigrant.” I am a cosponsor of this legislation and will do everything in my power to see that it is signed into law.
Preventing Amnesty Policies from Being Included in the NDAA
In May 2015, I took several actions to prevent controversial amnesty language from being included in the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that aimed to allow illegal immigrants to serve in the United States Armed Forces. I introduced an amendment to block language introduced by Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33) that was included in the fiscal year 2016 NDAA committee report which aimed to allow a study to see if illegal immigrants should be able to serve in the U.S. military. I also cosponsored an amendment that passed the House which stripped language introduced by Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-7) that encouraged the Secretary of Defense to make illegal immigrants eligible to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces even though we are in the process of downsizing troop levels. CLICK HERE to read more.
Investigating Expenditures in Relation to President Obama’s Executive Amnesty
I spearheaded an effort supported by 29 of my colleagues calling on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate expenditures by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in relation to President Obama’s executive amnesty actions and to determine if these actions violate the Anti-deficiency Act. On November 21, 2014, just one day after the president made his announcement regarding his executive actions on immigration, DHS posted 1,000 job openings—many of them permanent positions—signaling that the plans to make expenditures had been in place well before the president’s announcement. The administration has also announced that they will lease a massive new office in Crystal City, Virginia to house the new employees. Media reports indicate that these actions alone will squander at least $48 million in taxpayer money. Congress has not authorized this amnesty program, nor has it appropriated money to hire staff and rent buildings to process these illegal applications. As a result, DHS’ actions likely violate the Anti-deficiency Act. CLICK HERE to read more.
Preventing the Earned Income Tax Credit from Going to Illegal Immigrants
To further entrench its lawlessness, the Obama Administration has sought to confer significant benefits on those who are here illegally. One such benefit is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is a credit intended to ease the tax burden on low-income individuals and families. As a result of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty orders, five million illegal immigrants are potentially eligible to receive $6,000 dollars annually from the Earned Income Tax Credit for years they worked off the books. I oppose this and any other action which will seek to further legitimize the president’s illegal actions. That is why I am a cosponsor of H.R.1249, the No Frees Rides Act, which seeks to prevent earned income tax credits from going to recipients of President Obama’s executive amnesty orders. I am also a cosponsor H.R. 1328, the Denying Amnesty Bonuses Act, which is similar legislation introduced by my friend and Arizona colleague David Schweikert.