Goodlatte hits at WH: Reform, border security won't solve immigration crisis

Greg Nash

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) responded to renewed White House calls to pass immigration reform by faulting the Senate-passed bill for not including changes to help address the surge of minors crossing the border.

At a hearing Wednesday on the large increase in children crossing the border, Goodlatte cited comments by White House press secretary Josh Earnest saying that passing immigration reform would help solve the crisis by increasing border security. Earnest said Tuesday that immigration reform “included a historic commitment of resources to the United States border.”

Goodlatte responded by saying the problem is not just border security.

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“Unfortunately these statements show the administration’s lack of understanding of this issue,” he said. 

“The Senate bill does not contain any provisions that address the problems in current law that would allow us to more effectively address the current surge at the Southern border,” he added. “You could line border patrol agents shoulder to shoulder at the Southern border and it would not matter due to this administration’s policy.”

Goodlatte sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday raising questions about “roadblocks” in current law that could be impeding the ability to deport the immigrants crossing the border, in addition to any border security issues with apprehending the immigrants in the first place. 

He pointed out that current law bars expedited removal proceedings, which generally do not require an immigration judge, for minors. He also raised problems with asylum law, and what he called a “minimal standard under current law to show a credible fear of persecution.”

The hearing Wednesday also highlighted a lack of immigration judges, which is causing delays in the process for removing those crossing the border.

“There’s a lack of immigration judges,” testified Thomas Homan, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement associate director. “Some of these hearings take years.”