Davis-Oliver Act would make Trump's immigration agenda law of the land
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Immediately after taking office, President Trump acted quickly and decisively by using executive power to restart the process of controlling our borders and enforcing America’s existing immigration laws. Progress is being made but much more remains to be done.

Legislation must follow executive action in order to fix flaws in the system, enhance public safety and ensure lasting reforms are solidly in place. The onus is now on the GOP-led Congress to act, particularly given that for eight years, the GOP has railed against President Obama’s usurpation of their authority to regulate immigration.

Thus, the introduction of the Davis-Oliver Act is a refreshing signal that the GOP may be taking its responsibility seriously. The bill is a much-needed legislative vehicle for many of President Trump’s signature immigration enforcement initiatives and would provide law enforcement professionals the relief, guidance and authority they have long needed to keep America safe. The bill, sponsored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Vice Chairman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteLawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program House votes to crack down on undocumented immigrants with gang ties House Judiciary Dems want panel to review gun silencer bill MORE (R-Va.) is a vital first step — but not the only step — in modernizing our broken immigration system.

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Named after two California law enforcement officers murdered by a criminal illegal alien, the Davis-Oliver Act, among other things, would ensure that state and local law enforcement officials would always have the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. It would also end the ability of future presidents to unilaterally shut down immigration enforcement (read: Obama) for political purposes.

 

The bill adds much-needed clarity to ICE’s detainer authority, the tool used by federal immigration enforcement officials to order criminal aliens be held by local jails for at least 48 hours so they can be picked up and removed from the country. Under current law, ICE detainers are regularly ignored by sanctuary communities — even for some of the most heinous criminal aliens — and result in convicted criminal aliens being released back onto our streets.

The needless carnage created by communities that refuse to cooperate with detainers is a national disgrace. In 2014, for example, 13,288 criminal aliens — charged with serious crimes including homicide, kidnapping, assault, sexual assault, drunk driving — were released back onto the streets, only to commit new crimes against innocent Americans. It was the pleas from many American parents and families who had buried loved ones too soon that helped cement President Trump’s commitment to immigration reform.

Davis-Oliver greatly enhances public safety by withholding key federal grants from dangerous sanctuary cities and by making criminal alien gang members deportable. Thanks in no small part to the Obama administration’s catch and release program, incredibly dangerous gangs like MS-13, once based in Central America, have now established a strong foothold in many once-tranquil American communities. The bill also further expedites the removal of criminal aliens from U.S. communities.

The bill also looks beyond our borders, making it more difficult for foreign terrorists and other foreign nationals who pose national security concerns to enter and remain in the United States. Specifically, the bill provides for the quick removal of alien terrorists and bars foreign terrorists or removable immigrants who threaten national security from receiving immigration benefits, such as naturalization and discretionary relief from removal.

Davis-Oliver also tightens up the visa issuance process, with the clear realization that in many cases, the best chance to prevent a terror attack is to deny the would-be assassins entry in the first place. It would expand the Visa Security Program to all U.S. embassies and consular posts, ensuring that all visa applicants receive additional screening. It would also require the Departments of State and Homeland Security to utilize social media networks and other publicly available resources to ensure a potential applicant poses no threat to the nation.

Just months ago, Trump put a face on the victims of illegal immigration, when during a speech to Congress he introduced Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, widows of Placer County Detectives Michael Davis Jr. and Sacramento Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, during a speech to Congress and the American people. These brave women represented two families, and communities, whose government had failed them. Let’s hope no other American families are forced to endure this very preventable heartache.

Bob Dane is the executive director at Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.