House GOP pushing new immigration bills

House GOP pushing new immigration bills

House Republicans are taking another crack at immigration reform.

The four bills unveiled Friday focus on interior enforcement and could complement pending border security legislation.

The GOP is taking aim at President Obama’s controversial executive order on immigration that delays deportations for nearly 5 million people living in the country illegally.

“President Obama has unilaterally gutted the interior enforcement of our laws,” House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteGOP chairman threatens subpoena for FBI records on Clinton probe Dem leaders pull back from hard-line immigration demand Goodlatte's immigration reform bill has room for compromise MORE (R-Va.) said Friday. 

“By refusing to enforce the laws against illegal immigration, President Obama’s immigration policies collectively undermine the integrity of our immigration system and send the message to the world that our laws can be violated,” he added.

In response to the president’s immigration order, Republicans introduced four pieces of legislation Friday intended to strengthen interior enforcement.

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGOP chairman threatens subpoena for FBI records on Clinton probe Trump unrestrained in latest attacks of Mueller probe Lawmakers rally to defend Mueller after McCabe exit MORE’s (R-S.C.) bill would give local law enforcement the authority to uphold federal immigration laws, in spite of the president’s executive order.

“By doing so, we remove the ability of this or future presidents — of either party — to systematically shut down portions of the law to suit their political purposes,” said Gowdy said, chairman of the immigration and border security subcommittee.

Interior enforcement has been a cause for concern among Republicans.

Some conservatives complain that Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul’s (R-Texas) border security bill does not address the president’s immigration order, and Gowdy’s bill is seen as an attempt by Republican leadership to address the missing components.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzAmericans want to protect public lands, Congress should listen Chaffetz: Florida school shooting survivors 'need a belief in God and Jesus Christ' Chaffetz: 'Mind-boggling' that Trump would call out his own AG MORE’s (R-Utah) bill targets what Republicans say is the administration’s “catch and release” policy, whereby illegal immigrants are encouraged to cross the border and immediately surrender to police, knowing that they will be released.

“This incentive, combined with President Obama’s promise of executive amnesty, continues to lure ever increasing numbers of immigrants across our borders,” Chaffetz said.

The Legal Workforce Act introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, is intended to “preserve” jobs for American workers by requiring more companies to check the immigration status of new employees through a Web-based system known as E-Verify. 

“Almost 20 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed,” said Smith (R-Texas). “Meanwhile, seven million people are working in the United States illegally. By expanding the E-Verify system, this bill will ensure that new jobs only go to legal workers."

Finally, Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) is pushing legislation intended to protect unaccompanied immigrant children while they are in federal custody awaiting trial.

The House Judiciary Committee will mark up these four bills next Tuesday and Wednesday.