Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today gave the following statement on the House floor in support of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (H.R. 6136). This consensus bill – introduced by Chairman Goodlatte, Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) – is the product of negotiations between Republicans of all perspectives and addresses the four pillars for immigration reform outlined by President Donald Trump.
Chairman Goodlatte: Representatives Michael McCaul, Carlos Curbelo, Jeff Denham, and I introduced H.R. 6136 to be a consensus bill designed to bring Members together. It is the product of fruitful negotiations and will offer us a path forward towards true immigration reform.
As with the Securing American’s Future Act, this bill provides a legislative resolution of DACA, which was imposed through an unconstitutional abuse of executive power by President Obama. But in addition to a renewable legal status, this bill expands relief to those who were eligible for DACA but never applied. Many did not apply because they thought that DACA was simply unconstitutional. H.R. 6136 also creates a merit-based green card program that the recipients of the bill’s contingent nonimmigrant status can apply for. This program is the first ever point system based on education, vocational training, apprenticeship, employment experience, English proficiency, and military service under U.S. immigration law. Aliens with similar life experiences to DACA recipients can also apply – those who were brought to the U.S. as minors by parents on temporary work visas and grew up in the U.S. All other DACA legislation that I am aware of discriminates against such persons simply because they and their parents haven’t violated our laws. To be clear, there is no special path to citizenship for DACA recipients or DACA-eligible individuals.
Importantly, this bill will help ensure that the DACA dilemma does not recur after a few short years. As with H.R. 4760, it will end “catch and release,” battle asylum fraud, and require that unaccompanied minors caught at the border be treated equally regardless of their home country. As with H.R. 4760, it will ensure that the law no longer tempts minors and their parents to make the dangerous illegal journey to the U.S.—or to line the pockets of cartels.
We must turn off the irresistible “jobs magnet” if we are to ever effectively deal with illegal immigration. While expansion of the hugely successful E-Verify program is not contained in H.R. 6136, I am pleased that Leadership has committed to bringing such legislation to the floor this summer.
As with H.R. 4760, the bill will make it easier to deport gang members, who are aggravated felons, or who have multiple DUIs.
H.R. 6136 modernizes our legal immigration system. It will reduce extended family chain migration and terminate the diversity visa program, which awards green cards by random lottery to people with no ties to the U.S. It reduces overall immigration numbers over the long term, and shifts to a first-in-line visa system by eliminating the per-country cap on employment-based green. The bill begins a shift to a merit-based system by establishing the new, merit-based green card program that I described.
As with H.R. 4760, the bill corrects the disastrous Flores Settlement to ensure that minors apprehended at the border with their parents are not separated from their parents when the parents are placed in DHS custody. Importantly, H.R. 6136 addresses family separation in light of the Zero Tolerance prosecution initiative by mandating that DHS, not DOJ, maintain the custody of aliens charged with illegal entry along with their children. This would only apply to those who enter the country with children and would not permit those charged with felonies or any other criminal activity to be detained along with children. The bill allocates funding for family detention space to facilitate this requirement.
Congress has a unique opportunity to act now, before the country ends up with another large population who crossed the border illegally as children. Let’s take this historic moment to come together and support vital legislation that provides common-sense, reasonable solutions. I urge my colleagues to join President Trump and support this bill.
Click HERE for a summary of H.R. 6136, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act.