Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below following the President’s announcement that he will take action to deter the caravans of Central Americans headed to the U.S.-Mexico border:
“I applaud President Trump for doing everything within his power to send the strong message that our immigration laws will be enforced and the gaming of the system will not be tolerated. A long-term solution to this issue, however, requires congressional action.
“Changes to our asylum laws are desperately needed in order to restore integrity to our nation’s immigration system and ensure asylum is given to those truly fleeing persecution in their home countries. This is why the House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation to improve our nation’s asylum laws, close loopholes, and provide tools to ensure children who make the dangerous journey to the United States alone are returned home safely.
“Additionally, the House of Representatives took up two bills this summer to address these and many other issues facing our immigration system: the Securing America’s Future Act and the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. While it is disappointing these bills did not pass, what is most disappointing is that not a single Democratic member voted for either bill, even though both bills provided a legislative solution for DACA in exchange for enforcement. Our immigration laws need to be improved, starting with enforcement first, and Congress should revisit this issue when it returns this month.”
Background: The House Judiciary Committee has approved and produced a number of bills to address loopholes in our nation’s asylum laws:
- Protection of Children Act (approved by the House Judiciary Committee, 6/2017): This bill ensures that unaccompanied alien minors who make the dangerous journey to the United States are safely returned home. For those who stay with a sponsor in the United States while awaiting their immigration hearing, the bill provides for greater transparency and safety of these minors to ensure they are not inadvertently delivered into the hands of criminals or abusers.
- Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (approved by the House Judiciary Committee, 7/2017): This bill makes a number of improvements to our nation’s laws to prevent fraud and abuse in the asylum system and ensure that it is reserved for those truly fleeing persecution in their home countries. It also provided asylum seekers the ability to apply for benefits from safe third countries.
- Securing America’s Future Act (did not pass the House, 6/2018): This bill bolsters enforcement of immigration law, reduces fraud in asylum cases, makes important reforms to our legal immigration programs, secures the border, and provides a legislative solution for the DACA beneficiaries.
- Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (did not pass the House, 6/2018): This bill provides robust border security, contains more tools to help prevent illegal immigration and human smuggling, modernizes the United States’ immigration system, provides a legislative solution for those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and remedies current law and court decisions to keep children and parents together as much as possible when they are apprehended.