A union of immigration law-enforcement officers is speaking out against House Republicans’ border-security bill and the Senate’s silence on the president’s executive action on immigration.
The bill is essentially risible, according to the union, which represents 12,000 workers in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — the agency within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for processing the applications related to the president’s amnesty.
The Secure Our Border First Act of 2015 was marked up on Wednesday by the House Homeland Security Committee after being introduced by Chairman Michael McCaul (R., Texas).
“H.R. 399 — Chairman McCaul’s legislation — does nothing to preclude anyone in the world from turning themselves in at the U.S. border and obtaining automatic entry and federal benefits,” union president Kenneth Palinkas said in a statement. “It’s not border security if anyone can recite the magic words and get waved right on in.”
Immigration hawks have come out against McCaul’s proposal, warning that it fails to address interior enforcement and does nothing to allow immigration officers to deport illegal immigrants. McCaul disagrees with that assessment, and argues instead that his committee does not have jurisdiction over interior enforcement and that he is focused primarily on the nation’s borders.
But Palinkas is just as concerned with the Senate’s inaction as he is with McCaul’s proposal. Palinkas is pleading with Congress to help the agency, and is frustrated that the Senate isn’t doing more to stop the president’s executive action. “All I hear is silence in the Senate,” he says. “It seems congressional leaders will not rise to defend the laws of the United States, but are giving in to the ‘imperial presidency.’”
UPDATE: In a statement provided to NRO, McCaul reiterated that his committee lacks jurisdiction over interior enforcement. “The Committee on Homeland Security does not have jurisdiction over interior enforcement or the immigration policy that USCIS is charged with carrying out,” McCaul said. “House Republicans are taking a step-by-step approach and as such “Secure Our Borders First” bill deals solely with the problem at our southern, northern, and maritime borders.”