House Republicans Advance Immigration Reforms

House Republicans Advance Immigration Reforms

Since President Biden assumed office, the situation at the southern border has been chaotic. Illegal entries from around the world have skyrocketed because of the loose policies of the Biden administration. These policies result in harm to women and children by cartels and human traffickers, allow drugs to enter the United States at unprecedented rates, and permit criminals to ruin the lives of American families. This week, Congress is pushing forward a long-overdue solution.

After halting deportations, border construction, and the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy for one hundred days, the U.S. saw a massive surge in border encounters. In 2022 alone, nearly 2.4 million aliens came through our southwest border. To put that into perspective, this was double the amount as the previous year. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes that an additional 600,000 immigrants slipped into the U.S. without apprehension. Although these are statistics released by the federal government, the officials responsible have turned a blind eye to the crisis and blatantly lied to the American people.

From the beginning of his term of service, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has refused to address the border crisis. Every time he has been asked to label the situation a “crisis,” he instead calls it a “challenge” and reiterates his faith in the agency he leads. He doesn’t think that his policies (or lack of policies) have contributed to these atrocious results. Yet, for two years, the problem has only worsened.

Eagle Forum has joined dozens of like-minded allies on multiple occasions to motivate our elected officials to act. In May of last year, we sent a coalition letter to Congress outlining the policies we would support in an immigration bill. During the lame-duck session in December, we reiterated those policies to ensure nothing would be negotiated away amidst holidays and retirements. Once Republicans secured the majority in the House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team promised to “secure the border and combat illegal immigration” as outlined in his Commitment to America. Then, President Biden announced that Title 42 would expire on December 21, 2022. (Title 42 had allowed border patrol to turn around hundreds of thousands of immigrants under the COVID-19 pandemic rules.) Once that happened, there was nothing to prevent those immigrants who had been previously expelled from flooding into the U.S.

Our coalition sent another strong letter to push for a markup after Easter recess. Congress listened! On April 20th, the House Judiciary Committee advanced the Border Security and Enhancement Act (H.R. 2640). This bill makes significant asylum reforms and enforces penalties for visa overstays which accounted for over 684,000 illegal immigrants in 2020. Additionally, the Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy would be restored, ensures unaccompanied children would be returned home, requires employers to use E-Verify to make sure they are hiring legal workers, and ends the abuse of parole which allows immigrants to circumvent legal measures of entry.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), lead sponsor and Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement explained his reasoning for H.R. 2640 during Thursday’s hearing:

The Democrats deliberately initiated the largest illegal mass migration in history. In the last 27 months, they have deliberately admitted two million illegal aliens into our country. That is larger than the entire population of Nebraska. While the Border Patrol was overwhelmed, another 1.5 million known got-aways entered as well. That is an additional illegal population larger than the entire state of Hawaii. All in just 27 months.

For Americans, this means classrooms packed with non-English speaking students. It means hospitals flooded with illegal aliens demanding uncompensated care. It means violent criminal cartels and gangs introduced into our communities and sanctuary policies that make deportation of convicted criminal aliens all but impossible in most cases. It means a fentanyl epidemic claiming 300 American lives – the equivalent of two 737 jetliners crashing – every day.  It means suppressed wages for working families as the labor market is flooded with cheap, illegal labor. 

In a time of high inflation, increase in crime, and a drug epidemic, we are living with the consequences of unfettered open border policies. Congress must act swiftly to pass the Border Security and Enhancement Act. The final bill text will be released after this week’s markup. Make sure you are signed up for our action alerts so that you will get an opportunity to contact your Representative on this issue.

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