Barletta Bill Protects Legal Workers from Illegal Immigrant Competition

Feb 14, 2017
Press Release
Clarifies that Obama Executive Action Does Not Grant Legal Employment Status

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) has introduced legislation that protects people who are legally authorized to work in the United States by clarifying that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action cannot be issued work permits.  The Defense of Legal Workers Act (H.R. 1010) is intended to remedy executive actions taken by former President Barack Obama to shield millions of illegal immigrants and permit them to compete with legal American workers for jobs that are already scarce.  Barletta previously introduced the same legislation in November 2014.

“When President Obama granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, he improperly created more competition for legal American workers who are already finding it difficult to find work,” Barletta said.  “American citizens, or people who have come to the United States legally, should not have to suffer from others butting in line after they have broken the law to enter this country.”

The legislation is necessary in the wake of two Obama programs: an expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).  Under DACA, legal presence was granted to illegal immigrants claiming to have been present in the United States since before they turned 16, and who claimed continuous residency since 2010, among other criteria.  Under DAPA, legal presence was granted to people who had lived in the country since 2010 and were parents of citizens or legal residents.  In June 2016, The United States Supreme Court split 4-to-4 in a case involving the Obama executive actions, leaving in place a lower court ruling that blocked the programs.  The resulting legal limbo means that legislative action is the best means of settling the issue.

“This legislation makes it crystal clear: only those lawfully present can lawfully work,” Barletta said.  “This legislation is only necessary because Congress never conceived that an administration would engage in the level of executive overreach exhibited by the Obama Administration.”

The Defense of Legal Workers Act amends current law to clearly state that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action are not authorized to work in the United States.  It leaves in place current processes by which people become legally present and authorized to work. 

“I am hopeful that President Trump will act to overturn DACA and DAPA in defense of legal American workers,” Barletta continued.  “Until then, this legislation clearly states that it is the policy of the United States to favor legal residents over those who have broken the law to come here.”