Barletta Praises President Trump’s Immigration Executive Orders
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today praised two executive actions taken by President Donald J. Trump to enforce our borders and crack down on sanctuary cities that harbor illegal immigrants. The first paves the way for the long-promised border wall. The second addresses sanctuary cities by stripping federal grant money from such cities and by reinstituting the Secure Communities program ended by President Obama. Sanctuary cities are those jurisdictions which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or obey immigration law.
“Today is a good day for those of us who have long fought against illegal immigration,” Barletta said. “These are all important steps toward securing our borders and beginning to finally enforce our federal immigration laws. I have been fighting against illegal immigration since I was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania more than a decade ago, and it is wonderful to finally have an ally in the White House. President Trump has been true to his word, taking decisive action on illegal immigration inside of his first week in office.”
Barletta expressed support for a wall, or physical barrier, along the border as a vital part of security in preventing illegal immigration.
“A physical barrier along the border is an important component of our national security infrastructure and I support it fully,” Barletta said. “A wall must be supplemented by high technology border enforcement and a rejuvenated Border Patrol, which I also strongly endorse. Our security needs do not stop there, however, as we know that nearly half of the people who are in this country illegally did not cross a traditional border. Instead, they arrived on a visa; the visa expired; and they never went home. I have once again introduced legislation that would make overstaying a visa a criminal offense for the first time. Additionally, we must institute a biometric entry and exit system so that we know who has entered and who remains within our country.”
Barletta also welcomed the president’s actions to corral sanctuary cities, an issue long championed by the congressman.
“One of the principal duties of the government is to protects its citizens, and the idea of sanctuary cities runs completely counter to that responsibility,” Barletta said. “Too many mayors and local governments think that they are above federal law and place their own ideology ahead of the safety of their residents. I commend President Trump for taking this action, as our local elected officials must know that there will be consequences for thumbing their noses at federal law.”
Barletta has authored legislation that would go even farther than the president’s executive orders. Barletta has introduced the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, which will stop all federal funds from flowing to states or localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or flatly refuse to cooperate with immigration officials. The bill prohibits any federal funding for a minimum period of one year to any state or local government which has a policy or law that prevents them from assisting immigration authorities in enforcing federal immigration law. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) lists about 300 such localities in the United States. Barletta’s bill directs the attorney general to compile an annual list of such cities and issue a report on any particular state or locality upon request from a member of Congress. A state or local government would only regain federal funding eligibility after the attorney general certifies that its laws and policies are in compliance with federal immigration statutes. This is the third time he has introduced the legislation.
Barletta introduced the bill as his first piece of legislation as a freshman congressman in 2011 because of his personal experience with the danger of sanctuary cities while he was mayor of Hazleton. In 2006, a 29-year-old local father of three, Derek Kichline, was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been released by law enforcement a number of times, including by the sanctuary city of New York. Additionally, Barletta was spurred to reintroduce the bill in 2015 following the San Francisco murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, whose accused killer was a seven-time felon who had been deported five times previously.
“I view the president’s executive action as just a starting point, however, as I will be pushing my own legislation that would remove all federal funding – not just certain grants – from sanctuary cities who refuse to obey the law,” Barletta said.