We need a plan to address those who are here illegally, but the cornerstone to any successful plan must be the enforcement of our immigration laws and our ability to actually secure our borders. Those that break our laws and illegally enter the United States must not be rewarded with blanket amnesty, which I will continue to oppose. Read more
Strengthening Immigration Enforcement
Read about Congressman Forbes' work to secure the border and protect legal residents. More...
Curbing Gang Violence
Congressman Forbes’ legislation to address the increasing threat of gang violence was included in the final immigration enforcement bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee. More...
Do You Support the DREAM Act?
Weigh in: Do you support the DREAM Act, which allows illegal immigrant children to use higher education, community service, or military enlistment to attain citizenship? More...
Called for enforcement and border security. Congressman Forbes supported the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, H.R. 2278, which solely focuses on interior enforcement. The bill provides states and localities with the ability to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law. The bill facilitates the removal of criminal illegal immigrants, and includes legislation that Congressman Forbes sponsored to provide the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General with the power to deport or make inadmissible an individual who they know or have reason to believe is or was a member of a criminal gang and/or participated in criminal gang activities. Finally, the bill strengthens border security and authorizes immigration enforcement agents and deportation officers to make arrests for immigration violations. This bill passed the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-15.
Supported verification of employment. Congressman Forbes supported the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 1772, to ensure that jobs are only made available to those authorized to work in the U.S. Specifically, the bill requires employers to check the work eligibility of all future hires through the E-Verify system. This bill passed the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 22-9.
Established a new agriculture guestworker program. Congressman Forbes supported the Agriculture Guestworker Act, H.R. 1773, which removes red tape, streamlines access to a reliable workforce, and protects farmers from abusive lawsuits. The bill also allows more participation in the guestworker program by opening it up to dairies and food processors, both of which often need access to foreign labor. This bill passed the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-16.
Improved high-skilled immigration programs. Congressman Forbes supported the SKILLS Visa Act, H.R. 2131, which allocates green cards to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, increases H-1B visas for high-skilled workers and repeals the employment-based per-country cap. This bill passed the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-14.
Opposed release of criminal illegal immigrants. Congressman Forbes cosigned a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Napolitano in opposition to the recent release of criminal illegal immigrants. The letter expresses the Members’ deep concern that the Department of Homeland Security is using sequestration as a vehicle to further the Administration’s disregard for enforcing our immigration laws. Specifically, they are troubled by recent reports that DHS has released hundreds of illegal immigrants, rather than finding cost savings elsewhere in the agency.
Examined our immigration system. The House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing of the 113th Congress: ‘America's Immigration System: Opportunities for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws against Illegal Immigration.’ During the hearing, Congressman Forbes noted that we currently have a path to citizenship; however, the system is broken. There are nearly 5 million people waiting – some for between 7 and 11 years – for approval of family-based visa petitions. Further, for those who are in this country illegally, and have been convicted of a crime, we need to ensure that they are not permitted to simply remain here without consequence.
Clarified naturalization test for military translators and interpreters. Congressman Forbes supported a bill, H.R. 6223, to clarify that a period of employment abroad by the Chief of Mission or United States Armed Forces as a translator, interpreter, or in an executive level security position is to be counted as a period of residence and physical presence in the United States for purposes of qualifying for naturalization if at least a portion of such period was spent in Iraq or Afghanistan. Under current law, a person who provides translator or interpreter services to the U.S. armed forces or U.S. diplomatic service in Iraq or Afghanistan is able to count that period toward the "continuous residence" requirement, but not the one-year “continuous physical presence" requirement for U.S. naturalization. This bill passed by voice vote.
Called for reform to student visa program. Congressman Forbes supported the Student Visa Reform Act, H.R.3120, to require that colleges and universities be accredited in order for such institutions to be able to host foreign students seeking to study in the U.S. on student “F” visas. By requiring that visas for foreign students seeking to attend colleges and universities in the U.S. only be granted when the student attends an accredited school, this bill will prevent illegitimate institutions from cheating foreign nationals who legitimately seek a bona fide education in the United States. In addition, this requirement will prevent colleges and universities from violating immigration law and potentially threatening our national security. This bill passed by voice vote.
Questioned DHS Secretary Napolitano on new immigration policy. On Thursday, July 19th, during a Judiciary Committee hearing, Congressman Forbes questioned Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the Department’s newly announced immigration policy. On June 15th, the Secretary announced a new policy granting a two-year deferral from deportation to young people under the age of 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16. Additionally, individuals must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the U.S. for five years, pose no criminal or security threat, and earned a high school diploma or equivalent, or were honorably discharged from the military. This policy – one that the President indicated last year that he could not impose via executive order – was unilaterally imposed by the Secretary through the Department of Homeland Security and in circumvention of Congress’ authority to enact the immigration laws of the United States.
Urged administration to keep border patrol stations open. Congressman Forbes joined fellow Members of the House Judiciary Committee in sending a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chief Aguilar in response to a recent announcement that nine border patrol stations in four states – Texas, California, Montana and Idaho - will close. The letter expresses concerns regarding border security and the ability of officials to enforce federal immigration laws. The letter further requests that the Chief abandon this plan, and if not, provide the analysis behind the decision to close the stations, including the date of deactivation for each station.
Required a comprehensive strategy to protect our borders. As a cosponsor, Congressman Forbes supported passage of H.R. 1299, the Secure Border Act of 2012. This bill requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop and evaluate a comprehensive strategy to gain operational control of our nation’s 2,000-mile southwest border, as well as our 4,000-mile northern border. Specifically, the bill requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to produce a plan to gain control of the border within five years, taking into account staffing requirements and infrastructure, including pedestrian fencing, vehicle barriers, and sensors. This bill is an important step during a time when the DHS and the administration seem unwilling to tackle the challenge of effectively securing our nation’s borders. H.R. 1299 passed the House of Representatives by voice vote.
Established a Border Enforcement Task Force. Congressman Forbes supported passage of H.R. 915, the Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act, a bill that formally establishes a Border Enforcement Security Task Force or BEST program to coordinate efforts among federal, state and local law enforcement officials to protect U.S. border cities from crime along and across the international borders of the United States. The bill is named after Jaime Zapata, an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent who was killed in the line of duty while serving on a BEST team in Mexico in February of 2011. This bill passed the House of Representatives 391-2.
Held DOJ accountable for undermining state immigration enforcement laws. Congressman Forbes is cosponsoring legislation, H.R. 3842, to deny federal funding for Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits against state immigration enforcement laws. In 2012, the Department of Justice filed suits against Arizona to halt the state’s enforcement efforts, claiming state law SB 1070 preempted federal immigration law. Since then, DOJ has entered into lawsuits against various other states. Opponents of these lawsuits argue that the federal government should not stand in the way of state’s seeking to enforce their own laws in order to uphold the federal law and protect their own citizens. They further argue that states must be able to address this problem that the federal government has only neglected. For this reason, Congressman Forbes is cosponsoring legislation to prohibit the Administration, including the DOJ and other agencies, from using federal funds to sue states over recently passed immigration laws.
Urged the Supreme Court to uphold Arizona's immigration law. Congressman Forbes signed an amicus curiae brief, or "friend of the court" brief, urging the Supreme Court to uphold several key provisions of Arizona's law targeting illegal immigration. Congressman Forbes urged the high court to reverse the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and contended that Arizona's S.B.1070 is constitutional because it mirrors federal immigration law and incorporates federal standards. As other states consider similar laws to do the same, it is important that the Supreme Court put an end to any questions about the validity and constitutionality of the Arizona law.
Protected Virginia employers from job-destroying regulations. Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus appropriations bill, which prohibits the Department of Labor from proposing or implementing the controversial H-2B wage requirement rules. In January 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule revising how wages paid to H-2B workers are calculated. At a time when companies are struggling to stay in business, this recalculation will cause all H-2B workers’ wages to substantially rise. Many employers will be unable to pay these wages; as a result, they will be unable to hire these workers, their work will go undone, and significant revenues will be lost. In short, this could lead to the loss of American jobs that are supported by H-2B workers. In response, Congressman Forbes signed a letter to House Appropriators specifically requesting that language be included in the bill to prohibit the implementation of this job-destroying rule.
Strengthened our nation’s border security. Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus appropriations bill, which made significant investments in improving our nation’s s border security. The bill provided new funding for border security operations, intelligence activities and the acquisition of essential new tactical resources. Passage of the omnibus appropriations bill means that our borders will now be protected by over 21,000 border patrol agents along with new tactical assets, stemming the tide of illegal immigration.
Fighting for Virginia Jobs. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to congressional appropriators requesting that they include language in upcoming funding measures to rescind misguided rulemakings put forth by the Department of Labor changing the H-2B visa program. In January 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule revising how wages paid to H-2B workers are calculated. At a time when companies are struggling to stay in business, this recalculation will cause all H-2B workers’ wages to substantially rise. Many employers will be unable to pay these wages and as a result, they will be unable to hire these workers, their work will go undone, and significant revenues will be lost. Importantly, this could lead to the loss of Virginia jobs that are supported by H-2B workers. Language was included in previous legislation to temporarily delay the implementation of the rules until January 1, 2012. However, the Department’s rules will soon go into effect unless the rules are rescinded. A copy of the letter is available here.
Abolishing Child Tax Credits for Illegal Immigrants. Congressman Forbes cosponsored legislation, the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act of 2011, H.R. 3444, which would require tax filers to provide a valid Social Security number to claim tax credits, such as child tax credits, when filing their tax returns. This bill would effectively prevent illegal immigrants from claiming tax credits intended for law-abiding American taxpayers. Under current law, the Internal Revenue Service allows individuals filing with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to access the child tax credit and the additional child tax credit, allowing those in the country illegally to receive the credits. A similar requirement is already in place for the earned income credit.
Increased global economic competitiveness. Congressman Forbes supported the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, H.R. 3012, a bill that would eliminate the per-country caps on employment-based green cards. Our current immigration system dictates that nationals from a single country cannot annually comprise more than 7% of the total number of employment-based immigrant visas. There is a growing consensus in the business community that there must be changes to our immigration system that allow U.S. based employers to attract and retain the world’s best and highly educated employees so that we can continue to compete in a global marketplace. Removing the antiquated per-country limits on employer-based visas is an important step in maintaining our competitiveness as a nation; H.R. 3012 could help alleviate the backlog of highly skilled workers who wish to work in the U.S. and engender growth in our economy.
Demanded accountability for federally-funded multilingual services. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Multilingual Services Accounting Act, H.R. 1715, which would require government agencies to account for all expenditures on multilingual services. Such an accounting would end speculation about the cost of providing services in languages other than English by requiring government agencies to disclose these expenditures in their annual accountability reports. Federal government agencies currently do not have to report how much money they spend to provide government services and publications in languages other than English. This legislation fixes this problem by requiring that federal bureaucracies report multilingual expenditures in their annual reports to the Office of Management and Budget. Without this basic accounting information, the federal government has no way of knowing how much it spends to provide multilingual services. Congressman Forbes continues to support English as the United States' official language and supports requiring all official public documents to be printed in English-only.
*The House Clerk has not yet added Congressman Forbes as a cosponsor online
Called on the Administration to enforce immigration laws. Congressman Forbes joined 74 other members of the Immigration Reform Caucus in sending a letter to President Obama in regard to the recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement to bypass Congress and use prosecutorial discretion to achieve amnesty for individuals who are illegally residing in the U.S. The letter calls the Administration to task for implementing a policy akin to amnesty whereby individuals that meet certain criteria, such as enrollment in four year colleges and clean criminal records, will not be prosecuted and deported. In response to this unilateral action by DHS, Congressman Forbes also cosponsored of the HALT Act, a bill to end any current or planned administrative actions that will result in mass legalization of illegal immigrants and that imply immigration laws should not be fully enforced. A copy of the letter to President Obama is available here.
Supported workplace enforcement of immigration law. Congressman Forbes voted in the House Judiciary Committee to support the Legal Workforce Act, a bill that could open up millions of jobs for unemployed American workers by requiring all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. Created 15 years ago, E-Verify allows employers to electronically verify that newly-hired employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. Specifically, the Social Security numbers of new hires are checked against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records in order to eliminate fraudulent numbers and help ensure that new hires are genuinely eligible to work. The program quickly confirms 99.5% of work-eligible employees. Both businesses and the American people overwhelmingly support E-Verify. The Legal Workforce Act enjoys support from a broad coalition, including Numbers USA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Restaurant Association, National Association of Home Builders, among many others.
The bill was reported favorably to the House floor by a vote of 22-13.
Called on Supreme Court to hear Arizona's appeal to uphold its immigration law. Congressman Forbes joined 58 other Members of Congress and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) in urging the Supreme Court to hear a case involving the Administration's challenge to several key provisions of Arizona's law targeting illegal immigration. In an amicus curiae brief, or "friend of the court" brief supporting Arizona's Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, Congressman Forbes urged the high court to reverse the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and contended that Arizona's S.B.1070 is constitutional because it mirrors federal immigration law and incorporates federal standards. As other states consider similar laws to do the same, it is important that the Supreme Court take this case and put an end to any questions about the validity and constitutionality of the Arizona law. A copy of the brief is available here.
Petitioned the President to enforce our immigration laws. Congressman Forbes joined 73 other members of the bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus in sending the President a letter to voice opposition to a recent announcement by the Department of Homeland Security of a change in policy to bypass Congress and use prosecutorial discretion to achieve amnesty for individuals who are illegally residing in the U.S. The manner with which the Administration has introduced this policy not only robs the public of a thorough vetting, but it also fails to appreciate the negative consequences of this policy shift. A copy of the letter is available here.
Ensuring American Jobs Go to American Citizens and Legal Immigrants. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Legal Workforce Act, H.R.2164, a bill that improves the E-Verify system and makes it mandatory for all U.S. employers. E-Verify was created in 1996 to give businesses the ability to quickly, accurately, and easily ensure they are hiring workers legally. Through E-Verify, the Social Security numbers and alien identification numbers of new hires are checked against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases in order to help employers determine who is eligible to work in the U.S. The bill balances pro-enforcement goals with legitimate business concerns, which is why it has the support of NumbersUSA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association and the National Association of Homebuilders.
Prevented 'Back-door' Attempts by the Administration to Grant Amnesty. Congressman Forbes signed up as an original cosponsor of the “HALT (Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation) Act," which would stop any current or planned administrative actions that would result in mass legalization of illegal immigrants and that imply immigration law should not be fully enforced. Just weeks ago, the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the agency that is responsible for removing illegal and criminal immigrants – issued a memo that could potentially make millions of deportable, illegal immigrants eligible for administrative amnesty. The memo was sent to the field telling agency officials how to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” such as granting deferred action, “deciding whom to stop, question, or arrest,” deciding “who to detain,” and “dismissing” a removal proceeding. The ICE memo ordered agency officials to consider factors such as pursuit of education or duration of time illegally in the United States.
Supported the issuance of visas to non-immigrant nurses for severely underserved areas. In a Judiciary Committee markup hearing this week, Congressman Forbes voted to support H.R.1933, a bill to reauthorize a program that would issue 3-year visas to non-immigrant, foreign nurses to serve in one of 14 of the nation’s most underserved hospitals. These hospitals often have trouble attracting American nurses to work there, and the hospitals are only eligible for the program after showing that they have attempted to attract and retain American nurses without success. This bill passed the Committee by a voice vote and is awaiting consideration on the House floor.
Ensured visa security and improved interagency cooperation. In a Judiciary Committee markup hearing this week, Congressman Forbes voted to support the Secure Visas Act, H.R.1741, which he is also cosponsoring. This bill requires that visa security units, the nation’s first line of defense against terrorists entering the United States, are operational at all high-risk consular posts, including a number of posts in the Middle East. It would also improve cooperation between the Departments of State and Homeland Security in issuing, reviewing, rejecting, and revoking visas. Nineteen of the 9/11 hijackers successfully entered this country with valid visas obtained at consular posts overseas, and this bill seeks to ensure this threat to our nation’s security never occurs again. The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 17-11 and is awaiting consideration on the House floor.
Strengthened border security and the safety of America's ports. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R.2017, which fully funds the current border security force of 21,370 border patrol agents (as compared to 12,349 in 2006) while funding border protection fencing and infrastructure improvements by $510 million. A recent GAO report points out that the U.S. Border Patrol has less than 44 percent of the southwest border under operational control and less than two percent of the northern border under control. This bill funds air and marine operations to fight illegal immigration and drug trafficking and ensures that our nation’s new and expanded ports of entry will receive new Customs and Border Protection officers for security inspections and enforcement.
Ended health care subsidies for illegal aliens. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the No Health Care Subsidies for Illegal Aliens Act of 2011, H.R.1822, which would require individuals who apply for subsidized insurance to submit a sworn statement attesting to the fact that they are in the U.S. legally and to show satisfactory documentary evidence that they are either a U.S. citizen or are in the country legally. This bill would not affect those people who have a legal claim to subsidies through a health care exchange. While the health care reform law passed in 2010 forbids an individual from receiving subsidized health care if he or she is in the U.S. illegally, the enforcement mechanisms currently in place prove to be ineffective and easily circumvented. For instance, current law does not even require individuals to show a photo I.D. when applying for health care subsidies, but merely requires them to provide a Social Security number, along with their name and date of birth, all of which can be easily forged.
Required the Administration to address border security. Congressman Forbes is cosponsoring legislation to require the Administration to develop a strategy to gain operational control of the border. Specifically, H.R.1299 will require the Secretary of Homeland Security to produce a plan to gain operational control of the border within five years, taking into account staffing requirements, infrastructure, including pedestrian fencing, vehicle barriers, use of unmanned aerial vehicles, technology, and sensors. A recent GAO report points out that the U.S. Border Patrol has less than 44 percent of the southwest border under operational control and less than two percent of the northern border under control. To make matters worse, border security efforts are stuck in neutral because this Administration has no plans to gain additional miles of border under operational control either this year or next.
Joined Reclaim American Jobs Caucus. Congressman Forbes joined the Reclaim American Jobs Caucus. The purpose of this Caucus is to raise public awareness of the connection between illegal immigration and unemployment; exert pressure on the Administration to vigorously enforce the laws against the employment of illegal immigrants; work to implement legislation that will protect American jobs from the impact of illegal immigration, especially to make E-Verify mandatory; and work to defeat legislation that will put American jobs at risk from the impact of illegal immigration, especially to defeat amnesty.
Supported sensible immigration reform. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.692, which is a sensible step toward eliminating “chain migration,” expediting reunification of nuclear families (i.e., married couples and parents with their young children), and reducing the number of, and revising the calculation for, family-sponsored immigrant entrants. If enacted, the Nuclear Family Priority Act would implement one of the key recommendations of former Rep. Barbara Jordan, the chair of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The Jordan Commission found that America’s national interests would best be served by eliminating extended family-based immigration categories, and it urged that nuclear family members become the sole family-based priority.
Encouraged national unity with English language. Congressman Forbes supported legislation, H.R.997, to foster national unity through the use of our common English language at all official ceremonies, including naturalization ceremonies. The bill also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue a proposed rule for uniform testing of the English language ability of candidates for naturalization based upon the principle that all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States.
Kept criminal aliens out of U.S. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the SAFE for America Act, H.R.704, to reform the visa lottery system, which is used by the State Department to award visas to foreign nationals through a random lottery. Most visas are issued to foreign nationals that have existing relationships with lawful U.S. residents or employers. However, the visa lottery awards permanent resident visas based on pure luck, which leaves open the door to those who want to enter the United States to harm citizens. The State Department’s Inspector General has testified that the program “contains significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals, and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the United States as permanent residents.”
Prevented illegal immigrants from working within the legislative branch. Congressman Forbes is cosponsoring the Secure the Capitol Act, H.R.280, to ensure that illegal immigrants are not permitted to work within the Legislative Branch. Currently, all Executive Branch government contractors are required to participate in E-Verify in order to retain their current contracts and to compete for any further contracts. However, Legislative Branch contractors, included those working throughout the Capitol building, are not under the same requirement. The Secure the Capitol Act would require all companies competing for, or currently holding, a government contract for work within the Capitol Complex to participate in E-Verify, the instantaneous, Internet-based employment verification system administered by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
Prevented Illegal Immigrants from Receiving Social Security Benefits. Current law forbids an individual from receiving Social Security payments if they are here illegally, but their entire work history—even work done as an illegal alien—can count toward Social Security benefits if the individual later becomes a legal resident. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R.787), which aims to correct that problem by forbidding work done as an illegal immigrant from being counted toward future benefits.
Supported amending the Constitution to protect American citizenship. Congressman Forbes is cosponsoring the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, H.R.140, which would limit birthright citizenship to a child born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: 1. A citizen or national of the United States; 2. An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States whose residence is in the United States; or; 3. An alien performing active service in the Armed Forces. In a 2010 Rasmussen poll, 58-percent of U.S. voters said a child born to an illegal immigrant in America should not automatically become a citizen of the United States.
Extended the privilege to naturalize new citizens. Congressman Forbes supported a measure (H.R.4862), which would amend the Immigration and Naturalization Act to grant Members of Congress the authority to administer the oath of renunciation and allegiance of United States citizenship to individuals who have met citizenship eligibility requirements. This bill passed the House by voice vote.
Called for work-site enforcement actions. Congressman Forbes joined other members in sending a letter to President Obama encouraging him to save and create jobs for Americans by continuing worksite enforcement actions that prevent illegal immigrants from taking American jobs.
Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009, H.R. 1868, which would clarify that a person born in the United States would only be eligible for American citizenship if the child is born in the United States of parents who are citizens or here legally, or if the parent is performing active service in the armed forces. There are an estimated 300,000 "anchor babies," or children born to illegal aliens, each year in the United States.
Called for only American citizens to be counted in the U.S. Census. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.J. Res. 11, which proposes a Constitutional amendment to provide that the apportionment of the number of Congressional Representatives from each state shall be decided by counting the number of American citizens of each state. The census is mandated by the Constitution (Article I, Section 2), but the language does not specify citizenship for the purpose of counting. For the upcoming 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the U.S.—including the 12 to 15 million persons here illegally.
Called for reforming the visa lottery program. Cosponsored H.R. 2305, to eliminate the visa lottery program that awards approximately 50,000 permanent resident visas to foreign nationals based on pure luck by conducting a random lottery. The State Department’s Inspector General recently testified that the visa lottery program contains significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals, and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the United States as permanent residents. Furthermore, family-sponsored immigrants currently wait years to be reunited with their families. Each year, the visa lottery program pushes 50,000 random immigrants ahead of these family-sponsored immigrants waiting to be reunited with their families.
Protected Americans Social Security benefits. Cosponsored H.R. 2287, which would prevent illegal aliens from receiving Social Security benefits.
Rejoined the Immigration Reform Caucus in the 111th Congress. The Immigration Reform Caucus (IRC) was established in May 1999 to review current immigration policy, to initiate new immigration policy, and to create a much-needed forum in Congress to address both the positive and negative consequences of immigration. This bipartisan caucus promotes effective border enforcement, supports worksite enforcement, and opposes amnesty and full benefits for illegal immigrants.
Voted to prohibit taxpayer dollars from going to “Sanctuary Cities” that harbor illegal immigrants. During consideration of H.R. 5719, a motion was offered that would have eliminated the tax-exempt treatment of the interest on bonds issued by states or localities that are considered “Sanctuary Cities.” These cities have a policy in effect which doesn’t require employees of that state or locality to notify federal officials of an alien who may be unlawfully present in the United States. A list of these cities was produced by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service and was listed in a recent Human Events article.
Met with Assistant Secretary Stewart Baker of the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the status of fence construction along the southern U.S. border, the workforce requirements needed to complete the project, and the status of the border patrol. The meeting also included a discussion on food safety, deportation of illegal aliens convicted of crimes, and cargo safety. Congressman Forbes recently sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff requesting an update on the status of fence construction along our southwestern border.
Signed a discharge petition to bring H.R. 4088, the SAVE Act of 2007, to the House floor for a vote. This bill has a three-point plan to secure the border, improve workplace enforcement and accelerate the deportation of illegal aliens. Specifically, H.R. 4088 would call for 1) an additional 8,000 Border Patrol Agents, including 1,400 new agents to specifically investigate alien smuggling, 2) additional virtual fencing and surveillance equipment such as unmanned aerial vehicles along the border, 3) more detention centers to house illegal immigrants to end the practice of “catch and release,” 4) additional district court judges to improve the flow of immigration cases, and 5) the permanent use of the E-Verify Program for four years to enforce workplace immigration laws.
Sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff requesting an update on the status of fence construction along our southwestern border. The letter states, in part, "Operational control of our borders is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government and a key component in preserving the sovereignty of our nation…failure to meet this responsibility can be catastrophic to our economic systems and to our national security. My constituents understand the challenges of patrolling our 1,900 mile southern border and overwhelmingly support the construction of fencing to help slow illegal entry into the United States." The letter asks the Secretary of Homeland Security what priority he attaches to the fence construction project, what challenges the Department has faced and how they intend to meet these challenges, and on what timeline citizens can expect to see completion of physical fencing.
Cosigned a letter to the Appropriations Committee in support of maintaining the $50 million funding level for the REAL ID program. The House passed version of the fiscal year 2008 Department of Homeland Security Appropriation Bill appropriated $50 million in grant funding for states to comply with the REAL ID program. The REAL ID Act of 2005 is an opt-in program for states that aims to strengthen the legitimacy and security of driver's licenses issued in the United States.
Cosponsored H.R. 3612, the Local Law Enforcement Restoration Act. This would add clarifying language to the 1996 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to say that local and state governments can enforce immigration law. Some recent court rulings have limited the ability of local governments to enforce immigration law. This was not the intent of Congress when immigration law was reformed in the 1996.
Voted in favor of H.R. 2884, the Kendell Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act. This would direct DHS to use fingerprints already provided by service members at the time of their military enlistment for citizenship applications. This bill is named after Specialist Kendell Frederick who was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb as he traveled off base to get fingerprinted for naturalization. He had been trying to become a U.S. citizen. He was posthumously granted U.S. citizenship.
Cosponsored H.Res 800, which expresses the Sense of Congress that illegal immigrants should not be issued driver’s licenses and H.R. 4176, the Prevention of Unsafe Licensing Act. H.R. 4176 would prevent states from issuing any driver’s license or identification card to an individual unlawfully present in the United States.
Cosponsored H.R. 3494, the Charlie Norwood Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act, which would provide local law enforcement additional tools to combat illegal immigration. By updating federal law, the bill would provide clear authority for local agencies to enforce immigration law, improve information sharing with local agencies, require the federal government to remove and deport criminal aliens, increase federal resources for local governments that choose to enforce the law, and reduce federal resources for local government that provide sanctuary to violent criminal aliens.
Cosponsored H.J.Res. 6, a constitutional amendment which would require the U.S. Census to exclude illegal immigrants from the official population count. The number of representatives a state sends to the House of Representatives as well as the number of votes a state has in the Electoral College are determined by a state’s population. Some states have inflated populations due to the number of illegal immigrants counted in the Census.
Cosponsored H.R. 3145, the Prohibition Against Criminal Alien Reentry Act, which would give the Department of Justice more authority to prosecute illegal immigrants involved in criminal actions. H.R. 3145 would allow U.S. Attorneys to prosecute criminal aliens who re-enter the United States if that alien has been convicted of two or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against persons, or a felony. This legislation also increases the maximum penalties for illegal re-entry by aliens previously convicted of a felony (from 10 to 20 years) or aggravated felony (from 20 to 30 years).
Cosponsored H.R. 3494, the Charlie Norwood Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act. H.R. 3494 would provide clear authority for local agencies to enforce immigration law; improved information sharing so local agencies can practically enforce immigration law; requirements for the federal government to remove and deport criminal aliens; increased federal resources for local governments that choose to enforce the law; and reduced federal resources for local governments that provide sanctuary to violent criminal aliens. This legislation will provide local law enforcement with the tools they need to enforce laws against the more than 400,000 alien absconders in the United States, of which an estimated 85,000 have criminal records.
Cosponsored a comprehensive immigration reform bill H.R. 2954, the Secure Borders FIRST Act of 2007. This "security first" alternative to legislation like the Senate amnesty bill would emphasize the vigorous enforcement of our current immigration laws, without offering a pathway to citizenship. The Secure Borders FIRST Act focuses on securing our borders by increasing border patrol agents and seeing that penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants are enforced. The legislation does not provide any amnesty or allow for the legalization of illegal immigrants. In addition, it would make English our nation's official language.
Cosponsored H. Res. 499, a bill calling for full enforcement of all current immigration laws. H. Res. 499 calls attention to unenforced or underenforced laws and calls upon the Administration to systematically enforce employer sanctions, to comply with the Secure Fence Act of 2006 by building over 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, and to end the practice of catching illegal immigrants at the border and returning them without prosecution.
Introduced and debated an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill, H.R. 2638, that would have put an end to a pattern of abuse in granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The Department of Homeland Security can grant TPS status to the nationals of a country who are experiencing a period of crisis, such as an earthquake, for as long as 18 months and can later extend the TPS period for multiple additional periods of as long as 18 months. The Administration has begun to utilize TPS as a de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants from certain Central American countries, extending TPS for individuals multiple times. The latest extension lasted until January 2009, more than 10 years after individuals were originally granted TPS. Congressman Forbes' amendment would have returned TPS to its original intent of providing temporary refuge during temporary periods of crisis. It would bar any funds made available in this Act from being used to extend TPS for nationals of a country beyond the original period of not more than 18 months.
Cosponsored H. Res. 351, a resolution to help reject amnesty legislation, deter illegal immigration and restore the rule of law in our country. The resolution recognizes that the failure of the federal government to enforce existing immigration laws has led to a 20-year influx of aliens unlawfully crossing the borders of the United States. It further acknowledges that granting amnesty to the millions of illegal aliens residing in our country is fiscally irresponsible and would place heavy financial burdens on American taxpayers and impose national security risks to the country.
Supported H.R. 2399, the Alien Smuggling & Terrorism Prevention Act. The measure increases criminal penalties for knowingly bringing an illegal immigrant into the United States, transporting an illegal immigrant within the country, harboring an illegal immigrant, or encouraging illegal immigrants to enter the country.
Cosponsored H.R. 1314, the Photo Identification Security Act, which would close the loopholes which allow American financial institutions to issue credit cards to illegal immigrants. Several banking institutions currently allow customers who do not have a Social Security number to apply for a credit card.
Cosponsored H.R. 1940, the Birthright Citizenship Act, legislation which would deny automatic citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants. The bill states that a person born in the U.S. shall be eligible for birthright citizenship only if the person is born in the United States of parents who are citizens or lawfully present, or if the parent is performing active service in the armed forces. Anchor babies, or children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant parents, currently automatically become citizens thus serving as an anchor for their parents to remain in the country.
Signed a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking that she not bring amnesty legislation to the House floor. The letter states in part, "The United States has the most generous legal immigration system in the world. We should take the side of American workers and taxpayers, legal immigrants and the rule of law. Please oppose any effort to put illegal immigrants on the path to amnesty."
Signed a letter to President Bush calling for vigorous enforcement of immigration laws relating to employees. The letter states in part, "As Members of the House of Representatives, we appeal to you on behalf of American workers. We urge you to continue recent efforts to vigorously enforce the laws that ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants." The letter goes on to state that the hiring of illegal immigrants creates "unfair competition in the labor market and depress wages for all workers." The Center for Immigration Studies has found that the current level of immigration has reduced the wages of the average native-born worker in a low-skilled occupation by 12% a year, or almost $2,000.
Questioned witnesses at a hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law on the failed attempt of past amnesty programs to control illegal immigration at the borders and the failed attempt to decrease the substantial burden that illegal immigration places on our education, transportation, and law enforcement at the state and local levels of government.
Cosponsored H.R. 1355, the Scott Gardner Act, a bill that would make DUI convictions grounds for mandatory detention and deportation for illegal immigrants and provide local law enforcement with the tools to effectively partner with the federal government to address illegal immigration. The bill aids the enforcement of our immigration laws by requiring the sharing of immigration information among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, improving the operation and compatibility of federal immigration and criminal databases, and increasing detention facility space.
Cosponsored bill to eliminate the controversial Visa Lottery program. The Visa Lottery program gives legal permanent resident status to 50,000 foreign nationals each year based purely on a random lottery drawing. The State Department's Inspector General has said the program poses "significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals, and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the United States as permanent residents."
Cosponsored a Bill to Authorize Troops for Border Protection. H.R. 939 would authorize the Department of Defense to assign members of the armed forces to assist in the performance of border protection functions as a strategy to secure America's borders from the dangers of illegal immigration or the potential of terrorist entry through our borders. This assignment would be at the discretion of the Department of Defense.
Cosponsored a Resolution Urging the Immediate Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law. This legislation expresses the sense of Congress that state and local governments should be supported for taking actions to discourage illegal immigration and that legislation should be enacted to ease the burden on State and local governments for taking such actions. The resolution also calls for immediate federal enforcement of immigration laws.
Cosponsored the English Language Unity Act. H.R. 997 would declare English as the official language of the United States. It states that representatives of the federal government have an affirmative obligation to preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language of the federal government. The bill also would create a uniform language testing standard to ensure that all citizens are able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States.
Cosponsored H.R. 332, which would prohibit the Social Security Administration from awarding Social Security benefits for unauthorized work of illegal immigrants. This immigration reform legislation would ensure earned Social Security benefits are only paid for work performed legally.
Cosponsored H.R. 768, a bill that would stop the enforcement of an executive order which mandates that certain government services be provided in a language other than English.
Cosponsored the National Language Act, which would designate English as the official language of the United States. The bill would require the U.S. government to conduct official business in English and to preserve and enhance the role of English as the official language of the U.S.
Cosponsored a resolution, H.Res. 18, expressing disapproval of the agreement between the United States and Mexico, that would allow alien dependents and survivors in Mexico who have never lived in the United States to receive Social Security benefits outside the United States.