Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved legislation (H.R. 5230) by a vote of 223-189 to provide targeted, narrow funding for border security, enforcement of immigration laws, and illegal immigration deterrence through the end of Fiscal Year 2014 in order to meet law enforcement’s immediate needs at the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill is paid for through reductions of existing funds within federal agencies and will result in no new or additional spending of taxpayer dollars. The bill also includes changes to a 2008 law so that unaccompanied alien minors who do not have a credible fear of persecution or have not been trafficked can be sent home expeditiously. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below following House passage of the bill.
Chairman Goodlatte: “The crisis at our southern border is a disaster of President Obama’s own making. The Obama Administration’s lax immigration enforcement policies have given confidence to parents who are in the U.S. illegally that they can stay and now they are finding ways to bring their children, who are still in Central America, to the United States unlawfully. Although President Obama has many tools at his disposal to stop this surge at the border, he refuses to use them and instead proposes to make the situation worse by taking more unilateral actions to stop the enforcement of our immigration laws.
“Since President Obama won’t take the actions needed to quell illegal immigration at our border, I am pleased the House acted today to provide law enforcement agents on the ground targeted resources to assist them in doing their job of securing the border and enforcing our immigration laws. While the bill is not perfect, it does provide law enforcement many things they have requested. For example, while I was in the Rio Grande Valley earlier this month, Border Patrol agents cited environmental restrictions that bar access to federal lands as a significant stumbling block to securing the border. The House-passed bill prohibits the Administration from preventing Border Patrol access to federal lands so that they can stop drug traffickers, human smugglers, and unlawful immigrants from exploiting these gaps along the border. It also corrects a law that has exacerbated this crisis to ensure all unaccompanied minors can be sent back to their home countries safely and quickly.
“While the House acted today to provide targeted and narrow funding to meet urgent needs at our southern border, it is ultimately up to President Obama to end this crisis by reversing his policies that created it.”
Background: Earlier this month, Chairman Goodlatte led a bipartisan delegation to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to examine this crisis and seek solutions on how best to stop it. During the trip, members of the House Judiciary Committee toured federal facilities and met with those dealing with this problem firsthand at the border, including law enforcement officers and federal officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Key findings from the trip can be found here. Chairman Goodlatte’s op-ed outlining actions President Obama could take now to end the border crisis can be found here.