Bob Goodlatte

Bob Goodlatte

VIRGINIA's 6th DISTRICT

GOODLATTE STATEMENT ON DHS PANEL'S RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE THE U.S. SECRET SERVICE

2014/12/18

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement on the United States Secret Service Protective Mission Panel’s assessment and recommendations for improvements at the United States Secret Service. 

“The United States Secret Service has a critical duty to ensure the safety of the President, White House personnel and the historic grounds, and there can be no room for error. Security breaches like the fence-jumping incident in mid-September are completely unacceptable and must be prevented from happening again in the future. 

“It is imperative that the Secret Service begin to review and implement the recommendations made by the U.S. Secret Service Protective Mission Panel as soon as possible so that it restores itself as a dynamic agency in thwarting threats made against the President of the United States. I look forward to working with the Secret Service in the coming year to make necessary improvements at the agency.”

In November, the House Judiciary Committee held a public oversight hearing on the agency and then closed a portion of it to the public to discuss law enforcement sensitive matters.

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GOODLATTE SIGNS AMICUS BRIEF TO FIGHT PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE OVERREACH ON IMMIGRATION

2014/12/16

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below after signing a proposed amicus brief submitted to the federal court today by the American Center for Law and Justice in support of the lawsuit filed by 24 states challenging President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration:

“Last month, President Obama disregarded the will of the American people and violated the Constitution by unilaterally changing our immigration laws. These actions not only threaten to unravel our government’s system of checks and balances, but also imperil individual liberty. The President’s executive overreach on immigration must be stopped.  

“We are fighting President Obama’s executive overreach on multiple fronts, both at the federal and state level. I am pleased to stand by the many states that are defending our Constitution and trying to stop President Obama’s unconstitutional executive decrees from being implemented. Additionally, House Republicans will continue to fight President Obama’s pattern of executive overreach. Once Republicans take control of the Senate in January, we will have an ally to help us fight against President Obama’s unilateral, unconstitutional actions.”

Earlier this month, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration and heard from three constitutional scholars who agreed the President’s actions are unconstitutional. Additionally, Chairman Goodlatte has outlined several consequences of President Obama’s unilateral actions, which can be found here

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GOODLATTE TO SECY. JOHNSON: BOOST MORALE BY ALLOWING DHS EMPLOYEES TO DO THEIR JOBS

2014/12/10

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson regarding the Department’s abysmal morale and urged him to rescind policies that prevent DHS employees from doing their jobs. Leadership of the unions representing employees at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and Citizenship and Immigration Services have all stated that morale has plummeted as the Obama Administration has issued policies that conflict with their congressionally-mandated jobs of securing the border, enforcing our immigration laws, and maintaining the integrity of our immigration system. Yesterday, DHS was ranked last on the list of large federal agencies on the 2014 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey

Below is the text of the letter. The signed copy can be found here

Dear Secretary Johnson:  

President Obama’s recent decision to recklessly and unilaterally change U.S. immigration law ignores the will of the American people and flouts the Constitution.  The American people are deeply concerned about the direction in which our country is heading and overwhelmingly voted in November to reject the Administration’s policies.  However, rather than listening to the American people and changing course, President Obama continues to ignore duly enacted laws, thereby putting the public at risk and preventing executive branch employees from doing their jobs.  Such actions have a direct effect on the ability and confidence with which those employees perform.    

I am concerned because DHS was just ranked last on the list of large federal agencies on the 2014 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey.  Further, a recent Washington Post article entitled, “Top-level Turnover Makes it Harder for DHS to Stay on Top of Evolving Threats,” makes clear that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees in particular experience “abysmal morale” and that this has been happening for “quite a number of years.”  

The article reports that DHS Deputy Secretary Ali Mayorkas said the Department has hired a consulting firm “to develop recommendations to improve morale.”   This is a gross waste of taxpayer dollars.  The way to improve morale at DHS is to simply let DHS employees do their jobs and enforce the immigration laws that have been enacted by Congress.  Specifically, this can be accomplished by rescinding the directives you issued on November 20, 2014, as well as each administrative decision implemented at DHS over the last six years that has undercut the ability of officers, agents, attorneys, adjudicators and other DHS employees to actually perform their jobs.  

There is no doubt that morale would improve at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if agents and officers were not required to adhere to “priorities” aimed at ignoring existing law.  While these priorities claim to target the “worst of the worst” convicted criminal aliens, the reality is that many of these convicted criminal aliens will still be released simply if they show “factors” demonstrating that they are not a threat.  ICE officer morale would also improve if convicted criminal aliens were no longer released under parental directives guidelines simply because they have children present in the U.S.  In addition, if ICE attorneys were permitted to defend their cases in removal proceedings or more broadly defend the agency’s legal authorities, including its detainer authority, morale would improve.  Morale would also improve if the Administration did not continuously work to undermine laws enacted by Congress.  Indeed, as Chris Crane, President of the ICE National Council, has stated before the House Judiciary Committee:

Currently, ICE officers cannot arrest or remove most illegal immigrants they come in contact with, even if officers believe those individuals present a risk to public safety. To avoid offending special interests, ICE officers are also prohibited from making street arrests, and are also prohibited from arresting illegal immigrants who are public charges or who violate laws involving fraudulent documents. ICE officers are under orders to wait until immigration violators commit and are convicted of criminal offenses and placed in jail by state authorities before they can act in their capacity as Federal immigration officers and make an arrest. Even though illegal entry and visa overstay violations account for the majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States, DHS and ICE have directed ICE officers not to enforce the laws related to these offenses.

Morale would also improve if the Administration actually permitted Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to secure the border.  As the recent influx of illegal immigrants across the southern border demonstrated, it does not matter how many aliens are apprehended along the border if apprehension itself becomes a golden ticket into the country.  During August of this year, morale at U.S. Border Patrol was reported to be at an all-time low because agents felt that they were forced to stand by and watch helplessly as teenage criminal and unlawful aliens, including gang members and even murderers, were released into the United States.  Chris Cabrera, the Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, stated: 

Morale is at an all-time low. Our agents aren't allowed to do the job they were hired to do. We're walking more and more people out the door. Criminal aliens are coming in. If there's no criminal history in the U.S., we're releasing them out the door into the country ... even if they're admitted gang members. We've had a couple that admitted to murders in their own country. The U.S. government thought it fit to release them to their parents here in the U.S….  "I've heard people come in and say, 'You're going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. You're going to let me go as well, and the government's going to take care of us.  

Employees of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are not immune from the pervasively low morale at DHS, which stems from a culture that pressures them to rubberstamp applications rather than effectively perform their jobs.  Kenneth Palinkas, President of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, the union representing 12,000 United States Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudications officers and staff, has stated that “USCIS adjudications officers are pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation. The culture at USCIS encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and discouraging the denial of any applications. USCIS has been turned into an approval machine.”

Such allegations are not new.  In fact a January 2012 DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found the existence of a leadership-driven “get to yes” mentality for adjudications.  According to the OIG report, “[S]everal USCIS employees informed us that [Immigration Service Officers] have been required to approve specific cases against their will.  Some ISOs told us that they complied with the demands of their supervisors and approved visa applications containing suspect information.”  Pressuring adjudicators to approve applications, despite factors such as fraud which indicate that the applicant may not in fact be eligible, no doubt deals a serious blow to the already low morale among employees.      

I urge you to stop wasting taxpayer funds paying for a consulting firm to determine the reason for low employee morale, when a much more straightforward solution is obvious: allow DHS employees to enforce U.S. immigration laws as currently written.  Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely, 

Bob Goodlatte

Chairman   

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GOODLATTE STATEMENT ON OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S YEAR-END REMOVAL NUMBERS

2014/12/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below regarding the significant drop in removals for unlawful and criminal aliens in Fiscal Year 2014. Although Democrats have consistently stated that Congress appropriates funding for the removal of 400,000 unlawful and criminal aliens annually, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only removed 315,000 people in Fiscal Year 2014. Of these removals, over 213,000 were recent border crossers apprehended by Customs and Border Protection – they were not encountered by ICE.  Only about 102,000 were actually apprehended where ICE has primary jurisdiction – in the interior of the United States. Additionally, the removal of criminal aliens decreased by 18% from last year and Level One convicted criminal removals – whom the Obama Administration deems the “worst of the worst” – dropped 15% from last year.

Chairman Goodlatte: “The Obama Administration’s abysmal immigration enforcement record for the past year confirms what we already know: it refuses to use the tools provided by Congress to enforce our laws. President Obama claims that he needs to set priorities for the enforcement of our immigration laws because he has limited resources, but he isn’t fully using the resources given to him by Congress. This year’s removal numbers impugn the President’s excuses for not enforcing our immigration laws and expose the Administration’s true motive in setting enforcement ‘priorities.’

“Additionally, for the past several years the Obama Administration has padded its already meager year-end removal numbers by including recent border crossers. This year is no different. Collectively, the President’s refusal to enforce our laws makes our communities less safe and undermines the American people’s trust in his ability to preserve the integrity of our immigration system.”

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COLLATERAL DAMAGE: PRESIDENT'S UNILATERAL ACTIONS ENCOURAGE MORE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

2014/12/05

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the House Judiciary Committee has outlined how President Obama’s actions violate the Constitution, allow criminals to evade the law, make our communities less safe, and punish legal immigrants. Collectively, these actions encourage more illegal immigration and undermine the integrity of our immigration system.

How President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Priorities Encourage More Illegal Immigration:

  • President Obama establishes open borders: Any unlawful immigrants who do not benefit from the President’s deferred action program and are not listed as a priority for removal will surely be able to stay here indefinitely. Specifically:

The Obama Administration makes it tougher to deport those who overstayed their visas. The Obama Administration makes it virtually impossible to deport aliens who violated the terms of their visas and overstayed. Aliens can only be removed if they “significantly abused” their visas in the view of the Administration. Because roughly 30-40% of the unlawful population came here legally and then overstayed their visas, there will be few, if any, sanctions in place to dissuade others from coming to the U.S. and doing the same. 

The Obama Administration doesn’t prioritize the removal of border crossers who came here less than a year ago. Under the new priorities, any alien that came to the U.S. prior to January 1, 2014 is not a priority for removal. This means that the tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien minors, family units, and adults who came here during the border surge after the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and before this cut-off date will surely be able to stay here indefinitely. This will encourage more people to make the dangerous trek north to the United States, hoping to benefit from a future amnesty. 

The Obama Administration doesn’t prioritize the removal of fugitives. As noted earlier this week, there are currently about 900,000 aliens with final removal orders. Although the Obama Administration previously deemed fugitive aliens as a priority for removal, now they are no longer a priority if they were issued a removal order before January 1, 2014. This means that the Obama Administration is disregarding the removal orders they have already issued and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars spent obtaining these orders. As a result, many more aliens with final removal orders might be tempted to take their chances and abscond.

  • President Obama permits sanctuary city policies: Under President Obama’s immigration edicts, he has ended Secure Communities – a simple and successful program to screen criminal aliens arrested and booked in jails – and has replaced it with a watered-down screening program. Additionally, the President has gone one step further by ending U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers, meaning the ability to pick up and process removable aliens encountered by law enforcement, in most circumstances. In place of detainers, ICE will issue “requests for notification” to state and local law enforcement regarding who is in their custody. This effectively leaves states and localities responsible regarding the decision to enforce or not enforce the immigration laws: they can refuse to comply with the requests for notification should they choose to do so. 

History Shows That Amnesty Without Enforcement Leads to More Illegal Immigration:

  • The 1986 immigration overhaul didn’t end illegal immigration: In 1986, Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law an immigration bill that granted roughly three million unlawful immigrants a path to citizenship and promised the enforcement of our immigration laws going forward. However, these promises were never kept and today the United States has roughly 11 million unlawful immigrants. 
  • President Obama’s deferred action program created a border surge: In the summer of 2012, President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by executive decree, allowing hundreds of thousands of unlawful immigrants to live and work here. Subsequently, tens of thousands of children, family units, and adults from Central America flooded our nation’s southern border with the hope of benefiting from this program. Specifically, the number of unaccompanied alien minors crossing the border jumped from 6,560 in FY 2011 to 13,623 in FY 2012. The number of children crossing the border illegally then soared from 24,658 in FY 2013 to 68,541 in FY 2014. And the number of family units seeking to come here illegally grew from 13,600 in FY 2012 to 68,445 in FY 2014. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) made the following statement on this issue:

“President Obama’s unilateral immigration actions do nothing to end illegal immigration. In fact, the President’s actions will only make it worse. By allowing unlawful immigrants to live and work here and by gutting the interior enforcement of our immigration laws, President Obama has opened the floodgates to another wave of illegal immigration at our border. Immigration reform starts with enforcement first, not amnesty.” 

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GOODLATTE: CONGRESS IS FIGHTING PRESIDENT OBAMA'S POWER GRAB

2014/12/04

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved by a vote of 219-197 the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act (H.R. 5759) to prevent President Obama or any future president from inappropriately exempting or deferring the removal of entire categories of unlawful immigrants. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the statement below praising House passage of this legislation.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Two weeks ago, President Obama declared war against the Constitution by changing our immigration laws on his own and Congress today began its fight against this unprecedented power grab by passing the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act. 

“The Constitution is clear: it is the role of Congress to make all laws, the Judiciary to interpret the laws, and the President to enforce the laws. This system was wisely set into place by our country’s framers over 200 years ago because they knew first hand that the concentration of power in the same hands was a threat to individual liberty and the rule of law. President Obama’s decision to ignore the limitations placed on his authority and claim legislative power threatens to undo our system of government.

“Fortunately, the Framers wisely gave Congress many tools to guard against the executive branch accumulating too much power. Today’s approval of the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act will stop the President from changing our immigration laws unilaterally. Although the Democrat-controlled Senate refuses to join us in our fight against these unconstitutional actions, President Obama is on notice that his actions will not be tolerated come January when Republicans take control of the Senate. Today’s vote is just the beginning of our fight against President Obama’s power grab.”

Summary of H.R. 5759:

  • reaffirms the constitutional principles that only Congress has the power to write immigration laws and that the President must enforce those laws;
  • prevents President Obama or any future president from exempting or deferring the removal of categories of unlawful aliens except to the extent that the president is relying on his constitutional powers over foreign affairs or utilizing exceptions provided for in the bill for exceptional humanitarian and law enforcement circumstances;
  • prevents President Obama or any future president from considering such aliens to be lawfully present in the United States (and thus renders them ineligible for the rights and privileges available to lawfully present aliens);
  • prevents President Obama or any future president from granting work authorization to such aliens; and 
  • takes effect as if enacted on November 20, 2014, thus nullifying the president’s recent executive action.
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COLLATERAL DAMAGE: PRESIDENT'S UNILATERAL ACTIONS PUNISH LEGAL IMMGRANTS

2014/12/04

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama’s unilateral immigration actions are not without cost. Not only do they violate the Constitution, allow criminals to evade the law, and make our communities less safe, the President’s actions also punish legal immigrants.

Legal Immigrants Will Face Longer Wait Times:

  • Legal immigrants playing by the rules and seeking to come to the United States the right way will pay the price for President Obama’s executive actions. As U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shifts attention and resources to the processing of applications for unlawful immigrants, legal immigrants will face longer wait times for their petitions to be processed. This was true under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed over 600,000 unlawful immigrants to stay here so far. 
  • On February 8, 2014, the New York Times reported that “many thousands of Americans seeking green cards for foreign spouses or other immediate relatives have been separated from them for a year or more because of swelling bureaucratic delays at a federal immigration agency in recent months” and that “the long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants.” The New York Times noted that this “play[ed] havoc with international moves and children’s schools and keeping families apart.”
  • With over five million unlawful immigrants standing to benefit from President Obama’s new executive decree, legal immigrants will only face longer wait times, even though they’ve already paid the fees to have their applications processed.

Unlawful Immigrants Get A Free Pass, But Legal Immigrants Don’t:

  • Legal immigrants and their sponsors are required to pay fees to file their applications but those benefiting from the President’s deferred action plan don’t.  
  • For example, U.S. citizens filing an application for a greencard for a family member are required to pay $420 just to submit their application to determine a qualifying relationship. And some relatives may have to then adjust their immigration status by filing another form, which costs $985.  But DACA and other deferred action applicants don’t have to pay anything to cover the processing of the deferred action application. They only pay the fee to cover the work authorization application ($380) and the fee to cover the fingerprint submission ($85).    

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) stated the following regarding the consequences of President Obama’s unilateral actions for legal immigrants.

“President Obama’s unilateral immigration actions wrongfully punish legal immigrants who have played by the rules and waited in line for their turn to come to the United States. Not only does this send the message to the world that our immigration laws can be broken without consequence, it also shows that those who break our laws will be ushered to the front of the line. The President’s actions provide little incentive to follow our immigration laws and will undoubtedly encourage more illegal immigration.”

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COLLATERAL DAMAGE: PRESIDENT'S UNILATERAL ACTIONS MAKE OUR COMMUNITIES LESS SAFE

2014/12/03

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama recently announced unilateral changes to our immigration system. What he didn’t announce is that many of these changes make our communities less safe. President Obama claims he is taking executive action to prioritize immigration enforcement to focus on criminal aliens, yet he is scrapping a congressionally-mandated tool that identifies criminal aliens booked in jails across the United States so that federal law enforcement officials can prioritize their removal. Secure Communities, created in 2008, is a simple and successful program to identify criminal aliens once arrested and jailed. It protects Americans from public safety threats and those who could be a danger to their communities.  

The Facts About Secure Communities:

  • Congressionally-mandated: In 2008, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) launched Secure Communities following the enactment of a law requiring the agency to “improve and modernize efforts to identify aliens convicted of a crime, sentenced to imprisonment, and who may be deportable, and remove them from the United States, once they are judged deportable.”
  • Simple to use: As the Department of Homeland Security has said on numerous occasions, Secure Communities simply “uses an already-existing federal-information sharing partnership between ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that helps to identify criminal aliens” so that ICE can take enforcement action. 
  • Successful in meeting its mission: As of August 2014, the Administration indicated that since the program’s initial activation in Harris County, Texas, over 375,000 aliens and 121,000 Level 1– who the Obama Administration deems the “worst of the worst” – convicted criminal aliens were removed as a result of Secure Communities.
  • Already rolled out nation-wide: Since its inception in 2008 with 14 jurisdictions, Secure Communities was expanded to all 3,181 jurisdictions within 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. Full implementation was completed on January 22, 2013.

Instead of continuing to utilize this successful, existing system that is required and appropriated by Congress, the Obama Administration will implement a new, untested program called the “Priorities Enforcement Program.”

The Facts About the Administration’s “Priorities Enforcement Program”:

  • Turns a blind eye to most unlawful immigrants: Obama Administration officials claim that the new “Priorities Enforcement Program” will continue to rely on biometric data but ICE will only be able to seek to transfer an alien in the custody of state and local law enforcement through the new program when the alien has been convicted of certain, but not all, of the offenses listed in the Administration’s new, so-called immigration enforcement “priorities.”  
  • Ignores the Administration’s own priorities: The Obama Administration ignores some of its own criminal priorities for the purposes of processing for removal under the “Priorities Enforcement Program.” As a result of this loophole, recent border crossers who came to the United States after January 1, 2014, those who overstayed the terms of their visas, and fugitives of the law are not required to be processed for removal – even though the Obama Administration deems them as priorities.  
  • Authorizes sanctuary city policies: Not only does the Obama Administration end the Secure Communities program as we know it, it also ends ICE detainers, meaning the ability to pick up and process removable aliens encountered by law enforcement, in most circumstances.  In place of detainers, ICE will issue “requests for notification” to state and local law enforcement regarding who is in their custody. This effectively leaves states and localities responsible regarding the decision of immigration enforcement: they can refuse to comply with the requests for notification should they choose to do so. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) stated the following on the Obama Administration’s decision to gut Secure Communities: 

“President Obama seems to be ending Secure Communities for one reason only: it works. Secure Communities has a proven track record of identifying dangerous criminal aliens booked in jails across the United States so that they can be removed from the United States and no longer threaten our communities. By ending this successful program and allowing entire categories of criminal aliens to remain in the United States, President Obama is knowingly placing Americans in danger.” 

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COLLATERAL DAMAGE: PRESIDENT'S NEW ENFORCEMENT 'PRIORITIES' ALLOW CRIMINALS TO EVADE THE LAW

2014/12/02

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama recently announced unilateral changes to our immigration system, allowing millions of unlawful immigrants to evade immigration enforcement and issuing new, so-called “priorities” for the apprehension, detention, and removal of unlawful and criminal aliens. Under the Obama Administration’s new enforcement priorities, Obama Administration officials further carve out already existing exceptions created by them in 2011 to excuse groups of unlawful and criminal aliens from facing the law. 

The Facts About the Obama Administration’s “Priorities”:

  • Loopholes ensure that no one is actually a guaranteed priority: President Obama claims that terrorists, national security threats, gang members, and felons are his number one priority for removal. However, the Obama Administration has left wiggle room so that it can choose not to enforce its own priorities. Under the guidelines, criminal aliens of the highest priority can be released into our communities if the Obama Administration believes they qualify for asylum or there are “compelling and exceptional factors” for their release. “Compelling and exceptional factors” are not defined in the guidelines. 
  • Fugitives no longer a priority for removal: There are currently 900,000 aliens with final removal orders. Although the Obama Administration previously deemed fugitive aliens a priority for removal, now they are no longer a priority if they were issued a removal order before January 1, 2014. This means that the Obama Administration is disregarding the removal orders they have already issued and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. 
  • Sentences issued by judges are ignored: As a result of the Obama Administration’s new enforcement guidelines, many convicted criminal aliens – regardless of the severity of their crime – will be able to avoid deportation. Specifically, the Obama Administration’s new priorities state that aliens can be removed based only upon the time served in custody.  This is completely contrary to the term “conviction” as defined under current law.  Under the law, the applicable period of incarceration or confinement is the timeframe ordered by the court, regardless of any suspension/execution of the sentence in whole or in part.  
  • Gang members can stay: Although the Obama Administration claims gang members are a top priority for removal, the guidelines are unworkable in practice since there is no ground for removal under current law for “gang activity or offenses” and because criminal actors are convicted for their criminal offenses—not for being a member of a criminal street gang as the Obama Administration proposes. Gang members also are often convicted under state, not federal law. State convictions for gang-related activity are ignored under the Administration’s priorities. Additionally, the guidelines are riddled with loopholes: they state that gang members under the age of 16 are not a priority for removal and contain a duress exception for criminal conduct, which will likely lead to gang members claiming they were supposedly “forced” to participate in illegal activity.  Furthermore, no one will be removed unless their participation in the gang “furthers” the illegal activity of the gang.
  • Identity theft and document fraud not a priority: Under the guidelines, any felony conviction directly connected to the alien’s immigration status and in violation of a state or local law – such as identity theft, visa fraud, document fraud, passport fraud, and smuggling – will not be considered as a criminal conviction worthy of prioritization for removal. 
  • Obama Administration turns a blind eye to misdemeanors: The Obama Administration’s new guidelines contain a myriad of loopholes to let aliens convicted of misdemeanors off the hook. For example, aliens have to be convicted three times for three separate incidents in order to be deemed a priority for removal. If all three misdemeanors arrive out of the same criminal event, the Obama Administration counts that as only one offense for the purposes of removal. Furthermore, while aliens convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” – such as domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence – are deemed as a priority for removal, they can stay here if they simply show “factors” warranting release.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) made the following statement on the Obama Administration’s new immigration enforcement priorities: 

“President Obama claims that he has scarce resources to enforce our immigration laws, but this is just an excuse in order to advance his anti-enforcement agenda. In fact, the loopholes contained in the Obama Administration’s new guidelines ensure that no one is actually a priority for removal. By letting entire categories of unlawful and criminal aliens off the hook, President Obama encourages more illegal immigration and needlessly places Americans at risk. These new policies are out-of control and irresponsible, pure and simple.”

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GOODLATTE: SHOCKING ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ICE LEADERSHIP NEED TO BE ANSWERED

2014/12/01

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Winkowski regarding the shocking allegations made in a lawsuit filed by Patricia Vroom, an attorney at ICE with an exemplary 26-year career, in the U.S. District Court of Arizona. The complaint filed by Ms. Vroom alleges that a group of ICE supervisors bullied career attorneys to force compliance with the Obama Administration’s anti-enforcement policies and routinely told them to ignore the law and release certain criminal aliens. The complaint also claims numerous instances of abuse by ICE managers, including harassment, threats, insults, and other deplorable behavior.  

Chairman Goodlatte made the following statement on the lawsuit filed by Ms. Vroom:

“I am deeply concerned about the allegations in the complaint and the House Judiciary Committee will conduct aggressive oversight into these allegations. What is troubling is that several of the people named in the complaint are tasked with enforcing our immigration laws and implementing the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement which further curtails immigration enforcement.”

To read Chairman Goodlatte’s letter to Secretary Johnson and Acting Director Winkowski, click here

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Committee Assignments

Agriculture

Judiciary

Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives.

Bob’s service to the people of the Sixth District began in 1977 when he became District Director for former Congressman Caldwell Butler. He served in this position for two years until 1979, and was responsible for helping folks across the District seeking assistance with or encountering problems from various federal agencies. In 1979, he founded his own private law practice in Roanoke. Later, he was a partner in the law firm of Bird, Kinder and Huffman, working there from 1981 until taking office.

In the 113th Congress, Bob was elected to serve as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  He is the first Judiciary Committee Chairman from Virginia in the last 125 years.  Bob has been an active Member of the Judiciary Committee since arriving in Congress, serving in a variety of leadership positions on the Committee including Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet in the 112th Congress, Vice Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Task Force on Judicial Impeachment in the 111th Congress, Ranking Member of the Antitrust Task Force in the 110th Congress, and Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property in the 109th Congress. Additionally, Bob also served on the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

The House Judiciary Committee will certainly be at the forefront of some of the most significant issues facing Virginia and the Sixth District, including protecting Constitutional freedoms and civil liberties, oversight of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, legal and regulatory reform, innovation, competition and anti-trust laws, terrorism and crime, and immigration reform.  It is likely that many of these issues will be the deciding factors in determining the future direction of our nation.  The jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee is well-suited to many of Bob’s legislative priorities such as protecting Constitutional rights, including private property and Second Amendment rights, securing our borders through immigration reform, strengthening our criminal laws, decreasing health care costs through medical malpractice reform, and oversight of the Judicial branch and Administration.  One of Bob’s top legislative initiatives is his Constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget so that Congress will be forced to control spending.  The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over all proposed amendments to the Constitution.

In addition to serving on the House Judiciary Committee, Bob serves on the House Agriculture Committee.  He is a member of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, which is of particular importance to the Sixth District since it is one of the leading turkey and poultry producing districts in the nation.  He also serves on the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition.  Bob has served the Agriculture Committee in a variety of leadership roles including Chairman of the Agriculture Committee (2003-2007), Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee (2007-2008), Vice Chairman of the Agriculture Committee (2011-2012), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry (1997-2003), and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research (2009-2010).

During his time in Congress, Bob has made a name for himself as a leader on Internet and high-tech issues. He is Co-Chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus and the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus as well as Chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group.

Bob, age 61, is a graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, and his undergraduate degree in Government was earned at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He resides in Roanoke with his wife, Maryellen.  He and Maryellen have been married since 1974 and have two adult children, Jennifer and Rob.


Serving With

Rob Wittman

VIRGINIA's 1st DISTRICT

Scott Rigell

VIRGINIA's 2nd DISTRICT

J. Randy Forbes

VIRGINIA's 4th DISTRICT

Robert Hurt

VIRGINIA's 5th DISTRICT

Morgan Griffith

VIRGINIA's 9th DISTRICT

Frank Wolf

VIRGINIA's 10th DISTRICT

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