Louis Barletta

Louis Barletta

PENNSYLVANIA's 11th DISTRICT

Barletta Bill Protects Legal Workers from Obama Amnesty Crush

2014/11/20

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today introduced legislation that protects people who are legally authorized to work in the United States by clarifying that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action cannot be issued work permits.  The Defense of Legal Workers Act is in response to anticipated executive action by President Obama to shield millions of illegal immigrants already present in this country and create competition for scarce American jobs. “The president has already said publicly 25 times that he doesn’t have the power to do what he is now going to do,” Barletta said.  “He’s planning to reward one illegal act with an illegal act of his own.  And he’s sticking his finger into the eyes of millions of legal residents who didn’t have a job this morning.” The Defense of Legal Workers Act amends current law to clearly state that illegal immigrants granted amnesty by executive action are not authorized to work in the United States.  It leaves in place current processes by which people become legally present and authorized to work.  “Everyone knows that when you apply for a job, you have to fill out that I-9 form and demonstrate that you’re legally eligible to work here,” Barletta said.  “The president wants to say that there are some people who just won’t have to worry about that.  That’s not fair to everyone who has followed our immigration laws and wants a job.” The Obama Administration, through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency, has made preparations for a massive influx of newly legalized residents under his amnesty program by soliciting bids for as many as 34 million green cards and work permits over the next five years.  In 2013, the United States granted permanent resident status to approximately one million individuals and approved 1.5 million requests for employment authorization.  On October 30, 2014 Barletta wrote a letter to USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez asking detailed questions about what those plans entail. “It’s obvious that the president has been planning to grant sweeping amnesty to many millions of illegal immigrants who will compete for American jobs, and the ordering of card stock to make identification cards was just laying the groundwork,” Barletta said.  “I want to make sure that the wave of amnesty grants does not swamp the millions of people who are legally here and already struggling to find work.  The timing of this makes it even worse – more competition for jobs right before Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Barletta has asked the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee to block the funding of the identification cards for illegal immigrants granted amnesty under the president’s plan.  Such an action would allow all other aspects of government to remain funded and functioning. “Congress has the power of the purse, and we ought to use it,” Barletta said.  “This isn’t about shutting down the government; it’s about stopping a bad policy proposal by stopping its funding.” Barletta also expressed concern about threats to national security in the wake of legalizing millions of people who will not be properly screened.  “We have immigration laws for two basic reasons: to preserve national security and to protect American jobs.  The actions the president is contemplating violate both of those principles,” Barletta said.  “It will be impossible for the government to conduct background checks on millions of newly legalized residents, meaning adequate security screenings will never take place.” Barletta was also critical of President Obama’s continued practice of circumventing Congress by implementing policies that have already been rejected by the people and their elected representatives. “The president himself has repeatedly said that he does not possess the power to do what he proposes to do now,” Barletta said.  “If the president had wanted this outcome so badly, he could have sailed it through Congress when his party had complete control of the federal government during his first two years in office.”  Read More

Barletta Statement on President Obama’s Expected Amnesty Action

2014/11/19

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s expected announcement of executive action to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants already present in this country:    “We have just come through a national election in which the president’s policies, including his plans for amnesty for illegal immigrants, were soundly rejected by the American people.  Incredibly, his response is to ignore the clear will of the people and their elected representatives and forge ahead with his own agenda.  Worse, the president himself has repeatedly asserted in public that he does not possess the power to do what he proposes to do now. “We are a nation, founded on the rule of law, which was never meant to be governed by the wishes or whims of one person.  If the president had wanted this outcome so badly, he could have sailed it through Congress when his party had complete control of the federal government during his first two years in office.  In the years since, the executive actions the president intends to take have been directly and expressly rejected by Congress in many votes on immigration issues.  In circumventing Congress to achieve his own short-sighted ends, President Obama will do grave damage to the Constitutional separation of powers and set a dangerous precedent for future executives of either political party. “We have immigration laws for two basic reasons: to preserve national security and to protect American jobs.  The actions the president is contemplating violate both of those principles.  It will be impossible for the government to conduct background checks on millions of newly legalized residents, meaning adequate security screenings will never take place.  Additionally, by handing out work permits to illegal immigrants, there will be irreparable harm done to millions of unemployed Americans who – just before the holidays – will suddenly find a flood of competition for jobs that are scarce already.  Further, such widespread granting of amnesty will only make the problem worse as many more will be drawn to this country in the belief they can break our immigration laws with impunity. “I reiterate my call for using the appropriations process to block funding for identification cards for illegal immigrants who are granted amnesty, while continuing to fund other functions of government.  I am also now exploring legislative remedies to prevent the president from acting without Congressional authority.  I regret that we must explore such measures to ensure that our president obeys the Constitution, but he has left us little choice.”       Read More

Barletta Supports Keystone XL Pipeline

2014/11/14

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement in support of legislation he cosponsored that would immediately authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project which has been more than six years in the works through many studies, delays and rejections from the Obama Administration.  The pipeline, which would run from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, would allow crude oil to flow all the way to the Gulf Coast.  The completion of the pipeline is expected to create tens of thousands of construction jobs in the United States and establish a reliable supply of energy.  H.R. 5682 passed the House by a vote of 252-to-161, with one member voting “present.”  It now heads to the Senate for its approval. Rep. Barletta did not cast a vote on the measure, since he is recuperating from surgery he underwent on November 3, 2014 to remove plaque from his right carotid artery.  Barletta’s intention to vote for the bill has been formally noted in the House record.  The Congressman is expected to return to Washington next week.  Barletta issued the following statement: “For more than six years, President Obama has been punting on the Keystone XL pipeline, but it is finally time to take the project across the goal line.  The pipeline has been studied endlessly and even has been cleared environmentally by the president’s own State Department – twice.  The time for inaction and political delays has come to an end.  “The Keystone XL pipeline means jobs, specifically in the Pennsylvania manufacturing industry.  It’s an important step toward energy independence and lower prices for consumers.  The environmental impact of the project has been studied to death.  There is really no reason – other than politics – to oppose the construction.  At long last, common sense should prevail.” Read More

Barletta Calls for Blocking Funding for Illegal Immigrant ID Cards

2014/11/13

Click here for a copy of the letter to the House Appropriations Committee leadership.   WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, has joined nearly 60 colleagues in the House of Representatives in asking the Appropriations Committee to prohibit funding President Obama’s intention to produce work permits and green cards for millions of illegal immigrants currently in the United States.  Various news outlets have revealed that a federal agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has solicited bids for card stock required to make as many as 34 million such identification cards in the next five years.  Barletta has signed a letter, organized by Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-5), addressed to Appropriations Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers (KY-5) and Ranking Member Rep. Nita Lowey (NY-17). “The president has openly talked about circumventing Congress and the will of the American people by using so-called ‘executive action’ to grant amnesty to millions of people who have broken our laws by entering this country,” Barletta said.  “If we are ever to address our illegal immigration problem, we must first secure our borders.  Unfortunately, since the president seems intent on bypassing the people’s representatives in Congress, we must do the only thing we can and exercise our power of the purse.” The text of the letter Barletta signed to House Appropriations Committee leadership is as follows: Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey, As the House continues to deliberate and draft appropriations legislation before the current continuing resolution expires on December 12, 2014, we write to encourage you to include language that would prohibit funding for the President’s reported intentions to create work permits and green cards for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. There are currently millions of undocumented immigrants living within our borders. Recently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a procurement request for 34 million work permits and green cards over the next five years.  President Obama has spoken publicly and privately about his intentions to use executive action to create these work permits for those who are here illegally. This would be in direct violation of U.S. law. As you know, the Congress has the power of the purse and should use it as a tool to prevent the President from implementing policies that are contrary to our laws and the desire of the American people. We respectfully request that as you work to finalize the year-end funding legislation that language be included in all relevant appropriations legislation for FY 2015 to prohibit the use of funds by the administration for the implementation of current or future executive actions that would create additional work permits and green cards outside of the scope prescribed by Congress. We thank you for your efforts with this legislation and for your consideration of this important request. On October 30, 2014, Barletta sent a different letter to Leon Rodriguez, Director of USCIS, asking a series of questions about the apparent plans to create tens of millions of identification cards for illegal immigrants.  Barletta wrote that any plans for amnesty presented a national security problem. “I am very concerned about the impact that such a rapid expansion in the number of work permits and green cards will have on national security, particularly as the Congress has not passed legislation authorizing it,” Barletta wrote in the October 30th letter.  “How will the administration conduct background checks on millions more individuals in the same amount of time while keeping the public safe?   The administration has vowed to allow unlawful immigrants to stay and work in the U.S. following the November elections.  Is this draft solicitation the first step in fulfilling the administration’s plan?” Read More

Rep. Barletta Statement on Veterans Day 2014

2014/11/10

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued the following statement regarding the observation of Tuesday, November 11, 2014 as Veterans Day in the United States of America: “It is with sincere gratitude and respect that I extend my thanks to all of those who have served the United States in our armed services.  Without the honor and selfless sacrifice of our veterans, we would not enjoy the freedoms we cherish today as American citizens. “Veterans Day is a time we set aside annually for the specific purpose of honoring those who served, though we should also take great care in acknowledging our military heroes on every other day of the year.  The holiday coincides with other days of observation – Armistice Day and Remembrance Day – which mark the anniversary of the end of World War I, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.  That ‘War to End All Wars’ did not live up to its nickname, and the unfortunate reality is that we have needed our brave men and women in the military in countless conflicts since then.  As a nation, we continue to owe them a debt we can never fully repay. “On this day, we honor our military veterans, who have by their bravery provided us with security and liberty as citizens of the greatest nation the world has ever known.” Read More

Rep. Lou Barletta Released from Hospital

2014/11/05

HERSHEY – The office of Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today announced that the Congressman was released from Penn State Hershey Medical Center this afternoon.  Barletta’s office issued the following statement, attributable to Communications Director Tim Murtaugh: “Congressman Barletta has been released from the hospital and is now resting comfortably at home in Hazleton following a medical procedure Monday night.  He is doing just fine and is fully able to continue to serve the people of the 11th District following his reelection last night. “After a scheduled test Monday morning, Congressman Barletta was advised by his doctors that he had developed a plaque buildup in his right carotid artery.  Doctors admitted Rep. Barletta to the hospital and he underwent a procedure to clear the blockage Monday night.”   Read More

Rep. Lou Barletta Undergoes Medical Procedure

2014/11/04

HERSHEY – The office of Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today released a statement regarding a medical procedure the Congressman underwent at Hershey Medical Center on Monday evening.  Barletta’s office released the following statement, attributable to Communications Director Tim Murtaugh: “Following a scheduled test, Congressman Barletta was advised by his doctor that he had developed a plaque buildup in his right carotid artery.  Doctors admitted Rep. Barletta immediately and he underwent a procedure to clear the blockage Monday night.  He is resting comfortably and plans to be released tomorrow.  He will not be participating in any Election Day activities.  This will not interfere with the duties of his office.” Read More

Barletta Demands Answers on Prep for Millions of Green Cards, Work Permits

2014/10/31

Click here to read Rep. Barletta's letter to USCIS   WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, has sent a letter to the Obama Administration demanding answers in the wake of revelations that a federal agency is making preparations to provide identification cards to as many as 34 million illegal immigrants over the next five years.  Barletta wrote to Leon Rodriguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), after news outlets reported that the agency solicited bids for card stock to make Employment Authorization Cards, or “work permits,” and Permanent Resident Cards, or “green cards.”  In the letter, Barletta points out that the issuance of work permits and green cards at the levels advertised would “represent an astounding increase in immigration,” especially if one considers that in 2013 the government admitted fewer than one million legal permanent residents and approved about 1.5 million requests for employment authorization.  Barletta expressed skepticism about the government’s ability to conduct appropriate background checks on illegal immigrants who apply for such permits.  He also made reference to the administration’s frequently-stated plans to circumvent Congress by granting amnesty to millions of people already illegally present in this country. “I am very concerned about the impact that such a rapid expansion in the number of work permits and green cards will have on national security, particularly as the Congress has not passed legislation authorizing it,” Barletta wrote.  “How will the administration conduct background checks on millions more individuals in the same amount of time while keeping the public safe?   The administration has vowed to allow unlawful immigrants to stay and work in the U.S. following the November elections.  Is this draft solicitation the first step in fulfilling the administration’s plan?” Barletta argued that the apparent amnesty plans would be an additional overreach of executive authority, resulting in a lack of oversight and a danger to national security.  Barletta claimed that the plans would add to the problems in the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, under which illegal immigrants are not deported if they claim to have arrived in the U.S. under the age of 16, have been present for five years, and are 30 years old or younger, among other criteria.  The president has enacted DACA without Congressional approval. “The administration has already demonstrated that it does not closely scrutinize such applications,” Barletta wrote.  “Just look at the president’s [DACA] program’s 97 percent application approval rate and loose documentation standards.  Taking similar steps to allow even broader classes of unlawful immigrants to stay and work in the U.S., particularly when Congress has not passed any legislation authorizing these changes or otherwise ceding the Executive Branch such power, is wrong for our national security – and wrong for our country.”   Barletta also posed a series of questions to which he wanted answers: (1) Please explain how USCIS reached the conclusion that it needs card stock for a minimum of 4 million work permits and green cards annually. (2) Please explain how USCIS reached the conclusion that it needs card stock for up to 34 million work permits and green cards over 5 years. (3) Please explain how USCIS reached the conclusion that it needs up to 9 million cards “during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”  Moreover, what is the expected duration of this “initial period,” and what do these “possible future immigration reform initiative requirements” entail? (4) Has USCIS or any of its predecessor agencies previously requested card stock for the purposes of work authorization or permanent resident cards at the levels requested in the solicitation?  If so, please list when and how many? (5) Has or will USCIS take steps to ensure that the planned increase in cards under the solicitation will not result in a delay or otherwise negatively impact the processing of applications for legal immigrants, non-immigrants, and those otherwise seeking to enter the country lawfully?  Please explain how the agency plans to manage the increased case load. (6) How does the agency plan on paying for the increase in the number of work permits and green cards?  (7) How will the administration conduct background checks on millions more individuals in the same amount of time while keeping the public safe? (8) Is this draft solicitation the first step in fulfilling the administration’s plan to allow unlawful immigrants to stay and work in the U.S. following the November elections?  Barletta noted the news media has previously uncovered Obama Administration plans for immigration action without Congressional approval. “Sadly, this is not the first time the American people have learned about changes to our immigration system through the federal procurement process,” Barletta wrote.  “Last January, the Department of Homeland Security advertised for chaperones to transport an estimated 65,000 unaccompanied alien minors to facilities throughout the country, indicating the administration knew months in advance that there would be a surge of immigrants to our borders.  Months from now, will this latest USCIS solicitation prove to be a similar warning that the administration was prepping for amnesty all along?” Read More

Barletta Statement on Capture of Eric Matthew Frein

2014/10/31

HAZLETON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding the capture of Eric Matthew Frein, the suspect in the September 12th murder of Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Bryon Dickson and wounding of Trooper Alex Douglass.  Frein had been the subject of a 48-day manhunt involving local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities. Barletta’s statement is as follows: “Forty-eight days ago, we were all horrified by the news that two Pennsylvania State Troopers were ambushed outside their barracks by a gunman who laid in wait.  Since that time, we have been eager for a conclusion to the search for the suspected attacker.  Our wait has come to an end. “This tragic episode should serve to remind all citizens of the dangerous jobs our men and women of law enforcement courageously volunteer for each day.  They put their lives on the line to protect us daily, and for that we should remain always grateful. “I commend the fine professionals of the law enforcement community for their tireless efforts in apprehending their suspect.  Governor Corbett’s steady leadership during this difficult period has also been invaluable.  Additionally, I find it particularly fitting that the officers on the scene reportedly used Cpl. Dickson’s handcuffs to take Frein into custody, representing one final arrest for their fallen comrade. “My thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of Cpl. Dickson and with Trooper Douglass as he recovers.  I also thank the people of our region for their composure and assistance during the exhaustive search. “Now that the accused has been taken into custody, may justice now be done.” Read More

Barletta: Obama Administration Misled Congress on Release of Criminal Illegal Immigrants

2014/10/24

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today issued a statement regarding news reports that the Obama Administration directly misled Congress and the general public about the criminal backgrounds of 2,200 illegal immigrants released from detention last year.  USA Today has reported that despite assurances otherwise from the administration, many of the released criminals had faced serious charges, including homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and drug trafficking. Administration officials repeatedly asserted that those released were non-violent, and in one email obtained by USA Today plainly stated, “The detainees who’ve been released can be characterized as non-criminals and other low risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories that would subject them to mandatory detention.  Detainees with serious criminal histories are a detention priority and have not been released.”  That statement is demonstrably false, according to USA Today’s report. In May, Barletta expressed concern about the mass release of 36,000 illegal immigrants, which included the 2,200 in question, by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).  Those included 116 who had been convicted of homicide, 43 who were convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and one who was convicted of a crime classified by ICE as “homicide-willful kill-public official-gun.” Barletta has been critical of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, under which illegal immigrants are not deported if they claim to have entered the U.S. under the age of 16, have been present for five years, and are 30 years old or younger, among other qualifications.  The Congressman also has highlighted his concerns about the president’s plans to grant sweeping amnesty after November’s elections without Congressional approval.    Barletta’s statement is as follows: “There can be no rational excuse for the complete disregard for public safety displayed by the release of these violent offenders, who were already in custody and already had violated our immigration laws.  To release dangerous criminals, and then deny having done so, either indicates incomprehensible incompetence or willful dishonesty. “This is yet another example of the president’s contempt for our immigration laws and public safety.  His DACA program is an end-run around Congress to grant amnesty, as is his recently-unmasked plan to grant legal status to 34 million more illegal immigrants.  His actions indicate that he cares little for the security of our borders, and who is and who is not legally present. “As the citizens of the United States worry about the Ebola virus crossing oceans, terrorists setting their sights on our homeland, and jobs being occupied by millions of newly-legalized residents, the president continues to hold the door open for further abuse of our laws.  His entire record on immigration issues amounts to a massive national security risk.  This latest news about the release of criminal detainees leaves me severely disappointed, but sadly, not surprised.” Read More

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Contact Information

115 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6511
Fax 202-225-0764
barletta.house.gov

Representative Louis J. Barletta proudly represents his hometown of Hazleton and the people of Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. He began his second term on January 3, 2013.

Representative Barletta was first sworn in on January 5, 2011. He immediately started serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which plays a critical role in the economic development of and job growth in Northeastern and South Central Pennsylvania, and the Education and Workforce Committee, which focuses on how our nation can improve its educational system so we have competitive, qualified workers in the future.

He remains on these committees during his second term in office.  Additionally, Rep. Barletta was appointed Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Also for his second term, Rep. Barletta was assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security, which was established in 2002 to provide congressional oversight for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and better protect the American people against a possible terrorist attack. The committee has jurisdiction over Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), and the U.S. Coast Guard; border security programs including efforts to achieve operational control of the border; and border smuggling and trafficking of drugs, humans, currency, weapons and other illicit materials. The committee also has jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), counterterrorism efforts, cybersecurity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport security, and more.

Illegal immigration is a very important subject for Representative Barletta, who first tackled the problem when he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Lou Barletta was the first mayor in the country to introduce and sign into law local ordinances cracking down against businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. He has since become a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration.

During his first term in Congress, Representative Barletta formed the 112th Class Immigration Reform Caucus, which brings together members of the historic 2011-12 “freshmen” class. Representative Barletta chairs this caucus as it examines solutions to the country’s illegal immigration problems.

Also during his first term, Representative Barletta used his position on the Small Business Committee to fight to reduce the interest rate charged on certain Small Business Administration disaster recovery loans after massive flooding devastated the 11th District in September 2011.

Born and raised in Hazleton, Representative Barletta majored in elementary education as a student at Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University). He left school to try out for a Major League Baseball team, but was released when the team’s management discovered he couldn’t hit a curve ball.

After he returned to Northeastern Pennsylvania, he and his wife Mary Grace started a business together. For $29.95, the Barlettas formed a line-painting business. Through hard work and perseverance, they grew that business into the largest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within five years. They eventually grew it to be the sixth-largest business of its kind in the entire nation.

As a small business owner, Representative Barletta saw how government regulation and taxes could affect the bottom line. Even though he had very little interest in politics, he decided to run for a slot on Hazleton City Council. He was first elected to council in 1998, then was elected mayor in 2000.

Despite inheriting a massive budget shortfall, he was able to turn around the City of Hazleton with tough, fiscally responsible decisions. This turnaround earned statewide praise and recognition.

In addition, his leadership on the issue of illegal immigration in Hazleton garnered national attention. By ever-increasing margins of victory, Representative Barletta was elected mayor three times.

In September 2004, Representative Barletta was appointed by the White House to serve on the United Nation Advisory Committee of Local Authorities as the representative of the United States of America.

In November 2010, Representative Barletta was elected to Congress on his third attempt. He was re-elected in November 2012.

Lou and Mary Grace are the parents of four daughters: Kelly, April, Lindsey, and Grace. They also have one grandson, Gabriel Louis; and one granddaughter, Madeleine Grace.


Serving With

Mike Kelly

PENNSYLVANIA's 3rd DISTRICT

Scott Perry

PENNSYLVANIA's 4th DISTRICT

Glenn Thompson

PENNSYLVANIA's 5th DISTRICT

Jim Gerlach

PENNSYLVANIA's 6th DISTRICT

Patrick Meehan

PENNSYLVANIA's 7th DISTRICT

Mike Fitzpatrick

PENNSYLVANIA's 8th DISTRICT

Bill Shuster

PENNSYLVANIA's 9th DISTRICT

Tom Marino

PENNSYLVANIA's 10th DISTRICT

Keith Rothfus

PENNSYLVANIA's 12th DISTRICT

Charlie Dent

PENNSYLVANIA's 15th DISTRICT

Joe Pitts

PENNSYLVANIA's 16th DISTRICT

Tim Murphy

PENNSYLVANIA's 18th DISTRICT

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