Tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing entitled “Interior Immigration Enforcement Legislation” at 1pm in 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will focus on damaging immigration bills that were introduced last Congress, including the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, and the Protection of Children Act.
The SAFE Act, which delegates the enforcement of our national immigration laws to state and local law enforcement agencies, would make seeking asylum in the United States more difficult by expanding terrorism definitions and detention policies that are already too broad. Both the Protection of Children Act and the Asylum Reform and the Border Protection Act amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA) so that unaccompanied children seeking refuge in the U.S. from violence in the Northern Triangle can be deported easily and quickly by the U.S. government. These bills undermine laws designed to identify and prevent human trafficking and send children fleeing widespread gang violence back to countries where they face very real risks of physical and sexual violence, and even death.
The bills being discussed during tomorrow’s committee have yet to be introduced this session and it is unclear what the goal of the hearing is, aside from protesting the Administration’s November 2014 executive action on immigration.
HIAS submitted written testimony for the hearing as well as a letter from October 2013 signed by 32 national and local Jewish organizations opposing the SAFE Act, which “undermines our nation’s legal obligations to refugees and would cause unnecessary hardship for those who seek and those who have already proved they are legitimate refugees and have received protection in the U.S.”