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US House

A Closer Look
at Immigration Issues...

To aid constituents seeking to dig deeper into their representative's stands on major immigration issues, this page provides additional detail on four key House votes from 2017-2018, including pro-and-con quotes from floor debate that put a focus on partisan and ideological differences in this policy area.
1. Denying Federal Grants to 'Sanctuary Cities'
(Votes lookup at Roll Call #342)

Voting 228 for and 195 against, the House on June 29, 2017, passed a GOP-sponsored bill (HR 3003) that would deny law-enforcement and anti-terrorism grants to so-called sanctuary cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Critics say these cities are legally required to comply with federal requests that they help locate and detain undocumented immigrants. But the cities say that to do so would undercut community policing efforts that depend on developing rapport with immigrant populations. There are more than 400 sanctuary cities nationwide.

Supporter Steve Chabot, R-Ohio:
The bill would "strengthen our nation's immigration laws, hold sanctuary cities accountable and enhance public safety by requiring detention of criminal aliens."
Opponent Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.:
The bill "is about telling communities how to police themselves and protect their people. It says: `We here in D.C. know better than you do, local police across the United States."
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it failed.
2. Allowing Debate on Democratic Dreamers' Bill
(Votes lookup at Roll Call #281)

Voting 191 for and 234 against, the House on June 21, 2018, defeated a motion to replace HR 4760, a Republican bill then in debate, with a Democratic version that would grant permanent legal status and a path to citizenship to up to 2 million so-called dreamers who were brought illegally to the United States as children and faced potential deportation by the Trump administration. Democrats offered their measure (HR 3440) in place of GOP provisions that would give up to 690,000 dreamers a legal status short of citizenship they would have to renew every three years or risk deportation.

Supporter Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.:
The GOP bill needs to be replaced because it "prioritizes billions upon billions on a wasteful wall, cuts legal immigration and ends our obligation to protect dreamers....putting Trump's anti-immigrant demands above moral decency...and the will of the American people."
Opponent Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.:
The Democratic replacement disregards "the surge of people at the border of our country. It does nothing to create a new border security wall and fencing system...and [put] judges in courtrooms to process the huge number -- the 600,000 backlog -- of amnesty cases that we have."
A yes vote was to advance the Democrats' dreamers bill over a more restrictive GOP treatment of dreamers.
3. Supporting Republican Immigration Bill
(Votes lookup at Roll Call #282)

By a vote of 193 for and 231 against, the House on June 21, 2018, rejected a bill (HR 4760) overhauling U.S. immigration laws that drew support from most Republicans who voted, but unanimous Democratic opposition because it failed to provide a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants known as dreamers.

The measure would authorize $24.8 billion over five years for tighter security on the border with Mexico, including construction of walls or other barriers, while enabling nearly 700,000 dreamers to remain in the United States indefinitely if they renewed their legal status every three years. The bill would also tighten standards for granting asylum; limit visas for family members of legal immigrants; terminate a lottery system that awarded more than 50,000 visas annually; require employers to use the government's online system to verify the legal status of prospective employees and restructure the visa program for agricultural workers. The border patrol would be beefedup and hundreds of sanctuary cities, which decline to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, could be denied federal law enforcement and anti-terrorism grants.
Supporter Raul Labrador, R-Idaho:
The bill "provides the tools needed to enforce our immigration laws, secure our borders and begin the process of reforming our legal immigration system," while targeting "criminal gangs, dangerous aliens and the sanctuary policies that allow public safety threats to thrive" and closing "loopholes that have allowed fraud to destroy the integrity of our asylum system."
Opponent Jim McGovern, D-Mass.:
"As our nation is haunted by images of children being ripped from their parents' arms and by sounds of their cries, Speaker (Paul) Ryan decides this is the time to bring two of the most hateful, bigoted anti-immigrant pieces of legislation I have ever seen to the House floor....Republicans should hide their faces in shame."
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it failed.
4. Building Border Wall, Accepting Dreamers
(Votes lookup at Roll Call #297)

Voting 121 for and 301 against, the House on June 27, 2018, defeated an immigration bill (HR 6136) backed by the GOP leadership and President Trump but opposed by nearly half of the Republican caucus and all Democrats who voted. The measure would authorize nearly $25 billion over five years for U.S.-Mexico border security improvements including a wall and $7 billion for facilities to hold immigrant families pending adjudication of their status. The bill also offered a lengthy path to legal status and possibly citizenship for up to 1.8 million of the so-called dreamers brought illegally to the United States as children. In addition, it would introduce merit-based immigration based on factors such as education and job skills; terminate a lottery providing about 50,000 visas annually to immigrants from certain countries; limit the ability of legal immigrants to secure visas for family members; restrict asylum access; combat visa overstays; withhold federal grants from sanctuary cities that decline to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement and require most parents and children apprehended at the border to be held without separation in federal custody.

The relief for dreamers would apply as long as wall funding continued to flow. Persons who could prove they were under 16 years of age when entering the United States; were residents on June 15, 2007; had been in the country continuously for six years; had a high school diploma or were attending school, and had a clean criminal record would get six-year, indefinitely renewable legal status and could pursue citizenship in a process taking as long as 23 years.
Supporter Karen Handel, R-Ga.:
The bill is "a commonsense measure that addresses many aspects of our broken immigration system. It will end the lawlessness at the U.S.-Mexico border while also providing thoughtful and compassionate solutions to protect children at the border."
Opponent Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.:
"Nothing in the bill actually prohibits family separation or limits criminal prosecutions. And the bill requires the long-term detention of families and children while actually removing requirements that detention facilities be safe, sanitary and appropriate for children."
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it failed.
Copyright 2019, Thomas Voting Reports, Inc.