If the Republicans take over of the House of Representatives, liberal immigration policies are likely to be stopped dead in their tracks as strong conservatives take over key positions on the Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is poised to take over the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee. Smith is a strong voice for conservative immigration reform, supporting national Arizona-type immigration laws, implementing a mandatory verification program, and revisiting the question of birthright citizenship.
Smith pushed an illegal immigration reform bill in 1996, only to see key provisions on employee screening shot down by GOP House leadership. He continues to support a national employee verification system, and has tried repeatedly to get it passed. Smith is unhappy with the Obama administration’s failure to enforce immigration and deportation laws, and would use his position as committee chair to hold oversight hearings and seek greater enforcement of the law.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), one of the strongest critics of illegal immigration in Congress, would also be poised to become chair of the immigration subcommittee. King has made clear what his position is on immigration issues; a birthright citizenship bill, legislation to reaffirm states’ right to enact Arizona-like immigration laws, a bill to take away deductions from employers who pay illegal immigrants, and legislation to crack down on cities that don’t enforce the law against illegal residents.
It is well past time for our immigration laws to be fully enforced, not selectively followed to appease special interests. However, a push for tougher enforcement of immigration laws would likely increase pressure from liberal activists on the lame duck Democrat Congress to try to get some type of immigration reform passed following the election. It is important for conservatives to remain vigilant following to election to ensure that outgoing incumbents do not sneak these measures past the public.