The federal government has sued states that have enacted laws cracking down on illegal immigration, but an amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, and U.S. Rep. Diane Black, TN-6, and passed by the House early Wednesday means federal tax dollars will not be used to fund those lawsuits moving forward.
The Black-Barletta Amendment says that "None of the funds made available by this [appropriations bill] may be used by the Attorney General to participate in any lawsuit that seeks to overturn, enjoin, or in any other way invalidate" anti-illegal-immigration laws passed by Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Utah, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Indiana.
"The federal government creates the illegal immigration problem through decades of inaction, lax enforcement, and looking the other way. States step in to protect the jobs of their residents, the balance in their budgets, and the safety of their residents. Then the federal government turns around and sues the states -- and they use taxpayer dollars to do it. It's ridiculous and it's unfair," Rep. Barletta said. "Instead of using tax dollars to sue states, the Department of Justice and other branches of this government should start focusing on enforcing existing immigration laws. Until they do, the Department of Justice should not receive one federal tax dollar to sue states."
The amendment was offered by Reps. Barletta and Black as part of an appropriations package for the Department of Justice. It passed by a bipartisan vote, 238-173, Wednesday morning and will be included in the final measure drafted by the House.