Municipalities that do not enforce existing federal immigration laws are putting their federal funding in jeopardy, according to an amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, and passed by the House Thursday evening.
Barletta said the amendment merely requires municipalities to uphold existing federal immigration law --the bipartisan Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which very clearly says that no local government entity or official may prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, Immigration and Customs Enforcement information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of any individual. The law was passed by Congress and signed by the president in 1996.
"Every day, in dozens of cities across America, elected officials break that law. And millions of illegal aliens benefit from this lack of enforcement. They benefit by taking jobs from American citizens and legal immigrants. They benefit by using taxpayer-funded benefits," Rep. Barletta said. "Mind you, the federal government is not asking these cities to do anything extraordinary. The government is not asking cities to implement a radical new law. The federal government is merely asking these cities to obey the law -- a law that has been on the books for 16 years."
Rep. Barletta's amendment would prevent those municipalities from receiving federal funding in the Fiscal Year 2013 Homeland Security appropriations package. The amendment passed by voice vote and will be part of the full DHS appropriations package, which now goes to the Senate for approval.
"This amendment will prevent federal funds from being given to cities and towns that do not follow federal immigration law. It will uphold existing federal law. It will discourage the creation of a confusing national patchwork, where some cities uphold the law and others willfully ignore it. This amendment keeps us safe, and it cuts down on waste, fraud, and abuse," Rep. Barletta added.
Joining Rep. Barletta to offer this amendment were Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), and Rep. Steve King (R-IA).