Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) today was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas.
"The House Judiciary Committee is often referred to as the guardian of the Constitution," Smith said. "Our members have a solemn a duty to protect the principles of liberty, equality and justice for all Americans. Our work begins in the subcommittees. Our new chairmen will promote policies that protect jobs and keep America's neighborhoods safe from crime."
"Chairman Smith and I have worked together on immigration issues for many years," Gallegly said. "I appreciate the opportunity he has given me to step up congressional efforts to remove illegal immigrants from the workforce and to protect American jobs for those with a legal right to work in the United States."
To that end, the first two subcommittee hearings will focus on oversight of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite enforcement and the E-Verify employment screening program.
"We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. Most of my district casework concerns helping legal immigrants. Like our ancestors, immigrants who come here legally want to be American citizens, with all the responsibilities that go with it. It is unfair to those who put in the time and effort to immigrate here legally to allow illegal immigrants to break in through the back door.
"The answer to illegal immigration is fairly simple. First, we must enforce our laws and secure the border. Second, we must remove the magnets that encourage illegal immigration. Finally, we must remove the benefits that make it easy for them to stay.
"I look forward to working with my committee colleagues from both sides of the aisle to find solutions to the illegal immigration problem. Like Chairman Smith, I am committed to fair and reasonable oversight of the Obama administration to ensure federal agencies are responsive to the American people."
Gallegly has fought illegal immigration since his early days in Congress. His leadership on the issue landed him the chairmanship of the 1995 Congressional Task Force on Immigration Reform. After conducting hearings and fact-finding trips across the United States, Gallegly's Task Force published a 200-plus page report with more than 80 specific recommendations. Most of those recommendations became law the following year.
One of Gallegly's recommendations that became law was the Basic Pilot Program, which has evolved into E-Verify, a free, easy-to-use and accurate computerized system used to verify the citizenship status of employees. Although some states require employers to use the system, federal law makes the system voluntary. Making it universally mandatory would ease the cumbersome and easily manipulated I-9 process employers now use to screen employees. It would also greatly reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the American workforce.
One proposal Gallegly will not support is any kind of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Amnesty encourages illegal immigration, making it even more difficult to secure America's borders and putting a huge strain on the U.S. economy, health care and educational systems.
Gallegly's efforts against illegal immigration earned him recognition in 2006 as one of the Top Ten Illegal Immigration Hawks in Congress and induction into the U.S. Border Control Hall of Fame.