mostlycloudy
Saturday August 1st, 2015 1:50AM

House committee takes up immigration bill

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A key committee in the Republican-led House has taken up an enforcement-focused immigration bill, but the proceedings were immediately interrupted by protesters shouting "Shame, shame!"

More than a dozen protesters began chanting as soon as Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia gaveled the committee hearing open Tuesday.

Goodlatte stopped the proceedings until the protesters were ushered into the hall, where their shouts could still be heard.

Goodlatte said the bill under consideration, which empowers local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws and makes visa fraud into a deportable felony, is needed to ensure enforcement of the law.

Democrats called it a dangerous approach.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A key committee in the Republican-led House is preparing to cast its first votes on immigration this year, on a tough enforcement-focused measure that Democrats and immigrant groups are protesting loudly.

Meanwhile in the Senate, a Republican lawmaker is floating a compromise border security proposal he hopes can win over support for sweeping immigration legislation under consideration there.

The House enforcement bill, by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., would empower state and local officials to enforce federal immigration laws, make passport and visa fraud into aggravated felonies subject to deportation, funnel money into building more detention centers, and crack down on immigrants suspected of posing dangers.

Gowdy said the measure, which the House Judiciary Committee takes up Tuesday, would ensure enforcement of immigration laws he accused the Obama administration of ignoring, and offer the promise of real security.

"Nothing undercuts the fabric of this republic like people picking and choosing which laws they're going to enforce, when they're going to do it, when it's politically opportune for them not to do it," Gowdy said at a recent hearing on his bill, the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act. Of local law enforcement, he said, "If you're good enough to do homicide cases then I trust you to do immigration cases."

Democrats and immigrant groups said Gowdy's legislation represents bad policy and bad politics by House Republicans at a moment when the Senate is considering a comprehensive bill including a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants here illegally.

"A piece of legislation to put a bull's-eye on the forehead of every Latino in America is just wrongheaded, is the most diplomatic way to describe it," said Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. "Boy, is this disheartening to see."

The move by the House committee comes less than two weeks after the full House voted to overturn President Barack Obama's 2012 election-year order to stop deportations of many immigrants brought here illegally as youths.

Together the two moves show the challenges ahead in getting a comprehensive immigration bill through Congress this year, as Obama wants. For many House conservatives, the priorities when it comes to immigration remain enforcing the laws and securing the border, not allowing the millions here illegally to gain legal status or citizenship.

Border security also is at issue in the Democratic-led Senate, where senators have been jousting over how to strengthen the provisions in a far-reaching bill being considered on the floor this week to remake the nation's immigration laws. At the heart of the bill is a 13-year path to citizenship for people now here illegally, but it is contingent on certain border security goals being met.

Republican critics say those "triggers" are too weak and have been demanding amendments to strengthen them. The Senate planned to vote Tuesday on an amendment by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., requiring 700 miles of double-layered border fencing before anyone here illegally could get a permanent resident green card.

A more far-reaching proposal by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has been getting attention, but Democrats and some Republicans have dismissed it as a "poison pill" because it would require 90 percent of people attempting to cross the border to be stopped before anyone here illegally could get a permanent resident green card.

The underlying bill also has the 90 percent figure as a goal, but doesn't make the path to citizenship directly contingent on achieving it.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., told The Associated Press Monday night that he has been working on an alternative with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and others. Hoeven said his proposal also would require the 90 percent apprehension rate to be met before immigrants could get green cards. But he said his plan, unlike Cornyn's amendment, would make the 90 percent rate objective and achievable by specifying all the equipment and technology the border patrol says it needs to achieve the rate in each of the nine southwest border sectors, and carefully tracking attempted crossings.

Hoeven said he hoped to unveil his amendment in the next day or two and said it could garner the support needed to get bipartisan support for the immigration bill.

"Our effort is to get good legislation that truly secures the border," Hoeven said. "That people feel it's fair and it's not amnesty ... so we can get really a bipartisan consensus."

However, Hoeven's amendment could encounter skepticism from immigrant groups and Democrats who want to be sure that the bill doesn't change in a way that makes the path to citizenship harder to achieve.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 1 year ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Judge blocks release of recordings by anti-abortion group
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge on Friday blocked the release of any recordings made at meetings of an abortion providers' association by an anti-abortion group that previously revealed secretly...
10:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
Dozens of Clinton emails censored for security reasons
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dozens of emails that traversed Hillary Clinton's private, unsecure home server contain national security information now deemed too sensitive to make public, according to the latest...
5:54PM ( 7 hours ago )
Not guilty plea in federal court for church shooting suspect
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The white man accused of gunning down nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston wants to plead guilty to 33 federal charges, but his lawyer said in court Friday that he...
2:30PM ( 11 hours ago )
Back to Beijing for 2nd Olympics in 14 years
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Throughout more than 120 years of Olympic history, no city has hosted both the winter and summer games. Now, Beijing will be the first do it — and in the span of just 14...
10:11AM ( 15 hours ago )
US paychecks grow at record-slow pace in 2nd quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wages and benefits grew in the spring at the slowest pace in 33 years, stark evidence that stronger hiring isn't lifting paychecks much for most Americans. The slowdown also lik...
9:19AM ( 16 hours ago )