Rep. Huffman Statement on H.R. 3004
Washington, D.C.- Today, Rep. Huffman (D-San Rafael) issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 3004.
“H.R. 3004 is the latest disappointing example of President Trump’s cruel effort, abetted by the Republican Congress, to exploit personal tragedy and scapegoat immigrants and their families without addressing the real challenges our country faces. Like everyone, I was appalled by Kate Steinle’s murder and I feel profound sympathy for her family. But nothing in this bill would have prevented Kate’s death, nor is there evidence that the bill’s extreme mandatory sentencing provisions would deter violent criminals from entering the country. The main impact of the bill would be to target and impose long prison terms on immigrants who cross the border to be reunited with their families. This bill would separate families and fan the flames of anti-immigrant rhetoric, without making our communities any safer.
“The truth is Congress should do far more to fix our broken immigration system and should be acting to protect all Americans from violent crime, not just when a perpetrator is an undocumented immigrant and the case can be exploited to advance an anti-immigrant agenda. President Trump and the GOP Congress should give the same consideration to every family affected by senseless violence, including the families and survivors of Newtown, Orlando, San Bernardino, Aurora, and other horrific mass shootings. Let’s make every community in America safer.”
The bill approved by the House today:
- Would Ensnare Non-Criminals, Including Asylum-seekers: It enhances criminal sentences for individuals with multiple prior removal orders, and it allows for the first time the prosecution of any previously removed individual who voluntarily presents herself at the border to seek asylum or other form of admission. This is true whether or not the individual has any criminal record.
- Will Not Deter Illegal Re-entries: In 2005, the Border Patrol implemented Operation Streamline, which increased criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and re-entry. Operation Streamline was designed to reduce recidivism, but there is no evidence that it has been effective. Under current law, immigrants who enter the country illegally (or attempt to do so) after removal can already be prosecuted and convicted for multiple years.
- Potentially Result in Mass Arrests across the entire U.S.: Nothing in this bill limits prosecutions to the border region. Anyone with an applicable history of re-entries could be prosecuted in the interior of the country, and the bill absurdly authorizes the prosecution of individuals despite their having permission to re-enter the United States. An expansion of this illegal re-entry statute could have drastic consequences: thousands of immigrants, many of them non-criminals, could be apprehended and jailed for decades.