Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of being irresponsible as the House Judiciary Committee met Tuesday to amend a bill on immigration reform, which focuses on strengthening enforcement of federal immigration law. (SHFWire photo by Deanna Del Ciello)
“This bill is heavy-handed and irresponsible. It is so extreme and heinous that this committee can do nothing but reject this bill.”
— Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.
Deanna Del Ciello
Scripps Howard Foundation Wire
WASHINGTON – Debate over immigration reform took a contentious turn Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats accused each other of being irresponsible, and protesters shouted for reform before being taken out of the room.
The scene was the first meeting of the House Judiciary Committee to “mark up” or amend a bill to get it ready for a vote
Spectators don graduation robes as they watch the proceedings of the House Judiciary Committee’s first meeting to amend an immigration bill. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., told them that if they wanted to stay in the room, they should remain silent. (SHFWire photo by Deanna Del Ciello)
in the House. Markup sessions are usually dull affairs, but that was not the case in a hearing that lasted all day, with recesses so committee members could go to the House floor to vote on other matters.
The bill, commonly referred to as the SAFE Act, focuses on strengthening the enforcement of federal immigration law, which committee Republicans cite as the cause of the broken immigration system. They would give state and local governments the ability to enforce the laws.
The bill would expand the definition of criminal activity that allows people to be deported to include drunk driving, manslaughter and rape. Currently, the law states that crimes such as theft, violence, fraud and prostitution are grounds for deportation.