Washington - Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) voted today for three major
pieces of legislation to help increase border security and crack down on illegal immigration. The three bills, which all passed the U.S. House of Representatives, were developed after House Republicans held more than 20 field hearings in the months of July and August to examine the issue of border security and identify ways to improve our nation's current immigration system. The three bills passed by the House were the Community Protection Act of 2006, the Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006, and the Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2006.
"These three bills can make an immediate impact in securing our borders and securing our nation," said McKeon. "Through increased enforcement efforts along our borders, we have seen a sizeable decrease in the number of illegal immigrants crossing our borders over the past several months, but there is more work to be done. By passing these bills, Congress is taking the next important step in ensuring that our nation and its borders are secure."
The three bills are:
H.R. 6094, the Community Protection Act of 2006
The Community Protection Act ensures that dangerous illegal immigrants who cannot be deported, cannot likewise be released into society. Many illegal immigrants being detained by the Department of Homeland Security are unable to be deported for a variety of reasons. Yet under current law, DHS cannot detain these illegal immigrants for more than six months, even if the individual has committed a violent crime or represents a threat to national security. This legislation allows such illegal immigrants to be detained for periods of six months at a time, and then allows for the period of detention to be renewed. It also provides for judicial review. It also allows the Department of Homeland Security to use the same expedited procedures available for the removal of aggravated felons to remove other criminal aliens who are not permanent residents and are otherwise ineligible for relief.
H.R. 6095, the Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006
The Immigration Law Enforcement Act reaffirms the inherent authority of state and local law enforcement to voluntarily investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, and transfer to federal custody illegal immigrants. The bill also authorizes an increase in the number of attorneys to prosecute alien smuggling cases, and expresses Congress' sense that the attorney general should establish uniform guidelines for the prosecution of alien smugglers. In addition, the measure helps close loopholes that have hurt the Department of Homeland Security's ability to enforce immigration laws. H.R. 4830, the Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2006
The Border Tunnel Prevention Act enacts criminal penalties of up to 20 years' imprisonment for individuals who knowingly construct or finance the construction of an unauthorized tunnel across a U.S. international border. In addition, individuals who recklessly permit the construction of such a tunnel on their own property are subject to imprisonment of up to 10 years. Individuals caught using such a tunnel to smuggle aliens, contraband, drugs, weapons, or terrorists are subject to twice the penalty that would have
otherwise been imposed.