WASHINGTON — An Idaho congressman’s bill to make it easier to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants made it out of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.
The Davis-Oliver Act, which is named after California Detective Michael Davis Jr. and sheriff’s deputy Danny Oliver, who were murdered by an undocumented immigrant, passed committee on a party-line 19-13 vote.
“The Davis-Oliver Act is a first and necessary step to modernize a broken immigration system,” said U.S. Rep. Rauil Labrador, R-Idaho, who co-sponsored the bill along with committee Chairman Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte. “We need to give law enforcement at all levels the tools and resources they need to keep America safe and secure, and the Davis-Oliver Act does that. While other immigration reforms are needed, my bill is vital to a long-term fix.”
The bill, versions of which were also introduced in the 2015 Congress, would make sweeping changes to immigration enforcement, including taking away some federal grants from local governments that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities and letting the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in “sanctuary” jurisdictions sue the municipality.
It would let states and local governments both help enforce immigration laws and enact immigration laws of their own as long as they don’t conflict with federal ones, and it would make it a misdemeanor to be in the country illegally — being here without documentation is currently a civil violation, not a criminal one. It would also tighten up the visa issuance process and expand the circumstances where authorities can detain or deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes.
The bill would fulfill much of President Donald Trump’s agenda to crack down on illegal immigration, and Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has listed its passage as one of his priorities. Democrats on the committee, who over the days of debate offered numerous amendments the Republican majority shot down, referred to the bill repeatedly as “Trump’s mass deportation act.”
It now goes to the full House, where leadership will decide whether or when it gets a vote.