Today Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) announced the formation of a new Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus featuring freshmen who would focus on immigration enforcement. Barletta also introduced new legislation cracking down on sanctuary cities — that is, cities that as a matter of policy shield their illegal residents from immigration law enforcement.
“The elected officials of more than a hundred American cities — including some of our largest cities in the country — willfully ignore federal immigration policy by declaring themselves ‘sanctuary cities,'” Barletta said. “Local elected officials who choose to ignore enforcement of federal immigration policy are aiding and assisting illegal aliens, and it is illegal to aid and abet those who are in this country illegally. They should not receive millions or even billions in tax dollars as a reward.” Barletta’s bill would revoke their federal funding. He has asked the Congressional Research Service to compile a comprehensive list of sanctuary cities and the federal dollars they receive.
Tom Tancredo founded a Congressional Immigration Caucus in the 1990s, which he chaired until the Colorado Republican did not run for reelection in 2008. The caucus was chaired by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) in the last Congress. Barletta’s spokesman told me this was a new entity that will be chaired by the Pennsylvania Republican. “I’m putting together a group of freshman members to address the problem of illegal immigration in this country,” Barletta said, according to a statement. “I’m optimistic that other new members of Congress who are concerned about our flawed immigration system will join this caucus so we can devise some real solutions.” Barletta became known for fighting illegal immigration while mayor of Hazelton, PA.