Bekesha PA Statement 8302011
Number of Pages:4
Date Created:August 30, 2011
Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014
Autogenerated text from PDF
Opening Statement Michael Bekesha Judicial Watch, Inc. Public Hearing the House State Government Committee the National Security Begins Home Legislative Package Good Morning. Im Michael Bekesha, attorney Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch Washington, D.C.-based public interest group dedicated promoting transparency, integrity, and accountability government, politics, and the law. Thank you Chairman Metcalfe for inviting here today. honor for me, behalf Judicial Watch, appear before this Committee. you know, the illegal alien problem important issue, not only Pennsylvania, but around the country. The adverse effects illegal immigration can seen almost everywhere. areas touching illegal immigration, Judicial Watch advances its mission through education, investigations and when necessary, litigation. educate Americans about the problems associated with illegal immigration. investigate and uncover how the government fails enforce the law disobeys it, and court try enforce and defend the strong enforcement our nations immigration laws and states authority police within its borders. Regardless what you may have read heard, the immigration debate not abating. There continues vast disconnect between everyday Americans and the federal government. For example, Judicial Watch conducted Election Day poll actual voters partnership with The Polling Company. asked question relevant the recent debate over Arizonas 1070. The poll asked voters whether local law enforcement officers should more involved, less involved, involved they are now areas touching upon immigration. impressive 53% voters thought local law enforcement should more involved, and 26% were the opinion that local police should involved they are. other words, more than 75% the respondents urged local officers either maintain increase their level involvement addressing illegal immigration. Incredibly, only 15% voters thought local police should less involved protecting its citizens from the effects illegal immigration. Although Americans overwhelmingly want the rule law enforced, the federal government continues look for ways avoid enforcing the law. Moreover, and more startlingly, the federal government has taken the rare action suing two states Arizona and Alabama for seeking assist the federal government enforcement and regulate activity within its borders. other words, the federal government proactively preventing states from policing within its borders and protecting its citizens. With respect Arizona, Judicial Watch currently represents the Arizona State Legislature its effort defend 1070, the latest series law enforcement provisions enacted the Arizona State Legislature under its well-recognized police powers. Since 2002, the Arizona State Legislature has enacted various initiatives ensure the safety its citizens. They include: denying bond illegal aliens who commits serious crime Arizona; preventing illegal aliens who sue American citizen from receiving punitive damages; requiring individuals produce proof citizenship before they may register vote; and finally, and most significantly, 1070, which codifies Arizona law certain already existing enforcement provisions federal law. And its efforts have overwhelmingly succeeded. According the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, the organization that represents the rank-and-file police officers Phoenix, violent and property crimes decreased 20-year low 2009. Similarly, arrests Phoenix have dropped over 10% from 2009 2010. Although city hall will not recognize the effect the legislative initiatives crime rates, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association has doubts: the various law enforcement provisions enacted the Arizona State Legislature have worked. And pleased here today support this Committees efforts protect the citizens this Commonwealth from the adverse effects illegal immigration. First, let reiterate why are here today. are here because the federal government has decided not enforce the law. you all are probably well aware, recently, the Supreme Court decided favor the state Arizona legal challenge its E-Verify Law. During oral argument that case, Justice Scalia commented that nobody would [have thought] that the Federal Government would not enforce [immigration laws]. course, one would have expected that. States, such Pennsylvania, have choice but enact legislation designed minimize the adverse effects the federal governments lack enforcement. Everyone knows that proactive legislation works. clear Arizona. And, neither the federal government nor the interest groups challenging the various laws around the country claim that the laws not protect the public from additional lawlessness. The only issue whether specific state law preempted federal law. Contrary public perception, not every law related aliens preempted federal law. Only state laws that regulate immigration are facto preempted federal law. Almost years ago, the Supreme Court made clear that the mere fact that aliens are the subject state statute does not render regulation immigration. And, importantly, only the determination who should should not admitted into the country, and the conditions under which that person may remain, the regulation immigration. Therefore, long states not impair interfere with the federal governments enforcement activity (if chose enforce the law), states have the authority legislate areas touching immigration. The National Security Begins Home legislative package does not impose new restrictions the manner which alien enters the country. Nor does create any new requirements for such individuals remain the country. certainly does not impose new conditions under which legal entrant may remain the country. The various pieces legislation before this Committee today simply codify already existing enforcement provisions federal law. And, once again, according the Supreme Court, states have authority act with respect illegal aliens where such action mirrors federal objectives and furthers legitimate state goal. Now let address several the proposed initiatives before the Committee today and explain how they not only mirror federal objectives but also further legitimate state goal. House Bill does more than mirror federal objectives and furthers legitimate state goal. Under federal law U.S.C. 1621, illegal aliens are not eligible for state local public benefits. therefore simply codifies this federal provision and requires individuals who apply for such benefits provide identification lawful presence that state and local agencies not provide benefits contrary federal law. Moreover, furthers legitimate state goal because Pennsylvania taxpayers currently spend over $500 million yearly state and local benefits for illegal aliens. House Bill 439 simply reinforces federal law. Under federal law U.S.C. 1324a, unlawful for person business knowingly hire illegal alien for employment. 439 does more than provide guidance certain licensees what procedures undertake avoid violating federal law. Moreover, creates penalties for those licensees that fail take affirmative steps follow federal objectives. Finally, well-established that states possess broad authority under their police powers regulate employment protect workers within the state. 439 simply protects the jobs those who may lawfully work from those who cannot lawfully work under federal law. House Bills 798 and 801 not give state and local law enforcement officers any new authority. State and local law enforcement officers already have authority investigate possible violations the criminal provisions federal immigration laws, including the authority inquire about persons immigration status. Therefore, these bills simply define what circumstances and what manner state and local law enforcement officers must inquire about persons immigration status. Moreover, these bills reinforce federal law U.S.C. 1373, which prevents arresting authority from prohibiting, any way restricting, any its employees from sending to, receiving from, the federal government information regarding the immigration status any individual. addition the obvious effects violent and property crimes the public, taxpayers spend $74 million yearly for costs associated police, corrections, and judicial expenses for illegal aliens. House Bills 810 and 865 mirror federal objectives and further legitimate state goal reinforcing federal law U.S.C. 1373. The goal 810 and 865 prevent municipalities from becoming safe-havens sanctuaries for illegal aliens. Many cities around the country have adopted sanctuary policies the detriment its citizens. For example, Judicial Watch currently represents Joslyn Johnson, Houston police sergeant, whose husband Rodney Johnson was shot and killed illegal alien who had been previously deported, had reentered illegally, and subsequently had multiple interactions including least one arrest for driving under the influence with the Houston Police Department before killing Officer Johnson. However, because Houston Police Departments policies, practices, and procedures that substantially restrict, not prohibit, officers from communicating with the federal government about illegal aliens, the illegal alien remained free Houston continue his lawlessness. Unfortunately, such tragedy not isolated incident Houston. fact, Officer Johnsons death one four deaths Houston police officer the hands previously deported illegal alien the last few years. Most recently May, Officer Kevin Hill was killed illegal alien who had six arrest warrants, multiple encounters with law enforcement and had been caught driving without license four times. also had been cited police eight occasions. Clearly, sanctuary cities only favor one group people: illegal aliens. Therefore, 810 and 865 are essential ensure that such safe havens are not established Pennsylvania. House Bill 858 seeks replicate the Legal Arizona Workers Act Pennsylvania. briefly mentioned early, May, the Supreme Court held that Arizonas unauthorized alien employment law does not conflict with federal immigration law. Moreover, the Court reinforced that states have broad authority under their police powers regulate employment within their borders and, more specifically, that prohibiting the employment illegal aliens within the authority states police power. Therefore, federal law clearly does not preempt 858. Let conclude saying that the National Security Begins Home Legislative Package could not clearer. Its intended purpose protect the citizens Pennsylvania from the adverse effects illegal immigration. whole, these legislative initiatives mirror federal objectives and further legitimate state goal. They ensure compliance federal law and attempt curb the effects the estimated 140,000 illegal aliens and decrease the approximate $1.4 billion yearly costs associated healthcare, education, incarceration, and other expenses for illegal aliens. Thank you.