Barletta Is Focused On Immigration

Andrew Seder
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

An amendment co-authored by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta and approved by the U.S. House on Wednesday seeks to ensure federal tax dollars are not used to pay for federal government lawsuits against individual states on immigration law disputes.

Barletta’s amendment, co-authored by U.S. Rep. Diane Black, a Tennessee Republican, specifies no federal funds be used for any legal challenge to immigration laws passed by Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Utah, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Indiana.

“The federal government creates the illegal immigration problem through decades of inaction, lax enforcement and looking the other way. States step in to protect the jobs of their residents, the balance in their budgets and the safety of their residents. Then the federal government turns around and sues the states — and they use taxpayer dollars to do it. It’s ridiculous and it’s unfair,” Barletta said.

The proposal by Barletta, R-Hazleton, did not offer other options for funding federal challenges to state immigration laws.

Barletta, during a floor speech to urge his colleagues to support the amendment, said he didn’t want to have to be urging colleagues to support the measure, but “the federal government’s lack of action made us do this.”

He said communities across the country have been inundated by illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans, committing crimes and taking advantage of taxpayer-funded programs.

“Community leaders called out to the federal government and asked for help. I know because I was one of them,” Barletta said. “I saw serious problems in my hometown in 2005. I came here to Washington to ask for help and Washington turned its back on me and my citizens.”

In addition to 226 Republicans that voted in favor of the amendment, 12 Democrats supported the measure, which passed 238 to 173. Six Republicans joined 167 Democrats in voting against the proposal.

Locally, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Lycoming Township, voted for it. Rep. Tim Holden, D-St. Clair, voted against it.

The amendment still needs approval by the Democratic-controlled Senate and the signature of President Obama — meaning it’s unlikely to become law.

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