'New Way Forward Act' Would Decriminalize Unlawful Entry To U.S.
Washington, DC – Democratic pro-immigration lawmakers have introduced a bill that would abolish the current immigration system and make it easier for criminal illegal immigrants to stay in the United States.
House Resolution 5383 - known as the “New Way Forward Act” - was sponsored by U.S. Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Illinois) and cosponsored by 43 other Democratic members of Congress, The Hill reported.
The legislation would make it very difficult for federal immigration officials to detain criminal illegal immigrants and would allow people who have committed serious crimes in other countries to move to the United States legally.
Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf told FOX News that the proposed bill would effectively make the United States a sanctuary nation.
“It would be very dangerous for our country, dangerous for our communities,” Wolf said. “Again, you would have hardened criminals being able to come into the country illegally. We would have no ability to enforce that law and deport them. And so basically your sanctuary city policies that we have in effect around the country in several jurisdictions would become nationwide. And that may be the end result at the end of the day.”
Implementation of such a law would also swamp the already beleaguered court system and would use U.S. tax dollars to bring deported criminals back into the country, according to The Hill.
"So envision a world where individuals no longer have to wait in line for visas,” Wolf told FOX News. “They can come across the border, it's no longer [criminal] to do that. They can then come into the system. We can't deport them because we can't hold people, it essentially abolishes ICE.”
"And then on top of all of that, going back 25 years, we then have to find folks, bring them back into the country [and] re-litigate their immigration proceedings,” he added.
"So if you're looking for a way to abolish our immigration system, abolish ICE and just rewrite our immigration code completely, this would be the legislation for you,” Wolf said.
The New Way Forward Act would repeal laws that make coming into the country unlawfully a crime and repeals laws that make coming back to the United States after deportation a crime.
Although those specific laws are the main deterrent to illegal entries into the United States, the new legislation doesn’t propose any replacement for them, The Hill reported.
U.S. Representative Ted Budd (R-North Carolina) made an impassioned speech on the House floor after the New Way Forward Act was introduced and said the legislation made a mockery out of U.S. immigration.
"Legal immigration is what makes our country great," Budd said. "But we cannot pass bills like this one that incentivizes more people to come here illegally or poses no penalty on those who commit serious crimes."
Garcia’s legislation would create a five-year statute of limitations beyond which the initiation of removal proceedings would be prohibited and repeal a law that requires mandatory detention for deportable illegal immigrants who have committed specific criminal offenses.
"I think the idea here is that somehow, even though they go through the due process, even though they have a legitimate order from an immigration judge, that they have no legal right to be here, that they need to be deported, they need to return home somehow, that's not good enough," the DHS secretary said. "Somehow we've stacked the deck against them. And so you need to bring them back, re-litigate them, provide them [with] attorneys at government expense."
The proposed legislation would also eliminated federally-funded programs that help local law enforcement agencies work more effectively with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and prohibit state and local police from assisting ICE with enforcement, according to The Hill.
"It's very dangerous. I would say it completely guts our immigration enforcement system that we have in place," Wolf told FOX News." "It also... just from a pure legality perspective, it just guts the rule of law."