Republican lawmakers are calling for more aggressive measures in an attempt to preserve American jobs.
The Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) held its first hearing under GOP leadership on Jan. 26. Republican members called on President Barack Obama's administration to reinforce workplace raids on undocumented employees, which was an aggressive approach adopted by George W. Bush in the final years of his presidency.
According to the Los Angeles Times, work-site raids for immigration-related offenses have decreased by about 70 percent since Obama took office. Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the HJC, said that this practice should not be ignored with the national unemployment rate exceeding 9 percent.
"It is hard to imagine a worse time to cut work-site enforcement efforts by more than half," said Smith, quoted by the news provider. "Citizens and legal immigrants should not be forced to compete with illegal workers for jobs."
According to United States Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), it costs taxpayers about $12,500 to deport each illegal immigrant. Frank Sharry, executive director of the America's Voice Education Fund, said that lawmakers should focus their efforts on getting these undocumented workers to register with the government and pay taxes, as opposed to charging Americans millions of dollars for mass deportations.