Image copyright Amy Lefenfeld / United for Immigrants
The Republican Representative of upstate New York has introduced legislation that would block immigrants with violent criminal records from coming to the US.
Stefanik cites the recent election of Horraby and other violent criminals to public office as the reason for the proposed legislation.
“We have never used prosecutorial discretion this heavily in the history of our country,” she said.
The Catholic Church of America criticised the legislation for its language.
“Not only does it blatantly infringe on constitutional rights, it sends a disturbing message that Americans are less free, less safe, and more likely to be murdered by immigrants than native-born citizens.”
Stefanik says the bill comes as Republicans have become increasingly “focused on real reforms that solve problems” at a time when Democrats have taken a “tolerant, liberal, divisive approach” that has seen them court open borders.
She says the legislation will provide a “common-sense, simple solution” to keep Americans safe and would instead provide the option of “expanding border security, utilizing proven strategies at our local level, and ultimately making our communities safer”.
In 2002, former President George W Bush signed a law called the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that expanded the executive powers of US Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to permit immigration officials to place immigration detainers, or orders to detain an individual for a period of time.
The process, known as “prosecutorial discretion”, allow authorities to exercise judgment on the authority to file a detainer.
Critics say it effectively means that immigrants who commit crimes but are not considered dangerous are allowed to stay in the US.
Under this new policy, more than 1.4 million people have been entered the US in the last ten years as a result of people’s immigration detainers being lodged.
Critics say this situation would cause chaos if another “standoff” of an immigration detention centre comes to pass.
Amy Lefenfeld, national chair of United for Immigrants, says that under the proposed legislation, “immigrants who committed violent crimes while entering the US illegally can be detained and deported without a hearing before an immigration judge”.
“Nothing that we know of suggests that these individuals are truly dangerous, and to the contrary, the majority of their convictions result from consensual consensual sex with foreign women, particularly in Colombia, where thousands of people, many in our party, have entered the US in the past and made lives for themselves and for the local community for many years,” she adds.
Stefanik has drafted the bill under the “Protect America Act of 2017”, which is legislation which would “place restrictions on the admission, admission of migrants and other aliens”, according to the press release.
Republicans are under pressure to show that they are taking action on immigration at a time when Donald Trump is being criticised for demonising immigrants.
The President this week described undocumented migrants who are building a wall along the US-Mexico border as “animals” who “have no love for our people”.
Many immigrants – particularly from Latin America – have taken the US to court over deportation, arguing that their human rights are being violated by US authorities.