Posted: Sunday, June 22, 2014 6:45 am | Updated: 8:20 pm, Sun Jun 22, 2014.

The News Virginian

Sixth District Rep. Bob Goodlatte wants answers from the Department of Homeland Security about the flood of children, teenagers and families entering the United States illegally across the southern border.

Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing on the matter Wednesday. Various Homeland Security officials are expected to testify.

The congressman said lax immigration enforcement at the border has led Central American countries to send children into the United States.
In a press release, Goodlatte said Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has stated that people from his country are coming to the U.S. illegally to try and gain legal status.

“Even the Guatemalan ambassador has said it’s economics, not violence,’‘ Goodlatte said in a telephone interview this past week. “Three quarters of the countries in the world would love to come to the United States.”

Goodlatte said many of those who are crossing the border are given orders to report to court for hearings on their immigration status. But many fail to show up.

As for children, Goodlatte said while immigrant children must be treated humanely, “we must tell them they must be sent back home and they are not eligible for political asylum.”

Goodlatte said the immigration crisis is the result of President Obama’s “failure to enforce other immigration laws. He is not enforcing this.”
On Friday, the Obama administration said it would send added attorneys and judges to the border to address the surge of illegal immigrants. Goodlatte said the action by the administration “is smoke and mirrors,’’ and said the president needs to enforce immigration laws and propose legislative fixes.

Goodlatte reacts to Cantor loss

On a different note, Goodlatte said the defeat two weeks ago of his friend and Virginia Republican colleague Eric Cantor in the 7th District Republican primary will leave a void in the state’s congressional delegation.

“We will all have to step up,’’ said Goodlatte, who along with 3rd District Rep. Bobby Scott will become the two Virginia congressmen with the longest continuous service in January. Goodlatte must defeat Libertarian Will Hammer in November to earn a 12th term, and he is a heavy favorite to do so.

“Losing him (Cantor) is a loss,’’ Goodlatte said. “He has been a great representative for the people of the 7th District and a good friend of mine.”

While Goodlatte has risen to a high leadership position as head of the Judiciary Committee, he is mindful of traveling back to his district on a regular basis.

“The most important lesson is that there is no such thing as a safe congressional district,’’ he said.

Goodlatte said it is important for members of Congress to make certain “you are home and listening.” He said Cantor’s regular home visits have been complicated by his busy travel schedule as House Majority Leader.

“But it doesn’t change. He is elected by his own people,’’ Goodlatte said of a congressman’s duty to his constituents. “I love coming home every week. It’s a great honor to represent my constituents. I must meet with them and listen to them.’

Cantor’s loss may not have much of an impact on federal funds flowing to Virginia, according to James Madison University political scientist Bob Roberts.

Roberts said there is little to indicate that Cantor used his influence “to try to funnel money to the state or his district. That was part of the problem. He really did not do much for his district in terms of federal funds.”

And Roberts said it has become more difficult to put earmarks in the federal budget now.