U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-Ca.) thinks he has enough support in the House of Representatives to pass new immigration legislation very similar to the controversial and much-discussed Arizona law, S.B.1070.
The meat of Royce's bill would allow local police, at the state level, to enforce federal immigration laws- something they are not presently permitted to do. "We're basically giving them the option, if you're in local law enforcement, to assist," said Royce on Friday morning's edition of America's Newsroom.
Rep. Royce's district covers western and northern Orange County, California, and does not share a border with Mexico. Still, he fears attacks on American citizens and border patrol agents in areas that do will worsen in the future, since Mexican authorities no longer have control on their side.
"The government of Mexico is losing control of this area, it's being handed over to basically the cartels, and so we have to respond" Royce explained. "And we need to give the border patrol the tools they need to do it."
One such tool under the proposed legislation is 700 miles of fence, which Royce says must continue being built. He says a fence like that would provide a tactical advantage to American border patrol agents, who could use it as protection during an attack.
The third main component involved here would be, "strengthening visa security." He points to the Christmas Day bomber as being someone who should not have been allowed anywhere near the U.S., and could have been kept out if he was handled face-to-face with an interview prior to being granted a visa. Measures must also be taken, he says, to keep an extra watchful eye on visa applicants from certain parts of the world, or, more specifically he says, "countries of particular concern to the United States, because of the degree of terrorism that comes out of those particular areas."
Royce reasons "these are the recommendations that we've received from those on the front lines." But even though he is confident in his chances getting this through the House, he acknowledges it's an uphill- although not impossible- battle from there.
"You can see across the United States this growing groundswell, where there is this recognition now that national security is border security, so I think it's possible we'll get it through the Senate," he says. "Then we'll have that struggle with whether or not we can get the president to sign it."