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GOP lawmaker looks to stop Obama from giving work permits to illegal immigrants


Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) on Wednesday proposed a bill that would prohibit the Obama administration from giving illegal immigrants work permits under his executive action on immigration.

Barletta said the bill is needed because Obama's plan, which includes the possibility of work permits for millions of illegal immigrants, will give companies incentive to hire those immigrants.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 3.54.58 PM Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) has a new bill aimed at stopping illegal immigrants from getting work permits.
Image: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Barletta has said Obama's plan specifically prevents these immigrants from qualifying for health insurance under Obamacare. That means they could be hired at a lower cost to companies than U.S. workers.

"When it comes to illegal immigration, the conversation is always focused on how to help the illegal immigrants, who have broken our laws," Barletta said. "No one ever wants to talk about how granting them amnesty will affect legal American workers."

"It's about time someone stood up for the millions of people who are looking for work, but who will now find millions of new competitors for jobs that are already scarce," he added.

On Tuesday, Barletta pressed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on whether Obama's immigration plan would create an incentive to hire illegal immigrants over Americans. Johnson rejected that idea, but didn't offer any details on why Barletta's argument doesn't make sense.

"So therefore, an employer may have… a decision to make," Barletta said. "Do I keep the American worker and provide health insurance or pay a $3,000 fine, or do I get rid of the American worker and hire someone who I do not have to provide health insurance and I won't get fined. Is that a possibility?"

To that possibility, Johnson answered simply, "I don’t see if that way."

"You don't think any employers will see it that way?" Barletta pressed.

"I don't think I see it that way, no. No sir," Johnson said, without any further explanation.

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