House Panel OKs Bill Criminalizing Unauthorized Immigrants

By Allissa Wickham (March 18, 2015, 7:02 PM EDT) -- The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would criminalize being an unauthorized immigrant in the U.S., as well as legislation that would raise the credible fear standard for asylum claims, with both measures passing exclusively with Republican support.

The House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 1148, which would allow for criminal penalties against immigrants who are unlawfully present in the country. For the first violation, an immigrant could be fined or imprisoned for up to six months, and for later violations, the prison sentence could be up to two years.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., would also...

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