House committee takes up tough immigration bill

By Erica Werner

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

A protester shouts out against the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act as he and others are removed from the audience during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. The committee in the Republican-led House is preparing to cast its first votes on immigration this year, on a tough enforcement-focused measure that Democrats and immigrant groups are protesting loudly. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Carolyn Kaster, AP

WASHINGTON — A key committee in the Republican-led House has taken up a tough enforcement-focused immigration bill, but the proceedings were immediately interrupted by protesters shouting "Shame, shame!"

More than a dozen protesters began chanting as soon as Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia gaveled the committee hearing open Tuesday.

Goodlatte stopped the proceedings until the protesters were ushered into the hall, where their shouts could still be heard.

Goodlatte said the bill under consideration, which empowers local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws and makes visa fraud into a deportable felony, is needed to ensure enforcement of the law.

Democrats called it a dangerous approach.