Released 24 May 2005  By N/A
EXCERPT FROM HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE 5/18/2005
Mr. NORWOOD. Madam Chairman, the Norwood amendment would definitely clarify the
existing authority, existing authority of State and local law enforcement personnel in
assisting in the apprehension, detention, and transport of illegal aliens in the
routine course of their daily duties. This last phrase, ``in the routine course of
duty,'' is critical because the language ensures that law enforcement has certainty
when they come in contact with illegal aliens that are breaking our laws.
My amendment also would require DHS to establish a training manual and pocket guide
for law enforcement and set forth simple guidelines for making training available.
Madam Chairman, I need to make this perfectly clear. This authority for State and
local law enforcement already exists, though there is some confusion. But law
enforcement officers and agencies need some assurance from us that they can take
appropriate action with authority when the laws are broken. Any confusion about what
to do when law enforcement meets with lawbreakers needs to end.
Some will argue law enforcement does not have adequate resources. That is clearly
just not the case. We passed yesterday over $4.5 billion for homeland security,
including $690 million for custody management, funds to dramatically increase
detention bed space, $88 million for the Institutional Removal Program, there is $211
million for transportation and removal of undocumented aliens, and a good amendment
today authorizes another $40 million to help willing States and local law enforcement.
There is also $6 billion in the pipeline for first responders, and many of them are
from law enforcement.
Imagine if a State or local law enforcement did not enforce Federal drug laws, or
if a highway patrolman was confused about the speed limits on Federal interstates.
Would Congress allow States and local law enforcement to not enforce Federal laws on
bank robbers or kidnappings or fraud? In the wake of the 9/11 terror, porous borders
are a major security concern.
Madam Chairman, I sponsored a bill with nearly identical language last Congress, so
this is not just thought up today. It was endorsed by the National Sheriffs
Association, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, the Southern States Police
Benevolent Association, and the 9/11 Families For a Secure America.
In addition, endorsements came from chiefs of police in Illinois, Iowa, Georgia,
Indiana; and sheriffs from a slew of States endorsed similar language previously,
including California, Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Texas,
Washington, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and in nearly a dozen more.
Colleagues, the only area of law that State and local law enforcement are not
enforcing because they are unsure about what can be done is the immigration law. That
should change. It must change. And this is the right time and the right bill to
correct this critical matter.
Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I rise in opposition to this
amendment, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Chairman, I encourage Members to vote ``no'' on the Norwood amendment. The
Norwood amendment seeks to clarify the inherent authority of State and local law
enforcement to apprehend, detain, remove, and transport illegal aliens in the routine
course of duty. That is not what it does.
State and local police already have authority to report criminals who are foreign
nationals to the Department of Homeland Security and to assist the Federal Government
in criminal investigations. But current law does not allow law enforcement to pick up
immigrants and deport them unilaterally. That is essentially what this amendment
Do you want to give a local law enforcement officer the authority to remove people
who they may suspect are in this country illegally; or would you prefer to have the
Department of Homeland Security do that? Section 287(g) of INA, which provides for
local law enforcement to enter into agreements with ICE, does not allow local law
enforcement to remove an alien.
This amendment is also frightening because it allows a local police officer who
receives no training at all on immigration law to deport someone. How does this police
officer know that it is someone who should be deported? What documents should he ask
for? What law has he violated?
This is a terrible amendment, Madam Chairman. Countless State and local police
agencies have expressed concern about undermining public safety when ordinary
immigrants start seeing them as agents of the Federal immigration service. We have
comments from the chief of police in Nashville; chief of police in Hamtramck,
Michigan; the sheriff and assistant sheriff in Orange County; along with Chief William
Finney of the St. Paul Police Department, who all have expressed real concern about
the apprehension, detaining, and deportation of illegal immigrants.
Instead of focusing on training State and locals to do the job of our fellow law
enforcement officers, we need to do more to train and provide Federal law enforcement
with the resources it needs to fully carry out the responsibilities of the Department
to enforce immigration and Customs violations.
DHS already faces challenges in cross-training its own personnel and integrating
the various components into a cohesive unit and, thus, would face challenges in
developing a cross-training manual for State and local law enforcement personnel.
Madam Chairman, this is why I am requesting that Members vote ``no'' on this
Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. NORWOOD. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds and would point out there is
no intention in this bill for local law enforcement to be able to deport anybody. In
fact, if you had not objected to our amendment, that would have been clarified easily
in this bill. And at the end of the day, that is simply not going to be the case.
Also, this bill is asking for training to help local law enforcement. I would
simply say to my colleague that if he thinks local law enforcement ought not to help
with this law because they do not know what they are doing, then maybe we ought to ask
them not to help with any drug enforcement law because they do not know what they are
doing. We are in that every day helping them.
Madam Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Westmoreland).
Mr. WESTMORELAND. Madam Chairman, I thank my colleague from Georgia for yielding me
this time to talk about an issue that is extremely pressing to the citizens of the 8th
district, and I rise in support of the Norwood amendment.
Illegal immigration is a difficult issue, but it is one that Congress must address
and address it now. We have seen the ineffectiveness of border security and how the
addition of more eyes can make a difference. There are now more ropes in the net
helping stop our porous borders.
During my most recent time in my district, nearly all the questions I received
related to the issues of immigration. It is extremely important. Right now it does not
make sense to prevent law enforcement officers from protecting the people of the
United States. There are about 700,000 State and local police officers, compared with
only about 2,000 Immigration and Customs enforcement officers.
Our ICE agents are wonderful, but simply do not have the physical ability to be in
every place to work on enforcement all throughout the interior of our country. In
contrast, our police officers encounter illegal immigrants every day, whether it be
through a traffic stop or serving a warrant. It does not make sense to stop them from
helping enforce our immigration laws.
This amendment takes a baby step toward the goal of better interior enforcement by
clarifying the legal authority of local officers and giving them some real training on
the issue. It simply does not make sense for us to ignore the eyes and ears of
hundreds of thousands of local officers.
Madam Chairman, I urge the adoption of the Norwood amendment.
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may
As I indicated earlier, Madam Chairman, the gentleman sought to clarify his
amendment without providing us with the opportunity to see it and, for that reason, we
objected. But even with the clarification, it still would have been problematic for
our side. So for that reason, Madam Chairman, I continue to object and to oppose the
Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. NORWOOD. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 15 seconds just to remind the gentleman
that if there are chiefs of police or State patrols in any particular State that do
not want to be bothered by helping their Nation rid itself of terrorists, this is all
voluntary. The gentleman can write them back and say we have passed a law, but you do
not have to be involved.
Madam Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Pennsylvania (Ms. Hart).
Ms. HART. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time. I rise
in support of his amendment. I am a cosponsor of his legislation, and very proud to
be. The gentleman has a commonsense solution to help us deal with the problem of
In my area, as in other areas of the United States, we were built on immigration.
We are not opposed to immigration. Our concern here is the enforcement of our laws.
Today, many people arrive illegally and the Immigration and Naturalization Service
estimated that in January of 2000 there were 7 million illegal aliens living in the
United States, a number that is estimated to be growing by a half million a year.
Included in this total are more than 300,000 criminal aliens living in the United
States. More importantly in that estimate, about 78,000 of them are from countries
that are of special concern to us in the war on terror.
With only 2,000 interior immigration enforcement officers working in the United
States, we need all of the help we can get to enforce our immigration and criminal
laws. This problem became very clear in my district and a story that is common around
the country. During a routine traffic stop, it was discovered there were a number of
illegal aliens traveling across the State. When the local police called the local
immigration office inquiring what they should do, they were told to release them. That
is right, law enforcement, knowing these people were illegal aliens, were instructed
to release them. That is common, unfortunately, because our local law enforcement has
not gotten the assistance to help enforce immigration laws.
This incident builds upon a number of highly publicized cases where illegal
immigrants were released from custody only to commit serious, heinous crimes such as
rape and murder, further complicating the job of local law enforcement.
The Norwood amendment is a commonsense and carefully crafted solution to this
problem. All we ask is when these types of incidents occur, we can address them and we
will make a change and quit undermining our laws. This amendment restores sanity to
our law, some sense in helping to address the shortfall of interior immigration
enforcement by having cooperation of law enforcement at all levels.
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I yield 2 1/2 minutes to the
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Madam Chairman, let me attribute good intentions to the
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Norwood) because I think the gentleman's amendment is
grounded in frustration, but it is the wrong way to go.
We cannot allowed our State officials to be burdened by Federal responsibilities
and authority as it relates to immigration responsibilities. This amendment has
constitutional failings and is weak, if you will, or is weakened by the 10th amendment
which clearly says certain items are left to the States and by interpretation certain
responsibilities are left to the Federal Government. This amendment includes a
responsibility to deport aliens. That is almost impossible for local law enforcement
to be responsible for.
Secondarily, the responsibilities of local law enforcement engaging and
apprehending undocumented immigrants or others that they might perceive to be such
puts on them the responsibilities of further housing these individuals without
funding. The $40 million that was offered just a few amendments back is not sufficient
for all of the potential detainees that will be in the Nation's local and State jails.
This is a good-intentioned amendment but it is bad law and it cannot be
implemented. I ask my colleagues to recognize the fact that again this will damper
public safety. I would much rather local law enforcement be looking for the kidnapped
child or the child that may be subjected to child abuse or child violence because of
some tragedy that has happened in a local community. We have seen a wave of child
kidnappings and a number of lives lost because of child predators.
There are so many issues that local law enforcement must engage in, this puts an
unfunded burden on their particular obligations.
In addition, Madam Chairman, beyond this question of irresponsibility, this ends or
it puts a block, if you will, to local law enforcement solving problems and crimes in
the community. In our communities, all of the folk that live there are the neighbors.
The neighbors have information. They may not be documented or they may be documented,
but crime is not a respecter of citizenship status. Local law enforcement's
responsibility is bringing down the crime where they live, and no one wants to hear
``I could not get information because I could not talk to the immigrant community.''
Unfortunately, this amendment is something that I believe is blocked by the
Constitution and the 10th amendment, and should be defeated.
* [Begin Insert]
Madam Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment designated as No. 59, offered
by the gentleman from Georgia. The gentleman, in 2003, introduced the Clear Law
Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act (H.R. 2671), and a companion
measure was introduced in the other body entitled ``the Homeland Security Enhancement
Act (S. 1906).'' These bills require police to enforce Federal immigration laws, or
lose certain Federal funds. If this amendment, based on these bills, is enacted, it
would put a muzzle on immigrant crime victims and witnesses, trading their safety for
fear, at the expense of everyone who lives near, works with, and is related to the
individuals targeted under this legislation.
THE PROPOSAL WOULD JEOPARDIZE PUBLIC SAFETY
The Norwood amendment would strike a direct blow at the efforts of police to win
the trust and confidence of the communities they serve. If police become immigration
agents, word will spread like wildfire among newcomers that any contact with police
could mean deportation for themselves or their family members. Immigrants will decline
to report crimes or suspicious activity, and criminals will see them as easy prey,
making our streets less safe as a result. Experience shows that this fear will extend
not only to contact with police, but also to the fire department, hospitals, and the
public school system.
THE PROPOSAL WOULD UNDERMINE NATIONAL SECURITY
Security experts and law enforcement agree that good intelligence and strong
relationships are the keys to keeping our Nation and our streets safe. Under Amendment
No. 59, foreign nationals who might otherwise be helpful to security investigations
will be reluctant to come forward, for fear of immigration consequences. If immigrant
communities are alienated rather than embraced, local law enforcement loses important
relationships that can lead to information they might not otherwise have access to.
THE NORWOOD AMENDMENT WOULD WEAKEN AN IMPORTANT CRIMINAL DATABASE
Law enforcement agencies now rely upon the FBI's National Crime Information Center
(NCIC) database to give them timely and accurate information on criminals and
dangerous people. This legislation would undermine the usefulness of the NCIC by
loading it with information about millions of people with minor immigration
violations. Poor data management at the former Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) has resulted in numerous inaccurate records, further complicating matters for
police who rely on the integrity of the NCIC. Even if the data was correct upon entry,
case statuses often change and would have to somehow be updated in the FBI's database.
This misguided proposal would lead to many false ``hits'' and unlawful detentions and
arrests, wasting precious law enforcement resources.
AMENDMENT NO. 59 PURPORTS BUT IN EFFECT WILL NOT OPERATE TO APPREHEND CRIMINALS
Proponents of this amendment would say that it is necessary to help police deal
with the ``criminal alien crisis.'' They ignore the fact that police already have the
authority to arrest criminals, both in enforcing State or local laws and assisting the
Federal Government. It is absurd to suggest that foreign nationals are somehow immune
from our criminal laws unless this legislation passes, or that police are unable to
detain criminals who are also immigration law violators.
Police also help the Federal Government deport criminals who are removable because
of their offenses. Those areas of the country that have policies ensuring the
confidentiality of crime victims' and witnesses' immigration status are also those who
call the Federal Government most often to check the immigration status of crime
perpetrators. These are often areas with large immigrant populations, so they
understand the most effective policing strategies for these communities. They
distinguish between enforcing criminal laws and enforcing civil immigration laws--a
mandate best left to the Federal agencies who do not also have local crime-fighting
THE NORWOOD AMENDMENT LEAVES POLICE UNEQUIPPED FOR THE JOB
Federal immigration law is even more complex than the U.S. tax code and is
constantly changing. Immigration agents undergo 17 weeks of intensive training before
they are allowed ``on the beat,'' and they have unfettered access to case history data
maintained by the Federal Government that helps them do their jobs. This amendment
requires no training of local law enforcement and does not cover the full cost of
training for those responsible departments who insist on it.
I have an amendment, Jackson-Lee No. 75, that seeks to require studies by the
General Accountability Office (GAO) as to the genesis and degree of border violence at
our Nation's borders. Similar to the State and local law enforcement agencies subject
to the Norwood amendment, the Minuteman Project volunteers who have patrolled the
Arizona border were untrained and lacked official support. Comprehensive training--
which costs money, and Federal Government accountability, are required in order to
ensure that the job of enforcing immigration law is done properly and in accordance
with U.S. Constitutional principles.
THE AMENDMENT WILL IMPOSE NEW BUREAUCRATIC REQUIREMENTS ON UNDER-STAFFED PUBLIC
This amendment will also impose significant new reporting requirements on
critically under-staffed and under-funded local law enforcement agencies. The
responsibilities of State and local police have increased dramatically since the
September 11th terrorist attacks, and police simply do not have extra time on their
hands to take on what is rightly a Federal duty.
THE AMENDMENT WILL BECOME ANOTHER UNFUNDED MANDATE ON STATES
The amendment would shift what has always been a Federal duty, immigration law
enforcement, onto the States. It purports to give some additional resources to police
who enforce immigration laws, while imposing monetary penalties on those departments
that decline. But if the yearly battles for just a portion of reimbursements owed
under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) are any indication, very
little of the new money will actually make it into the coffers of local police
departments. Not only will local governments be stuck footing the bill once again, but
they risk loss of critical Federal dollars already earmarked for criminal law
enforcement if they refuse to take on these new duties.
The Senate bill on which the amendment is based goes further by removing many of
the monetary incentives promised in the House bill and imposing national standards on
driver's licenses issued to foreign nationals. Once again, implementing these
complicated standards comes with no new money attached, but with the threat of losing
Federal highway safety funds for those States who do not comply.
PROVISIONS IN CURRENT LAW EXIST FOR AGENCIES THAT WISH TO HELP ENFORCE IMMIGRATION
For those few State or local police agencies who do want to assist the Federal
Government in enforcing immigration laws, a mechanism is available for them to do so.
Section 287(g) of the immigration code outlines a process whereby State and local
governments can enter into agreements with the Federal Government (MOUs, or
memorandums of understanding) that permit them to receive training and enforce Federal
immigration laws. MOUs are currently in place in Florida and Alabama.
THE AMENDMENT SKEWS FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITIES
When police identify immigration violators, they will have to call the Federal
Government to take over. Law enforcement resources at the Federal level are also
limited, which is why the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
prioritizes searches for criminals and terrorists over immigrants with civil status
violations. Will ICE agents come to collect every undocumented immigrant identified by
local police? Amendment No. 59 tries to force them by permitting States and localities
to seek funds for every undocumented immigrant the Federal Government fails to pick
up. This means ICE has to put the same amount of resources into picking up
undocumented workers as suspected terrorists. With 8,000,000 undocumented workers in
the United States and an infinitely smaller cohort of foreign-born criminals and
terrorists, this is hardly the right prioritization of Department of Homeland Security
MAKING EVERY IMMIGRATION VIOLATION A CRIME HAS ENORMOUS COSTS
Many Federal immigration law violations are currently civil in nature. This
amendment would classify all immigration status violations as Federal crimes,
dramatically increasing the number of people who could be prosecuted, receive court-
appointed attorneys, and end up incarcerated through the Federal criminal justice
system. The costs would be enormous, and flooding the criminal system with civil
violators would further delay justice for victims of real crimes.
THE AMENDMENT FORGETS THAT YOU CAN'T TELL BY LOOKING WHETHER ONE IS LEGAL OR NOT
There are nearly 11,000,000 naturalized U.S. citizens, and more than 25,000,000
native-born Americans of Latin American and Asian descent. In this free Nation we are
not required to carry ``papers'' to prove our citizenship, and few of us do. Because
police are not equipped to determine who has violated an immigration law, some will
inevitably stop and question people of certain ethnic backgrounds, who speak foreign
languages, or who have
accents in English. This ill-conceived amendment essentially encourages race- and
AMENDMENT NO. 59 THREATENS CIVIL RIGHTS
Anticipating the likelihood of civil rights lawsuits spawned by this legislation,
the bills purport to grant immunity from civil suits for officers who enforce
immigration laws. This sends the wrong message if we are serious about eradicating
racial profiling from U.S. law enforcement. Ultimately, police departments and
localities gambling on this Congressional gesture would find themselves in court
anyway, when the anti-civil rights provisions are challenged.
Mr. Chairman, clearly, there are far too many areas of contention with this
amendment that, if passed, would prove potentially injurious to citizens and aliens
alike. For the reasons stated above, I strongly oppose this amendment and urge my
colleagues to join me.
Mr. NORWOOD. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.
In response to the last speaker, number one, had the gentlewoman been here earlier,
the gentlewoman would have heard about why this is not an unfunded mandate.
Number two, if the gentlewoman believes local law enforcement should not help the
Federal Government find terrorists in this Nation, which people who cross our borders
illegally they are amongst, I ask the gentlewoman to drop a bill so that local law
enforcement does not help the Federal Government in bank robberies and murders and
drug enforcement and everything else that local law enforcement helps the Federal
It is ridiculous to say that the 750,000 local law enforcement people should not be
involved in this Nation trying to find some of the people who, for example, committed
terror in this country on 9/11.
Yesterday we passed over $4.5 billion for homeland security, including $690 million
for custody management, funds to dramatically increase detention bed space, $88
million for an institutional removal program, $211 million for transportation and
removal of undocumented aliens, and an earlier amendment today authorized another $40
million to help willing State and local law enforcement. There is also $6 billion in
the pipeline for first responders. Many of them are local law enforcement. And this is
voluntary. If the City of Houston does not want to play, they do not have to. But the
rest of us need our law enforcement people to help us get these terrorists out of this
country, and there are somewhere between 10 and 15 million that have come across our
borders because we have failed to do anything about it for nonsensical reasons. It is
time for this to come to an end.
If Members are for correcting immigration in this country, vote for this. If
Members are against immigration corrections and do not think it needs reform and want
an open border, vote against it.
Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may
I would like to say to my colleague every immigrant is not a terrorist. I would
assume that was an error in the gentleman's comment. Clearly we have to be very
careful. That is a Federal responsibility. What we are doing is passing that
responsibility to State and local law enforcement and not funding the Department that
ought to be having the responsibility for immigration.
Madam Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Madam Chairman, I thank the ranking member, and I have to
associate myself with the gentleman's argument.
More importantly the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Norwood) has made, if you will, my
very point. Although we disagree, the point is not ridiculous. What we are saying is
that he is suggesting that law enforcement massively go to the border and begin to
arrest and deport individuals they perceive to be illegal aliens. There lies my angst
and opposition to this massively confusing amendment.
The gentleman has in his amendment that local law enforcement, constables and
sheriffs, will be responsible for deporting aliens. They do not even have the Federal
jurisdiction to do so. By the way, deportation requires Federal intervention because
there are proceedings which you have to go before. Unfortunately, we have short
changed that side of the formula.
This is an unworkable amendment. It violates the 10th amendment of the
Constitution. It violates the idea of protecting our national security. I ask my
colleagues to defeat this amendment and help us do real immigration reform through the
Mr. NORWOOD. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 15 seconds, and say just because you
say something is so does not mean it is so. This is a voluntary bill in which nobody
is massing anywhere, nor does it imply that anywhere in this bill. It is totally
voluntary, and local law enforcement are asked to work in line of duty.
Madam Chairman, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from California
(Mr. Cox) to close the debate for this side.
Mr. COX. Madam Chairman, I think we need to return to the amendment that is before
us. There has been a lot of heat and light generated in this debate, but the amendment
itself is exceptionally simple.
It begins from the fact that current law provides for the training of State and
local law enforcement officials to enforce Federal immigration laws. That is a
voluntary program. There is no unfunded mandate in current law because there is no
mandate. It is completely voluntary, and only those State and local law enforcement
officials, those first responders who are seeking to partner with the Department of
Homeland Security in obtaining this Federal training to enforce immigration laws,
actually do so.
Second, in an amendment that was adopted earlier by voice vote, we provided $40
million in Federal funding to reimburse any costs incurred by State and local
volunteers, that is State and local governments who volunteer for this training, in
obtaining the training. So it is not unfunded either. It is a funded, voluntary
Lastly, what this amendment adds to existing law is simply to provide a training
guide for this training that already exists and training flexibility to make sure that
it meets the needs of State and local law enforcement officers.
The last thing it does is it corrects existing law, section 287(g) of the INA to
substitute ``the Secretary of Homeland Security'' for the words ``Attorney General.''
This is something that we did in the technical corrections bill that was unanimously
passed by the Select Committee on Homeland Security in the last Congress.
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
This amendment, although well intended, crosses the line from my standpoint because
it moves us away from a Federal responsibility to a State responsibility. This
amendment tries to clarify the existing authority of State and local law enforcement
personnel to apprehend, detain, remove and transport illegal aliens in the routine
course of duty.
Additionally, this amendment requires DHS to establish a training manual on this
matter and set forth simple guidelines for making that training available. State and
local police already authorize and train to notify Federal law enforcement officials,
are already highly qualified, and are fully trained to identify foreign nationals in
Additionally, training in immigration law is not a simple task. A manual is simply
not sufficient to train officers in the complexity of immigration law.
For example, DHS already faces challenges in cross-training its personnel and
integrating the various components into a cohesive unit; and, thus, would face
challenges in developing a cross-training manual for State and local law enforcement
So for these reasons, I am in opposition to the amendment.
Mr. NORWOOD. Madam Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. I yield to the gentleman from Georgia.
Mr. NORWOOD. Madam Chairman, I simply ask the gentleman to reconsider our unanimous
consent to remove two words that would, I think, make an amendment that is going to
pass better in your mind.
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. I do not consent.
* [Begin Insert]
Mr. FARR. Madam Chairman, I rise today in opposition to this amendment offered by
Mr. NORWOOD. This amendment would essentially force local law enforcement agencies to
enforce federal immigration laws.
The enactment of this amendment would strain already scarce state and local
resources by creating an unfunded mandate, in addition to dividing communities around
Coercing state and local police into becoming federal immigration agents does not
benefit anyone involved. In addition to their other duties, local law enforcement
officials and local and state administrators would be bogged down by determining
criminal's immigration status. Community members will be hesitant to cooperate with
local law enforcement for fear of ramifications against them and their family.
According to the Department of Justice statistics, violent and property crime rates
have been falling steadily for at least the last 10 years. I have no doubt that this
is largely due to community policing. This amendment would take away that idea. Our
communities are better served by a police force that focuses on robbers, murderers and
terrorists, as opposed to immigration status.
I do not support illegal immigration and believe that anyone who enters the U.S. in
violation of U.S. immigration laws should be penalized. But that doesn't mean police
who should be arresting drug dealers and breaking up gang activities should now be
federally mandated to track down illegal aliens.
To me, this amendment is another example of the desperate need for an honest and
comprehensive debate on immigration law in this country. Piecemeal ideas, such as this
one, are detrimental to our communities at a microlevel. Our country is in need of an
immigration policy that accounts for the fears 9/11 instilled, in addition to the hope
that immigrants bring to our nation.
This amendment is ineffective and unnecessary policy and I urge my colleagues to
cast a ``no'' vote.
* [End Insert]
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mrs. Capito). The question is on the amendment offered by the
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Norwood).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the ayes appeared to
Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the
amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Norwood) will be postponed.