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5/19 Latest CLEAR Act amendments
Released 24 May 2005  By National Immigration Forum

Both amendments encouraging local enforcement of federal immigration laws passed the House yesterday.

The Cox/Sensenbrenner amendment (, authorizing the appropriation of $40,000,000 to pay for training state and local agencies that enter into MOUs with the federal government to enforce immigration laws, passed on a voice vote.

The Norwood amendment (, legislating the "inherent authority" of police to enforce immigration laws even outside of an MOU, also passed. The vote was 242 to 185. The roll call is available at Please thank those who voted against this misguided amendment. And if you aren't worried about your blood pressure, the debate on the amendment is pasted below this update.

So the House has voted to create a structure in which 1) police are deemed to have the inherent authority to enforce immigration laws wherever and whenever, without training and without reimbursement for the costs associated with taking on these additional duties; 2) more names of alleged immigration violators will be entered into the NCIC; and 3) money may be provided to train agencies that sign MOUs. This IS the CLEAR Act, broken down into bite-sized chunks. There are so many flaws with this approach, which you all know. Decreased public safety and security in immigrant communities is chief among them.

The question then is, what will the Senate do with this issue? The vehicles where this could be offered as an amendment in the Senate could take many forms--a gang bill from Senator Feinstein (D-CA), myriad appropriations or authorization bills, comprehensive immigration reform legislation, et cetera. We can bet that Senator Sessions (R-AL) was watching the House debate with great interest. We will be analyzing the situation in the coming days and attempting to figure out next steps.

The National Immigration Forum will be hosting a nationwide call on Wednesday, June 1, at 1pm eastern time to talk about the REAL ID Act, state and local cops amendments, and other anti-immigrants' rights proposals that have gained currency this Congress. See the call information below.

REAL ID Residue and Proposals That Threaten Due Process: On May 11, the President signed into law the supplemental appropriations bill providing funding for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and containing the REAL ID Act. An updated analysis of this bill is available at:

In addition to REAL ID, there have been a flood of House proposals, including the passage of a "gang bill" that among other things expands the definition of "aggravated felony" and requires DHS to enter all immigration violators who fall into certain categories into the NCIC database. (See, The Gang Deterrence and Community Protection Act of 2005, HR 1279). Also troubling are amendments to the DHS Authorization Bill (HR 1817) that inappropriately enlist state and local police in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

National Immigration Forum
50 F Street, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20001
main phone 202.347.0040

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