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May 18, 2005

Update on House Floor Action today including CLEAR-like Amendments. Please contact your Representatives

I just received this from Victor Nieblas;
Today the House of Representatives will vote on several amendments to the Department of Homeland Security Authorization bill. We shortly will be posting an alert on InfoNet. Chapter Chairs, please send this out to your members and urge them to call their Representatives. The Congressional Switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Because time is so short, it is best to phone your Representatives rather than email them.

These amendments are:
Cox-Sensenbrenner Amendment to Fund Local Immigration Enforcement Training: This amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Authorization bill would authorize $40 million in federal funding for state and local police agencies who enter into MOUs with ICE to enforce immigration laws. Only training costs would be reimbursed; ongoing personnel and administrative costs incurred by law enforcement agencies that enter into MOUs would not. We were alerted to this amendment only this morning -- Representative Sensenbrenner's cosponsoring of this amendment and support for it violates an agreement he had reached with Representative Conyers which included stripping this measure from the bill in Committee. URGE A "NO" VOTE!
Norwood Amendment Affirming Inherent Authority of States and Localities to Enforce Civil Immigration Laws: This amendment seeks to declare that state and local law enforcement officers have inherent authority to enforce federal immigration laws, including the apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens in the United States. Although it would require DHS to develop a manual within 180 days to help train state and local law enforcement in the investigation, identification, apprehension, arrest, and detention of aliens in the United States, it does not make training a prerequisite to the enforcement of the immigration laws. It also would require DHS to develop an immigration enforcement "pocket guide" for law enforcement personnel to utilize while on duty. URGE A "NO" VOTE!
Slaughter Amendment to Improve SENTRI, FAST, and NEXUS Pre-Enrollment Programs: This amendment would require DHS to create four remote enrollment centers for the FAST, SENTRI, and NEXUS programs. The enrollment centers would be located outside the United States in population centers where there is a demand for such programs. URGE A "YES" VOTE!
It appears that another amendment, offered by Representative Hostettler, Chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee, would have rewarded whistleblowers for turning in employers who employ undocumented aliens and would have protected these whistleblowers from retaliation. In addition to protection, the amendment would have provided a financial incentive for individuals to levy allegations against employers by offering whistleblowers 15-25% of any civil monetary penalty or criminal fine collected from violators . This amendment was defeated in the Judiciary Committee and is opposed by Representative Sensenbrenner. It is not clear at this time whether the amendment will be ruled in order and subject to a vote today. IT IT DOES COME UP, URGE A "NO" VOTE!.

Victory Yesterday: Yesterday the House voted on the DHS Appropriations bill. We were given little time to deal with amendments that were made in order. We are pleased to report that the House defeated, by a vote of 165-258, another CLEAR Act-like amendment offered by Representative Tancredo that would have denied all Homeland Security funding to states and local governments that have sanctuary laws in place. This amendment is virtually identical to an amendment defeated last year on a 148 - 259 vote

Judith Golub
Senior Director, Advocacy & Public Affairs
American Immigration Lawyers Association
(202) 216-2403

Posted by VisaLawyer at May 18, 2005 12:52 PM

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