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Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


BORDER PROTECTION, ANTITERRORISM, AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CONTROL ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - December 15, 2005)

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Mr. CAMPBELL of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, there are cities around this country that have laws or executive orders under which they prohibit law enforcement officials from reporting to the Department of Homeland Security when they encounter, through the normal course of law enforcement practice, individuals who are aliens, who are foreign nationals and who are in this country illegally. That, first of all, is a violation of Federal law. Both the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 both prohibit cities from adopting that sort of ordinance.

But secondly, it is just wrong. We have Federal law here, and we have people in the ordinary course of their law enforcement activities encountering people who are foreign nationals and in this country illegally, and cities are passing ordinances making it a crime basically for those law enforcement officials to let Department of Homeland Security know that.

The reason this happens is there is no enforcement mechanism on this Federal law right now. What this amendment would do is simply provide an enforcement mechanism by making those law enforcement agencies in those areas not eligible for Federal grants if they have such a prohibition which is in violation of Federal law.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, let me say to the gentleman from California (Mr. Campbell) that it is interesting that we come to the floor and try to make like there is a divide in the arresting and detaining of criminals. Every jurisdiction, outside of the Federal jurisdiction, has the right and responsibility to arrest criminals, whether they be documented or undocumented. There is no divide on that question. Local law enforcement, local sheriffs, local constables, local police, can, in fact, arrest criminals, detain them and even send them through our judicial system.

Your amendment, however, breaks the back of our local jurisdiction, and it creates an enormous unfunded mandate. It would force cash-strapped State and local governments to enforce civil immigration laws. We want the criminals off the street. But you would force our local governments to take on extra responsibilities without funding.

Let me remind you that the idea of enforcement of terrorism really begins outside of our borders. That is what we are here to talk about, to ensure that we have strong border security enforcement.

I would also offer to say that we hope that the DeFazio-Lungren bill passes in a few moments because that is what it does, it ensures that we protect against those who would come inside. That would protect the Federal jurisdiction and the State. But this amendment preempts any State and local laws that bar their law enforcement officers from assuming the Federal responsibility of enforcing civil immigration laws.

But more importantly, what it does is it forces local jurisdictions to send private information on crime victims, possibly a rape victim, who may be an undocumented immigrant. And this amendment opposes another unfunded mandate on State and local governments. It undermines effective community policing, increases racial profiling. As well, let me suggest that it requires local government to give information that it might not even have. Then you eliminate their opportunities to secure their own communities.

And so, frankly, this is a bill that most of the law enforcement are against, and it is enormously burdensome, and it breaks up the responsibility, or it stops the responsibility of law enforcement because it is divisive and it is unworkable.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. CAMPBELL of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I appreciate the comments from the gentlewoman from Texas, but let me make it clear what this bill does and does not do, what this amendment does and does not do. It does not require local governments to do anything. All it does is tell them they should not prohibit, they should not actively prohibit their law enforcement officials from giving this information to the Department of Homeland Security. It does not require them to give the information. It says you may not prohibit or you lose Federal funds.

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