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Fate of local immigration enforcement uncertain as we attempt to translate what House approps panel did


I wish I could tell you precisely what Rep. Price (D-N.C.) and his U.S. House Appropriations Committee did to local immigration enforcement last week.

Price and his staff have been so clever in their writing of the DHS spending bill that both NumbersUSA analysts and federal agencies are still attempting to figure out precisely what the House Appropriations Committee last week did.

A week later, still nothing definitive.

A Lot of Effort to Hide True Intent

We continue to believe that Rep. Price's staff intentionally made the spending bill confusing in order to make it look like the House leadership is supporting MORE funding on interior enforcment while actually gutting a couple of the most effective forms of enforcement.

Staff of Rep Price (chairman of the homeland security subcommittee of House Appropriations) contacted us last week and protested our driving so many phone calls and faxes into their offices complaining that he had gutted local enforcement (read my recent blog).

In the back and forth, Price's staff was unable to prove that anything we have said or written has been inaccurate. But there remains some ambiguity. Price's staff told us to check with ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) to see how we have been wrong in what we have been telling you.

But when we contacted ICE, we found that ICE has a lot of the same concerns we do while also not able to fathom what the spending bill really would do.

The outcome of this is extremely important because it will largely determine if there will be federal money to continue two of the big bright spots in clamping down on illegal immigration:

  • FIRST BRIGHT SPOT: More and more states, counties and cities are training under the 287(g) program that allows them to enforce immigration laws, creating an exodus of illegal aliens from those entities.
  • SECOND BRIGHT SPOT: In the process of rounding up "fugitive criminal" illegal aliens, ICE encounters an even larger number of other illegal aliens who are living with them, sheltering them, working with them. ICE also arrests and deports those non-fugitive illegal aliens. This is also creating pressures on the general illegal population to move back home.

We continue to believe that Rep. Price and the majority of members of the Appropriations Committee have passed a bill to largely undercut those two efforts.

First, Price and the majority voted against an amendment that would have stated clearly that funding would continue for the 287(g) program.

Second, Price's statements to the media and in recent speeches reveal him to be fundamentally against efforts to make illegal aliens go home.

Some Recent Revealing Statement From Rep. Price

Rep. Price recently told the Center for American Progress that passing "comprehensive immigration reform legislation" tops his priority list.

Although he is in charge of funding the the immigration enforcement efforts of our country, his top priority is to give permanent residence, permanent access to U.S. jobs and a path to U.S. citizenship to nearly everybody who breaks immigration laws!

Price said “the intense focus on the broader illegal immigration problem – consisting primarily of an effort to intercept, detain, and deport individuals who illegally cross our borders in search of work and a better life – is distracting the Department’s attention and diverting the Department’s resources away from the truly dangerous threats and challenges we face."

Price strongly emphasized that the poorly paid occupations where illegal aliens congregate need more foreign workers. He has shown no concern for the Americans in those occupations who have seen their wages and working conditions stagnate and deteriorate under the foreign flood. Speaking as if he were a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the North Carolina Democrat argued that we have illegal immigration because our economy desperately needs it -- despite high unemployment rates and poverty rates among Americans who compete with those foreign workers.

While it may sound good to say that all enforcement should be focused on deporting illegal aliens convicted of felonies, what that really means is that the other 11-19 million illegal aliens get a defacto amnesty and don't have to worry about being arrested and deported.

Every law enforcement person I've talked with says that the only way to get broad voluntary compliance with any law is for wonderful people who volunteer with the PTA and teach Sunday school to also fear arrest if they break the law.

Price has made it abundantly clear that he believes any illegal aliens who doesn't commit a violent crime ought to be able to live and work in the U.S. and he wants to pull funds away from any enforcement that would threaten their continued illegal presence.

" ... while we have been using scarce resources to detain and deport laborers at meatpacking plants, we have allowed tens of thousands of dangerous criminal aliens to be released back into our communities after serving their sentences, with no awareness on our part of their immigration status."

Rep. Price also said he wants to find ways to keep from building the southern border fence. And he has decried the increased Bush Administration interior enforcement that he says create terrible, "negative impacts on hardworking immigrants and their children."

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