U.S. House appropriators are deep in internal discussions over whether to praise (and fund) current enforcement efforts that are proving most effective in arresting illegal aliens and deterring future illegal immigration. Postponement of markup today on a DHS spending bill is probably a good sign.
The House Appropriations Committee has postponed its Wednesday afternoon (June 18) consideration of the DHS spending bill that will determine funding levels for immigration enforcement next year.
This postponement appears to be a significant momentary victory for supporters of enforcement.
Thanks to all of you NumbersUSA activists who flooded the phone lines of committee members yesterday with your concerns. You can continue to phone committee members at 202-224-3121, asking for expanded funding for the 287(g) program for local immigration enforcement.
Anti-Enforcement Ideas Circulating
We cannot tell you for sure what committee leaders had planned to introduce today because they have refused to make public their bill. (Whenever that happens, we generally are correct in suspecting that they are including convoluted language designed to disguise legislation that we would oppose. If they wait to the last minute to make a bill public, we don't have time to read and analyze it and to alert you to any dangers.)
We do know that there are strong currents within Congress wanting an election-year action that will look really tough against the worst criminals among illegal aliens while secretly gutting the enforcement programs that are proving effective in pushing overall illegal immigration down.
Particularly at risk are two effective efforts that the pro-illegal groups despise:
- No. 1: 287(g) program allowing and equipping local agencies to arrest and detain illegal aliens of all kinds.
- No. 2: Arrests of any illegal alien encountered while looking for criminal alien fugitives.
One idea floating around Congress would be to take away all funding for 287(g) and put it into a larger fund for tracking down fugitive criminal aliens.
Another idea has been to bar ICE -- when tracking down those fugitives -- from arresting and detaining non-fugitive illegal aliens it encounters along the way.
We believe both ideas may have been part of the DHS spending bill the committee was supposed to consider today.
Basically, the pro-illegal forces are willing to track and deport illegal aliens who have been convicted of violent crimes. But they don't want any other of the 13-20 million illegal aliens bothered in any way.
The first real showdown on this philosophy may be in the House DHS spending bill debate.
One thing we know for sure is that committee Members are under huge pressure from special interests and newspaper editorial boards in their Districts to gut the rapidly increasing enforcement of immigration laws by local police and sheriffs.
Effective Enforcement Doesn't Target Only The Felons
The news is full of stories of illegal aliens returning -- or considering returning -- to their home countries in part because of the pressure they feel from the growing number of cities, counties and states that are enforcing the law.
This is driving the pro-illegal crowd crazy. Don't underestimate how much pressure they are putting on the House Appropriations Committee to de-fund or underfund 287(g) and other enforcement efforts.
Local agencies cannot enforce immigration laws unless they receive proper training such as through the 287(g) program.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies are blocked from cracking down on illegal immigration because Congress in the past failed to appropriate enough money.
State and local police are badly needed to help overwhelmed federal immigration authorities apprehend and detain illegal aliens in the interior of our country.
To be effective at discouraging future illegal immigration, enforcement cannot be limited to tracking and deporting violent criminal illegal aliens. All illegal aliens, no matter how well-behaved they are, must fear detection and arrest if enforcement is to be a deterrent to illegal immigration.
Updated: Wed, Jun 25th 2008 @ 5:58pm EDT