WASHINGTON, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The House today passed legislation authorizing $40 million to state and local governments for training law enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration laws. The provision, authored by Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Christopher Cox and included in the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act, will fund training of state and local law enforcement personnel who will then be deputized to serve as immigration officers. "State and local governments can now receive funding to train their law enforcement officials to enforce our national immigration laws," said Chairman Cox. "Adding the strength of state police, highway patrol, sheriffs, and local law enforcement to our federal officers will be a force multiplier to help enforce border security nationwide." The authority for state and local law enforcement officials to enforce immigration law already exists in current law -- the result of a 1996 Cox amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act. DHS entered Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for such "deputization" programs with Florida in September 2002, Alabama in September 2003, and the County of Los Angeles in February 2005. Despite interest by at least 14 other jurisdictions, expansion of the program to other states and localities is inhibited by costs associated with officer training, including time away from regular duties. In most states, immigration laws are still enforced only by federal law enforcement officials, even when state and local authorities make felony arrests of persons who are not in the U.S. legally. Additional information is available at http://homeland.house.gov.
SOURCE House Committee on Homeland Security