State, Local Law Enforcement Get Support to Enforce Immigration Laws

May 18, 2005, 01:00 ET from House Committee on Homeland Security

    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

SOURCE House Committee on Homeland Security