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
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