7/24/2005

CLEAR Act Introduced In U.S. House

The Clear Law Enforcement for criminal Alien Removal Act of 2005 – CLEAR - was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Georgia Congressman Charlie Norwood, Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth, Iowa Congressman Steve King, and 29 other House Members today in Washington. The introduction was announced in a Capitol Hill news conference by Norwood, Hayworth, King and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The Southern States Police Benevolent Association and the Law Enforcement Alliance of America also endorsed the bill through written statements.

Norwood referenced the ongoing search in Georgia for 24-year-old Cornelio Rivera Zamites, an illegal alien and convicted criminal, being sought for the Saturday kidnapping, molestation, and murder of a 4-year old Gainesville girl as prime evidence for the need to use all possible resources to combat the illegal immigration crisis. According to the Hall County Sheriff’s Department, Zamites had been previously deported for criminal offenses including illegal immigration, only to return illegally.

“It’s time to bring this insanity to an end,� said Norwood. The former dentist said America must secure its borders against illegal entries, and then begin actively “arresting and deporting criminals like Zamites who are in this country right now.�

Hayworth, representing the state with the worst border problems in the country, said, “We’re here today to give voice to the growing concern among Americans who understand that stopping the invasion of illegal immigrants into this country begins with enforcement, not amnesty; with enforcement, not a new coat of paint on a failed immigration policy; with unflinching enforcement, not surrender to the selfish interests of business, labor, and the politicians. The CLEAR bill is a common sense, crucial step toward the effective interior enforcement that will reverse the tide of illegal immigration."

FAIR President Dan Stein said, “The magnitude of the problem of illegal immigration demands a coherent and comprehensive law enforcement strategy,� said Stein. “The federal government cannot be everywhere, but with the assistance of local law enforcement agencies we can finally mount a meaningful immigration enforcement strategy in the interior of the country.�

Southern States PBA President Jack Roberts said in a written release, “Immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility. But when the federal government won’t do the job, and we’re left policing the mess, our agencies should at least be paid for the costs incurred, and given some sort of safety valve for keeping criminal illegal aliens off the streets after we apprehend them.� Roberts praised the bill’s protections against unfunded mandates on local law enforcement agencies, and said the legislation was “precisely the remedy local law enforcement has sought in dealing with America’s illegal immigration crisis.�

The CLEAR Act removes all legal questions on whether state and local law enforcement agencies should engage in immigration law enforcement, and encourages coordinated efforts and training with the Department of Homeland Security.

Key measures in the proposal include:

1. Expanded Transport Authority: Local law enforcement is authorized to transport illegal immigrants across state lines to the nearest federal detention center, at federal expense.

2. New Federal Detention Centers: 20 new federal detention centers, each capable of housing at minimum 500 detainees.

3. Immigration Enforcement Training: 100% federally funded training by the Department of Homeland Security, at the request of the local agency.

4. Tougher Penalties for Illegal Immigration: Illegal immigration raised from a civil to a criminal offense, punishable by expanded jail terms and fines.

5. Crackdown on “Sanctuary� Cities: Locales that refuse to cooperate with DHS on immigration law enforcement will no longer be able to claim SCAAP funding.

6. Protection of Immigrant Crime Victims and Witnesses: Local law enforcement agencies are not required to charge crime victims and witnesses for immigration violations.

The full text of the legislation will be available on the web at www.house.gov/norwood.

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