CLEAR Act Gains Momentum

As of August 28, the CLEAR Act (HR 2671)-designed to encourage state and local law enforcement to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws-had garnered 75 co-sponsors. “We in Congress have an obligation to the men and women who live in our nation legally and peacefully, and to our law enforcement officers who protect us and wear the badge everyday, to offer real solutions in fixing our failed immigration system, not more of the same tired political rhetoric,” said Rep. Charlie Norwood (R.-Ga.), the bill’s sponsor. “The CLEAR Act puts politics aside and focuses on fixing the problem-our immigration system that is chronically inefficient and unaccountable. After all, the system that has allowed 80,000 criminal aliens once in the hands of our law enforcement officials to be put back out on the streets, that cannot account for the 400,000 illegal aliens with standing deportation orders, and that provides a mere 2,000 out-manned federal agents to find them all, is not a Republican problem or a Democrat problem, but a problem shared by all of us.”

The CLEAR Act is one of the few pieces of immigration enforcement legislation expected to advance in this Congress (see “Bill Would Empower Police to Arrest Deportation Absconders”). Said Norwood’s office, “Formally introduced on July 9, 2003, the CLEAR Act is a bipartisan bill that addresses the growing U.S. criminal alien crisis by making clear that the over 600,000 state and local law enforcement officials in the field have the jurisdictional authority to enforce immigration laws during the course of exercising their regular duties. In addition to the bill’s bipartisan legislative support, the CLEAR Act has been endorsed by national law enforcement organizations including the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, and Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement.”

The bill will also reimburse costs to states incurred in enforcing immigration laws and require the federal government to make it easier for policemen to hand illegal aliens over for deportation or trial.