What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Immigrants : S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Motion to kill an amendment to restrict funding from going to localities that restrict law enforcement from inquiring about immigrants’ citizenship status/On the motion (2008 senate Roll Call 69)
 Who: All Members : New York : Schumer, Chuck
[POW!]
 
S Con Res 70. (Fiscal 2009 budget resolution) Motion to kill an amendment to restrict funding from going to localities that restrict law enforcement from inquiring about immigrants’ citizenship status/On the motion
senate Roll Call 69     Mar 13, 2008
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This vote was on whether to table (kill) an amendment by David Vitter, R-La., that would adjust the budget resolution to allow a restriction on Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding.  The change would restrict COPS funding from going to localities that prohibit their law enforcement from inquiring about immigrants’ citizenship status.  The COPS program provides grants to local law enforcement agencies to implement aspects of community policing, such as crime prevention and community involvement.

The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress’ budget priorities in fiscal 2009. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

Under current law, law enforcement officials are required to share information they have obtained about illegal immigrants with federal authorities.  However, many cities have circumvented this law by putting into place a “don’t ask, don’t tell” type system where law enforcement officers are prohibited from asking people about their immigration status.  In this way there is no information to share.

“There are so-called sanctuary cities all across the country which [say] ‘We are not going to cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement officials.’ That is wrong. What is more, it is completely contrary to Federal immigration law,” Vitter said.  “My amendment says: We are going to put some consequence to that defiance of Federal law. We are not going to give them COPS funds. We are going to send those funds, instead, to all of those other jurisdictions which abide by Federal law.”

Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said there are about 23 sanctuary cities in different states around the country.  Durbin said police officers want and need cooperation from citizens, including those who might be here illegally, in order to solve crimes.  “If you create fear in the minds of those who are here in an undocumented status that any cooperation with the police will result in their arrest, they will not cooperate and criminals will go free. There will be more people who will become victims—exactly the opposite of what we want to see in America,” Durbin said.  He then moved to have Vitter’s amendment killed.

By a vote of 58-40, the Senate killed the amendment.  All but nine Republicans present voted to retain the amendment.  All but one Democrat present (Mary Landrieu of Louisiana) voted to kill the amendment.  The end result is that the budget resolution went forward without language that would have allowed COPS funding to be denied to jurisdictions that do not allow law enforcement to ask about peoples’ citizenship status.

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