What: All Issues HR 3093. (Fiscal 2008 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations) Motion to kill an amendment that would prohibit localities that do not share information on illegal immigrants with federal agencies from receiving certain law enforcement funds/On the motion (2007 senate Roll Call 370)
 Who: All Members
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HR 3093. (Fiscal 2008 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations) Motion to kill an amendment that would prohibit localities that do not share information on illegal immigrants with federal agencies from receiving certain law enforcement funds/On the motion
senate Roll Call 370     Oct 16, 2007
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win
Qualifies as polarizing?
Yes
Is this vote crucial?
No

This vote was on an amendment by David Vitter, R-La., that would prohibit localities from receiving funding under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program if they refuse to share information on illegal immigrants with federal authorities.  The COPS program provides grants to local law enforcement agencies to implement aspects of community policing, such as crime prevention and community involvement.

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.  Vitter said localities that do not share information with federal law enforcement about illegal immigrants should not receive federal funding under the COPS program.
 
"It says very simply that everyone at all levels of government should be part of the solution and should cooperate fully with Federal immigration enforcement officials and should not refuse to cooperate, refuse to give information to those officials trying to do a very difficult job, and in those cases where local jurisdictions do not properly cooperate with Federal officials, as is currently mandated by Federal law, then those local jurisdictions will not get COPS funds. It is pure and simple," Vitter said.

Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said mandating this kind of information sharing will discourage immigrants from cooperating with law enforcement, out of fear of being deported.

"What the Vitter amendment does is it cuts the legs out from under law enforcement, who say they prefer to get the perpetrator of the crime and that is much more important than ultimately going to the question as to whether that person has a legal status in this country. That is why a large number of people whom we trust every day, who put their lives on the line for us in terms of protecting us as citizens, have said they oppose the Vitter amendment," Menendez said.

By a vote of 52-42, the Senate killed Vitter's amendment.  All but one Democrat present voted to kill the amendment (Mary Landrieu of Louisiana).  All but six Republicans present voted to retain the amendment.  Thus, the amendment was killed and the measure went forward without language that would have only given COPS funding to localities that share information about illegal immigrants with federal agencies.

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