Tuesday, May 24, 2005

FAIR Legislative Round Up

House Approves Department of Homeland Security Funding Bills
Last week, the House approved two measures critical to funding Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operations for fiscal year 2006.

The House overwhelmingly passed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2006, H.R. 2360, last Tuesday by a vote of 424-1. Last Wednesday, the House approved the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, H.R. 1817, by a vote of 424-4.

The authorization bill (H.R. 1817) establishes or continues programs within the Department of Homeland Security and permits funding up to a certain level for specific programs and activities. The appropriations bill (H.R. 2360) decides the actual spending.

Senate action on these measures is uncertain at this point.

Immigration-related Amendments:
Several immigration-related amendments were offered and adopted during consideration of these measures. Follow the vote links in this update to see how your representative voted and to send free pre-written vote-based messages!

Border Security Funding Increase - The appropriations bill (H.R. 2360) provides $19.4 billion to fund border security operation for 2006, which is an 11 percent increase over 2005 spending. Included in that figure is funding for 1,000 additional border patrol agents, 200 immigration enforcement agents, 150 criminal investigators, and 1,920 detention beds.

Funding Approved to Implement REAL ID Driver's License Requirements - The House approved (226-198) an amendment by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) to H.R. 2360 providing $100 million to fund grants under the REAL ID Act to assist states in conforming with minimum driver's license standards. These standards will help keep licenses out of the hands of illegal aliens and the terrorists among them.

State/Local Immigration Enforcement Encouraged - By voice vote the House approved an amendment by Homeland Security Chairman Chris Cox (R-CA) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) to H.R. 1817 authorizing up to $40 million to be appropriated for FY 2006 to reimburse states and localities for costs associated with having state and local law enforcement trained and certified by DHS' Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws.
The House also approved (242-185) Rep. Charlie Norwood's (R-GA) amendment to H.R. 1817 to clarify the existing authority of state and local enforcement personnel to apprehend, detain, remove, and transport illegal aliens in the routine course of duty. Norwood's amendment also requires DHS to establish a training manual on this matter and set forth simple guidelines for making that training available.

Tancredo Amendment to Discourage Illegal Alien Sanctuary Policies Gains New Support - For the third year in a row, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) offered his amendment to withhold homeland security funding from states and localities that refuse to share immigration-related information with federal authorities. His amendment to the appropriations bill (H.R. 2360) failed by a 165-258 vote. While it was defeated, this vote represents a gain of 17 yea votes since last considered in 2004, and 63 more yea votes since first consideration in 2003.
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Unite to Fight Against Illegal Immigration Summit - Las Vegas, Memorial Day Weekend
Mark your calendars and attend the Unite to Fight Against Illegal Immigration Summit this Memorial Day weekend (May 27-28) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This will be a huge event with dozens of speakers, brainstorming, and planning for victory! Meet and hear the best speakers and activist in the country.

FAIR's Western Field Director Rick Oltman will be there, as will representatives from other groups including 9-11 Families for Secure America, American Immigration Control Foundation, California Coalition for Immigration Reform, American Patrol, The Arizona Minutemen, The Yuma Patriots, Latino-Americans for Immigration Reform, American Resistance, Defend Colorado Now, and many others!

Visit the Wake Up America Foundation web site for details!

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New Cosponsors of Key Bills
The following members recently signed on to good immigration reform legislation. Click on the bill numbers to learn more about the legislation and to send FREE faxed messages in support of these bills to your legislators. If your legislators are listed below, please follow your faxes up with phone calls to thank them.

Thank these members for supporting good reform legislation!

H.R. 1219 - Legislation to Eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK)
H.R. 1986 - Military Assistance on the Border

Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA)

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)

Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH)

H.J.RES.46 - Citizenship Reform Amendment

Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA)
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Recent Floor Statements

On May 16, Rep. Bob Filner (R-NC) commented on A Smarter Approach To The Border
On May 17, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) commented on Border Patrol And Illegal Aliens
On May 18, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) commented on Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 1817, Department Of Homeland Security Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2006
On May 19, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) commented on Department Of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2006
Upcoming Events

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold an oversight hearing on "Training More Border Patrol Agents: How the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Can Increase Training Capacity Most Effectively." When and Where: May 24, 2:00 p.m., 210 Cannon House Office Building.

The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Diversity Visa Program." When and Where: May 25, 2:30 p.m., 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "The Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Serving Our National Economy." When and Where: May 26, 2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The House Judiciary Committee Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing on the "Implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act: Sections 505 and 804," addressing national security, jurisdiction over crimes at U.S. facilities abroad, and material witness provisions of the Criminal Code. When and Where: May 26, 2:00 p.m., 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.
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