Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

The Effects of Immigration on Local Governments

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

The Effects of Immigration on Local Governments

Article excerpt

Proposals that would force local governments to enforce federal immigration laws without providing the funds to do so, such as the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act of 2003, would be unfunded mandates, American Immigration Lawyers Association President Palma Yanni told delegates at The New America: Effects of Immigration on Local Governments workshop during the Congressional City Conference.

The workshop, which explored the role of local governments in the administration of immigration policy and the implications of proposals to revamp immigration law, was cosponsored by NLC's Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO) and Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) constituency groups.

Yanni said CLEAR would require local police, who have difficulty determining who is and isn't in the country legally, to enforce complicated civil law.

Katherine Culliton, an immigrants' rights attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), said since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, state and local police, particularly in the South, have decided they should enforce federal immigration law.

If local police were charged with enforcing such laws, immigrants, most of whom live in households whose members are of mixed status, would fear approaching police, said Katherine Newell-Bierman, a staff attorney for the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium.

Durham, North Carolina Assistant City Manager Theodore Voorhees commented during the question and answer period that his city has instructed its employees not to question residents about their citizenship status. …

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