2004 Adopted Resolutions
72nd Annual Meeting
Boston

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MEASURE TO AMEND THE C.L.E.A.R. AND H.S.E.A. ACTS OF 2003

†††† WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors most vehemently denounces terrorism and acknowledges that federal, state and local governments should work together to protect the public from terrorist attacks in a rational and deliberate manner, and to ensure that security measures enhance public safety without violating the constitutional rights or unduly infringing upon the civil liberties of its citizens; and

†††† WHEREAS, on July 9, 2003, Representative Charles Norwood introduced the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act of 2003 (CLEAR Act), H.R. 2671 and on November 20, 2003, Senator Jeff Sessions introduced a similar measure entitled the Homeland Security Enhancement Act of 2003 (HSEA); and

†††† WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors encourages the improved communication measures between the different levels of law enforcement through more efficient use of National Crime Information Center (NCIC); and

†††† WHEREAS, municipal government considers its police the real experts in ensuring public safety and recognizes that local and state police have diligently responded to new homeland security mandates; and

†††† WHEREAS, the CLEAR Act and HSEA will require local and state police to add federal civil immigration law enforcement to their already long list of duties or risk the loss of federal funding; and

†††† WHEREAS, the enforcement of federal civil immigration law will distract local and state law enforcement from their primary mission of ensuring public safety and preventing crime in our community by having them focus on the apprehension of immigrants instead of criminals and by adding burdensome paperwork and reporting requirements; and

†††† WHEREAS, the federal government has failed to adequately fund, support and provide resources to local first responders, and has repeatedly retracted monies earmarked for appropriation at the community level; and

†††† WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors resolved that no local government resources shall be used to identify immigration status or apprehend persons solely on the basis of immigration status; and

†††† WHEREAS, the CLEAR Act and HSEA will lead to the misapplication of complex and technical immigration laws because local police will not be guaranteed the seventeen weeks of immigration law training required of federal enforcement agents; and

†††† WHEREAS, local law enforcement already has the authority to arrest anyone, regardless of immigration status, who commits a crime and threatens the public safety of our community; and

†††† WHEREAS, the enactment of the CLEAR Act and the HSEA would undermine community policing and create an atmosphere where immigrants begin to see local police as federal immigration enforcement agents with the power to deport them or their family members, making them less likely to approach local law enforcement with information on crimes or suspicious activity; and

†††† WHEREAS, state and local governments have enacted legislation to increase public and road safety that allows qualified applicants, regardless of immigration status, to obtain a drivers license and the enactment of HSEA would penalize any state which issues such licenses by withholding federal highway safety funds; and

†††† WHEREAS, the CLEAR ACT and HSEA will endanger the lives of immigrant victims of crime by undermining the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, both enacted by the federal government to provide them with particular protections; and

†††† WHEREAS, many immigrant victims of crime are unlikely to report the crime to law enforcement if they believe that seeking police protection will result in deportation and ultimately in lost custody of their children; and

†††† WHEREAS, there are over 56 ordinances, police directives, resolutions, and policies across the nation that protect immigrantsí access to police protection; and

†††† WHEREAS, there exists significant opposition to parts of the CLEAR Act and HSEA which includes law enforcement, elected officials and government associations, domestic violence prevention advocates, service providers, conservative thinkers, faith-based groups, civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights organizations, immigrant/refugee rights groups, labor unions, businesses, and financial service providers in addition to community members; and

†††† WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors affirms that no municipal resources will be used to identify and apprehend persons solely based on their immigration status; and

†††† WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors opposes committing local resources to un-funded federal mandates and affirms that the Clear Act as written does not achieve the purpose of protecting local citizens against terrorism,

†††† NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors hereby urges Congress to amend the proposed Clear Act and Homeland Security Enhancement Act of 2003 to reflect our opposition to additional un-funded federal mandates, our opposition to distracting local and state law enforcement from their primary mission, and our concerns about potential undermining of previous federal legislation that protects immigrant victims.