The CLEAR and HSEA Amendments Would Have Dangerous Consequences for Victims of Domestic Violence
Thursday, September 30, 2004 10:30 AM

Both houses of Congress are currently considering legislation based upon the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to enhance homeland security. Some members of Congress are trying to attach amendments similar to the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act (CLEAR) and its Senate companion bill, the Homeland Security Enhancement Act (HSEA) that would have dangerous consequences for victims of domestic violence who need local police to provide help and not enforce federal immigration law. This legislation would greatly expand the reach of law enforcement by giving state and local police the authority to enforce federal immigration law.

These bills would endanger many battered immigrant women and undermine federal protections in the Violence Against Women Act that ensure that immigrant women would not have to fear deportation if they called police to report abuse. Non-citizen battered women and children already often fear that their abusive spouse or parent will report them to immigration officials in retaliation for contacting law enforcement. CLEAR and HSEA may make these battered immigrant women even less likely to seek help. This legislation would interfere with community policing efforts, as immigrants may be discouraged from contacting local police when they need help, for fear that they or their families will be deported.

Compiled from: Action Alert: Oppose CLEAR Act Amendments to 9/11 Bills, Family Violence Protection Fund, 30 September 2004; Urgent Updates on CLEAR Act Bill That Will Take Away Our Civil Liberties, National Immigration Forum, 24 September 2004.