Sheriff meets with Biden to talk immigration reform
By Frank Abderholden firstname.lastname@example.org July 19, 2013 5:14PM
Vice President Joe Biden meets with law enforcement officials, including Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran (third from right) to discuss immigration reform in Washington, DC. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
Updated: August 21, 2013 6:13AM
About a dozen law enforcement officials from various organizations, including Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, met with Vice President Joe Biden Friday, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., to discuss immigration reform and how the senate bill needs to be called in the house of representatives.
“I think he wanted to know how law enforcement felt on this,” said Curran from Washington, D.C. His flight was paid for by the national group Bibles, Badges and Businesses, a usually pretty conservative base. Curran believes the senate bill should be brought to the floor of the house of representatives for a debate and a vote, but the speaker of the house has vowed not to call it because a majority of Republicans don’t support it.
“Obviously, he (Biden) thinks it’s not fair and I agree with him,” said Curran. He said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) “needs to bring it out onto the floor for a debate and vote. Ultimately I think this is very important. I don’t think it’s fair people are not getting off the fence because they don’t have 50 percent,” he said, referring to the majority of the majority rule called the Hastert Rule, which was used by former Speakers Dennis Hastert and Newt Gingrich to decide whether to call a bill.
If a majority of the majority was not on board, the bill is not called to the floor for debate, according to the National Review, a conservative magazine and website. It would not be possible for 170 Democrats and 50 Republicans together to pass a bill, because 50 Republicans votes is far short of a majority of the majority party, so the Speaker would not allow a vote to take place. Boehner did ignore the rule for the Violence Against Women Act, but has vowed to use it on immigration reform.
“Immigration reform is one of the top issues facing the Nation,” said Curran. “What is most important to our future is re-establishing a rule of law; bringing integrity to a broken system; and once again establishing moral and humane principles in our dealings with immigrants,” he said.
“I commend Vice President Biden for allowing us the opportunity to discuss these issues and break bread with conservatives, as we all come together in an attempt to do the right thing,” said Curran.
On Amnesty, Curran said that does not exist, despite the anti-immigration community’s cries. “Number one, there is no amnesty. There are all kinds of mechanisms immigrants need to do to stay in the country. You have to get in line, there’s a 12-year process. If people don’t avail themselves of the process they will end up being deported,” he said.
Sheriff Curran intends to continue to work toward the passage of immigration reform and was deeply appreciative of the advice that the Vice President gave the group regarding their role in the passage of this commonsense legislation.
He said they also discussed bio-metrics for immigrants, access for state and local entities for cross references with federal data bases, and reimbursement for dealing with housing immigrants they detain. “That reimbursement has gone down,” he said.
He thinks law enforcement leaders are less likely to speak out against reform and “you see a lot more supporting immigration reform,” he said. The other law enforcement leaders at the meeting included the heads of chief’s associations and sheriff’s associations.
“We need a national solution, not the existing patchwork in which different cities and states set their own policies about federal laws. We have 11 million undocumented immigrants living a shadow existence, afraid of reporting crime, fearful of being stopped by the police or having any contact with local police,” said Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum.
“As a result, they become easy targets for criminals, and police are unable to develop productive relationships with all elements of their communities. Therefore, police chiefs support efforts in Washington to fix the immigration system, so the police can go about their business of working with everyone in their communities to reduce crime.”
James McMahon, deputy executive director and chief of staff of the International Association of Chiefs of Police said, “As legislative action continues to move forward and policies are put in place that clearly define enforcement as a primary federal responsibility, it is vitally important that the role of state, local and tribal law enforcement be ensuring the safety of our nation’s communities and motorists.”
After the meeting Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, highlighted the critical role that law enforcement leaders have played - and will continue to play - in the immigration reform battle.
“The law enforcement community has championed commonsense immigration reform from day one and is committed to seeing it pass through the House. These leaders know that immigration reform is a fundamental step forward in helping build relationships of trust between immigrants and law enforcement officers - a necessity for public safety in the 21st century,” he said.