This vote was on a motion to table (or kill) an amendment by Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., that would take $75 million provided in the underlying bill for state and local law enforcement programs and redirect it to support enforcement of federal immigration laws. The amendment was offered to the bill that funds science programs such as NASA, as well as the departments of Commerce and Justice.
Dole said her amendment would cut $75 million from a program that reimburses states for salary expenses incurred as a result of jailing illegal immigrants, and redirect it to the Homeland Security Department for programs to help states enforce immigration laws. Dole said this will help cash-strapped states prevent more illegal immigrants from crossing into America in the first place.
“When it comes to tackling this complex issue of immigration, an important first step must be addressing the criminal element and ensuring that people can feel safe in their homes and communities. We have all heard about families shattered when an illegal alien driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or engaged in gang-related activity kills a law-abiding citizen. Many tragedies can be prevented if we give our local law enforcement officials the tools and resources to identify and process illegal criminal aliens. Providing greater funding for [these] programs will demonstrate our commitment to helping local law enforcement officials secure the resources they need, and it is the right thing to do for all our communities,” Dole said.
Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said she agreed that the program Dole’s amendment would give more funding to is worthy. But Mikulski said that the Homeland Security Department has its own spending bill for its funding priorities.
“The place for the Senator to have made this fight was when Homeland Security was on the floor, and she should have offered that as an amendment on Homeland Security and gotten it through an offset or gotten it in Homeland Security or gotten it by raising the Budget Act under a point of order,” Mikulski said.
By a vote of 50-42, the Senate killed Dole’s amendment. All but four Democrats present voted to kill the amendment. All but nine Republicans present voted against killing the amendment. Thus, the measure went forward without language that would have cut $75 million from a program to reimburse states for incarcerating illegal aliens to a program that helps states enforce immigration laws.