Changes in Immigration Policy in the US after the 9/11 Attack
Prewitt (2003) notes that the debate on immigration reform has virtually vanished from the national agenda. The USA PATRIOT Act, which broadly expands the powers of federal law enforcement agencies investigating cases involving foreign intelligence and international terrorism, is likely to have a significant impact upon many ethnic minorities living in the United States as students, guest workers, and potential citizens. Additionally, a crackdown on illegal immigrants is anticipated as Homeland Security begins to close the borders to such immigration (Pluviose-Fenton, 2003).
Currently, members of the House Committee on the Judiciary are scrutinizing H.R. 2671, the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act of 2003 (The CLEAR Act). This bill, authored by Republican Charles Norwood of Georgia, would mandate that state and local law enforcement more aggressively enforce federal immigration laws. By granting the power to local and state police officers to enforce federal immigration laws, the CLEAR Act would expand the police powers of government and provide much needed on-the-scene assistance to beleaguered federal law enforcement agencies (Pluviose-Fenton, 2003).
Overall, changes in immigration policy and immigration law in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 have been quite dramatic (Malone, 2003). Malone (2003) points out that government is legitimately anxious to ensure that those individuals granted student or employment visas do not have any connections to suspect or known terrorist organizations. At the same time, there are those who believe that immigration law in general requires an overhaul in order to speed up the process by means of which individuals seeking U.S. citizenship are admitted to the country