House Passes Bill to Require Deportations for Assaults Against Law Enforcement
As part of National Police Week, on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2494, the Protect Our Law Enforcement with Immigration Control and Enforcement (POLICE) Act of 2023.
The POLICE Act makes it a deportable offense for foreign nationals who assault law enforcement officers, including firefighters and first responders. FAIR supports efforts to hold foreign nationals accountable for violent assaults on law enforcement.
For an assault to be deportable offense, the assault must 1) be carried out while the officer is acting in his/her official capacity and 2) be committed either because of the performance of those official duties or because of his/her status as a law enforcement officer.
H.R. 2494 was introduced by Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), who first introduced the bill in December 2021 following reports of two police officers being assaulted in a melee with illegal alien teenagers at MercyFirst, a New York social services nonprofit. That assault resulted in a concussion and broken hand.
On the border, in March, a female Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent was assaulted by an illegal alien during an arrest. So far in fiscal year 2023, there have been 353 assaults on CBP officers and agents.
Some assaults have been more serious. In 2020, an illegal alien from El Salvador shot and killed a Houston police officer and an illegal alien from Mexico operating as a human smuggler was sentenced to 15 years in prison after an assault on a federal law enforcement officer resulting in serious bodily injury.
Commenting on the bill’s passage, Congressman Garbarino said, “[a]s the border crisis rages on unchecked and assaults against law enforcement officers continue to rise, this legislation sends a crystal clear message that any non-citizen who commits acts of violence against police should be subject to deportation.”
“The POLICE Act codifies what under current law remains legally ambiguous by providing clear guidelines for what qualifies a migrant for removal under these circumstances. It is about improving officer safety and making it easier to remove migrants who have demonstrated flagrant criminal violence while on U.S. soil,” Garbarino continued.
The Biden Administration released a statement expressing concern that the legislation “could potentially sweep up even non-violent or unintentional conduct.” That statement, though, stopped short of threatening a veto.
The POLICE Act passed by a vote of 255-175, with 36 Democrats joining all Republicans in support.