Homeland Security funding on the table

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Immigration has become part of the debate over national security. One example, lawmakers in the House of Representatives have tacked on an amendment to the spending bill for Homeland Security. It would slash millions dollars from cities and states that aid illegal immigrants without turning them over to the Feds. Marketplace's Hillary Wicai says that approach has mystified and annoyed some public officialsHILLARY WICAI: City councils and police departments like those in New York and Washington DC say it's not their job to enforce federal immigration law.

Douglas Rivlin is with the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy group.

DOUGLAS RIVLIN: "It's really a public safety issue to allow immigrants to come forward, be able to report crimes, be witnesses in crimes without facing deportation."

New York City for example protects residents' confidentiality when they report a crime.

Congress watcher Thomas Mann at the Brookings Institution thinks there's little chance that the Senate will follow the House's lead and cut Homeland Security funding. But that doesn't mean the issue will just go away.

THOMAS MANN:"It could then reappear in a conference report and we could go through this again."

And New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already vowed "one heck of a battle" if his city's funding is cut.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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