This bill — the Notify ICE Act — would require authorities to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an unauthorized immigrant is denied the ability to purchase a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Federal law only allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to buy firearms.
What is House Bill H.R. 1397?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 1397
In-Depth: Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) introduced this bill to require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) notification when an unauthorized immigrant is denied the ability to purchase a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS):
“The FBI reported just last month that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System had nearly 8 million people listed as an ‘illegal/unlawful.’ Additionally, illegal aliens rank as the number one prohibited category in the FBI’s NICS Indices… My bill connects NICS with Immigration and Customs Enforcement so this information can be communicated to the agency tasked with enforcing our immigration laws. This creates a mechanism to enforce laws which are already on the books and keep guns out of the hands of people who are in this country illegally.”
“Illegal alien status] is the number one category that results in the rejection of a background check is the fact that a person is here illegally or has illegal status in the country. And we need to address it. We need law enforcement agencies to talk to each other, and it’s not a ridiculous concept. But, the Democrats said no, we could not have ‘ICE actually aware of these people to deport them.’”
This bill has 18 Republican cosponsors. According to Rep. Cline, the National Rifle Association (NRA) supports this bill.
Rep. Cline originally introduced the language in this bill as an amendment to Rep. Mike Thompson’s (D-CA) Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which passed the House by a 240-190 vote. Initially, House Judiciary Committee Democrats refused to allow the amendment to come to the House floor. However, it was reintroduced using a motion to recommit, which passed by a 220-209 vote with 26 Democrats’ support. The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to bring the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 to the floor for a vote.
However, despite this legislative language’s inclusion in the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, Rep. Cline remains opposed to that bill in its entirety. Thus, he introduced this bill as standalone legislation.
Of Note: According to the Pew Research Center, there were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2016, representing 3.3 percent of the total U.S. population. This figure was a 13 percent decline from the peak of 12.2 million in 2007, when the unauthorized immigrant population was four percent of the U.S. population.
- Sponsoring Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) Press Release
- News Leader
- WHSV 3
- Pew Research Center (Context)
- Countable (Related Bill)
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / gsagi)
Notify ICE Act
To require the national instant criminal background check system to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of firearm transfer denials by reason of illegal or unlawful presence in the United States.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Immigration and CitizenshipCrime, Terrorism and Homeland SecurityCommittee on the JudiciaryIntroducedFebruary 27th, 2019
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