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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily                        < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly 

THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

_________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                         December 21, 2000


                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT


     Today I am signing into law H.R. 4942, the Departments of Commerce,
Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act,
2001.  I commend the Congress for approving a bill that provides critical
funding for enforcing our Nation?s laws, protecting our precious natural
resources, promoting international peace, and supporting our diplomatic
operations.

     Many portions of the Act are considerably improved compared to the
previous House and Senate versions.  I appreciate and commend the Congress
for the many changes that have been made, including providing additional
funding to finance the Lands Legacy program; to improve the health of our
Nation?s ocean fisheries; to help close the digital divide between our more
and less affluent citizens; to improve trade compliance; to prosecute local
firearms violations; to toughen our Nation?s stance against cybercrime and
terrorism; to provide additional law enforcement assistance to Native
Americans; to fund peace-keeping requirements; and to improve worldwide
embassy security.

     I applaud the Congress for providing over $430 million for the
Department of Commerce's components of the Lands Legacy Initiative.  This
funding will help protect marine sanctuaries; support the new Northwestern
Hawaiian Coral Reef Reserve and restore other coral reefs; expand estuarine
research reserves; and promote recovery of Pacific coastal salmon runs
through grants to western States and Tribes.  The Act fully funds
activities for the Pacific Salmon Agreement with Canada at $60 million and
for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) work on
Columbia River Basin salmon populations.  Acceptable funding is also
provided for a new climate observation initiative, a new education program
with Minority Serving Institutions, and two smaller programs:  Global
Observations to Benefit the Environment and the Global Disaster Information
Network.

     The Act takes an important step toward closing the digital divide by
providing the requested tripling of funding for the Technology
Opportunities Program.  This program will provide
grants to promote innovative applications of information technology in
under-served communities.

     I am pleased that over $1.0 billion is provided for the COPS II/21st
Century Policing initiative, the successor to the highly effective
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which will enable
local police departments to begin a five-year plan to hire up to 50,000
additional community police officers, hire new community prosecutors, and
expand community-based prevention efforts.  While the appropriated funding
level is still below my original request, it is $444 million above the FY
2000 level, and will enable the COPS II program to fund almost 6,000 new
officers in FY 2001.

     The Act provides almost $100 million for the Department of Justice?s
counterterrorism and cybercrime initiatives.  This funding level will allow
for improved efforts to meet the growing challenges of terrorism and
cybercrime, including State and local first-responder training, staff
support for
the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and enhanced technology and
intelligence-gathering along the northern border.  The Department of
Justice?s components of the Gun Enforcement Initiative are funded at $103
million.  This appropriation will support over 600 Federal, State and local
gun prosecutors, and increase research on smart gun technologies.  The
Indian Country Law Enforcement initiative is funded at $111 million.  This
funding, which is $19 million above the FY 2000 level, will allow the
Department of Justice to assist tribes in hiring and equipping law
enforcement personnel, constructing detention and court facilities, and
developing alternative sentencing programs for alcohol and substance
abusers.

     I am pleased that the Act provides $4.7 billion for the regular
operations of the Department of State, including
diplomatic and consular programs; information technology investments; and,
building leases, maintenance and repair.  These funds will pay for support
costs critical to maintaining the Department?s network of overseas posts
and the conduct of foreign affairs worldwide.  The funded increases include
expanded efforts to promote trade compliance and enhance labor and
environmental monitoring.  Funding for embassy security and construction
also includes requested support for projects of the Agency for
International Development.  The Act also provides full funding for the
Administration?s pilot program to allow unclassified communication and
sharing of information for all U.S. Government agencies operating at an
overseas post, as recommended by the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel.

     The Act also provides $846 million for Contributions to International
Peacekeeping Activities.  Funding at this level will allow the United
States to continue to support vital UN peacekeeping operations, including
ongoing missions in Kosovo, East Timor, Ethiopia/Eritrea and Sierra Leone.

     I am also pleased that the Act provides $17 million for the
Departments of Commerce and State and the United States Trade
Representative to help ensure U.S. companies and workers receive the full
benefits from the WTO and other bilateral agreements signed by the United
States.  This funding will help to put experts overseas to deal with
compliance issues that continue to hinder fair access to markets, double
staff focused on China and Japan, and strengthen antidumping/countervailing
duty investigation capabilities.

     I am pleased that H.R. 4577, the Consolidated Appropriations bill,
modifies immigration provisions included in this Act, and that the modified
legislation will ease immigration restric-tions on an estimated 700,000
immigrant families living in the United States.  The provisions will extend
section 245(i) until
April 30, 2001, as opposed to January 14, 1998, under current law, to allow
aliens (and their spouses and children) who apply for an adjustment of
status or a labor certification to remain in the United States until such
petition is approved.  Additionally, the provisions will create a new,
temporary non-immigrant visa for spouses and children of spouses of legal
permanent residents
and U.S. citizens seeking to enter the United States to await approval of
legal permanent resident status for themselves (the "V" visa).  The
provisions will also allow certain individuals who were not granted amnesty
under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 who are currently
seeking such relief through the courts to apply for permanent residency.
While I am disappointed that the legislation fails to eliminate the
disparate treatment under our immigration laws sought for Salvadorans,
Guatemalans, Hondurans, Haitians, and Liberians and does not provide any
relief for deserving individuals
affected by changes in the 1996 immigration law, it is the best compromise
that could be reached after several rounds of intense negotiations.

     I am also pleased that the Consolidated Appropriations bill, once
signed, will eliminate an objectionable provision in the
Commerce/Justice/State Act that purports to protect citizens from the
unauthorized sale or display of social security numbers but would not, in
fact, provide privacy safeguards that are adequate.

     Although the funding levels in this Act are acceptable, I am troubled
that several issues could not be resolved despite my Administration?s best
efforts during the final negotiations on the Act.  Notably, the Act does
not include new hate crimes protections, and fails to extend the Violent
Crime Reduction Trust Fund.  I strongly urge the next Congress to
reconsider these actions in future legislation.

     In addition, this bill greatly restricts low-power FM radio broadcast.
Low power radio stations are an important tool in fostering diversity on
the airwaves through community-based programming.  I am deeply disappointed
that Congress chose to restrict the voice of our nation's churches,
schools, civic organizations and community groups.  I commend the FCC for
giving a voice to the voiceless and I urge the Commission to
go forward in licensing as many stations as possible consistent with the
limitations imposed by Congress.

     I also oppose language in the Act related to the Kyoto Protocol.  The
language is inappropriate because the Administration has no intent of
implementing the Protocol prior to congressional ratification.  The Act
includes an additional number of provisions regarding the conduct of
foreign affairs that raise serious constitutional concerns.  My
Administration's objections to these and other language provisions have
been made clear in previous statements of Administration policy.  I direct
the agencies to construe these provisions to be consistent with the
President?s constitutional prerogatives and responsibilities and where such
a construction is not possible, to treat them as not interfering with those
prerogatives and responsibilities.

     Finally, section 629 of the Act amends the Interstate Horseracing Act
of 1978 to include within the definition of the term "interstate off-track
wager," pari-mutuel wagers on horseraces that are placed or transmitted
from individuals in one State via the telephone or other electronic media
and accepted by an off-track betting system in the same or another State.
The Department of Justice, however, does not view this provision as
codifying the legality of common pool wagering and interstate account
wagering even where such wagering is legal in the various States involved
for horseracing, nor does the Department view the provision as repealing or
amending existing criminal statutes that may be applicable to such
activity,
in particular, sections 1084, 1952, and 1955 of Title 18, United States
Code.

     Several essential modifications to this bill are contained in H.R.
4577, the Consolidated Appropriations bill.  I am signing H.R. 4942 into
law today because I believe the Act, as modified by H.R. 4577, will meet
the overall needs and priorities of the American people.  I urge the next
Congress and my successor to continue to promote the needs of the American
citizenry by pursuing resolution to the troublesome issues I have
highlighted above.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

THE WHITE HOUSE,
    December 21, 2000.

                                 # # #



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