So far, the Scott Gardner Act has paid big political dividends for Congresswoman Sue Myrick. In the past two weeks, she's seen her face plastered across newspapers and TV screens from the mountains to the coast.
After Scott Gardner was killed and his wife severely injured last month in an automobile accident caused by an illegal immigrant with a history of drunk driving, Myrick sprang into action and the media spotlight, vowing legislative action at a press conference with Gardner's family.
To those who don't know better, including the emotion-packed crowd at that press conference, it may appear that Myrick is leading some kind of innovative national charge to track down and deport illegal immigrants and save innocent families from drunk drivers.
But there doesn't appear to be much that's new or innovative about the Scott Gardner Act, which bears a remarkable resemblance to another bill called the CLEAR Act that is currently before Congress.
So far, Myrick's office has not returned our calls requesting a copy of the Scott Gardner Act and a comment on its similarity to the CLEAR Act, to which Myrick added her name as a co-sponsor.
Like the Scott Gardner Act, the CLEAR Act encourages law enforcement to enter status information about illegal aliens into the FBI's National Crime Information Center database. As described, Myrick's bill would take this a step further, as did an earlier version of the CLEAR Act, and deny State Criminal Alien Assistance Program funding to localities that fail to comply.
Both bills claim to provide funding for the manpower and resources local law enforcement will need to comply, but since neither of the bills is an appropriations bill, no funding is actually guaranteed.
Where Myrick's bill does differ from the CLEAR Act is in proposing a mandatory detention and deportation order for any illegal immigrant convicted of a DUI and putting them on an expedited removal track.
"The bills would accomplish much of the same thing, but she goes further than we do on the DUI issues," said John Stone, a spokesperson for Georgia Congressman Charlie Norwood, who authored the CLEAR Act.