AILA Doc. No. 04101866 | Dated October 19, 2004
October 19, 2004
Dear Member of Congress:
As the House and Senate work to reconcile their quite distinct "9-11 Commission recommendations bills" in conference, we ask that you reject the divisive immigration provisions of the House-passed H.R. 10.
As you know, the immigration provisions of H.R. 10 were the source of great controversy during the House debate. Included by House Republican leadership, these provisions were flatly rejected by leaders of the 9-11 Commission and 9-11 victims' family members as "poison pills," unrelated to the war on terror, that had no place in this important legislation.
The incendiary immigration measures proposed by House Republican leaders do nothing to track down and prosecute terrorists. Instead they place broad new restrictions on immigrants, subjecting them to fast-track deportations and denying them protection from persecution, the ability to use legal identity documents in the U.S., and the fundamental right to ask a judge to review the legality of their detentions. These measures simply do not comport with the 9-11 Commission's findings and are a distraction from real reform.
Specifically, we oppose the following provisions of H.R. 10:
By forcing these measures, House Republican leadership attempted to use H.R. 10 to make a political statement and advance the anti-immigrant agenda of one wing of their party. Divorced from the reasoned recommendations of the 9-11 Commission, these provisions were forced upon House members, and all reasonable opposition, from either side of the aisle, was squelched.
In contrast the Senate, led by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT), worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft a 9-11 recommendations bill that passed by a nearly unanimous vote (96 to 2). When the House was given the chance to pass the Senate bill as an amendment in the nature of a substitute from Representative Bob Menendez (D-NJ), it fell just a few votes shy of enactment.
Republicans and Democrats should work together to make this country safer; politics have no place in the debate over national security. An overwhelming majority of House and Senate members support the language of the Senate 9-11 recommendations bill, which also earned the endorsement of the 9-11 Commission and the White House. We call on all conferees and other members of Congress to reject the divisive, unrelated, and mean-spirited immigration measures in H.R. 10 that were not part of the Senate bill, were not the product of bipartisan and reasoned deliberation, and should not be muscled into law in the name of enhancing national security.Sincerely,
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 04101866.