Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 38me0150 (posted Sep. 28, 2000)"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday,September 27, 2000
AILA Public Affairs Manager
IMMIGRATION LAWYERS: STRONGLY ENDORSE KENNEDY BILL --
RESTORES JUSTICE, FAIRNESS, FAMILY VALUES TO IMMIGRATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today strongly endorsed the
Immigrant Fairness Restoration Act of 2000, introduced by Senators Edward
Kennedy (D-MA), Bob Graham (D-FL), and others.
Four years ago, Congress passed a harsh and overbroad immigration bill. Among its
more draconian effects, this measure denies people their day in court, denies
people a second chance, changes the rules in the middle of the game and tears
families apart. The Kennedy/Graham bill would help remedy those un-American
effects byrestoring limited discretion to immigration judges to
evaluate cases on an individual basis and grant relief to deserving immigrants
and their families, provide adequate judicial review of immigration orders and
decisions, and ensure that detention does not violate basic human rights and
needlessly separate American families.
“AILA is proud to endorse the Immigration Fairness Restoration Act. It would undo many of the overly harsh
provisions of IIRAIRA and, once again, restore such key American principles of
law, justice, fairness and family values to our immigration system. Senators
Kennedy and Graham deserve credit for standing up for the rights of immigrants
and their families,” said Jeanne A. Butterfield, Executive Director of AILA.
“The Kennedy/Graham bill accomplishes much of what the recently passed House
measure, H.R. 5062, leaves undone. Regrettably, H.R. 5062 would leave in place many of the most harmful
aspects of the 1996 laws.”
The Kennedy/Graham bill would restore time-honored principles of American law to our nation’s immigration system:
- The punishment should fit the crime. A person
who never spent a night in jail should not be treated the same as someone
who has served decades in prison.
An offense that is expunged or vacated under state criminal law
should not be treated as a conviction under the immigration law.
- Laws should not operate retroactively. They are unconstitutional in criminal
law and should be avoided in the immigration context.
- Judges must have discretion to make appropriate decisions. In most cases involving
long-term immigrants, an immigration judge should be able to evaluate the
nature of the offense, the extent of one's ties to the U.S., evidence of
rehabilitation, and the severity of the hardship deportation may cause
U.S. citizen and legal resident family members.
- People shouldnot be detained unless they are a danger or a flight risk, and only after a judicial hearing.
- Judges should review agency decisions. The decision to deport someone is momentous,
especially for refugees fleeing persecution and legal immigrants who have lived
most of their lives in this country.
“With Congress set to adjourn shortly, we urge the Senate and White House to act now and pass the Kennedy/Graham
bill, thereby restoring balance and key American principles of law, justice,
fairness and family values to our immigration system,” Butterfield said.
© 2000, American Immigration Lawyers Association