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Sign-On Letter to Members of Congress Regarding H.R. 10

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 04101866 (posted Oct. 18, 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:

  • Subjecting all individuals who entered the U.S. without inspection to expedited removal unless they have been physically present for more than 5 years (section 3007);
  • Restricts immigrants' access to driver's licenses (3052);
  • Placing new barriers on legitimate asylum-seekers (3008);
  • Removing foreign nationals to countries that haven't consented to their return or who have no functioning government, exposing them to human rights abuses (3033);
  • Eliminating judicial review of a variety of immigration decisions and greatly restricting temporary stays of removal during federal court review (3010);
  • Allowing for the indefinite detention of certain foreign nationals who have been ordered removed, even if they have been granted some kind of immigration relief (3032);
  • Prohibiting the recognition of consular identification cards by federal agencies (3006); and
  • Making visa revocation a ground for removal and prohibiting all administrative and judicial review of the revocation decision (3009).

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,

National Organizations
ACORN
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Friends Service Committee
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
Arab American Institute
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Community Change
The Center for Victims of Torture
(FIRM) Fair Immigration Reform Movement
Gamaliel Foundation
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
Immigration and Refugee Services of America/U.S. Committee for Refugees
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Migrant Legal Action Program
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium (NAPALC)
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
National Immigration Forum
National Immigration Law Center (NILC)
National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA)
Salvadoran American National Network
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Tahirih Justice Center
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring
USAction
US Jesuit Conference

Regional, State, and Local Organizations

Arizona
Asylum Program of Southern Arizona

California
American Muslim Voice
Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California
Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition
California Immigrant Welfare Collaborative
California Partnership/Center for Community Change
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa (Immigration and Resettlement Services)
Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Los Angeles
Eastern European Service Agency
El Centro Del Pueblo
Immigration Equality
Korean Resource Center (KRC)
Los Angeles Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition
Northern California Immigrant Workers' Freedom Ride Coalition
Ojai Valley Democratic Club
South Asian Network
UNITE HERE Union Local 483

Colorado
Bill of Rights Supporters of Fort Collins
Safety Net Collective, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Boulder Chapter

District of Columbia
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Florida
Florida Legal Services
Fundacion Salvadorena de Florida
Latino Leadership, Inc.
Unidad Hondurena/Honduran Unity
Unite for Dignity
Women Alliance of Miami-Dade & Broward, Inc.

Idaho
Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN)
Idaho Green Party
Idaho Patriots
Women of Color Alliance

Illinois
Central Illinois Bill of Rights Defense Committee (CIBORDC)
Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues
Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CCCLR)
Coalition of African, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAELII)
Democratic Socialists of America, Chicago Chapter
Dominican Literacy Center
HIAS Chicago
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR)
Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries of Illinois
Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC)
Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, p.c.

Indiana
Bloomington Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Iowa
The Black Hawk County Green Party
Southwest Iowa Latino Resource Center
Waterloo/Cedar Falls Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Kansas
Constitution & Freedom Society of Johnson County
El Centro

Maine
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project

Maryland
CASA of Maryland
Centro de la Comunidad, Inc.
Hispanic Organizations Leadership Alliance (HOLA)
The Maryland Catholic Conference
Maryland Latino Coalition for Justice
Migrant & Refugee Cultural Support, Inc. (MIRECS)
Pax Christi/Baltimore
Prince George's Bill of Rights Defense Coalition

Massachusetts
Cape Cod Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Centro Presente
SAGE Activists for Peace and Justice
Irish Immigration Center
Islanders for Civil Liberties
The Martha's Vineyard Peace Council
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
Northampton Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Rockport Bill of Rights Committee

Michigan
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)

Minnesota
Jewish Community Action
Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace
Minnesota Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride

Mississippi
Catholic Charities Immigration Clinic (Jackson)
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA!)

Missouri
St. Louis Area Immigration Rights Action Task Force (Jobs With Justice)

Montana
Montana People's Action

Nebraska
Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest

New Jersey
Migration and Refugee Services Diocese of Trenton
Wind of the Spirit: Immigrant Resource Center

New Mexico
Enlace Comunitario

New York
Bill of Rights Defense Campaign of Westchester County
Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College
The Door - A Center of Alternatives
New York City Bill of Rights Defense Committee
The New York Civic Participation Project (NYCPP)
The New York Immigration Coalition
Social Justice Ministry of the Blauvelt Dominican Sisters
Tompkins County Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Westchester Progressive Forum
YKASEC-Empowering the Korean American Community

North Carolina
Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee
El Pueblo
Latino Community Development Center

Ohio
Commission on Catholic Community Action, Diocese of Cleveland
Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana

Oklahoma
Tulsa Peace Fellowship

Oregon
CAUSA Immigrant Coalition
The Guatemalan-Maya Center
Latinos Unidos Siempre Youth Org.
Mano A Mano Family Center
Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, PCUN
Western Oregon University MEChA

Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Campaign
Service Employees International Union Local 36

Rhode Island
DARE: Direct Action for Rights and Equality
Feinstein Center for Citizenship and Immigration Services
Green Party of Rhode Island
The SAFE RI Coalition
RI Parents for Progress

Tennessee
Alianza del Pueblo
American Association of Immigrant & Refugee Women (AAIRW), Nashville Chapter
Amistades, Inc.
Asociacion Latina de TN
Catholic Hispanic Ministry, Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville
Immigrant Assistance Project, University of Tennessee (Knoxville)
International Community for Refugee Women and Children
Nashville Task Force on Refugees & Immigrants
Students for Political and Community Activism (SPCA)
Tennessee Citizen Action
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC)

Texas
Bill of Rights Defense Committee of Greater Dallas
Council on American Islamic Relations - DFW
Dallas Peace Center
United Nations Association USA - Dallas Chapter, Committee on Refugees

Vermont
Vermont Refugee Assistance

Virginia
Refugee and Immigration Services, Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Washington
Bill of Rights Defense Committee - Tacoma
Northwest Federation of Community Organizations

West Virginia
Southeastern Chapter, ACLU-WV

Wisconsin
La Causa, Inc.
Peace Action WI
Voces de la Frontera: Workers' Center