AILA Acknowledges Tenth Anniversary of IIRIRA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 29, 2006

AILA Acknowledges Tenth Anniversary of IIRIRA

WASHINGTON, DC--- Saturday, September 30th marks the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), a vast and controversial law that has done little to reform our immigration system and much to create hardship and suffering for thousands of immigrants and their U.S. families.

"I find it both ironic and disturbing that just this week, we witnessed this Congress attempting to pass yet another set of harsh immigration laws," said Carlina Tapia-Ruano, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "Punitive, rights-stripping measures do nothing to enhance the quality of life in or the security of our great country."

"IIRIRA mandates detention and deportation of whole classes of immigrants, without regard for the hardships that it will cause," said Chicago-based immigration lawyer and activist Royal Berg. "It is anti-immigrant, anti-family, and anti-child. It must be revisited and repealed."

According to Mr. Berg, the law also blocks judicial review of many decisions that the federal government makes regarding immigrants, resulting in the impartial analysis of how the government treats this already powerless population.

Over its ten year history, IIRIRA has been responsible for more than 200,000 deportations, and tens of millions of dollars spent on the detention of immigrants. Many of the immigrants affected by the long reach of IIRIRA had built lives in the United States, complete with spouses, children and other family members that are American citizens. In one sweep of the law these families were separated and their lives destroyed.

In order to call attention to the ominous consequences of this law, Mr. Berg is calling for a National Fast for Immigrant Justice on Saturday, September 30. This date also marks the 44th anniversary of the creation of the United Farm Workers Union; therefore the Fast is being dedicated to Cesar Chavez. Delores Huerta, the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union with Cesar Chavez, is the Chairperson of the Fast.

Berg said that he decided to call for a fast because he sees the way that the marches and rallies are running into a brick wall. "AILA commends Roy for his efforts to raise awareness about these serious issues, and we too continue to strive for an improved immigration system that is founded upon just laws and more humane treatment of the individuals that it affects," concluded Tapia-Ruano.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. For more information please contact George Tzamaras at 202-216-2410 or Brooke Hewson at 202-216-2435.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 06092910.