Immigration Lawyers Strongly Endorse Conyers Bill

July 25, 2000

Matt Tallmer, Public Affairs Manager
202-216-2404;    Fax: 202-371-9449


WASHINGTON, D.C. ─ The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today strongly endorses an omnibus immigration reform measure introduced by Representative John Conyers (D-MI).

Four years ago, Congress passed the overly harsh Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA). Among its more draconian effects, IIRAIRA 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 measure introduced by Representative Conyers would remedy those un-American effects byletting federal courts review INS decisions, restoring judicial discretion, eliminating mandatory detention and indefinite detention, and eliminating the retroactivity of IIRAIRA that punishes immigrants for minor offenses from long ago.  The bill also would repeal bans on visits by family members of Legal Permanent Residents who are waiting for immigrant visa priority dates, restore Section 245(i), update the registry date, and create parity for similarly situated refugees left out of NACARA.

“AILA is proud to endorse the Conyers bill. 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. By restoring Section 245(i), updating the registry date, and granting parity to similarly situated Central Americans and Caribbean refugees, this bill would both help ensure our nation’s continued economic growth and correct for past government mistakes and misdeeds. Representative Conyers and the other Members of Congress deserve credit for standing up for the rights of immigrants and their families,” said Jeanne A. Butterfield, Executive Director of AILA.

“The measure introduced today will help people such as Mary Anne Gehris, who was threatened with deportation for pulling a woman’s hair more than a decade ago; Donald Vega, a world-renowned jazz pianist, threatened with deportation because he illegally entered the U.S. at the age of 11; Daniel Campbell, who was being deported for a teenage prank committed in 1968. It also will help the thousands of immigrants who could adjust their status here, rather than returning to their own country, were Section 245(i) still part of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” Butterfield said.

“We look forward to working with our Congressional supporters on this long overdue measure.  We ask Congress and the Administration for their support so that this bill, and the provisions it includes, becomes law.”


Cite as AILA Doc. No. 00072659.