The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437), introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), threatens asylum seekers, non-citizens, and their families. This enforcement-only bill is a boldfaced attack on our fundamental constitutional values of due process and especially of judicial review.
The bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee December 8 and will reach the House floor for votes the week of December 12. House leadership is on a mission to pass this legislation before the December 17th adjournment. They are trying to rush this misguided and harmful proposal through with little or no debate. WE NEED TO ACT NOW to prevent its final passage!
Please call AND fax your Representative. Use our Congressional Directory to look up their contact info (or visit House.gov). Urge her/him to oppose H.R. 4437. You can also enter your zipcode above to send an email.
Please urge your Senators and Representative to support a realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration reform - The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (H.R. 2330/S. 1033).
TALKING POINTS FOR CALLS:
I am against H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act (also referred to as the "Border Bill").
The past two decades have shown that an "enforcement alone" approach does not work to stem illegal immigration.
We need comprehensive immigration reform, such as that embodied in H.R. 2330/S. 1033.
The "Border Bill" erodes the rights of the most vulnerable.
Like the REAL ID Act, this bill attempts to limit access of asylum seekers to the U.S. federal courts. The "Border Bill" stacks the deck against the asylum seeker, deeming the asylum seeker's appeal automatically denied if a federal court judge does not issue a certificate allowing the appeal within 60 days. It further increases the grave risk of asylum seekers being deported back into the hands of their persecutors.
The bill also seeks to increase the detention of asylum seekers and others. Under this bill, the asylum seeker could be denied release from jail on parole even though he/she satisfies the release criteria, simply because local officials have available detention space or the asylum seeker cannot afford to pay a $5,000 bond. This makes worse an already bad situation: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently found that asylum seekers are jailed in inappropriate prison-like facilities and are rarely released on parole in some parts of the country.
The "Border Bill" embodies an "enforcement-only" approach to immigration reform, despite the clear evidence over the past two decades that enforcement-only policies do not work. This approach will lead only to more failure. Furthermore, the bill would allow indefinite detention of non-citizens who have finished serving their sentences in the criminal justice system but then cannot be deported (flying in the face of Supreme Court decisions limiting indefinite detention). And it would prohibit state courts from reversing or vacating convictions for even minor crimes in order to prevent non-citizens from being deported, severing them from their family and their adopted community.