December 9, 2005
Dear Members of Congress:
On behalf of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation‘s largest Arab American grassroots civil rights organization, I am contacting you to express opposition to H.R. 4437, Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. We urge Members of Congress to vote against this anti-immigrant bill next week when it is considered in the House of Representatives.
This bill falls short of the comprehensive immigration reform President Bush has called for and the type of reform our nation needs. Rather than restoring a respect for the rule of law, H.R. 4437 approaches America‘s broken immigration system with an unbalanced enforcement-only policy. This bill has been rushed through committee and onto the House floor for a vote. A serious attempt to solving our immigration problems requires serious consideration and debate.
H.R. 4437 perpetuates a failed immigration policy in the name of national security, when in actuality, it will only make our nation more vulnerable. This bill will increase a thriving black market in false documents and drive immigrants further into the shadows; thus creating a haven for a real threat from actual terrorists.
Harsh enforcement-only immigration bills, like H.R. 4437, send us farther away from realistically dealing with our country‘s problem of illegal immigration. By passing H.R. 4437 Congress will tear families apart through increased deportations and detentions. This bill negatively impacts the rights of immigrants legally in this country by further eroding due process rights; expanding the government‘s ability to indefinitely detain non-citizens; and includes a sweeping criminalization of immigrants without providing safe, legal alternatives. H.R. 4437 will create an environment of harassment for anyone appearing to be a non-native of this country. It will create an unwanted burden upon local and state law enforcement, who have already voiced their opposition to Congressional efforts to making them enforce immigration laws.
What is currently needed is a realistic and comprehensive approach to fixing our nation‘s broken immigration system. We must find a way to deal with the 11 million immigrants already in our country, the 500,000 that arrive annually and the needs of American employers to utilize immigrant labor. It is important that our immigration policies be enforceable, bring immigrants out of the shadows, provide a path to citizenship, protect workers, reunite families, enhance security, and promote citizenship and civic participation. ADC endorses and urges Congress to pass the Secure America Act (S.1033 /H.R. 2330).
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. Should you have any questions about this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.
December 9, 2005