From the office of: Fourteenth District, Michigan
Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus
For Immediate Release CONTACT: Scott Deutchman 202-225-6504
July 25, 2000
STATEMENT OF JOHN CONYERS, JR. ON THE INTRODUCTION OF THE
"RESTORATION OF FAIRNESS IN IMMIGRATION LAW ACT OF 2000"
We are here today to announce the introduction of the "Restoration of Fairness in Immigration Law Act of 2000." Today is truly a seminal event. The Congressional Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific Caucuses along with Members on both sides of the aisle are uniting behind a single piece of comprehensive immigration legislation.
For too many years, Congress has witnessed a wave of anti-immigrant legislation, playing on our worst fears and prejudices. Since 1994, we have considered proposals to ban birthright citizenship, ban bilingual ballots, and slash family and employment-based immigration, as well as to limit the number of asylees and refugees. In 1996, we passed laws denying legal residents the right to public benefits and denying immigrants a range of due process and fairness protections, including prohibiting courts from reviewing many INS decisions, requiring lawful permanent residents to be deported for minor offenses committed years ago, and imposing mandatory detention on non-criminal asylum seekers.
This year, I believe we have turned the corner, as business and organized labor have joined the advocacy community in recognizing the critical role immigrants play in our workplaces, our communities, our schools, and our culture. In particular, I want to commend John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, for issuing a strong statement in support of this legislation. With the introduction of this comprehensive bill, the Members and groups before you now stand strongly behind the principle that Congress needs to "fix what we did in '96."
Our work will not stop with the introduction of this legislation. We only have one month left in the legislative session, but I believe that many provisions of this bill can be passed into law, including providing Haitians and Central Americans with immigration parity, enacting late amnesty relief, and protecting battered immigrants. In the event that these provisions and the rest of our bill are not enacted, I pledge to you today to bring this legislation up as the first major piece of legislation that we consider. Justice and fairness, as well as our own economic interests, demand no less.