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[Congressional Record: September 28, 2000 (House)]
[Page H8432-H8433]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr28se00-80]                         



 
STOP SPLINTERING FAMILIES; START APPLYING AMERICAN FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Filner) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor my colleagues for 
taking a step forward and unanimously passing H.R. 5062, an important 
step toward restoring fairness to families split apart by 1996 
legislation that was billed in this House as immigration reform.
  I encourage the Senate to quickly follow the House of 
Representatives' lead. We must stop deporting hard-working legal 
immigrants, Mr. Speaker, who are raising stable families only because 
they committed a minor infraction years and years ago.
  We must stop hauling away parents away in the middle of the night in 
front of their children, and we must stop denying these people now in 
detention the most basic constitutional rights that we in America 
believe everyone should have.

                              {time}  1400

  These practices, Mr. Speaker, are the direct result of the 1996 so-
called immigration reform law. The 1996 law removed the authority of 
immigration judges to take into account a person's contributions to our 
society as well as their misdeeds. It removed Federal judges' oversight 
of the immigration process.
  It allowed Immigration and Naturalization Service deportation 
officials to pick up someone after they applied for citizenship, put 
them in detention in the middle of the night without their relatives 
knowing where they were, and hold them without bail.
  H.R. 5062 will stop these immoral practices. It will restore judicial 
oversight of these matters that involve long-term legal permanent 
residents who paid their debt to our society, in many cases on this a 
short probation or a suspended sentence, only to have the 1996 law 
reclassify their misdeed as an aggravated felony.
  H.R. 5062 stops this. It restores justice and fairness to immigration 
proceedings. Many, many families in my district applaud this action.
  For example, it would help Aida. Her father had always been a good 
provider, but was picked up by the INS, handcuffed in front of his 
family, and deported. Now the family, which had been paying taxes, had 
to move into reliance on welfare. Aida's father can now apply to come 
back into the country and have a judge review his case under our recent 
action.
  Mr. Speaker, this is America where actions have consequences but 
where we have a system of checks and balances to ensure that no branch 
of the Government can run roughshod over our rights.
  So to my colleagues in the Senate, I urge quick passage of H.R. 5062. 
It would rollback the un-American provisions of the 1996 law by 
eliminating

[[Page H8433]]

most of the so-called retroactivity provisions so minor crimes from 
decades ago are not counted against those who are in this country 
legally. It allows those who have been deported to appeal to return to 
the United States.
  H.R. 5062 is a real positive step forward. It will help hundreds if 
not thousands of families in my own district and around the Nation. We 
need to restore fairness so that our pledge of allegiance truly means 
with liberty and justice for all.

                          ____________________





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