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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: March 13, 2002 (Extensions)]
[Page E337-E338]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr13mr02-35]                         
 
       ENHANCED BORDER SECURITY AND VISA ENTRY REFORM ACT OF 2002
                                 ______
                                 
                               speech of

                         HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                        Tuesday, March 12, 2002

  Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the 
extension of section 245(i) that was included in House Resolution 365, 
the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.
  This extension is long over due. Nearly one year ago, this provision 
expired and we have gone back and forth between the House and the 
Senate on the particulars of something we all know is a necessary and 
prudent piece of legislation. Extending section 245(i) will provide 
needed relief to the community that is the base of our society and I am 
proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this measure.
  However, this resolution simply does not go far enough. By only 
helping a narrow group of people, we do not assist all those we are 
capable of aiding and we do not right the wrong of eliminating section 
245(i). Furthermore the restrictions present in this extension will 
only continue to confuse people about eligibility and giving people 
false hope of staying with their families and continuing to pursue 
their American Dream. Only when we reinstate section 245(i) will we 
have fully acknowledged the fundamental importance of family 
unification and the contribution of immigrants to our nation. This is 
an important first step in that direction.

[[Page E338]]

  I am especially dismayed that the resolution came within one vote of 
being rejected by the House. Just last summer, it passed by a 
landslide. The obvious explanation for this dramatic change is the 
attacks of September 11th. Ironically, the previous bill extending 
section 245(i) was scheduled to be voted on for enactment on the day of 
the attacks. Six months later, it struggled to make it out of the 
House.
  Some would argue that it is these attacks, committed by people from 
countries other than our own that have changed our viewpoints on 
immigrants. This is an overly simplistic explanation. While it is 
certainly expected that these attacks would make us more acutely aware 
of the enemies we face, we cannot blame the terrorists that carried out 
these horrific attacks for the anti-immigrant sentiment that was 
articulated in this chamber during the debate on this resolution. We 
are the ones responsible for this attitude.
  We can never undo what was done against us and we can never fully 
understand the evil that lurked in the hearts of these men. But we can 
control what impact they have upon our lives. We should not allow fear 
to become the guiding principle, but should stand strong for the 
principles our country are founded on. Punishing our hard working, 
committed, and American, in every sense of the word, immigrant 
community is not the answer.
  We are headed in the right direction with H. Res. 365, but it is only 
a step. There is much more work to be done.
                          ____________________



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