[Congressional Record: March 13, 2002 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
ENHANCED BORDER SECURITY AND VISA ENTRY REFORM ACT OF 2002
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.
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
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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