The following is a statement issued by the National Immigration Forum. Recent developments indicate that the House and Senate have different goals when it comes to passing bills to implement the recommendations of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission. The Senate is proceeding in a more serious bipartisan manner, consistent with the bipartisan 9-11 Commissionís recommendations to enact intelligence reform legislation. In contrast, the House Leadership bill, H.R. 10, has gotten worse, not better Ė more partisan, not less, more stridently anti-immigrant, and therefore less consistent with the 9-11 Commission and its recommendations. Despite public and private pleas from the leaders of the 9-11 Commission, and even the White House, House Republican Leadership is so interested in appeasing its anti-immigrant colleagues that they are willing to risk delaying or derailing the bill altogether
Both the House and the Senate have been flirting with controversial measures, including measures to streamline deportations, gut due process and judicial review for non-citizens, limit the ability of people to obtain political asylum, and federalize driverís license and identification standards to exclude immigrants. While the Senate has by-and-large rejected these measures in order to pass expeditiously a bill that addresses security and intelligence reform, the House Leadership has embraced these and other measurers with open arms. Once again, a small contingent of anti-immigrant activists has turned the war on terror into a war on immigrants.
The restrictionist wing of the Republican Party has proven to be the biggest liability the President has in both reforming immigration and thwarting efforts to successfully reach out to immigrant, Latino, and Asian voters. While he has tried to rope the restrictionist wing in, including efforts in the last few days, the President has been unable or unwilling to stifle these less-than-compassionate conservatives. Itís a safe bet that restrictionistsí desire for immediate deportations without a judge or lawyer, driving immigrants to the black market for driverís licenses and identification documents, and ensuring the political persecution of freedom-seeking refugees and asylum-seekers will likely come back to haunt the President and his party.
Angela Kelley, Deputy Director
National Immigration Forum
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