My good friend Logan alerted me to this issue, via a NY Times article:
…H.R. 4437, a bill sponsored by James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin and Peter King of New York. This grab bag legislation, which was recently passed by the House, would expand the definition of “alien smuggling” in a way that could theoretically include working in a soup kitchen, driving a friend to a bus stop or caring for a neighbor’s baby.
Logan writes further on his own experience and previous similiar legislation from two years ago:
At that point in time, Tom Tancredo Republican, Colorado was trying to tack on legislation that would deputize all municipal police forces as members of the Department of Homeland Security. This would require all police officers to ascertain residency and citizenship status with any case. In other words, give people with little protection a reason to AVOID seeking help from the police. In an earlier bill, he had wanted to deputize emergency room personel. All persons seeking help at a hospital would be required to prove their status – a mother and her children could be deported simply for seeking to save her children’s life by going to the emergency room. Thus, if you’re an illegal immigrant, you should avoid going to the police OR to the hospital. He was defeated. Unfortunately, similar ideas are gathering steam, as one can see by following the proposed immigration laws.
Hopefully these thoughts have given you some understanding as to why you should take a few minutes and look at the information below and call your Senators TODAY. (Anyone can call, but if your from IL, OH, KS, IA, WI, AL, AZ, CA, DE, MA, NY, OK, PA, SC, TX, UT or VT PLEASE take the time to call your Senators because they are on the Judiciary Committee)
(Email Below from Daniel Stutz of World Relief)
Please print this out, then call both your Senators this THURSDAY, March 9! Here’s what’s up:
The Senate began the debate on comprehensive immigration reform last week, and will report its final mark-up of the bill to the Senate floor on March 16. Given that Representative Sensenbrenner’s draconian anti-immigration bill (H.R. 4437) already passed the House in December 2005, any hope of safeguarding immigrants’ rights rest exclusively in what the Senate decides to do this spring.
Tomorrow, Thursday, March 9, is National Call-In Day for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Please call tomorrow to our Senators’ offices and ask to speak with the Immigration aide.
Senator Durbin from Illinois is on the Judiciary Committee deciding first steps on this issue!
Call Senator Richard Durbin: 202-224-2152 Ask to speak with Joe Zogby
Call Senator Barack Obama: 202-224-2854 Ask to speak with Danny Sepulveda
If your are not from Illinois, check the list below to see if your Senator is on the Judiciary Committee. You can find the name of your Senators by typing in your zip code at www.congress.org. The Congressional switchboard number is 202/224-3121.
If the aide is not available, ask for the aide’s voice mail. Whether speaking to the aide personally, or leaving a message, here is what to say:
” My name is _____ (affiliations). I live in (name of town & state). I am calling regarding “The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006″ which is being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced last week by Chairman Specter. I am concerned about provisions that will only worsen our broken immigration system which desperately needs reform. Please recommend amendments which would provide the undocumented population an opportunity to earn permanent residency, and, if they choose, citizenship. Also please support any efforts to strengthen worker protections in the new temporary worker program. Finally, please try to remove harsh provisions of House bill H.R. 4437 which are also present in the Senate Bill, such as the criminalization of undocumented presence; the denial of permanent residency to a refugee who commits a minor offense; and the criminalization of the use of a fraudulent passport even by asylum-seekers who cannot obtain valid documents from their governments. We are a nation of immigrants, built on the promise of liberty, opportunity and fairness. Undocumented migrants work hard, pay taxes, and seek a better life for their families. It is wrong to treat immigrants as criminals. Please contact me at ___ (your tel #) with your reply.”
Background on the issues follow below, with additional talking points you may wish to use in a conversation with your Senators. The names and contact information for each Senator on the Judiciary Committee are also below. Please first call Senators Durbin and Obama, and then call as many of the remaining members of the Committee as you are able to in order to strongly voice your concern. Each call will average only 2 minutes of your time, and could mean the difference between restoring a workable, sensible, just bill to the Senate, OR facing the end of two centuries of protection for immigrants and refugees.
Public Policy Coordinator
Gary L. Cozette, Director
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)
Tel: 773/293-2964 firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Friday March 3, Senator Specter of Pennsylvania, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, unveiled his “Chairman’s Mark” on immigration, an amalgam of several different immigration bills that have been circulating in the Senate.
THE “CHAIRMAN’S MARK” WOULD:
* Severely restrict judicial review for immigrants and asylum seekers (Title VII);
* Continue and expand the detention of non-criminal asylum seekers;
* Criminalize anyone who knowingly uses a false passport or immigration-related document, with no exception for refugees, asylum seekers, children, or other vulnerable populations (Title II, Sec. 208 and 209);
* * Criminalize anyone who is out of status, including asylum seekers, trafficking victims, battered women, and abused children who fall out of status while they are figuring out how to obtain protection (Title II, Sec. 206);
* * Create a positive temporary worker program, but would fail to provide a path to legalization for immigrant workers, and would require those who enter under the program to waive all rights to administrative or judicial review (Title IV and Title VI).
THIS BILL WILL IMPACT ALL IMMIGRANTS: children, asylum seekers, trafficking victims, battered women, refugees, the undocumented and lawful permanent residents. There is virtually no non-citizen whom this bill will not touch.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW! The fate of the Chairman’s Mark could mean the most drastic and devastating overhaul of our immigration and asylum system since the 1996 reform bills. We have only one more week to educate Judiciary Committee members, impact what comes out of committee, and change the tide. Anti-immigrants are hitting Capital Hill in droves and we have to counter their efforts.
* You support comprehensive immigration reform.
First, we must make sure the legislation deals realistically and sensibly with people already living and working in our country without legal status. It is neither realistic nor desirable to round up and deport 11 million people. But the Specter proposal will exclude many undocumented from ever becoming part of America’s future, thereby perpetuating the problem of illegality the bill must solve.
* Undocumented persons need a legal process to remain working in this country.
Second, the Specter mark requires that future flow immigrant workers leave the U.S . for a minimum of a year after two three-year temporary visas. Forcing trained and established workers to leave the U.S. after six years will either disrupt businesses in the U.S. if it works, or result in a burgeoning population of workers who “jump the program” and remain illegally.
*Persons of faith are called to treat the immigrant with compassion.
Third, the Specter bill draws on some of the more problematic provisions of the House-passed Sensenbrenner bill ( H.R. 4437). It criminalizes immigrants without papers, which may amount to a backdoor effort to force state and local police to add immigration enforcement to their already full platter of duties. It also expands the definition of “alien smuggling” so that people who come in normal, everyday contact with undocumented immigrants may be criminally charged.
*All persons have a right to due process.
Finally, to even participate in the plan the Chairman envisions, undocumented immigrants must sign away access to judicial review, the ability to redress errors in paperwork, and meaningful appeals while seeking legal status. They could not appeal a future deportation ruling through the legal system, for example. The courthouse door will slam in the face of millions of immigrants hoping to put themselves on the right side of the law.
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Phone: (202) 224-2152
Fax: (202) 228-0400
Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Phone: (202) 224-2315
Fax: (202) 224-6519
Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Phone: (202) 224-6521
Fax: (202) 228-1265
Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Phone: (202) 224-3744
Fax: (202) 224-6020
Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
Phone: (202) 224-5653
Fax: (202) 224-9787
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Phone: (202) 224-5323
Fax: (202) 224-2725
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Phone: (202) 224-4124
Fax: (202) 224-3149
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Phone: (202) 224-4521
Fax: (202) 224-2207
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Phone: (202) 224-5042
Fax: (202) 224-0139
Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Phone: (202) 224-4543
Fax: (202) 224-2417
Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Phone: (202) 224-6542
Fax: (202) 228-3027
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Phone: (202) 224-5754
Fax: (202) 224-6008
Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Phone: (202) 224-4254
Fax: (202) 228-1229
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Phone: (202) 224-5972
Fax: (202) 224-3808
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Phone: (202) 224-2934
Fax: (202) 228-2856
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Phone: (202) 224-5251
Fax: (202) 224-6331
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Phone: (202) 224-4242
Fax: (202) 224-3479