(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/28/13) -- CAIR is urging voters to contact their elected representatives and urge them to reject a process of adopting piecemeal measures in the House that would increase racial profiling and unconstitutional detention and also request that they include anti-profiling protections in the immigration bill.
This week, the Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill in a 68-32 vote. While this act is far from perfect, the fight for inclusive immigration reform now turns to the U.S. House of Representatives where House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made clear that the "House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes."
ACTION ALERT: Send a letter to your representative urging his or her support for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants and strengthens prohibitions against racial and religious profiling and inappropriate use of force.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed the "SAFE Act," H.R. 2278, introduced by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Opponents of the SAFE Act consider it a piecemeal anti-immigrant reform bill that promotes an enforcement-only approach. Such an act is a "poison pill" meant to stop the immigration reform process.
The act provides Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers with greater detention and deportation authority, while permitting state and local enforcement to carry out immigration laws themselves. CAIR and its civil rights partners believe that this enhanced authority could be abused or lead to racial profiling and a sharp increase in the detention and deportation of U.S. residents attempting to seek citizenship.
CAIR's letter addressed to your Congressional House Representative requests that they only support comprehensive, not piecemeal immigration reform and asks House leadership to keep it from coming to a floor vote.
As reported in CAIR's previous assessment of the now adopted Senate immigration bill, Section 3305 of the bill prohibits the blanket use of race and ethnicity by federal law enforcement, but fails to prohibit profiling based on religion or national origin and includes troubling exemptions in cases of national security and border protection.
The bill also includes a distressing amendment offered by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Graham Amendment 3, which requires immigration legalization applicants from certain regions or countries to undergo additional security screenings, i.e., background checks, out of national security concerns.
This amendment is reminiscent of the now-defunct National Security Entry-Exit System (NSEERS) program, which had required certain nonimmigrant men from predominantly Muslim nations to register with the federal government.
CAIR's letter to members of the House of Representatives urges for support amendments that would check the Senate's immigration reform package by seeking a ban on law enforcement profiling and discriminatory background checks.
CAIR's request also seeks clear guidelines for administrative and judicial review for those appealing their immigration status; prioritize family unity and not weaken or eliminate current family immigrant categories; offer solutions to ongoing cases of processing delays for thousands of immigrants; and, streamline the process for immigrants applying for asylum from conflict zones like Syria.