(Washington, DC)- Congressman John Conyers, Jr. issued the following statement today in opposition to the inclusion of the controversial Real ID Act in the Emergency Supplemental Bill: “I rise in strong opposition to this supplemental appropriations bill and the anti-immigrant legislation it contains. If we truly believe all the rhetoric we hear about the importance of freedom and liberty from the president and others, we will vote down this bill, which denies so much freedom and liberty to immigrants in our own country. H.R. 1268 includes numerous provisions limiting the rights of refugees, imposing onerous new driver’s license requirements on the states, making it easier to deport legal immigrants, waiving all federal laws concerning the construction of fences and barriers anywhere within the United States, and denying immigrants long standing habeas corpus rights.
If enacted into law, this legislation will close America’s doors to religious minorities escaping religious persecution and women fleeing sex trafficking and rape. We have been down this road of overreaction in the past. During the Civil War, General Grant sought to expel the Jews from the South. The aftermath of World War I brought about the notorious Red Scare and the anti-immigrant Palmer raids. World War II led to the unconscionable internment of Japanese Americans. In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, and even after the Patriot Act, this legislation would further target immigrants for crimes they have not committed, and sins they are not responsible for. At some point, we have to treat terrorism as a problem that requires an intelligence response, as opposed to an excuse to scapegoat immigrants.
It is for all these reasons that so many groups strongly oppose this bill, including groups concerned about immigrant rights, civil rights and liberties, privacy rights; Labor rights; the environment; Native-American rights; state rights, and international human rights. I urge Members to oppose this legislation. We cannot and should not close ourselves off to the most vulnerable members of our society.”