Legislative Fact Sheet

(January 1, 2013)

The Issue

Immigration reform is long overdue and needs to be implemented in a way that is fair, upholds the constitutional values of due process and equality, and ensures human rights.

In the absence of comprehensive federal immigration reform, many states have adopted punitive enforcement of immigration laws that relies on racial and religious profiling.

Current federal immigration laws and practices have also led to racial profiling, indefinite detention, and mistaken deportation of immigrants and American citizens alike.

These laws may endanger public safety by redirecting the limited resources of our nation’s immigration law enforcement agencies (LEAs) into programs that: 1) target immigrants without a criminal records, and, 2) inadequately train state and local LEAs required to enforce these laws.

Not only are these laws ineffective, they can lead to deep distrust between immigrant and resident communities and a lack of reporting to law enforcement agencies.

These programs are unaffordable in a time of financial crisis – Congress is expected to appropriate over $5 billion to DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2013, including $2.8 billion for immigration detention and removal operations.

What is being asked of members of Congress?

Support comprehensive immigration reform policies that establish a commonsense approach for LEAs, respect civil and human rights, and promote greater public safety. Enact reforms that:

Rescind the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel’s 2002 “inherent authority” memo and issue a new memo clarifying that state and local LEAs may not enforce immigration laws.

Establish clear accountability and oversight systems that are transparent and responsive to civilian complaints, maintaining a zero tolerance policy that holds accountable all federal immigration LEAs who commit civil and human rights violations.

Direct immigration LEA resources on deporting “high priority” convicted drug traffickers, gang members and violent criminals, not “low priority” law-abiding immigrants seeking citizenship.

Develop comprehensive workplace immigration enforcement laws that can be implemented in a manner that improves rather than undermines the wages and working condition of U.S. and immigration workers while respecting the due process rights of workers.

Reasons to support reform of the Secure Communities program

Reasons to phase out section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

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