Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation
Avoid Piecemeal Anti-Immigrant Bills & Amendments
The U.S. House of Representatives Should Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform
In July the U.S. Senate adopted the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, which provides a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. While this act is far from perfect, the fight for inclusive immigration reform now turns to the U.S. House of Representatives.
CAIR urges House representatives to reject piecemeal measures that would increase racial profiling, unconstitutional detention and militarization of the U.S. border. Rather, Congress should adopt comprehensive immigration reform that provides a framework for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to obtain legal status and eventual citizenship.
Congress Should Oppose State-Based Immigration Reform, Like H.R. 2278, i.e. the “Safe Act”
Piecemeal immigration reform that includes anti-immigrant measure are “poison pills” intended to stop the immigration reform process.
In July, the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, “SAFE Act,” H.R. 2278, introduced by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was adopted by the House Judiciary committee and referred to the House floor. This act promotes an enforcement-only approach that would criminalize all undocumented persons in the U.S., effectively barring the millions of individuals and families eligible to apply for legalization under the Senate’s already adopted immigration bill.
This act also mirrors Arizona’s anti-immigrant law S.B. 1070, by authorizing states and local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws while proving Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers with greater detention and deportation authorities.
Congress should reject this act as enhanced state immigration authorities have led to abuse, racial profiling and an increase in the detention and deportation of undocumented U.S. residents seeking citizenship.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should Include a Ban on Racial, Religious Profiling
The House should adopt comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the serious problem of racial and religious profiling by federal law enforcement agencies – a problem which affects immigrant and minority communities alike. Such a ban on law enforcement profiling would:
Prohibit federal officers from engaging in acts of profiling based on religion or national origin.
Close loopholes that permit federal officers to profile at the border and for reasons of national security.
Remove any language that requires immigration legalization applicants from certain regions or countries to undergo additional security screenings, background checks.
While Section 3305 of S. 744 prohibits the blanket use of race and ethnicity by federal law enforcement, it fails to prohibit profiling based on religion or national origin and includes troubling exemptions in cases of national security and border protection.
Congress Should Oppose Screening Measures that Single Out Certain Nationalities
All immigrants, regardless of national origin, should be treated equally. That is why Congress should to reject redundant screening measures, like those found in Section 2101 of S. 744.
Section 2101, among other things, would require immigration legalization applicants from certain regions or countries to undergo additional screenings, i.e., background checks, out of national security concerns.
Introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), this provision is reminiscent of the now-defunct and discredited National Security Entry-Exit System (NSEERS) program, which had required certain nonimmigrant men from predominantly Muslim nations to register with the federal government.