House Judiciary Committee Passes Immigration Bill that Won’t Solve Problem

‘Stupidity, political panic, or venality?’ California congressman asks

WASHINGTON— "Stupidity, political panic or venality?” These are the motivations that Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) surmised could be behind House Judiciary Committee Republicans’ decision to bring forward today an enforcement-only immigration bill only one week before recess.

Sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act (H.R. 4437) is a textbook enforcement-only bill that mirrors the decades of failed policies that have made a mockery of our immigration system. This is an approach, said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas, that simply will not work.

"Under the pretext of fixing our badly broken immigration system, this bill’s exclusive focus on enforcement measures would make criminals out of hard-working, tax-paying members of our society, take away from some legal permanent residents the ability to become citizens, and deprive many immigrants of critical rights," Neas said. “Even the White House has acknowledged that successful immigration reform must be comprehensive. This legislation fails to meet that standard,” Neas continued. “This bill continues the failed policies of the last 20 years. It simply will not work.”

A far cry from the comprehensive immigration reform approach that is needed to make our immigration system safe, legal and orderly, this deeply flawed bill takes an enforcement-only approach. Successful reform must create a future flow of workers that experts agree is necessary for economic growth, create a path to earned legalization for the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S., and reduce the backlog in processing applications so families can reunite with their loved ones.

A broad array of business, civil rights, Hispanic, and immigrants rights groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Council of La Raza, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and People For the American Way, oppose the Sensenbrenner measure and have called instead for comprehensive reform.

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