House Caves to Right, Passes Immigration Bill that Won’t Solve Problem

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2005

Contact: Nick Berning or Josh Glasstetter at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

WASHINGTON—The right wing of the Republican Party muscled anti-immigration legislation through the House of Representatives on Friday, despite the strong objections of People For the American Way and a broad array of groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Council of La Raza and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The legislation, titled 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. It is an approach that People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas has said will simply not work.

“This enforcement-only legislation repeats an approach that has proven time and again that it does not work,” Neas said. “Real reform must be comprehensive, but unfortunately, it seems as though many members of Congress would rather demagogue the issue than fix the problem.”

This deeply flawed bill’s enforcement-only approach is a far cry from the comprehensive immigration reform approach that is needed to make our immigration system safe and orderly. The bill would gut the fundamental due process rights of immigrants; make criminals out of hard-working taxpayers, even if they are guilty of only technical violations of immigration laws; and militarize the border.

Experts agree that successful reform must allow for future flows of workers that are 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.