Sunday, April 30, 2006

HR 4437 Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005

This is what has the immigrant, Latino and Chinese communities so up in arms. I have linked above to a nice, neutral Thomas (Library of Congress database) summary of the bill. (There is also S. 1033 "For a Safe and Secure America" blogged here March 28 under the title " Senate Bill 1033, Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" and an earlier blog entry on this same bill, March 26, "Immigration Conflagration") But here is a dab from the sponsoring Congressman's website:

March 23, 2006 (202) 225-5101

Sensenbrenner Statement on Rally

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- In response to the rally in Milwaukee today, Menomonee Falls Representative Jim Sensenbrenner issued the following statement:

“The illegal alien rally held in Milwaukee today was an impressive show of force. But I do not believe that illegal aliens should receive legal government documents, such as driver’s licenses. Many have tried to confuse the difference between legal and illegal immigration. Illegal aliens should not be granted amnesty and a path to citizenship. This would be a slap in the face to all those who have followed the law and have come to America legally.

“The first step in any immigration bill must be regaining control of our borders. Without strong border security provisions, we would have an ineffective and incomplete law that would be doomed to failure from the start.

“Illegal immigration is an expensive problem for law-abiding citizens. Americans and legal aliens have to pay more for police protection, for classrooms to educate our children, and for hospital and healthcare costs. This burden on the taxpayer is wrong. It undermines the economy, and it puts undue pressure on people to pay even more in taxes to pay for those who are here in America.

“Our immigration policy has been and will continue to be debated in Congress. Last year, the House of Representatives took the first step in passing the Border Security, Anti Terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act (HR 4437). The Senate in a few weeks will be debating an immigration package.

“America is a compassionate nation that should continue to be the land of opportunity. But the best way to help illegal aliens is by stopping illegal immigration.”

And this

March 29, 2006 Raj Bharwani
588 Words (202) 225-5101

US Citizenship Not For Sale

Border security and immigration reform are among the toughest and most complex government policy issues I’ve ever had to grapple with. In order to arrive at a policy that reflects that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, we require a civil, careful, and thoughtful discussion. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I have attempted to address this problem in a comprehensive manner because the people of Wisconsin, and the vast majority of Americans, are more than ready for an overhaul of our country’s policy toward illegal aliens.

Last year, I introduced the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act (HR 4437), which passed the House of Representatives in December. The Senate is currently deliberating its version of an immigration bill, which by all accounts, appears to be headed in the wrong direction.

The bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 27 repeats the mistakes made 20 years ago when we provided amnesty to illegal aliens and let unethical businesses off the hook. The Senate bill includes amnesty for the 11 to 12 million undocumented aliens in the US who have managed to elude the authorities. This is a slap in the face to those who are following the law and taking the right steps to enter this country. The Senate proposal absolves the wrongdoers and penalizes those who are obeying the law. I do not accept the claim made by some that this is not amnesty because among other things, illegal aliens would have to pay two fines of $1,000 each. It is offensive to me to think we have legislators who are considering selling US citizenship for $2,000. US citizenship is not for sale. It is a privilege bestowed upon those who appreciate its value, and who contribute to our nation by living in a manner that reflects the principles and ideology of being an American. When someone’s first step in this country is taken in direct violation of our laws, I cannot support a process that allows them to continue residing in the US, while others wait up to 20 years outside the US before they are able to take their first step into this country legally.

To end this migration of illegal aliens into the US, we must stop the businesses that hire them. Without employment opportunities, people will be less likely to break the law to enter this country. Moreover, companies that hire legal residents are placed at a disadvantage when compared to those that hire illegal aliens because they have to pay a higher wage to their employees. In order to survive, many of these ‘legitimate’ businesses have to depress their employees’ wages just to remain competitive with the companies that hire illegal aliens. This is bad for all the people involved, and it is bad for our economy. To address this, my bill requires businesses to verify the accuracy of employees’ social security numbers, and raises the penalties assessed to corporations that hire undocumented workers from $250 per illegal alien to $5,000 for first-time offenses.

It is time to tone down the rhetoric, and come to an understanding on this issue. We need to look at what Congress has done in the past, and learn from our mistakes because the current system isn’t working. Having 10,000 or 100,000 people marching in the streets of our nation might make for good television, but it doesn’t provide a solution.

This is all well and good but here are some of the provisions of the HR 4437:

(Sec. 104) Directs the Secretary to: (1) enhance connectivity between the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) fingerprint databases; and (2) collect all fingerprints from each alien required to provide fingerprints during the alien's initial enrollment in the integrated entry and exit data system.

(Sec. 203) Makes illegal U.S. presence a crime.

Increases prison penalties for first-time improper U.S. entry. Expands: (1) penalties for marriage and immigration-related entrepreneurship fraud; and (2) criminal penalties imposed upon aliens who illegally enter the United States or who are present illegally following convictions of certain crimes.

(Sec. 204) Provides mandatory minimum sentences, with a specified affirmative defense exception, for aliens convicted of reentry after removal.

(Sec. 205) Subjects an individual who knowingly aids or conspires to allow, procure, or permit a removed alien to reenter the United States to criminal penalty, the same imprisonment term as applies to the alien so aided, or both.

(Sec. 207) States that: (1) the provision barring entry to aliens who have made false claims to U.S. citizenship also applies to aliens who have made false claims to U.S. nationality; and (2) the Secretary shall have access to any information kept by any federal agency regarding persons seeking immigration benefits or privileges.

(Sec. 208) Revises voluntary departure provisions to: (1) reduce the maximum period of voluntary departure that can be granted before the conclusion of removal proceedings from 120 to 60 days, and reduce such period from 60 to 45 days after the conclusion of removal proceedings; (2) require (currently, authorizes that such bond be provided) an alien receiving voluntary departure prior to conclusion of removal proceedings to post a bond or show that a bond would create a financial hardship or is unnecessary to guarantee departure; (3) require as part of a voluntary departure agreement that the alien waive all rights to any further motion, appeal, application, petition, or petition for review relating to removal or relief or protection from removal; (4) provide that a subsequent appeal would invalidate the voluntary departure grant, as would the alien’s failure to depart; (5) provide that failure to depart in violation of such an agreement would subject the alien to a $3,000 fine, make the alien ineligible for various immigration benefits for ten years after departure, and prohibit the reopening of removal proceedings, except to apply for withholding of removal or restriction on removal to a country where the alien's life or freedom would be threatened or to seek protection against torture; (6) authorize the Secretary to reduce the period of inadmissibility for certain aliens previously removed or unlawfully present; and (7) preclude courts from reinstating, enjoining, delaying, or tolling the period of voluntary departure.

(Sec. 209) Makes aliens ordered removed from the United States who fail to depart ineligible for discretionary relief from removal pursuant to a motion to reopen during the time they remain in the United States and for a period of ten years after their departure, with the exception of motions to reopen to seek withholding of removal to a country where the alien's life or freedom would be threatened or to seek protection against torture.

(Sec. 214) Establishes a rebuttable presumption that an alien should be detained if such person: (1) has no lawful U.S. immigration status; (2) is subject to a final order of removal;

(Sec. 225) Bars, two years after enactment of this Act, states or local subdivisions that prohibit local law enforcement officials from assisting or cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement personnel from receiving SCAAP assistance. Reallocates funds to cooperating states.

(Sec. 606) Makes an alien deportable who is unlawfully present in the United States and who: (1) commits and is convicted of driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, or similar violation of state law (DWI); or (2) commits an offense by refusing in violation of state law to submit to a Breathalyzer or similar test.

Requires detention of a deportable illegal alien apprehended for driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence or similar violation of state law, or for refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer or similar test if the apprehending state or local officer is covered by an immigration agreement (INA sec. 287).

Provides procedures for verifying the status of an alien in cases of apprehension for such an intoxication offense, taking the alien into custody, and notifying the Secretary.

Requires state motor vehicle administrators to share with the Secretary and other states information about aliens' DWI convictions or refusals to submit to a Breathalyzer test.

Title VIII: Immigration Litigation Abuse Reduction - (Sec. 801) Amends INA to authorize the Board of Immigration Appeals to make an order of removal final (without remand to an immigration judge).

(Sec. 802) Prohibits judicial review of visa revocations after the visa holder has entered the United States.

(Sec. 803) Authorizes reinstatement of a prior removal order against an alien illegally reentering the United States. States that such reinstatement shall not require proceedings before an immigration judge.

Limits: (1) judicial review of reinstatement to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and (2) the scope of such review.

(Sec. 804) Requires an alien applying for withholding of removal to establish that his or her life or freedom would be threatened in the country of return, and that race, religion, nationality, or political or social group would be at least one central factor in such threat. Applies such provision retroactively to the enactment date of the REAL ID Act of 2005.

(Sec. 805) Subjects removal appeals to an initial certification of reviewability process by a single court of appeals judge, which, upon issuance of such certificate (that the alien has made a substantial showing that the review is likely to be granted) shall be referred to an appeals panel. Prohibits judicial review of a decision not to issue such certificate.

(Sec. 806) Requires all nonimmigrant applicants to waive any right to: (1) review or appeal a determination of inadmissibility at port of entry; or (2) contest, other than through asylum, any action for removal.

(Sec. 807) Prohibits judicial review of removal orders for certain criminal aliens as well as review of discretionary decisions by the Attorney General and the Secretary.

(Sec. 808) Prohibits courts from awarding fees or other expenses to an alien based upon the alien’s status as a prevailing party in any removal proceedings unless the Attorney General’s determination that the alien was removable was not substantially justified.

And here it is, THE FENCE:

Title X: Fencing and Other Border Security Improvements - (Sec. 1002) Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to direct the Secretary to construct at least two layers of reinforced fencing, additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras and sensors in five specified zones along the U.S.-Mexico border.

(Sec. 1003) Directs the Secretary to conduct a study and report to Congress respecting the necessity and feasibility of constructing a barrier system along the northern U.S. land and maritime border.

(Sec. 1004) Expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary shall take all necessary steps to secure the Southwest international border for the purpose of saving lives, stopping illegal drug trafficking, and halting the flow of illegal entrants into the United States.

Congressman Sensenbrenner, your grandparents, like mine must have come under suspicion during WWI and WWII, with that German name (my grandmother on one side was Von Pein and I was told that she and her relatives felt a great deal of pressure and hostility in southern Indiana during the wars). There was a time that Chermans were mocked and not welcomed as new immigrants. There were illegals among our antecedants, too, though it's harder to slip by when you arrive on a boat. But once in, it is easier to mix in (at least by the second generation when you lose the accent) when your complexion and religion match the Anglo-Saxon norms. Let us not be proud -- we are all (or nearly all) immigrants to this land.

I do not ask for open borders; that would be foolish. But grant some justice and dignity to the immigrants, both legal and undocumented. And deal as your grandparents would have wanted to be dealt with.

Do you know what is on the base of the Statue of Liberty? She calls herself Mother of Exiles, and says,

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

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