What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

CALL NOW!! Sensenbrenner's Latest "I Hate Immigrants" Mess

I hate immigrants Sensenbrenner is at it again. This time he's brought out a nasty piece of anti-immigration legislation.

Damn, do we need Bryan Kennedy to win this November. Sensy's just out of his mind!

In addition to the info below, make sure you call both Senators as there is a bill in the Senate als. Especially Herb Kohl who listens quite well to his constituents when he's undecided about a bill. They are discussing these messes in BOTH houses of Congress right now. Votes are expected TODAY!!!

Feingold: 202-224-5323
Kohl: 202-224-5653

Renee

From the One Wisconsin Network on the House Bills:
Once again Congress is moving in the wrong direction using divisive politics and they need to know that their constituents are watching. It’s time for Congress to stop playing politics with hot-button legislation that has nothing to do with deterring illegal immigration and passing a comprehensive immigration bill.

Tuesday night the House introduced two new anti-immigrant bills that go far beyond simply allocating more resources for immigration enforcement. Among other things, Congress would turn civil immigration laws into a tax on hardworking immigrants. They will also have profound impact on the ability of immigrants — legal and undocumented — to have their day in court.
H.R. 6095, Immigration Law Enforcement Act, and H.R. 6094, Community Protection Act, will not deter people from coming to the United States because they do not address the real the reasons why people come here — to work and to be with their families.

Call Your Representative TODAY To Stop Congress From Passing These Bills!

Tell your Representative to vote against H.R. 6094 and 6095. They will not work to fix our broken immigration system.

Congress should stop playing politics with immigration and pass comprehensive immigration reform. Any law that does not take into account the reality that immigrants come here to work and to be with their families is a waste of resources and time.
Giving the government unchecked powers to punish immigrants and making local police chase after immigrants will only drive undocumented immigrants further underground. It will not fix the problem; it will make matters worse.

H.R. 6095, Immigration Law Enforcement Act
In December of last year, the House passed H.R. 4437 (the Sensenbrenner bill), which among other things would have made undocumented immigrants felons. Making unlawful presence a crime would have created the authority for state and local police to go after the undocumented, as these law enforcement agencies can assist (under current law) with criminal immigration violations. The Sensenbrenner bill led to a backlash, as hundreds of thousands marched in the streets, and a stalemate between House and Senate legislation resulted. Now, the House is aiming to get much the same result by granting authority to state and local police to enforce civil immigration law violations.

The first part of H.R. 6095 is the “State and Local Law Enforcement Cooperation in the Enforcement of Immigration Law Act.” It would give state and local law enforcement agencies the authority to enforce civil immigration law violations. It would not require state and local police to enforce immigration laws, leaving it up to local jurisdictions. Still, if it becomes law and some jurisdictions take it up, it will create a tremendous amount of distrust in immigrant communities, leading to an overall reduction in public safety, with a large segment of the population distrustful of the police.

The third part of H.R. 6095 is called the “Ending Catch and Release Act.” It has nothing to do with “catch and release,” the practice of releasing an apprehended undocumented immigrant to appear in court at a future date. The issue of “catch and release” is already being dealt with by the Department of Homeland Security, as more detention space comes on line to hold apprehended immigrants who can’t be returned immediately across the Mexican border.
The primary thrust of the bill is to shield the government from accountability for the misdeeds or misapplication of the law by government agents. It makes it practically impossible for an immigrant who is a victim of government misdeeds to gain a remedy from a judge. In the application of immigration law, it basically gives DHS unchecked power.

H.R. 6094, Community Protection Act
The first part of this bill is called the “Dangerous Alien Detention Act.” It expresses a theme that runs through all three of the House leadership bills; namely, that the House leadership is not a fan of the checks and balances that are fundamental to the governance of this country. The bill would reverse not one, but two Supreme Court decisions that held that the government cannot indefinitely detain an immigrant who has completed serving a sentence for a crime if there is no realistic prospect that the government will be able to deport the immigrant.

Most immigrants face deportation after serving jail time for a crime committed. However, there are a handful of countries where the U.S. does not have agreements to send back their deported nationals. The Supreme Court has said that, once a person has finished serving the sentence imposed by the criminal justice system, the immigration service does not have the authority—outside of any judicial process—to additionally impose what is effectively a life sentence, when the person’s only additional “crime” is that his country won’t take him back.
This has nothing to do with deterring illegal immigration.

The second part of this bill, the “Criminal Alien Removal Act,” would expand expedited removal (which is normally applied at the border and denies a person a hearing before being deported) to certain non-citizens anywhere in the U.S. who have committed crimes. This is another provision where immigrants are being denied the ability to ask a judge to determine their fate, giving DHS the unchecked authority to make those decisions. This provision also has nothing to do with stopping illegal immigration.

The third part of the bill, the “Alien Gang Removal Act,” also gives the government broad, unchecked powers. It gives the Attorney General the ability to designate any group as a “gang,” and then punish an individual for belonging to that group—regardless of whether the individual committed a crime. Under current law, members of gangs who commit “aggravated felonies” (very broadly defined under immigration law) are deportable. What the House wants to do is to give the government the ability to declare someone guilty by their association with a group the government says is a gang, not merely their actual criminal conduct.

These bills are likely to be passed in the House on a fast track. Still, Congress isn’t going to get better unless constituents like you take a stand for hard-working immigrants and against divisive politics.

Call Your Representative Now! (and also call Mark Green for good measure)

If you don’t know who your representative is, you can find out by plugging in your zip code into this page: http://www.house.gov/writerep/

1st Dist - Rep. Paul Ryan
Washington office: (202) 225-3031; District office: Janesville (608) 752-4050

2nd Dist - Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Washington office: (202) 225-2906; District office: Madison (608) 258-9800

3rd Dist - Rep. Ron Kind
Washington office: (202) 225-5506; District office: La Crosse (608) 782-2558

4th Dist - Rep. Gwen Moore
Washington office: (202) 225-4572; District office: Milwaukee (414) 297-1140.

5th Dist - Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner
Washington office: (202) 225-5101; District office (262) 784-1111

6th Dist. - Rep. Thomas Petri
Washington office: (202) 225-2476; District office: Fond du Lac (920) 922-1180

7th Dist. - Rep. Dave Obey
Washington office: (202) 225-3365; District office: Wausau (715) 842-5606.

8th Dist. - Rep. Mark Green
Washington office: (202) 225-5665; District office: Green Bay (920) 437-1954

From the National Immigration Law Center:
In recent days, there has been a serious deterioration of the position of pro-immigrant forces in Congress. Your participation is urgently needed to stop punitive, enforcement-only, and wildly misnamed immigration bills that have been introduced in the House of Representatives from becoming law within the next week or so. Votes on the House and Senate floors are expected starting Thursday!

It is critical to call your Representative and both of your Senators right away to object to these bills.
Please distribute this message widely to others who you think might also take action.
Message to your Representative (who will likely vote on Thursday):
Please vote against the anti-immigrant “Border Security Now” package of bills. Real security will only come from comprehensive immigration reform, not not this venomous anti-immigrant agenda.
(Note that the details of which provisions are in which bill have been shifting daily – most recently, just this evening, they reduced the total number of bills from 3 to 2 – but the anti-immigrant substance has remained exactly the same – if you urge a vote against the anti-immigrant “Border Security Now” package your Representative’s staff will know what you are talking about)
Messages to your Senators (please deliver both messages)
Message 1: Please vote against HR 6061, the “Secure Fence Act of 2006”, which has already been passed by the House. Also vote against any other anti-immigrant bills that come to the floor. This bill takes us in the wrong direction. We need comprehensive immigration reform.
Message 2: Please do what you can to prevent anti-immigrant provisions, such as the House package of anti-immigrant bills, from being attached to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill.
BACKGROUND
Over the course of the summer of 2006, Republicans in the House of Representatives held a series of one-sided, dog-and-pony-show hearings designed to drum up support for anti-immigrant bills like H.R. 4437, the bill passed by the House of Representatives in December 2005. On September 14, 2006 the House of Representatives passed (the day after it was introduced) the first in a series of bills carrying out this agenda – HR 6061 the “Secure Fence Act of 2006,” which calls for 700 miles of fencing on areas along the U.S.-Mexico border.
On September 15, 2006 Rep. Sensenbrenner (who brought us the REAL ID Act) introduced three bills which earlier today were repackaged into the following two ones for introduction. We don’t yet know the numbers of these two new bills*
Community Protection Act of 2006
• Title I – “Dangerous Alien Detention Act of 2006”
Would overturn two Supreme Court decisions that currently prevent unlawful indefinite detention of noncitizens.
This bill would permit the indefinite and perhaps permanent detention of noncitizens who, through no fault of their own, cannot be deported..
• Title II – “Criminal Alien Removal Act”
Would allow immigration officers to use expedited removal on anyone whom they believe to be a noncitizen (1) who has not been inspected or paroled, (2) is not admissible based on a criminal ground (a conviction would not be required), (3) does not have a credible fear of persecution, and (4) is not eligible for a waiver or relief from removal. Someone being deported under this process would only have seven days after the order is issued before they can be removed from the U.S. without appeals or process.
This is a dramatic expansion of expedited removal. It puts enormous authority in the hands of immigration officers and creates vast opportunities for wrongful deportations, including of citizens who cannot quickly enough prove that they are citizens.
• Title III – “Alien Gang Removal Act of 2006”
Would render deportable or inadmissible a noncitizen whom the government suspects to be a gang member.
DHS would have broad discretion to decide what is a gang and who is a gang member, and immigrants could be deported with little or no opportunity to defend themselves against the designation.
Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006
• Title I – “State and Local Law Enforcement Cooperation in the Enforcement of Immigration Law Act”
Claims to recognize an “inherent authority” of state and local law enforcement to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer to federal custody immigrants who they suspect of violating immigration laws.
This is a stripped-down, backdoor version of the CLEAR Act.
If police become an immigration enforcement agency, then every contact that foreign-looking or foreign-sounding people have with the police would be fraught with suspicion that they are undocumented. Police are opposed to the CLEAR Act precisely because immigrants’ fear of contact with the police undermines public safety.
• Title II – “Alien Smuggler Prosecution Act”
Would declare that smuggling is bad, call for uniform guidelines for prosecution of smuggling cases, would authorize more lawyers to prosecute smuggling cases (but not more lawyers to represent defendants). This provision is a meaningless gesture.
• Title III – “Ending Catch and Release Act of 2006”
This falsely named bill would put obstacles in the path of lawsuits against the federal government, making it easier for DHS and other agencies to continue violating the law after they have lost in court.
Despite the name, and constant repetition of inflammatory claims by proponents, this bill would have no impact on “catch and release” or Salvadoran gangs. Instead, it would allow the government to put its thumb on the scales of justice in every immigration case. It would make it much harder for individuals and businesses in who win lawsuits in immigration cases to force the agencies that administer immigration laws to obey the law.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------* Thanks to the Asian American Justice Center for permitting us to make use of their descriptions of some of these bills

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
The House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the two bills described above on Thursday. It is critical to let your Representatives know that they should vote against these bills. They should know that you still expect them to enact comprehensive immigration reform, not piecemeal, anti-immigrant bills. Senate
Until 2 days ago, it was not clear that the Senate would take up the House bills. However, on September 18, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) filed a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to HR 6061, the Secure Fence Act. The upshot of this motion is that there will be procedural maneuvering over the coming days, with votes possible almost at any time. It is likely that supporters of the bill will need at least 60 votes to prevail whenever the bill does come up for its first vote. Approval of the border fence bill could embolden anti-immigrant Senators to take up the other House bills next week.
House-Senate Conference Committee
Both the House and the Senate have passed bills appropriating funds for the Department of Homeland Security for FY 2007. Their bills must be reconciled by House and Senate negotiators. In theory, bills that authorize activities (like all 4 of the bills listed above) cannot be made part of a bill which appropriates funds. In practice, however, this can happen quite easily in the House. In the Senate, it can also happen if no one objects, or if there is an objection and three-fifths of the Senators vote to overrule it.
At this time, we do not know whether some, all, or none of the anti-immigrant provisions described above will be added to the DHS appropriations bill in conference. If they are added, the only way to take them out would be to bring the whole bill down, at least temporarily. These are the Senators involved in the appropriations process who should be contacted:
Byrd - 202-224-3954
Cochran - 224-5054
Stevens - 202-224-3004
Specter - 202-224-4254
Domenici - 202-224-6621
Craig - 202-224-2752
Thomas - 202-224-6441
Bennett - 202-224-5444
Allard - 202-224-5941
Gregg - 202-224-3324
Collins - 202-224-2523
Inouye - 202-224-3934
Kohl - 202-224-5653
Feinstein - 202-224-3841
Leahy - 202-224-4242
Mikulski - 202-224-4654
Murray - 202-224-2621
Reid - 202-224-3542
For more information, please contact Josh Bernstein at Bernstein@nilc-dc.org or Joan Friedland at Friedland@nilc-dc.org

1 comment:

Georgia said...

Good information - - THANKS!!!