Joint Letter from Irish American Groups on H.R. 10

Document Date: October 26, 2004

Representative Peter Hoekstra
2234 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Senator Susan Collins
172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

RE: House Bill HR 10

Dear Representative Hoekstra and Senator Collins,

The Irish American community is extremely concerned about the extraneous provisions in House Bill HR 10 that go beyond the 9-11 Commission’s recommendations. We write to express our strong opposition to these controversial provisions, which directly threaten the Irish in America.

Under HR 10, Irish immigrants in the US (including permanent residents) would be deportable for pure speech-for saying anything the government says endorses terrorist activity or endorses support for a terrorist organization, and for mere membership. Thus, an Irish permanent resident that defends the right of the Irish Republican Army to use weapons, even against military targets only, would be deportable. This bill sets up a dangerous standard of guilt by association, rendering people deportable for wholly lawful and peaceful activity if it supports any group that has engaged in the use of weapons, or has threatened to use weapons.

Furthermore, HR 10 contains court stripping provisions that make it much more difficult for Irish deportees to get stays and appeals. It expands “expedited removal” to allow for deportation without a hearing, and without judicial review, of any non-citizen anywhere in the U.S. that an immigration officer says was not lawfully admitted and has been physically present less than 5 years.

This bill is a threat to our democracy. For centuries Irish immigrants have come over to the US, either fleeing persecution or looking for new opportunity. Tens of millions of Irish immigrants helped build this country, voiced their political opinions, and contributed to our democracy. We must not pass any legislation infringing on their ability to continue their contribution.

Anti-immigrant provisions and expansions of the Patriot Act were not recommended by the 9-11 Commission and have no place in this bill. We join with the 9-11 Commission, and the many 9-11 families in asking you to remove these extraneous provisions and pass a bi-partisan bill that follows the actual recommendations of the 9-11 Commission.

Yours Sincerely,

Judge Andrew Somers (ret.)
National President
Irish American Unity Conference

Deanna Turner
National Coordinator
Irish Deportees of America Committee

Paul Doris
National Chair
Irish Northern Aid

Fr. Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus

Ned McGinley
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Edmund Lynch
National Coordinator
Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland

Jerome Edward Boyle, Esq.
Attorney at Law

Nadya Connolly Williams
Global Exchange Study Tour Coordinator for
The north of Ireland

CC: Conference Committee Members

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