New York City Council Letter on H.R. 10

Document Date: October 28, 2004

Congressional Conference Committee
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Congressional Conference Committee
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Conference Committee Member:

We write as members of the New York City Council to express concerns about several provisions of the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act (“”H.R. 10″”), included neither in S. 2845 nor the 9/11 Commission recommendations, which would seriously undermine immigrants’ rights. As local elected officials in a city where sixty percent of residents are immigrants or the children of immigrants, we feel a particular responsibility to express our views regarding proposed federal law that would adversely affect the lives of so many New Yorkers. We urge you to oppose any version of the bill that includes any of the provisions described below.

Sections 3051 through 3056 of H.R. 10 would create a de facto national identification card by federalizing state-issued driver’s license requirements. The proposal also prevents states from issuing driver’s licenses to many immigrants. This would prevent tens of thousands of immigrants living in the United States from possessing legitimate identification. In addition, it would essentially impose a visa status requirement in order to drive legally, which could result in the revocation of hundreds of thousands of licenses of immigrants who currently depend on driving to maintain employment, access services and support their families.

The legislation also would overhaul the current immigration system dramatically to deny immigrants basic judicial review over unfair or arbitrary deportations. Section 3007 would authorize summary deportation by immigration agents, which would subject hundreds of thousands of individuals who entered the United States without inspection and have been in the country for less than five years to removal with essentially no process.

Section 3008 of the bill would require asylum applicants to prove that race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion was or will be the “”central motive”” for persecution rather than a partial motive, as currently required. Asylum seekers often have difficulty obtaining corroborating documents from governments where they face persecution and lack the ability to prove their claim through anything beyond their own testimony. This requirement would represent a significant increase in the burden of proof for asylum applicants and could prevent immigrants in need of asylum from receiving it.

Section 3010 of H.R. 10 eliminates habeas corpus review for numerous immigration decisions. The bill would bar habeas review in cases involving (1) challenges to removal where the deportee is likely to be tortured upon return; (2) attorney malpractice or incompetence; and (3) virtually all cases of “”expedited removal.””

We urge you to oppose any version of the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act that includes any of the provisions described above and to support legislation that strikes an appropriate balance between the need to recognize and support crucial contributions immigrants make to this country and the need to ensure the safety and security of communities nationwide. Thank you very much for your consideration.


Kendall Stewart
Chair, Committee on Immigration

Erik Martin Dilan

Bill deBlasio

Vincent Gentile

Charles Barron

Diana Reyna

Sara M. Gonzalez

Melinda Katz

Yvette D. Clarke

Al Vann

Christine Quinn

Phil Reed

Bill Perkins

Robert Jackson

David Yassky

Letitia James

Allan W. Jennings

G. Oliver Koppell

Hiram Monserrate

John C. Liu

James Sanders

Tracy Boyland

Gale Brewer

Margarita Lopez

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