ACLU Comment on House Judiciary Immigration Bills

May 17, 2017 3:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee will begin to mark up three immigration bills tomorrow that would have significant, negative implications for immigrant communities and the rule of law. The bills are the Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 2431), the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 2406), and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Authorization Act (H.R. 2407).

Ronald Newman, American Civil Liberties Union policy counsel, issued the following statement:

“If enacted, the bills would raise a host of constitutional concerns, undermining public safety and harming immigrants and U.S. citizens alike. They would also lead to significant, unnecessary federal spending and erode U.S. values and norms. They would provide rocket fuel for President Trump’s mass deportation agenda.

“It’s extremely disappointing that President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda is being given airtime in Congress. Since our nation’s inception, immigrants have been at the very heart of our identity. The ACLU urges Congress to reject these misguided bills and work on enacting policies that are inclusive, and uphold our constitutional norms and values.”

The bills would expand mandatory detention and detention without bond hearings in ways that have previously drawn scrutiny from the courts, ignoring the fact that many immigrants present no public safety risk and have long-standing ties to local communities. In pushing states and localities to adopt their own civil and criminal immigration laws and to enforce federal laws, these bills would lead to a patchwork of immigration rules and set the stage for racial profiling and unfair treatment of immigrants and citizens.

The bills would further limit access to court for immigrant populations, dismissing due process norms. They would also usher in odd, blanket requirements for immigration agents to be issued assault rifles, militarizing U.S. communities. Other controversial elements include the permanent establishment of a ‘VOICE’ office purportedly meant to serve crime victims, yet clearly designed to stir animus towards immigrants, and an E-Verify system for checking work authorization that is ineffective and error-prone.

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