ACLU Launches Ad Campaign on Intelligence Reform Legislation, Highlights How House Republican Leadership Bill Targets Immigrants

October 12, 2004 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON-The American Civil Liberties Union today launched new radio advertisements in Spanish and print advertisements in English to educate the public about anti-immigration provisions included in intelligence reform legislation adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The Republican leadership ignored calls from the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 families, and fair-minded lawmakers to drop anti-immigrant provisions,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “When lawmakers decide to put their political interests before the best interests of their constituents, society loses.”

The advertisements highlight how certain uncalled-for provisions of the House “9/11 Commission Implementation Act” attack immigrants and undermine civil liberties. Specifically, the ads focus on the disparity between the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and the Republican House leadership bill, which passed Friday on a vote of 282 to 134.

The print advertisements, “No Longer Welcome,” highlight the repeated calls made by members of the 9/11 Commission and 9/11 victims’ families to Congress to strip the anti-immigrant provisions. The print ads are running in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The Spanish radio spots, “La Promesa de America,” underscore the “American promise” to treat all equally, with fairness and justice, and are running in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico. Both ads call on constituents to contact their members of Congress to urge them to persuade congressional leaders to strip the anti-immigrant provisions from the final bill.

Specifically, the House bill denies immigrants basic judicial review over unfair, arbitrary or otherwise abusive deportations. It permits the deportation of individuals to countries lacking a functioning government — an issue the Supreme Court will examine on Wednesday– and would make it more difficult for individuals to claim asylum.

In addition, the House bill includes court-stripping provisions that seriously weaken the judicial review process in immigration proceedings. In some cases, this provision explicitly forbids access to the constitutionally mandated “Great Writ” of habeas corpus, stripping judicial oversight of some immigration matters. Another measure in the House bill creates a de facto national ID card that would substantially infringe on the privacy of Americans.

The ACLU noted that while the Senate bill contains none of the House’s anti-immigrant provisions, it also contains the foundation for a national ID card. The two bills now head to conference committee where the ACLU has called on lawmakers to strip the unwarranted anti-immigrant and anti-privacy provisions.

“Instead of trying to address the issues that the 9/11 Commission outlined, Republican leaders in Congress created more problems,” Murphy added. “These anti-immigrant powers don’t address the concerns raised by the 9/11 Commission. It is crucial that immigrant communities and their allies be made aware of how Congress has scapegoated them.”

For more on the ACLU’s concerns with Congress’s implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s findings, go to:
/intelligencereform

To read a transcript of the radio ad, go to:
/node/24350

To listen to a sample of the radio ad, go to:
/cpredirect/18669

To view a sample of the print ad, go to:
/node/23094

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