ACLU Urges Congress to Create Real Immigration Reform, Not Reliance on Unworkable Real ID Poison Pill

June 28, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office today responded to the defeat of the Senate immigration bill by saying the legislation was unworkable and reduced every U.S. resident’s due process, judicial review and privacy rights. The bill was stalled last night when an amendment on Real ID passed, shooting down the so-called “clay pigeon” package of amendments and throwing a wrench in the entire bill. Senators voted against advancing the legislation this morning, which effectively killed the bill.

“This bill died because our Senate did not take the difficult steps required to actually fix our immigration system to make it fair, just and workable,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Lawmakers, take note: Any new immigration reform will fail if it erodes constitutional rights of judicial review, privacy and due process.”

The immigration bill was mired with problems that required dozens of amendments to fix. It required all Americans to have a biometric Real ID driver’s license, enroll in an invasive electronic employment verification system (EEVS) and failed to provide essential due process and effective judicial review of DHS decisions. The bill also unraveled constitutional protections against indefinite detention and failed to address provisions that denied people the right to challenge decisions regarding their immigration status.

“The Real ID requirement was a poison pill that derailed this bill, and any future legislation should be written knowing the American people won’t swallow it,” said Tim Sparapani, Senior Counsel for the ACLU. “Yesterday’s amendment was the first real vote in Congress on Real ID, and members of the Senate stood with the people of their states and rejected Real ID.”

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