House Approves Assault on Immigrants' Rights and Privacy; ACLU Urges Senate to Reject Sensenbrenner Measure

February 10, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union strongly urged the Senate to reject legislation approved by the House today that would make it more difficult to seek asylum, lay the foundation for a national ID card and chill free speech in America.

The House approved H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act, by a vote of 261 to 161. The ACLU called the bill, sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, unnecessary and said that it undermines cherished freedoms.

“America’s values are not based on turning away asylum seekers who have been persecuted in their homelands or creating a system of internal checkpoints,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

“It’s sad and disappointing the first major piece of legislation that the House of Representatives passed – with little deliberation and no committee hearings – was an unwarranted assault on immigrants and a dismantling of our privacy rights,” Murphy added. “This first step for the 109th was one in the wrong direction.”

Opposition to this bill was broad and politically diverse and included the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the oldest and largest Irish-American group; Gun Owners of America; the American Conservative Union, the Free Congress Foundation; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

For more information on the REAL ID Act, go to:

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