NYC Council, Irish-Americans Ask Congress to Remove Anti-Immigrant Provisions, Limit Legislation to 9/11 Commission's Recommendations

October 28, 2004 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union today welcomed letters sent by the New York City Council and a coalition of Irish-American groups to Congressional conferees, asking them to keep anti-immigrant measures out of their final 9/11 reform legislation. Although the conferees’ attempt to reach a compromise before the election failed, they are slated to continue working on a measure for Congress to vote on during a lame duck session.

“If the Red Sox can win the series, lawmakers can put politics aside to get this done right,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Controversial anti-immigrant powers and Patriot Act expansions not even called for by the 9/11 Commission deserve full and open debate – it is shameful that the House leadership is attempting to use this legislation to push through unrelated measures.”

In a letter sent to the conferees, New York City Council Members outlined their concerns, including the creation of a de facto national ID, denial of basic judicial review over unfair or arbitrary deportations, summary deportations, increased burdens for asylum seekers, and the potential for individuals to be deported to countries where they will be tortured.

“We in New York City still feel the impact of the attacks of September 11th, and the City Council is taking the right step in saying that Congress must not pass anti-immigrant legislation in our name,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

A coalition of Irish-American groups also wrote to conferees, raising concerns over the court stripping and expedited removal provisions. The letter notes that the House bill would allow Irish immigrants, including permanent residents, to be deported simply for defending the right of the Irish Republican Army to use weapons against military targets.

The letter was sent by the Irish American Unity Conference, Irish Deportees of America Committee, Irish Northern Aid, Irish National Caucus, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Lawyers Alliance for Justice in Ireland.

Groups from across the political spectrum are urging lawmakers to remove the anti-immigrant and law enforcement expansion provisions. The inclusion of these measures in the House bill has prompted opposition from groups as varied as the ACLU, families of 9/11 victims, Gun Owners of America, the National Council of La Raza, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the conservative Cuban American National Foundation.

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

To read the New York City Council letter, go to:
/node/21332

To read the Irish-American Coalition letter, go to:
/node/21331

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