Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Immigration Action

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Please Contact your Senators Today Regarding S. 2611, The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006

This week, the U.S. Senate will be considering S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA) of 2006. The legislation represents a positive step forward in enacting a comprehensive immigration reform bill before the end of the year. Over the next two weeks, the Senate will consider amendments to the legislation, both amendments which would improve the bill and those which would cause more harm to immigrants and refugees. It is important that the Catholic network weigh in on this important issue at such a critical juncture.

CIRA contains many positive provisions, including a legalization program which includes a path to citizenship for up to 10 million persons in Title VI; family unity provisions in Title V; and a temporary worker program in Title IV. However, it also contains overly punitive enforcement provisions in Title II of the bill. Moreover, it contains provisions which could preclude some of the undocumented population from qualifying for the legalization program. It is important that our elected officials receive the appropriate messages regarding this legislation. They include the following:

Legalization provisions: We support the provisions in Title VI which provide a path to citizenship for up to 10 million persons and the provisions in Titles IV (temporary worker program) and V (family-based immigration). However, we support changes in the bill to allow the maximum number of undocumented persons to qualify for a path to citizenship. These would include:


Restoration of protections for those persons who have resided in the country for 2-5 years and who would be required to go home prior to applying for a green card, including restoration of confidentiality in the process; a right to appeal adverse decisions; no waiver of rights, and an extension of the application deadline.

Creation of a realistic opportunity for those here 0-2 years to participate in the program, who under the bill must return home and apply through the temporary worker program, which could take years.

Removal of provisions which would render ineligible any person who commits document fraud or misrepresents fact on a I-9 application. (Undocumented immigrants without legal status often are compelled to misrepresent their status in order to obtain employment)

Enforcement Provisions: We also support amendments to the bill which would remove or ameliorate harsh enforcement provisions in Title II, including:


the expansion of the definition of an aggravated felony;

increased use of indiscriminate mandatory and indefinite detention;

removal of protections for asylum-seekers, refugees, and other vulnerable populations;

the authorization of local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws;
* limits on judicial review.

Please call your Senators regarding S. 2611.

Please write your Senators regarding S. 2611.

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