Monday, February 06, 2006

'Immigration bill deserves deportation'

A New York Daily News editorial on Rep. F. Jim Sensenebrenner's immigration bill tells it like it is:
Immig bill deserves deportation

'We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy - even though this economy could not function without them," said President Bush in his State of the Union address. Let me repeat: "... this economy could not function without them."

Yet the rabid anti-immigrant crowd from the President's own party - the economy be damned - are doing all they can to have this truth ignored.

"Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values and serves the interests of our economy," the President also said.

This, of course, was not what the House of Representatives had in mind when, on Dec. 16, it overwhelmingly approved the so-called Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act.

Drafted by James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and New York's own Peter King (R), its most outrageous provision is the building of a 700-mile fence along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico - which, under President Vicente Fox, is one of U.S.' strongest allies in Latin America.

The Senate will discuss the bill this month, and hopefully smarter, cooler heads will prevail and reject it. This is an unbelievably bad piece of legislation that, despite the hype, does nothing to make the country safer or to fix the broken immigration system.

"We have come to a point where we allowed fear and suspicion to overwhelm our judgment of what is moral and what is immoral," said Rabbi Daniel Brenner on Thursday. "Our policies should have compassion for those who come here to escape the crushing indignity of extreme poverty or persecution."

Obviously compassion was not in the minds of those who drafted and sponsored this bill.

If the Sensenbrenner-King bill ever becomes law, not only would immigrants not have any opportunity to come out of the shadows and legalize their status, but it would institutionalize their dehumanization and create a police state atmosphere that undermines America's most basic values.

This bill would turn any relative, employer, co-worker or friend of an undocumented immigrant into an "alien smuggler" and a criminal. For example, a person who drives a neighbor to the grocery store, a church group that provides assistance to community members, and a counselor who helps victims of domestic violence and their children all would become criminals under this outrageous law.

Talk about compassion.

But that's not all. This bill also would make criminals of all undocumented immigrants. While illegal immigrants are now in violation of immigration law and subject to deportation, if the extremists have their way, unlawful status would become a federal crime.

TO TOP IT ALL off, it also would become much harder for law-abiding permanent residents to become citizens, and would turn local police into surrogate immigration agents - an idea so bad that scores of police departments all over the country oppose it.

The Senate has the chance to stop this shameful legislation that uses national security as an excuse to carry on a prejudiced, anti-immigrant agenda.

As Rabbi Brenner said, "Sens. Schumer and Clinton should fight to make sure our immigration laws reflect the values of compassion and human dignity."

Values that are nowhere to be found in the shameful Sensenbrenner-King bill.


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