ACLU Urges House To Reject "Border Security" Bill, Warns of Unintended Consequences For America’s Workers

December 16, 2005 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – With a vote looming on an ill-considered and short-sighted immigration bill, the American Civil Liberties Union today urged the House of Representatives to oppose legislation that would have a detrimental impact on Americans’ ability to work and would also undermine due process in the immigration system.

At issue is H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. The legislation was rushed through the House after circumventing Congress’ normal deliberative process. A final vote is expected as early as tonight.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“The notion that the security of our borders is dependent upon a government ‘permission slip’ to every citizen who wants to work is outrageous. The employment verification provisions in this bill not only fail to make us safer, they trample on our privacy rights by creating a massive government database filed with our most sensitive information. No system is perfect; it is inevitable that such a database will lead to errors that wrongly deny permission to work to potentially millions of eligible Americans. This will throw would-be workers into legal limbo until errors are resolved. Legislation intended to keep us safe risks rendering millions of citizens unemployable.

“This bill also would further militarize our border, requiring low-level immigration officials to indefinitely detain or expel, without a hearing, anyone found within 100 miles of the border who is believed to be undocumented and is not a citizen of Mexico or Canada. Denying the basic rights of due process and judicial review betrays our most basic American values. House leaders need to go back to the drawing board and take time to craft a thoughtful bill that protects the rights of American workers and respects the legal rights of all.”

To read the ACLU’s letter to Congress urging opposition to the Border Security bill, go to:

To read the ACLU’s Interested Person’s Memo on the immigration provisions in the bill, go to:

To read the ACLU’s Interested Person’s Memo on Employment Eligibility Verification programs, go to:

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