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March 22, 2005

REAL ID (H.R. 418) is on the fast track to enactment.

If you care about asylum, free speech, judicial review, due process, or separation of powers, we must derail this train now!
URGENT TIMELINE: REAL ID passed the House without any hearings or meaningful debate and has been attached to an Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill for Iraqi war efforts and Tsunami relief efforts. The Senate is expected to take up the supplemental in two weeks (4/6/05)!!! The question is whether or not the Senate's supplemental will include the REAL ID.

The Senate WILL PASS legislation to fund our troops. Our first challenge is to keep REAL ID off the Senate's Supplemental Appropriations bill. If our opponents succeed in including this ill-conceived measure in the Senate supplemental, REAL ID will become law. If we succeed in keeping this measure off of the Senate bill, we have another challenge: keeping REAL ID off of the bill that emerges from the conference between the House and Senate. Remember, the House bill includes the REAL ID. So Congress and the White House need to hear from you now!!!

ACT NOW: To make your voice heard in the fight against REAL ID:

Contact your Senators by clicking here: http://capwiz.com/aila2/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=7071006

Contact the White House by clicking here: http://capwiz.com/aila2/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=6804466

Because nothing takes the place of a direct interaction, we urge you to phone your Senators' district offices and D.C. offices to register your deep opposition to REAL ID. The Congressional Switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Because the Senate is on recess until April 4, you also can request a meeting with your Senators while they are home.

BACKGROUND: This bill will have REAL consequences for your current and future clients. To understand how this bill will affect REAL people, please click here: http://www.aila.org/infonet/fileViewer.aspx?docID=17961

For a section-by-section analysis of the bill, please click here: http://www.aila.org/infonet/fileViewer.aspx?docID=17718

This bill proposes the following dramatic policy changes without any hearing or debate:

(1) Asylum: The REAL ID Act will deny refuge to those fleeing persecution by heightening the eligibility standards and evidentiary burdens governing asylum applications.

(2) Removal: The REAL ID Act will make noncitizens including long-time LPRs deportable for lawful speech or associations that occurred far in the past.

(3) Judicial Review: The REAL ID Act will broadly expand the restrictions on judicial review imposed by the 1996 laws. It also will eliminate the power of a federal court to temporarily stay a removal order while an appeal of that order is pending before the court. This means asylum seekers could be sent back to their persecutors before a final decision has been reached in their case!

(4) Driver's Licenses: The REAL ID Act will link immigration status to driver's license eligibility and will deny driver's licenses to whole categories of noncitizens, thereby undermining the safety of our roads and the law enforcement utility of DMV databases.

(5) Bail Bondsmen: The REAL ID Act will subject noncitizens to bounty hunters who are provided unprecedented authority to "pursue, apprehend, detain and turn over" immigrants in removal proceedings.

(6) The Fence: The REAL ID Act will authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive all federal, state, and local laws the Secretary deems necessary, in his sole and absolute discretion, to expedite construction of security fences and barriers at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.


(1) None of the provisions in this bill have been subject to hearings or meaningful debate. It is grossly irresponsible for Congress to enact legislation that could have life or death consequences under such circumstances.

(2) These provisions will do nothing to make us safer and, in the long run, will undermine our security by alienating immigrant populations here and our allies abroad. None of these measures would have prevented or impeded the 9/11 attacks.

(3) What would REAL ID really do? It would:

encourage the denial of asylum to Christians fleeing persecution, battered immigrant women, and others who cannot meet the harsh evidentiary and credibility requirements;
deny asylum to a Soviet Jew who was beaten and robbed by police, if he can't prove that prejudice was his persecutors' primary motive;
permit the deportation of a legal permanent resident who donates online relief to a Tsunami relief fund that is a subsidiary of an organization in a Tamil Tiger-controlled region of Sri Lanka;
deny driver's licenses to a U.S. national from Samoa and to a trafficking victim seeking non-immigrant status;
deny a Guatemalan asylum seeker the right to remain in the U.S. until her case is finally decided, sending her back to her persecutors; and
permit construction companies to violate wage and hour, hiring, and occupational safety laws when they work on the border fence.

Posted by VisaLawyer at March 22, 2005 02:33 PM


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