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June 19, 2005

House Gang Bill Expands Definition of Aggravated Felony; Limits Utility of Criminal Database by Requiring Inclusion of Immigration Status Violators

The AILA, WASHINGTON UPDATE, Volume 9, Number 4, June 2005 discusses expansion of the definition of the federal "crime of violence";

The House of Representatives passed “The Gang Deterrence and Community Protection Act of 2005” (H.R. 1279) on May 11 by a vote of 279-144. Among other troubling provisions, this bill would expand the definition of the federal “crime of violence” and, by extension, the aggravated felony definition for immigration law purposes. Because Representative Sensenbrenner (R-WI) added this provision to the bill in a manager’s amendment, there was no opportunity for debate or to strike this provision during House floor consideration. The bill also would require DHS to provide the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) with information about all individuals who have a final order of removal, a grant of voluntary departure, or who have “overstayed their visa.”

Current law defines a “crime of violence” as one that involves a substantial risk that physical force will be used against person or property. Representative Sensenbrenner’s provision would expand the crime of violence definition to include nonviolent, negligent acts or omissions – such as driving under the influence – that place another person or property at risk of injury, even if no injury actually occurs. Expanding this definition likewise expands the class of crimes treated as aggravated felonies for immigration purposes. Crimes so classified carry incredibly harsh immigration-related consequences, including mandatory detention and removal – even for longtime lawful permanent residents. AILA strongly opposes further expanding the class of crimes treated as aggravated felonies in immigration law.

The other problematic provision—requiring that all civil immigration status violators be listed in the NCIC database—will do nothing to reform our broken immigration system. Instead, it will undermine the integrity of that law enforcement database by loading it up with information that is notoriously inaccurate and in perpetual flux. If this provision becomes law, a surge in erroneous detentions and other rights violations will follow. This is simply another band-aid enforcement proposal when what we need is comprehensive reform of our immigration laws. AILA strongly opposes this measure.

To register your opposition to these misguided provisions, please click here: http://capwiz.com/aila2/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=7641051


Judith Golub, Senior Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs
Marshall Fitz, Associate Director of Advocacy
Danielle Polen, Legislative Counsel
Joanna Hedvall, Business Immigration Associate
John Estrella, Senior Policy Associate
Julia Hendrix, Media Relations Associate
Michelle Mendez, Advocacy Assistant

American Immigration Lawyers Association
918 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004


Posted by VisaLawyer at June 19, 2005 07:21 AM


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