House 9/11 Bill Must Be Stopped

The Senate today passed its version of a bill containing reforms recommended by the 9/11 Commission. Now that bill must be reconciled with H.R. 10, the House version of the bill, which is an abomination and goes far beyond any recommendations of the Commission.

A principle objection by civil liberties and human rights groups is Section 3006 of the bill that allows the U.S. to send immigrants to countries that practice torture. Check out this statement from the ACLU, which describes the provisions of the bill:

Specifically, the House bill would deny immigrants basic judicial review over unfair, arbitrary or otherwise abusive deportations. It would permit the deportation of individuals to countries lacking a functioning government - an issue now pending before the Supreme Court-- and would generally make it more difficult for individuals to claim asylum.

Also, the bill would legalize sending those who the government asserts, but does not need to prove, are a danger to national security to be tortured in foreign country. The bill also permits the deportation of individuals to any country, even if it was not the suspect’s home country or place of birth, leading to the possibility that individuals will be sent to countries where they will be subject to torture.

In addition, the House bill includes extraneous anti-immigrant court-stripping provisions that seriously weaken the judicial review process in immigration proceedings. This provision explicitly forbids, in some cases, access to the constitutionally mandated "Great Writ" of habeas corpus. The ACLU said that if enacted, this measure would create the illusion, and not the reality, of judicial oversight of immigration matters in many cases.

The ACLU noted that none of these anti-immigrant policies were recommended by the 9/11 Commission, and many have long been priorities for the hard-line anti-immigration lobby.

Here's a statement from Human Rights Watch.

Bloggers have been complaining about the bill for weeks. Go read Law Prof Michael Froomkin at Discourse.net; And Fafblog and Obsidian Wings.

The White House is endorsing the bill . Tom DeLay is ready to fight for the House version.

Please contact your Representative ASAP toll-free by using the Capitol Switchboard at 800-839-5276. This switchboard operates 24 hours a day. So if you are inspired to call after normal business hours in D.C., the operator will transfer you to your representative's office and you can leave a voice mail message. Of course, calling during business hours would be preferable, if possible.

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