home

H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill

Bump and Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin debating the Senate version of H.R. 4437 on Monday. It has already passed the House.

Update: From Common Dreams:

Apparently drowned out by the shrill charges and counter-charges in the immigration debate is a simple truth articulated by George Hunsinger, McCord professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and coordinator of Church Folks for a Better America. He told us,

"No human being -- whether citizen or non-citizen -- should be placed outside the protections of the law. No one who performs needed work should be denied fair wages and decent conditions. A society that exploits immigrants for their labor while declaring them illegal is caught in a tangle of contradictions."

Update: (3/25) Barbara Boxer slams the bill:

"It's anti-faith based,'' Boxer said. "It's inhumane. Sensenbrenner is inhumane.''

More details on the bill are available from the ACLU here and here. As for what's wrong with employment verification programs, the ACLU explains here.

AILA weighs in.

H.R. 4437 goes far beyond advancing a wrongheaded approach to immigration reform--it also subverts our democracy's deeply held values, which are founded on fundamental principles such as the right to a day in court, checks and balances, and freedom from unjust and arbitrary detention. It criminalizes unwitting violations of immigration status-for example, a university student on a student visa whose course load drops below the required number of hours. Additionally, H.R. 4437 sharply restricts judicial review, broadly expands mandatory detention policies, and, outrageously, broadens the definition of alien smuggling and harboring to reach family members, employers, teachers, and immigrant advocates.

****
Original Post with details of H.R. 4437:(12/15/06):

The ACLU reports that the House as early as today will take up James Sensenbrenner's doozy of an anti-immigration bill. (HR 4437, the "The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005," which also includes HR 4312, the "Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005." )

The American Civil Liberties Union today urged the House of Representatives to oppose a border security bill that fails to properly address the issue of illegal immigration, undermines due process and creates a federally mandated "permission slip" for all Americans. This sweeping legislation has not been thoroughly examined by Congress, and yet could be considered as early as today

"Lawmakers have not had enough time to consider the enormous ramifications of this faulty bill; it must be rejected," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "This legislation would place an unprecedented burden on all American workers and American businesses, creating a federally mandated requirement for citizens as well as immigrants to get a permission slip from the federal government before they can take a job."

Requiring a "Mother May I" to go to work?

The legislation would create a sea-change in federal employment rules by requiring all workers in the country to obtain a federal agency's permission to work. All employers would be required to participate in a national employment eligibility verification program in an expansion of the faulty but voluntary "Basic Pilot" program in current law. Like Basic Pilot, the new program would use an Internet-based system to check the names and social security numbers of all employees -- citizens and non-citizen alike -- against a Department of Homeland Security database.

It gets worse:

... the bill gives certain low-level immigration officials broad authority to ignore due process and expel individuals suspected of being here without authorization, further militarizes the border and expands mandatory detention rules to apply to many non-citizens arriving at a port of entry or even far from the border.

The specifics of Sensenbrenner's bill are detailed here:

Among other provisions, the bill would:

  • Continues expanding the same border enforcement and militarization strategies that has resulted in over 4,000 migrant death since 1994.
  • Expands the expedited deportation program
  • Drastically expands the definition of an aggravated felony (deportable offense).
  • Requires mandatory detention for all immigrants apprehended at ports of entry or along international borders until removal or a final decision in their case.
  • Sets a minimum bond of $5,000 for anyone with a Notice to Appear.
  • Overturns the Supreme Court's ruling in Zadvydas which limits long-term detention.
  • Renders immigrants affiliated with gangs deportable and inadmissible, mandates their detention, bars them from asylum or Temporary Protected Status; gives the AG authority to designate gang members for immigration purposes.
  • Limits immigrants' access to the circuit courts by creating a special review process for federal court appeals of immigration cases.
  • Makes undocumented immigration status a crime
  • Makes certain provisions of the REAL ID Act retroactive
  • Includes Day Labor Sites in the employment verification system
    And more.

Call your elected officials in Congress. Tell them:

  • You oppose H.R. 4437, the "Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act" and urge them to stop it from becoming law.
  • This legislation will result in mass violation of civil rights and create huge obstacles to genuine legalization reforms that would benefit our communities.
  • The Sensenbrenner bill deepens the decade-old border enforcement stratregy which has been disasterous and costly.
  • Sensenbrenner's immigration enforcement proposal will not work and only result in more migrant deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border and lead to the erosion of our civil liberties and civil rights.

[graphic by monk]

< Koufax Liberal Blog Award Voting Ends Sunday | 500,000 March in LA : Sensenbrenner Go Home >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:07:03 PM EST
    TL: I am sure it was just a small oversight, but it seems to be a bill targeting illegal immigration. You make it sound like all immigrants are being targeted. If you believe all immigrants are being targeted (not just illegal), can you show a link to the spot in the bill that says that? I just know you would not want to muddy the waters between legal and illegal immigrants. It appears that the NNIRR web site has the same problem. They should check their work before putting out bad informaition that will be repeated.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#2)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:07:03 PM EST
    Gee whiz, I'm glad we have the small government right-wing Republicans in charge. If the big government Democrats had their way, you'd have to ask the government for permission to go anywhere. Thankfully things are completely different!

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:07:04 PM EST
    Wile nails it, but just for fun let's examine this bit: Continues expanding the same border enforcement and militarization strategies that has resulted in over 4,000 migrant death since 1994 Exactly how many Americans have died trying to sneak into Mexico? I'd say the number is near zero, because almost everyone realizes just how difficult it would be to be an illegal alien in Mexico. So, if it were very difficult to come to the U.S. as an illegal alien, many fewer would try and there would be many fewer illegal crosser deaths. Yet, both corrupt employers and "liberals" try to make it as easy as possible to live here as an illegal alien. Both groups send a welcoming message to illegal aliens, encouraging them to try to cross the border. It's a bit like standing on the other end of a rickety rope bridge, yelling at people on the other side to "come on over!" If there were no illegal immigration, there would be no deaths. Perhaps "liberals" should aim for that instead of being complicit in all those deaths.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#4)
    by janinsanfran on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 01:01:40 PM EST
    Wile et al.: All immigrants (except maybe Canadians and white Europeans) are targetted by the social effects of restriction laws like this. They license discrimination and exploitation at all levels. They make it very hard for immigrants, legal or illegal, to get treated as anything other than disposable garbage. The distinction you refer to is unsustainable. Families are made of up of people in both legal categories -- how should the citizen children of the undocumented be treated? It doesn't work in real life anything like what our laws say; that is why there is a problem. See story on the San Francisco hunger strike here.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 02:31:24 PM EST
    There is already a legal process in place to allow workers to come to the US. They can get 'H' visas with a sponsor (an employer who wants to hire them). The only reason exploiting businesses don't want the bill is because they don't want to pay these people minimum wage or pay for compensation insurance for them. The undocumented worker, technically, does not exist. Make companies pay fair wages and let the bill pass.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:38:49 PM EST
    janinsanfran writes:
    Families are made of up of people in both legal categories -- how should the citizen children of the undocumented be treated
    ? Perhaps the illegal aliens should have considered the possible problems involved here before they came into the US and before they had children. I don't feel particulalry responsible for someone else's bad decisions. So, round'em up and send them home with their parents. BTW - White immigrants are required to get a Visa, just like everyone else. scar - I remember two job changes during the Clinton years. Both required a drug test and both required proof of citizenship or current Visa. And no, I'm not playing the "Clinton card," just noting that there is nothing new here.
    All employers would be required to participate in a national employment eligibility verification program
    The part is that the above would now be required.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#7)
    by Johnny on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:50:17 PM EST
    The solution is easy. Impeach Bush, hire a president who actually will do something, and make it extremely uncomfortable for any employer who hires, knowingly or unknowingly, illegal immigrants. What is so hard to understand?

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 07:30:16 PM EST
    All employers would be required to participate in a national employment eligibility verification program in an expansion of the faulty but voluntary "Basic Pilot" program in current law. Like Basic Pilot, the new program would use an Internet-based system to check the names and social security numbers of all employees -- citizens and non-citizen alike -- against a Department of Homeland Security database.
    Gee, if this only aimed at illegal immigrants, than why does MY name have to be checked against the DHS database? I'm amused, but not surprised, to see the "conservatives" on this site supporting this latest massive intrusion by the government into our lives. I guess as long as Republicans are doing it, it's OK, fellas? I do have a "modest proposal" though. It seems that illegal immigrants are willing to risk their lives to come to this country as long as we remain a shining beacon of freedom and opportunity. Get rid of the freedom and opportunity, and people won't want to come here anymore! Brilliant! And the best part? The Bush administration is well on the way to "success!"

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 08:09:09 PM EST
    Most illegal immigration comes for a better life in America than wherever home was (is). A better life needs funding to pay for it. That means a job. Who controls job entry? Is it the job seeker? Is it the employed worker? Could it be the employer? Do any of you doubt that if we enact and enforce harsh disincentives to hire illegal immigrants against employers (harsh enough to end the hiring of illegal immigrants), most of it is going to stop. There will be a smaller pool to sort through to find those who plan harm. What do you think the chances are we will soon see any business person (PC) doing a perp walk. Wow! Can't you imagine this administration proposing legislation to put some business guy (not PC) in jail for being the primary cause of illegal immigration.? How about this Congress? If the jobs are there do you think people are going to stop coming to America?

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#10)
    by maddendude on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 09:06:21 PM EST
    It doesnt matter how difficult and dangerous we make it to get across the border, the gamble is worth it for them compared to their poverty in Mexico.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 11:19:22 PM EST
    Two words that this bill represents that should scare the crap out of everyone: "Papers Please" Yes, this "permission slip" is the opening for the control that the fascists have always wanted. We are well on the way to that National ID card. Don't forget that they want it so bad that they are willing to turn a blind eye toward that dreaded "Unfunded Mandate". Libertarians should be fighting it not only based on it's potential for harm, but it's cost burden to employers. Essentially, there's something for everyone to hate about this bill. Senselessbrenner has to be a prime target for defeat in November.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 04:09:57 AM EST
    "There is already a legal process in place to allow workers to come to the US. They can get 'H' visas with a sponsor (an employer who wants to hire them)." Why are you saying this again? Didn't I tell you that there is no any type of visa for foreigners to come to the US to look for jobs, and there are jobs that can only be filled by people who are already in the US?

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:27:19 AM EST
    Dressking, So what are you suggesting, that it is perfectly fine that people choose to become criminals because there are problems in our immigration system? That because we have made it less convenient for people to come here legally to look for work, they are justified in just coming anyway, damn the law, damn the consequences? We've got an estimated 11 million illegals here now. Should we just throw in the towel and throw open the gates so that even more people can come here to compete for jobs, even though we can't employ them all now? I am not opposed to immigration in general, but I would certainly prefer it be legal over illegal immigration. You keep stating what you see as the problem; what is the solution? And I can't help but wonder why it is that all of these hardworking people, willing to risk their lives and a criminal record to enter this country to work labor and menial jobs can't find something productive to do in their home countries. Isn't it possible that the reason that places like Mexico stay poor and unattractive is that everyone who is willing to work keep leaving?

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:43:41 AM EST
    I agree with downtownted. Illegal immigrants come to America for jobs, period. If the government really wanted to get serious about illegal immigration, they'd deal with the source of the problem: Businesses giving illegal immigrants work. I bet that if the feds treated such businesses like they treat illegal drug operations (draconian incarcerations, mass seizures of assets, etc.) the job market for illegals would dry up quickly. Short of that, what change does Washington think it's affecting? Politicians know the answer: None. Without the illegally low-paid undocumented worker, many businesses would have to bear the higher cost of running a legal - and dare we say ethical - business. And it's clear in this debate that Washington is a bigger friend of business than it is of America's workers - both native-born and undocumented.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:56:34 AM EST
    You already need papers for a job. Taxes have to be withheld, employee gets a W2, or noted, independent contractor gets a 1099. The worker needs a form of ID for this to happen. It is almost always a social security card. When the employer faces a sure, stiff penalty for its failure to check the legality of the ID, illegal jobs will dry up. If lawmakers avoid this simple truth, we will soon be facing our new failed immigration policy.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 12:16:52 PM EST
    downtrodden said:
    You already need papers for a job. Taxes have to be withheld, employee gets a W2, or noted, independent contractor gets a 1099. The worker needs a form of ID for this to happen. It is almost always a social security card. When the employer faces a sure, stiff penalty for its failure to check the legality of the ID, illegal jobs will dry up. If lawmakers avoid this simple truth, we will soon be facing our new failed immigration policy.
    Apples to oranges, sparky. Did you actually read through the bill? When was the last time you had to go through a federal agency to seek permission to accept a job? Showing a SSN card and a DL are not the same thing. This bill isn't about illegal immigration as much as it is pushing through absolute and complete micro-control of *anyone* who doesn't use daddy's portfolis dividends to live.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    janinsanfran said at March 25, 2006 02:01 PM "Wile et al.: All immigrants (except maybe Canadians and white Europeans) are targetted by the social effects of restriction laws like this." FALSE! When US immigration laws are enforced, they are enforced without discrimination. Legal immigrants benefit from tougher immigration laws, since their jobs are better protected from illegal competition by illegal immigrant lawbreakers. Oh and nice try to march out the race-card fallacy. "They license discrimination and exploitation at all levels. They make it very hard for immigrants, legal or illegal, to get treated as anything other than disposable garbage." Any exploitation that occurs is a direct result of human trafficking by those who aid and abet illegal immigration at all levels. "The distinction you refer to is unsustainable. Families are made of up of people in both legal categories -- how should the citizen children of the undocumented be treated?" US laws must be changed to eliminate the 'anchor baby' abuses and chain migration. US Laws MUST protect the sovereignty of the United States JUST LIKE FOREIGN LAWS PROTECT THE SOVEREIGNTY OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES! " It doesn't work in real life anything like what our laws say; that is why there is a problem." Of course "it doesn't work" when US laws are not enforced, the rule of law is diminished by people with no sworn oath to uphold and defend US laws, and millions of foreign nationals, including terrorists, criminals, gang-members, disease-carriers, and others enter the USA illegally.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Mar 27, 2006 at 09:40:17 AM EST
    Downtownted... Taxes have to be withheld, employee gets a W2, or noted, independent contractor gets a 1099. The worker needs a form of ID for this to happen.. Not if you pay them in cash! Et al.. All you in favor of "illegal" and uncontrolled immigration consider this.... Try driving around as a Gringo in Mexico with no liability insurance..... and have an accident.... First, enter MEXICO illegally. Never mind immigration quotas, visas, international law, or any of that nonsense. Once there, demand that the local government provide free medical care for you and your entire family. Demand bilingual nurses and doctors. Demand free bilingual local government forms, bulletins, etc. Procreate abundantly. Deflect any criticism of this allegedly irresponsible reproductive behavior with, "It is a cultural United States thing. You would not understand, pal." Keep your American identity strong. Fly Old Glory from your rooftop, or proudly display it in your front window or on your car bumper. Speak only English at home and in public and insist that your children do likewise. Demand classes on American culture in the Mexican school system. Demand a local Mexican driver license. This will afford other legal rights and will go far to legitimize your unauthorized, illegal, presence in Mexico. Insist that local Mexican law enforcement teach English to all its officers. Then get all your buddies together and march down main street in Mexico City when the Government and people there finally decide they've had enough... Good luck! Because it will never happen. It will not happen in Mexico or any other country in the world... except right here in the United States... Land of the naive! Go ahead and try the above in Mexico then get back to me about how cruel, racist and inhumane we are.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 12:09:06 PM EST
    what is wrong with you people??? are you all not human beings? do you not all want your rights?? then what makes you think others dont want the same? Besides, this country is founding fathers were immigrants to mexico, and mexico allowed them in. then why cannot we do the same now? If Mexico was as mean as US is now, the US would be the one begging us to enter this land. This is a land of opportunity, a land in which people all should have the right to be in. This law cannot be passed, because even though US does not admit it THEY NEED US HERE. whos gonna work the fields? who is gonna work at the restauants and supermarkets? with out us US will go into an economic depression. so stop pretending like you do not want us here, because you all know you need us. Just accept it and treat us right. we make your bread. we do not deserve to eat the crumbs.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 29, 2006 at 12:15:25 PM EST
    and about the walk outs..... whats so wrong with that? students want to prove that we too have a voice and we should aswell be heard. the fact that we are getting out of school to do this only proves that we are willing to risk it to defend our rights that they want to take away. and another reason this is occuring during school hours is because the govermnemt is losing money by us not attending. and this is how it will always be if we ae gone. i want everyone to stop and think. every one that is reading this. think about how this coutry would be, a day without an immigrant.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#21)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 12:46:30 AM EST
    Anyone interested in taking this quick survey I made? It deals with illegal immigration and I am wondering if I can get enough participants to get a rough idea regarding what average Americans think of this issue. Please take this survey, it won't take that long to complete it. Here is the survey. It also talks about the pending legislation H.R. 4437 and the almost complete opposite John McCain bill.

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#22)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Apr 18, 2006 at 04:40:22 AM EST
    As a university student in political science, it disconcerts me that HR 4437 passed the house with provisions to curtail due process; suspend fundamental civil rights and liberties; and change the fabric of our society by codifying into law the dirty little secret of the United States, an unofficial caste system. In response to some misc. comments by previous posters:

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#23)
    by smiley on Sat Apr 29, 2006 at 12:42:40 PM EST
    Heres what i have to say ... i am totally against this stupid law HR 4437 targeting immigrants, the majority being of mexican descent. Why are people being so opposed to a possible legalization? When you think about all our ancestors are immigrants because we all come from different backgrounds. so if they had the chance to become U.S. citizens and live their lives in America why shouldnt everyone else. Many people are concerned about losing money because most illegal immigrants dont pay their taxes but the reason they dont is because they're afraid... if they had the chance to become U.S. citizens then maybe that wouldnt be a problem.... Also if there were no illegal workers in this country the american economy would go down the drain. the reason being that they take all the hard, dirty jobs and still get paid minimum wage... and who can honestly say that they would rather be working 7 hours a day everyday of the week bent over picking strawberries or lettuce instead of having a job at McDonald making fries or working the cash register for the same amount of money? So just think how positively immigrants influence this country before you discriminate against them

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Apr 29, 2006 at 01:28:03 PM EST
    Heres what i have to say ... i am totally against this stupid law HR 4437 targeting immigrants, the majority being of mexican descent.
    How does the bill target Mexicans? Please tell me how the Mexicans would be treated differently than the Irish? Is there any reason at all to have borders and countries?

    Re: H.R. 4437: A Bad, Bad Border Bill (none / 0) (#25)
    by smiley on Sat Apr 29, 2006 at 09:16:51 PM EST
    How does the bill target Mexicans? Please tell me how the Mexicans would be treated differently than the Irish?
    Im not saying that immigrants from other nationalities are not going to be affected by this law, but the truth is that there is much more mexican immigrants than any other races. But that is not the point the point is everyone no matter where you are from, should get together and oppose this law. Their are many other ways to resolve this immigration problem.