Menendez-Leahy Immigration Bill Introduced
Last week, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT)introduced S. 3932, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform ("CIR") Act of 2010, The ACLU says it has some good due process protection measures, but it falls short in other key areas, particularly the e-verify program and in its enforcement measures, many of which run counter to civil liberties.
Here are the problems with the enforcement measures:
S. 3932 .... unfortunately leaves intact the 287(g) program run by Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), which delegates certain federal immigration enforcement power to designated state and local police. Earlier this year, the DHS Office of Inspector General issued a scathing report of the 287(g) program, recommending 33 critical reforms to be implemented. ICE has failed to implement the vast majority of those recommendations and instead has expanded the 287(g) program to 70 jurisdictions.
The ACLU believes that for any immigration reform plan to be comprehensive and effective, the federal government must be the sole enforcer of our immigration laws, and that Congress must terminate the 287(g) program.
Here is the good in the bill:
- Permit the Attorney General to appoint counsel to represent individuals in immigration court proceedings;
- Provide for enhanced training for border patrol agents on constitutional law and civil rights, as well as higher standards on short-term detention conditions;
- Require ICE to issue guidelines for ensuring compliance with all detention requirements;
- Ensure prompt and adequate medical care for immigration detainees;
- Ensure humane standards for immigration detainees against isolated confinement, strip searches, sexual assault, and shackling;
- Prohibit use of involuntary psychotropic medication on immigration detainees, with limited exceptions;
- Bar transfer of immigration detainees if such transfer would inhibit access to legal counsel, or detainees' health or legal rights;
- Establish a strong presumption against detention of families with children;
- Clarify evidentiary requirements for issuing immigration detainers to require objective evidence that an individual is subject to deportation;
- Require timely notice and service of immigration charges as well as timely bond hearings for people detained more than 48 hours; and
- Provide judicial review for applicants denied lawful prospective immigrant status.
Other good provisions:
The CIR Act of 2010 includes the DREAM Act, which ensures that states retain the option, without encumbrance, to grant all resident students, regardless of immigration status, in-state tuition.
The bill also provides parity for gay U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their permanent partners for permanent resident status, a right long enjoyed by heterosexual spouses. The ACLU supports these provisions which would help to promote fundamental fairness.
Here's a summary of what the bill provides on the path to legalization.
The 287(g) program needs to go. More on that here.
The full text of the bill is not yet available.
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