IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
Immediate Release: May 3, 2005
WHITE HOUSE AND CONGRESS TAKE THE WRONG DIRECTION
D.C. — Congress is poised to pass, and the White House to sign, the Emergency
Supplemental Appropriations bill (H.R. 1268) that would support the military
efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and tsunami relief efforts. Sadly, the White
House and Republican leadership compromised the integrity of that important
measure by attaching to it the highly controversial, ill-conceived, divisive,
and anti-immigrant REAL ID Act (H.R. 418). This measure has generated
well-deserved opposition from more than 650 religious, ethnic, privacy,
libertarian, immigration, and conservative groups, as well as representatives of
state and local governments.
enacted, the REAL ID Act will have numerous negative consequences, including:
making it extremely difficult for people fleeing persecution to obtain refuge in
the United States; suspending the Great Writ of habeas corpus for the first time
since the Civil War; increasing the number of uninsured, unlicensed drivers on
our roadways; severely limiting the critical law enforcement utility of
Department of Motor Vehicle databases; imposing impossible and unfunded mandates
on the states; undermining our fundamental commitment to free speech and
association; and waiving all laws related to construction of fences at our
borders, thereby granting unprecedented, and unnecessary, authority to the
Department of Homeland Security.
with being fatally flawed substantively, this bill gives Congress a black mark
Congress held no hearings or meaningful debate on the legislation and amended it
to a must-pass spending bill, the REAL ID Act did not receive the scrutiny
necessary for most measures, and most certainly not the level required for a
measure of this importance and impact. Consistent with the lack of debate and
discussion, conference negotiations also were held behind closed doors, with
Democrats prevented from participating.
of the REAL ID Act have cloaked this measure in the rhetoric of enhanced
security and/or of controlling illegal immigration. Nothing could be further
from the truth. In fact, this measure will not make us safer. Rather, it offers
a dangerous detour that will accomplish nothing in terms of safety, and diverts
us from the task of enacting comprehensive immigration reform which the American
voters strongly support.
welcomes initiatives that will truly make us safer and do not gratuitously
White House and Congress should be repudiating rather than passing the REAL ID.
Given this measure’s negative consequences, we urge Congress to plan rigorous
oversight and be prepared to revisit this flawed measure. We also urge the White
House and Congress to take the right direction and focus on enacting
comprehensive immigration reform to change a broken immigration system into one
that is controlled, safe, and legal.
in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides its Members
with continuing legal education, information, and professional services. AILA
advocates before Congress and the Administration and provides liaison with the
DHS and other government agencies. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the
American Bar Association.
Immigration Lawyers Association
918 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 216-2400 Phone
(202) 783-7853 Fax