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Tell Senate: Reject Anti-Immigrant, Pro-War Legislation
Released 12 April 2005  By Hany Khalil - UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121
Or visit for additional contact information

The Senate is expected to vote next week on the president's request for an additional
$81 billion for the war in Iraq. It's crucial that we let our Senators know in the strongest possible terms that we oppose continued funding for this deadly, criminal war. If we can increase the number of votes against the $82 billion by even one or two Senators, this will be an important step in the long-term fight to cut off funding for the war.

It's bad enough that our tax dollars would again be used for Bush's war. But if the Senate agrees to the House version of the military appropriations bill -- pegged as an emergency wartime effort to support U.S. troops - it would also mount an all-out assault on immigrants at home.

When the House of Representatives passed the $81 billion war appropriations bill last month, they slipped in an attachment called REAL ID. In the name of national security, the bill would strip immigrants of such basic needs as a driver's license; end the Constitutional right to habeas corpus for the first time since the Civil War; empower private police forces to enforce immigration laws; prevent people fleeing persecution from gaining asylum here; and increase deaths at the border. (See more details below.)

The Senate version of the appropriations bill has started off with no REAL ID Act attached to it, but its supporters could try to attach it to the war appropriations bill from the floor of the Senate or in conference committee negotiations with the House after the Senate vote.

It's vital to contact your Senators now and tell them to ensure that REAL ID, the anti-immigrant attachment to House version of the war appropriations bill, doesn't make it into the final appropriations bill.

REAL ID's key champions include Texas Republican Tom DeLay and James Sensenbrenner - the Wisconsin Republican promoted to chair of the House Judiciary Committee after the 2004 elections. Meanwhile, the Senators of states with large immigrant populations like New York have been suspiciously quiet. They do not want to speak out for civil and human rights. Please help us make them!

(1) Call, email, and fax your Senators. Tell them to refuse to fund more war and occupation in Iraq. Tell them to ensure that REAL ID stays dropped in the Senate and does not re-emerge when members of the Senate negotiate over the bill with the House.

Immigrant rights and peace groups across the country are actively promoting call-in days from Friday April 8 to Thursday, April 14.

When you call, ask to speak with the person who handles immigration issues. Tell him/her that you would appreciate it if your Senator would relay these concerns to members of the Appropriations Committee, many of whom will be on the combined House/Senate conference committee that will be making the last minute decisions about whether to include REAL ID. (Of course, you don't have to say this if your Senator is already on the Appropriations Committee). A list of members of the Senate Appropriations Committee can be found below.

To contact your own Senators and Congressperson, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected. Or look them up at .

(2) Organize a vigil, picket, or some other public activity outside the office of your Senators. Let them know you oppose more funding for the war and the REAL ID provisions. And by being in a public place you will also have an opportunity to talk to other people.

(3) Get your message into the local media. Organize a flood of letters to the editor of your city or state newspapers. Ask people to call into radio talk shows. We need to bring our message into the media BEFORE the Senate votes. Contact the UFPJ office if you need assistance in this effort at 212-868-5545.

We encourage you to tell your Senators:
"I want you to say no to more war funding. We should not be funding this illegal war.

It's time to bring the troops home.

"And I want you to ensure that REAL ID, the anti-immigrant attachment to House version of the war appropriations bill, does not become part of the final appropriations bill.

We should not deny immigrants drivers' licenses and such basic rights as the constitutional protection of habeas corpus. And we cannot leave immigration enforcement to private police forces and an unchecked

Homeland Security Department. The anti-immigrant agenda will tear countless families apart and hurt American communities. "Continuing the war in Iraq and stripping immigrants of basic rights have nothing to do with increasing national security."

REAL ID would:
1. Prohibit states from issuing drivers' licenses to millions of immigrant who cannot demonstrate that they are here lawfully. Untrained DMV agents would have to rely often on racial profiling to make the decision of when to give a license. This provision, opposed by motor vehicle associations, would cause chaos on our roads, and force immigrants into driving without license and uninsured.

2. End habeas corpus for immigrants in deportation. For the first time since the Civil War, an entire class of people (namely noncitizens) would be barred from this Constitutional right to seek justice before a federal judge when facing a punishment as severe as life exile.

3. Give bounty hunters unprecedented powers to arrest immigrants, and increase public reliance on privately owned bail bond companies to police our communities.

4. Effectively bar people from winning asylum in the U.S., by setting unnecessarily restrictive standards for people fleeing dictatorships and persecution

5. Give the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to waive all laws that he feels might interfere with building border barriers, leading to further deaths at the border.

REAL ID is a legislative nightmare, under which judges could not judge, but DMV agents would have to enforce immigration laws! More importantly, it is a civil rights tragedy. It would deepen the legal, economic and social divide between citizens and immigrants, and set us back decades. Please call Congress immediately to express opposition to this bill, and pressure progressive and liberal Senators to speak out strongly against REAL ID.

For more information, see
* Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

* National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights or (510) 465-1984 ext 305

* Families for Freedom or 212-898-4121

* National Immigration Forum (See Action Center page)

Thad Cochran (MS)
Ted Stevens (AK)
Arlen Specter (PA)
Pete Domenici (NM)
Christoper Bond (MO)
Mitch McConnell (KY)
Conrad Burns (MT)
Richard Shelby (AL)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Robert Bennett (UT)
Larry Craig (ID)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)
Mike DeWine (OH)
Sam Brownback (KS)
Wayne Allard (CO)

Robert Byrd (WV)
Daniel Inouye (HI)
Patrick Leahy (VT)
Tom Harkin (IA)
Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Harry Reid (NV)
Herbert Kohl (WI)
Patty Murray (WA)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Dianne Feinstein (CA)
Richard Durbin (IL)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Mary Landrieu (LA)

Hany Khalil

April 8, 2005

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