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11/23: Bad Border Bill sailing through Congress
Released 29 November 2005  By

Bad Border Bill sailing through Congress
Date: 11/23/2005

* Bad bill update - the Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act
* Talking points to fight this bill

Hello border activists -

It may have been just a week since our last update on immigration reform
and border security bills, but we have just seen a quick-moving bill
that is of great concern. In our last update, we ran through a list of
harmful border security bills that would make the Berlin Wall a cakewalk
in comparison to the US-Mexico border. The day after I sent out that
alert, a new bill was introduced in the Homeland Security Committee,
called the Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act. By the end of
last week, the bill sailed through the Committee, and is now being
prepared for a floor vote in the House of Representatives. This bill
does not even touch on immigration reform matters, and is relying on a
heavy handed, punitive approach to controlling our borders.

Though Congress is out of session for the Thanksgiving recess, they have
vowed to have a full vote on the Border Security and Terrorism
Prevention Act the week of December 12. It is very important to express
opposition to this bill - right now, the House is feeling very
reactionary, and this bill may get even worse before it gets better.
Here are some of the provisions of the bill:

* The Department of Homeland Security must develop a comprehensive
border security plan in the next six months that will increase the
use of technology, infrastructure, and manpower at the border.
* The bill puts terrorists and undocumented migrants in the same
category, saying that this new plan must respond to both threats
* Put 8,000 new Border Patrol Agents on our borders
* The Department of Defense must develop a plan to allow the Border
Patrol to more fully take advantage of its resources. It includes
unmanned aerial vehicles, radars, surveillance equipment and
"assistance" in conducting surveillance activities.
* Requires Homeland Security to develop a plan for securing national
parks, forests, and other recreational areas along the border.
This would give them increased authority on environmentally
sensitive lands.
* Mandates the detention and deportation of all undocumented
migrants. If they are released pending a court date, they must
take out a minimum bond of $5,000. This will basically increase
the jailing of migrants.
* Transfer the authority of the Tohono O'odham Shadow Wolves (the
reservation's police force that addresses migration issues) to the
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

When talking to your Representative, you can mention the following:

* Increased border security without comprehensive immigration reform
will not work. Until we reform our immigration laws to allow
willing workers to enter the country legally, people will continue
to cross our borders.
* Increased border security without comprehensive immigration reform
will increase migrant deaths in the desert. In the past ten years
we have seen that tightening security only pushes migrants further
into the desert. This bill will speed-up that process, and the
humanitarian crisis will increase dramatically.
* This bill will increase the militarization of our border, and
increase the sense of "siege" that border residents feel. With
more infrastructure, technology, and troops living in small border
communities, residents feel like they are living in a war zone,
not the United States.
* Reinforcing our current border security strategy is throwing money
at a failed plan. Despite billions of dollars being spent over the
past ten years to secure our borders, the Border Patrol itself
acknowledges that more undocumented migrants are entering the
country today than they were ten years ago.
* Increasing border security without comprehensive immigration
reform panders to the worst fears of Americans without offering
realistic solutions. It is time that Congress looks at reforming
our broken immigration system and stop the fearmongering.

As I mentioned before, the Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act
is only moving in the House of Representatives right now. Please take
the time to contact your Representative and state your opposition to
this bill, which will be voted on in three weeks! With Congress in
recess until December 5, this is the perfect time to express your
opinions in your home district and stop this bill in its tracks.

You can find your Representative's contact information at

If you'd like more lobbying tips, or more information on immigration
reform and border security, feel free to visit our website at

Best of luck with your lobbying, and best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!


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