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9/21: AAJC DENOUCES PASSAGE OF MORE ANTI-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATIONS BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Released 22 September 2006  By Asian American Justice Center

AAJC DENOUCES PASSAGE OF MORE ANTI-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATIONS BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; URGES SENATE TO STOP BILLS FROM BECOMING LAW

Asian American Justice Center
September 21, 2006

'If Enacted Into Law, Bills May Encourage Targeting and Profiling of Asian Americans'

Washington, D.C. - The Asian American Justice Center, a national civil and human rights organization, denounced today's (9/21) passage of three anti-immigrant bills - H.R. 6094, the 'Community Protection Act of 2006;' H.R. 6095, the 'Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006;' and H.R. 4830, the 'Border Tunnel Prevention Act' - in the House of Representatives, and urged the Senate to stop the harmful bills from becoming law.

'If enacted into law, these bills would have a detrimental impact on the entire Asian American community, including U.S. citizens and legal immigrants,' observed Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center. Following are examples of how Asian Americans may be harmed:

H.R. 6095 encourages state and local law enforcement to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain or transfer to federal custody immigrants who they suspect of violating immigration laws. This provision has the potential to open the door to racially profiling Asian Americans 'who don't look American.' It would also disrupt the hard-won trust between Asian American communities and their local police departments that was built through years of community policing. Finally, it would discourage Asian Americans to report crimes or other suspicious activities because of the fear of getting either themselves or family members with immigration concerns into trouble. If enacted, such a policy may have the unintended consequence of rising crime in Asian American neighborhoods.

H.R. 6094 would render deportable or inadmissible noncitizens whom the government suspects to be a gang member. But the overbroad definitions of what constitutes a 'gang' and the unfettered discretion given to agencies to determine who is a 'gang member' may lead to the profiling and targeting of innocent Asian American youths.
Many of the provisions in the bills passed today were contained in H.R. 4437, the 'Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,' which was introduced by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and passed by the House in December 2005. The passage of H.R. 4437 angered millions of people across America and lead to mass demonstrations and mobilizations around the country.

The House of Representatives have been introducing and passing a series of anti-immigrant legislations in very brief amounts of time. The measures in H.R. 6094 and 6095 were introduced and passed in less than one week. They were originally introduced as H.R. 6089, 6090, and 6091 on Friday, September 15. The provisions were then repackaged and reintroduced as H.R. 6094 and 6095 on Tuesday, September 19 and voted on Thursday, September 21.

'AAJC condemns the truncated process by which these bills were railroaded through the House,' declared Narasaki. 'The short time between introduction of the bills to the final vote, as well as the lack of opportunities for public input, such as committee markups, and constant revising and repackaging of the bills after their introduction all make it extremely difficult for the Asian American community as well as other stakeholders to participate in the democratic process,' Narasaki noted.

The bills will now move to the Senate, but it may not have time to take up these controversial bills as 'stand-alone' bills just days before Congress is scheduled to adjourn. However, there have been speculations that the House bills may be attached to 'must-pass' legislations such as the appropriations bills for the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Defense, thereby forcing the Senate to acquiesce to the House bills or risk delay in funding these important government functions.

'These harmful and draconian policies will become law unless Asian Americans make our voices heard in Congress,' stated Traci Hong, AAJC's director of immigration program. 'We need to contact our members of Congress and educate them on the impact that these measures will have on our community.'

(The Asian American Justice Center, formerly known as NAPALC, is a national organization dedicated to defending and advancing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans. It works closely with three affiliates - the Asian American Institute of Chicago, the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles - and over 100 community partners in 47 cities and 24 states in the country.)


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