Hispanic Orgs Write Bush against 'Mean-Spirited' Immigration Proposals

Dear Mr. President:

The undersigned national Latino organizations write to express our
extreme disappointment with the Statement of Administration Policy
(SAP) issued yesterday supporting the "Border Protection,
Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005" (H.R.
4437). This bill defies any attempt at serious or effective immigration
reform, which you yourself acknowledged is urgently needed. Your SAP is
baffling in light of recent statements made by RNC Chairman Ken
Mehlman, which correctly
point out that the House Republican proposal overreaches in ways which
are harmful to the country and which will alienate the Latino
community.
Your support of H.R. 4437 is inconsistent with the very principles for immigration reform that you have put forward.
The impact of H.R. 4437 on the Latino community would be
devastating. This bill is excessively harmful to American
families,
businesses, and communities as well as immigrants. Among its many
appalling provisions: it criminalizes 11 million undocumented workers;
it subjects family members, employers, religious institutions, and
others to criminal penalties under broadened definitions of smuggling,
harboring, and transporting; it expands expedited removal and mandatory
detention; and it creates an unworkable employer verification system
that will
displace millions of workers and disrupt the economy. All of these
provisions will have a far-reaching impact on the entire Latino
community, yet none would solve our very real immigration problems.
H.R. 4437 does not put us on a path toward comprehensive immigration
reform; rather it stymies
constructive debate and is an affront to those who are truly
interested in solutions.

As you know, leaders from both political parties have
acknowledged the need to address our immigration problems in a
comprehensive manner and are working on realistic, rational immigration
reform legislation.

However, House Republicans have provided this shortsighted and
mean-spirited bill which is intended to appear tough on immigration
without resolving our nation’s immigration problems. Only a
comprehensive approach that provides a path to citizenship for current
undocumented immigrants, creates new legal channels for future flows of
needed immigrants, reduces family immigration backlogs, and protects
worker rights will reduce undocumented immigration and bring order to
our immigration system.

We are shocked and saddened by your Administration’s statement of
strong support for H.R. 4437. It is difficult to understand how you
will explain your posture on this legislation to the Latino community,
which is following this debate very closely. We urge you to withdraw
your support for H.R. 4437 and get back on the path toward
comprehensive immigration reform.

Sincerely,

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)
Educational Fund
National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

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