SEPTEMBER 11TH FAMILIES FOR PEACEFUL TOMORROWS’ STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO H.R. 418, THE REAL ID ACT

September 11th
Families for Peaceful Tomorrows urge you to oppose H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act,
introduced by Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) when the bill comes
to the House floor for a vote. The bill’s sponsors contend that this measure
is necessary to enhance our nation’s security. Rather, it will make our
highways more dangerous, undermine our security; and impose guilt by
association. Further, it will prevent some people fleeing persecution from
obtaining refuge.

As an organization composed of family members of those
killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks, we are vigilant in promoting
measures that enhance our security. We also have a special responsibility to
point out measures that use our concern about this nation’s safety and
security to promote an entirely different agenda. Sadly, that is the case
with H.R. 418.

H.R. 418 will NOT make us safer. Rather it
will:

Prevent people fleeing persecution from obtaining relief: Some
asylum seekers are actually fleeing from the very countries the United
States government has labeled as supportive of terrorist activity.
Asylum applicants already undergo more extensive security checks than any
other foreign nationals who come to this country. Terrorists and others who
pose a danger to our security are already ineligible for asylum.

Make
our highways more dangerous and undermine our security
: The intelligence
reform bill that Congress passed last year already addresses the concerns
raised by the 9/11 Commission regarding driver’s licenses and identity
documents. However, Mr. Sensenbrenner’s proposal to set federal eligibility
requirements for driver’s licenses, including restrictions on immigrants’
access to licenses, would undermine, not enhance, national security by
pushing people deeper into the shadows and forcing many more to drive without
a license in order to earn a living. Such a result would severely undermine
the law enforcement utility of Department of Motor Vehicles databases by
limiting, rather than expanding, government data about individuals in this
country.

Impose guilt by association: The proposal to permit deportation
of non-citizens who are members of or support any political organization
that has used violence, even if the organization has not been designated as
a "foreign terrorist organization," is misguided. This proposal to
impose guilt by association leaves out what we believe to be a basic
component of wrong-doing: intent. With its retroactive application, it could
be used to deport long-term, lawful residents, even if the association
rendering them deportable occurred decades earlier and was legal at the
time.

Congress got it right when it debated and passed the Intelligence
Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 without these
ill-conceived provisions that have no place in a measure designed to enhance
our security. The ink hardly has dried on this new Act that includes
important measures that usefully address some of the issues raised in H.R.
418.

Instead of debating H.R. 418, the House of Representatives should
be focused on ensuring the successful enactment of the Intelligence
Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and working on
comprehensively reforming our immigration system so that immigration is
legal, safe, orderly, and reflective of the needs of American families,
businesses, and national security.

Filed in: Press Releases

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