October 22nd, 2004
Peaceful Tomorrows joined calls to Stop H.R. 10, which added anti-immigrant legislation to the “9/11 Commission Recommendations Implementation Act.” Both houses of congress passed the “9/11 Commission Recommendations Implementation Act.” But the version passed in the House of Representatives, HR 10, included immigration amendments that were never part of the Commission’s recommendations. Without further debate, and against the wishes of the Commission, a group of 21 Senators and House members conferenced to decide whether the anti-immigrant amendments would remain in the bill when it went to President Bush to be signed into law. Specifically, the proposed law would:
– Deny immigrants the right to have a court review a deportation order –in effect, suspending habeas corpus for the first time since the Civil War (Section 3009)
– Allow deportations to a country with no government (Section 3035)
– Allow deportations to a country where immigrants fear persecution (Section 3009) or torture (Section 3032)
– Allow more mandatory indefinite detentions (Section 3032)
– Allow Homeland Security to deport immigrants before federal courts have decided on their case (Section 3009)
– Make it more difficult for people fleeing torture to gain asylum (Section 3007)
– Restrict access to driver’s licenses and use of consular ID cards (Section 3006)
LETTER FROM PEACEFUL TOMORROWS TO H.R. 10 CONFEREES
To: Rep. Hoekstra and Senator Collins
CC: Conference Committee Members
From: September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Dear Representative Hoekstra and Senator Collins,
We write to you as family members of those killed on September 11, 2001. Some of us attended the public meeting of the Conference Committee on Wednesday, and some of us watched it on television. We thank you for requesting our input and for providing the opportunity for us to participate in the process. In the spirit of our continued dialogue with you, we submit this letter as a follow up to the Wednesday meeting.
We agree wholeheartedly with the 9-11 Commissioners who distributed a letter at that meeting saying the following about HR 10, “This bill is not the right occasion for tackling controversial immigration and law enforcement issues that go well beyond the Commission’s recommendations.”
We cannot rest until the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission are implemented. On Wednesday, the conferees looked us in the eye and pledged that they would rise above partisan considerations to implement these essential measures, so desperately needed to prevent other families from having to suffer the way our families have suffered. We ask the conferees to make good on their pledge, and in doing so, to make the world safer for all.
Barry Amundson, Andrea LeBlanc, Adele Welty, Kelly Campbell, John Leinung
Nissa Youngren, George Choriatis, Valerie Lucznikowska, Alissa Rosenberg,
Torres, Maureen Donegan, David Potorti, Rita Lasar, Loretta Filipov, Dave
Reynolds, Laurette Simmons, Barbara Fyfe, Jim Fyfe, Andrew Rice, Colleen
Kelly, Terry Rockefeller. Roberta Shea, Terry Greene, Wright Salisbury,
Logan Harris, Talat Hamdani, Mimi Salisbury Karen Shea, Bill Harris.
[personal comments from Peaceful Tomorrows members follow]
As a the mother of a Firefighter lost in the line of duty on September 11th at the World Trade Center, I am very concerned about the security of this nation, for my surviving children and grandchildren as well as for all our people. But in the spirit of those who died in the attempt to save others, regardless of their cultural identities and whether or not they were documented, I do not wish to see decent, hardworking immigrants penalized for the crazed acts of fundamentalist maniacs. Please pass the
recommendations of the 9-11 Commission without the anti-immigrant provisions of HR 10 that only serve to destroy families and negate the message on the Statue of Liberty, whose light will no longer shine as a beacon of hope.
–Adele Welty, Mother of Firefighter Timothy Welty, FDNY/ Squad 288, New York City
My nephew died in the World Trade Center believing that his great-grandparents came to the greatest country in the world, and he was blessed to be here. HR 10’s egregiously anti-immigrant provisions, not recommended by the 9-11 Commission, are a travesty. Is this the United States of the Statue of Liberty that my grandparents marveled at when they sailed here from Poland? This symbol of the meaning of America that has carved into it is base, “Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free?” Is this what we would have the United States become? What would he think now?
–Valerie Lucznikowska, New York City
I am proud of Americans like my brother and others who may have diverted Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, of the firefighters and other rescue workers, the many who lived good lives stolen away by this tragic attack, and their families, friends, and communities. The ideals and principles we live by as Americans drive selfless heroism and boundless compassion. Certainly we must prevent those who perpetrated this violence from launching any further attacks. At the same time, we must fight to preserve the American values of freedom and liberty for which our loved ones sacrificed their lives. In this spirit, I urge you to remove expansions to the Patriot Act and anti-immigrant provisions that promote isolation but do little for national security. My brother knew, as I do, that there are good people of all regions, all religions, and that we depend upon one another as the only hope for all of us living together on this one world. Our family has pledged to protect American values as Don did, by living with integrity, strength, humor, dignity, and above all compassion. Do not let the terrorists win by infiltrating terror into our hearts and into American policy.
–Terry Greene, Sister of Donald Freeman Greene, Cambridge, MA
I grieve each time I hear of the death of another American soldier orinnocent Iraqi. This country went to war in my husband’s name; please don’t compound my sorrow by including Patriot Act provisions or anti-immigration reforms into what should be a simple act of passing the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations.
–Loretta Filipov, Concord, MA, widow of Alexander Filipov
Since 9/11, it is clear that a world of reforms are desperately needed to keep our nation safe. Let us first implement the thoughtful recommendations of the 9-11 Commission. Then we can give other proposals a fair hearing and the vigorous debate they require.
–David Potorti, brother of Jim Potorti, Cary, North Carolina
My husband taught Cultural Geography at UNH for 35 years. One of his main interests was the study of the migration of people over the earth and over time. He understood why, and how, people live in particular places on earth, and why they feel compelled to move, seeking refuge or opportunity — as his parents and my grandparents did when they came to the United States. He would have been appalled at the anti-immigration language attached to this bill. I urge you to be wise in your decisions regarding this matter. Please, pass the Senate version and not the adulterated House version of the 9-11 Committee¹s recommendations.
–Andrea N. LeBlanc, Wife of Prof. Robert G. LeBlanc, Lee, New Hampshire