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Local ACLU Vice Chair Calls for Community Opposition to Immigration Bill
HR 2278 The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act is Poor Policy
Individually and as Vice Chair of the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, I applaud the efforts of Members of Congress who have been working tirelessly to create bipartisan legislation to address the fundamental problems of our broken immigration system and to provide a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11.5 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the United States. However, I must stand opposed to House of Representatives Bill 2278, The SAFE Act, on a number of grounds.
In its present draft form, HR 2278 focuses on immigration enforcement that will increase detentions and deportations and will create an environment of rampant racial profiling without addressing the fundamental flaws in our present immigration system. This bill would, among other things, allow states and localities to enact their own immigration enforcement laws, similar to SB1070, criminalize authorized presence and make transporting someone who is known to be undocumented (in a way that furthers his/her illegal presence) a federal crime.
I believe there is an urgent need to mobilize around opposition to this bill and urge local community groups to support this position by publicly opposing the bill. The requirements of the bill would make fulfilling the primary duty of local law enforcement much more difficult through affirmative reporting requirements and conditioning federal funding on the enforcement of immigration laws. Additionally, the proposed legislation substantially blurs the already indistinct line between local law enforcement and federally mandated and regulated immigration enforcement.
I call for community opposition to H.R. 2278 because the bill proposes expenditures that would wastefully and irrationally expand unnecessary immigration enforcement at the expense of civil rights and civil liberties. I urge individual members of the community and community groups of all political persuasions to stand with the ACLU on this issue. But just as importantly, I ask the community to join with me in supporting legislation that does not create additional and unnecessary enforcement procedures and which does provide for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, including a path to citizenship and substantive changes to existing detention and enforcement practices.