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August 4, 2006

action alert -- call your senators

This today from the American Friends Service Committee:

Today the Senate overwhelmingly voted to add an amendment proposed by Senator Jeff Sessions (R -AL) to an appropriations bill for the Department of Defense. Sessions amendment will "provide $1,829,100,000 for the Army National Guard for the construction of 370 miles of triple-layered fencing, and 461 miles of vehicle barriers along the southwest border." The Senate is expected to approve the appropriations bill (with the amendment attached) later this week.

Senator Sessions told the Washington Post that "By passing my amendment today, we are sending a signal that we are serious about stopping the flow of illegal immigrants over the border." (The phrase 'sending a signal' is interesting in many ways...)

Sessions has been among the most vocal members of Congress who has been calling for enforcement-only immigration reform. He was among the Republicans senators who did not vote for the Senate immigration bill back in May.

Today's action is disturbing in many ways:

1. Today's vote could herald the future of immigration reform. For months, Congressional representatives have threatened to pass other immigration enforcement provisions by attaching it to must-pass legislation if no immigration bill is passed in this Congressional session. Actions like this are more difficult to rally opposition against, especially when they are piggybacking on unrelated legislation that are likely to pass.

2. Almost all of the pro-comprehensive reform senators (both Democrat and Republican) voted for this amendment. Senators appear to think that voting for tougher enforcement is a definite vote-getter for their parties. Standing up against further militarization of the border seems too dangerous for them to consider.

3. The substance of the bill is alarming. Adding more fencing and border enforcement in no way addresses the root causes of why people take such risks to enter the United States without documents. To date, beefed up border enforcement has resulted in thousands of deaths by forcing migrants to cross in areas that are dangerous. More enforcement pushes people to even more desperate means of entering the U.S.

ACTION STEP: Call your Senators today (202.224.3121) and tell them that you do not agree with this amendment. Tell them that we need a truly comprehensive approach to immigration reform.

Danielle Short
Human Rights Program Director
American Friends Service Committee
901 W. 14th Ave. #7
Denver, CO 80204
303-623-3492 (fax)

Posted by almamia at August 4, 2006 10:42 PM


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