Thursday, July 16, 2009

Immigration bill -action request


Background: During the week of July 6-10, the U.S. Senate considered amendments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill. During the debate, the Senate considered and adopted several immigration enforcement amendments which continue the enforcement-only approach to immigration reform. An amendment offered by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) enhancing the U.S.-Mexico border fence was particularly disturbing.

DeMint Amendment #1399: This amendment would require the completion of at least 700 miles of double fencing along the Southwest border by December 31, 2010, as well as require double barriers along portions of the fence.

USCCB Position: The USCCB has opposed the construction of a border fence, arguing that it will not stem, overall, illegal immigration, and could lead migrants to undertake more dangerous journeys into the United States. It also would force them to rely on expensive and dangerous human smuggling operations.
The Senate also adopted an amendment to extend the employment verification program, offered by Senator Sessions, and two other immigration enforcement amendments by voice vote (not roll call).
Notwithstanding the substance of the amendments, a vote in favor demonstrates that enforcement-only approaches to immigration reform are still supported by the majority of the Senate. Using the border fence vote as an example, we must communicate to our Senators that enforcement-only legislation is wrongheaded and ineffective and that only comprehensive immigration reform will help repair a badly broken immigration system.

Action and Targets: Clicking on the Take Action button (above) will bring you to two separate letters, one which thanks your Senator for voting in opposition to the DeMint amendment and one expressing disappointment for their vote on the DeMint Amendment. Below, please find the roll call vote for the DeMint Amendment, with a "Yea" voting for the fence and a "Nay" voting against the fence.
Please send the appropriate letters to your Senator. It is just as important to thank your Senator for the right vote as it is expressing disappointment for a wrong vote. You can also use the letters as talking points if you wish to contact them via phone at 202-224-3121.

Specific Targets: While it is important that all Senators receive letters or calls, there are specific target Senators important to the comprehensive immigration reform debate (and who should support CIR) who should hear from us:
Target Senators who voted the wrong way on the DeMint amendment: Democrats: Baucus, Bayh, Boxer, Feinstein, Klobuchar, Landreiu, Lincoln, McCaskill, Merkley, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Pryor, Rockefeller, Schumer, Specter, Stabenow, Tester, Webb, and Wyden. Republicans: Bennett, Brownback, Hatch, Graham, Gregg, McCain, Snowe.

For more information, please contact: Antonio Cube at or Chris West at

note: usccb is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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