December 7, 2005
Dear House Judiciary Committee Members:
The legislation undermines basic due process protections, human rights obligations, and notions of fundamental fairness. These are complicated issues that deserve extended discussion and debate and should not be rushed through committee and to the House floor.
Of particular concern, the legislation would:
• Expand the expedited removal program, which has already resulted in terrible mistakes, including the wrongful removal of genuine refugees and US citizens.
• Expand the categories and types of crimes that render a non-citizen removable to include low-level offenses for which deportation is an excessive and unnecessary sanction.
• Impose mandatory detention even when the individual is not a flight risk or threat to the community.
• Allow for the indefinite, and potentially perpetual, detention of non-citizens who cannot be deported.
• Strip federal courts of oversight over certain removal and other immigration decisions.
• Add new mandatory minimum penalties for a number of crimes, including crimes committed by U.S. citizens. There is no justification for these additional restrictions on judges’ ability to craft sentences that fit the crime and individual circumstances.
We urge you to refrain from violating the human rights of non-citizens and their lawfully present family members. As human beings and “persons” under the constitution, non-citizens must not be deprived of fundamental fairness and due process of law.
Advocacy Director, U.S. Programs
cc: House Judiciary Committee Members