Chairman Of Senate Judiciary Committee Joins Three Committee Members In Calling For Attention To Values In Immigration Reform
(Washington, DC) – A week before the first Senate hearing on immigration reform, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) urged their colleagues to ensure that the immigration reforms ultimately considered by the Senate remain “grounded in civil and human rights, and ensure due process, equal treatment, and fairness.” Senator Leahy chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senators Blumenthal, Coons and Hirono are members.
“Today, America is at a crossroads,” the senators wrote in a letter sent Wednesday morning. “The question we face is not only how much enforcement we need, but how we will bring our enforcement in line with our nation’s values.”
The senators continued, “Current immigration enforcement practices tear families apart and hurt people who know only America as home. More than one in every five people deported are parents of U.S. citizens. Thousands of people, including those seeking asylum, are unnecessarily detained at great expense to taxpayers even though they pose no threat to public safety. Our laws mandate detention or deportation for many people, denying them access to a hearing before a judge, without guaranteeing legal counsel for those who cannot afford it. Immigration enforcement measures frequently target minority and immigrant communities through impermissible racial profiling that instills fear and distrust of law enforcement and makes communities less safe. Our system is not fair. It is unnecessarily punitive and disproportionate.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on comprehensive immigration reform on Wednesday, February 13, at 9:30 a.m.