Thursday, March 13, 2008

"SAVE" Immigration Bill Repeat of Past Disappointments

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which advocates for constructive and humane immigration policies, considers the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act (SAVE) another disappointment because it is grounded in political posturing and rehashes ill-conceived, punitive positions from previous Congressional debates.

"The SAVE Act puts our civil liberties and the privacy of all workers at risk," says Esther Nieves, director of Project Voice, AFSC's national immigrants' rights program. "Political expediency and partisan tactics seem to be the order of the day. It is critical that the public contact legislators and advocate for more evenhanded and sensible policies."

The Service Committee monitors Congressional discussions and finds the SAVE Act to be unworkable, specifically because it steps up the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, enacts an impractical national employment verification program, and blurs the line between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. It is particularly unfortunate that this bill has support in Congress given the anti-immigrant rhetoric of this election year.

AFSC has issued a national action alert and regional AFSC offices have taken local actions urging the public to press for a bipartisan dialogue leading to achievable immigration legislation. The Service Committee continues to call for feasible solutions that include a path to lawful permanent residency, fair labor laws and policies that keep families together.

The American Friends Service Committee supports the rights and dignity of all people, regardless of their immigration status. Project Voice, the AFSC immigrants' rights initiative, works to uplift migrant voices and strengthen efforts of migrant-led organizations to set an agenda for fair and humane national public policies. AFSC has 90 years experience working with immigrants and refugees and presently works with immigrants in 18 communities in fourteen states and in 22 countries around the world.

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