Eagle Forum
Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
March 19, 2002

Amnesty Is 'Sheer Lunacy' 
Urge Your Senators to Oppose Amnesty for Illegal Aliens

ALERT On March 12, the House of Representatives voted 275 to 137 for the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act (H.R. 1885). While this bill contains important border security measures, it includes an extension of Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which permits illegal aliens to remain in the United States. The bill was brought to the floor under suspension of the rules, which meant that there was no opportunity for amendment. Suspension bills need two-thirds of voting Members to pass, so H.R. 1885 passed by one vote.

However, the bill can still be killed since it must go back through the Senate. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) said on March 18 that he would delay passage of H.R. 1885 because of the inclusion of 245(i). Before this bill moves forward, he wants a full debate on the Senate floor. During a floor speech, as reported by the Washington Times on March 19, Senator Byrd said, "It is lunacy - sheer lunacy - that the president would request, and the House would pass, such an amnesty at this time. That point seems obvious to the American people, if not to the administration."

245(i): A National Security Risk 
Extension of Section 245(i) should be rejected because it allows hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to stay permanently in the United States without going through face-to-face interviews conducted in their native language in our embassies abroad. Instead, the INS would conduct the background checks.

The revelation that last week two of the dead Sept. 11 hijackers received student visa approval demonstrates how completely inept the INS is to handle its current backlog of cases, which stands at 4.2 million applicants. Extension of 245(i) rewards law-breakers and entices millions more foreign nationals to enter the U.S. illegally, which leaves the U.S. vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks. This bill makes those who have complied with the law look like suckers.

The INS is riddled with waste, fraud, and abuse. Amnesty will only make this problem worse. Without border security, national security remains at risk.

The Section 245(i) program expired in April 2001 and should not be reinstated.

Tell your Senator that you agree with Senator Byrd that passing amnesty, especially when America is at war, is "sheer lunacy." Urge him to join Senator Byrd in holding up this outrageous legislation.

Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

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