Oppose Anti-Asylum Legislation

February 9, 2005

Oppose Vote expected Thursday (2/10/2005) on Anti-Asylum Legislation

Please contact your Representative today at 1-800-270-0309 and urge him/her to oppose H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act currently being considered by the House of Representatives. We do not usually send you two alerts in one day, but this vote is expected tomorrow.

The REAL ID Act invokes security and the threat of terrorism as the basis for new measures to make asylum more difficult to obtain. The bill places many refugees, including those fleeing religious and political persecution, at risk of being returned to their country of origin and potential torture or death. A recently released report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom demonstrates how difficult it is for persons, particularly those having religious claims, to receive asylum. In short, the current asylum system already screens out those who would abuse the asylum system. H.R.418 includes a host of anti-immigrant provisions that would impose unfair barriers on deserving refugees and asylum seekers, particularly women and children. For more information, go to Episcopal Migration Ministries at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/emm/

Although H.R. 418 has no references to the Middle East, it includes a provision that would bar the entry of newly-elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the U.S., H.R. 418 would bar any member of the Palestinian Authority from entry to the US since according to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is, effectively, part of the PLO. Through the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) there is a formal mechanism for designating terrorist organizations and sanctioning them. While some Palestinian organizations are on the FTO list, the PLO, notably is not. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and sponsor of H.R. 418, and 120 of the current 125 cosponsors of the bill recently voted in favor of a resolution applauding the Palestinian elections and welcoming President Mahmoud Abbas.

Please contact your Representative today at 1-800-270-0309 and urge him/her to oppose H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act.