Washington, DC –Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), today introduced a resolution calling for immigration policies that reduce automatic deportation and detention, restore due process for immigrants, and repeal unnecessary barriers to legal immigration. The "Fix96 Resolution" marks 20 years since the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act were signed into law in 1996, dramatically expanding the criminalization of immigrants by broadening and easing deportation and detainment requirements, removing legal defenses and involving local law enforcement.
“Two of the most egregious contributing factors to the criminalization of immigrants are laws that have been on the books for two decades now,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The expansion of the term ‘aggravated felony’ has led to excessive detention and deportation for scores of immigrants. These unjust laws have splintered families and denied the right for judges to intervene through judicial review. Twenty years is far too long to cling to such broken and morally bankrupt policies. It’s time to turn the page on this shameful period and ensure the human rights of every immigrant are respected.”
“Millions of immigrants – mothers, fathers, and even children, have had their basic human rights stripped by laws that criminalize people who are trying to better their lives,” Rep. Ellison said. “America is the place that welcomes immigrants with ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses’. We should not be in the business of separating families or detaining people for years for minor offenses. It is time we respect their human rights and end our harmful immigration policies.”
“Twenty years have passed since our country expanded the mass criminalization, detention, and deportation of people through the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act,” Rep. Chu said. “As the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), I am committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform that prioritizes family unification and restores due process. More than one million undocumented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders live in the United States with many – especially from our Southeast Asian communities – living in constant fear of being deported and separated from their families. The time is now to treat all Americans with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
The full text of the resolution is available here.
The lawmakers’ resolution has been endorsed by 84 advocacy groups, and calls for: Acknowledging that immigrants deserve human rights; updating to the definition of “aggravated felonies”; reinstating discretion for immigration judges; restoring due process to the immigration process; eliminating mandatory and prolonged detention; repealing programs that entangle local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities; repealing bars or other unnecessary barriers to legal immigration.