NYS Seal New York State Assembly
Task Force on New Americans
Newsletter — April 2006

Sheldon Silver, Speaker • Luis M. Diaz, Chair

Immigrants and those who provide assistance to them should not be treated as criminals...
Immigration Law Alert!

An Important Message from Assemblymember Luis Diaz
Chairman, NYS Assembly Task Force on New Americans...

Let’s Tell the U.S. Senate to Say NO to H.R. 4437

Assemblyman Luis Diaz

Last December, the United States House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation that will drastically and negatively change immigration law. The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, H.R. 4437, calls for a number of anti-immigrant measures to be implemented. These measures will prevent millions of hardworking undocumented immigrants from ever realizing the American dream, and instead will push them further underground into a huge underclass of people whose mere existence within the country will be considered criminal.

The harsh provisions of this bill will not only harm our families and communities socially and economically, but will also erode due process, weaken judicial review, and offend our most basic notions of fairness and justice. Our immigration system is indeed in need of reform, but H.R. 4437 does not offer real solutions to the problems. Making it a crime to provide assistance to an illegal immigrant is intolerable. Comprehensive immigration reform can and must only take place in the context of constructive debate and not punitive action.

While it is vital to establish programs that protect our borders, enforcement only will not fix our broken immigration system. The correct and rational answer to our immigration problems must include a path to legalization for current and future workers and the means to reunify families. Congress needs to consider alternative proposals that will not only keep us all safe by securing our borders but will also provide a workable plan to help the estimated 12 million undocumented workers living in the United States.

At this time, several guest worker bills have been proposed in the U.S. Senate and are making their way through the Judiciary Committee. We will keep a watchful eye on any guest worker legislation that is coupled with border security measures like those contained in H.R. 4437. I strongly urge you to contact members of the United States Senate to voice your opposition to this legislation. The time to act is NOW!

Very truly yours,
Luis M. Diaz

Major Provisions of H.R. 4437:
  • Criminalizes unlawful presence.
    Undocumented immigrants would be considered criminals chargeable with a felony, would have to serve jail time, and would be barred from future legal status or re-entry into the country.

  • Expands the definition of alien smuggling.
    Would impose criminal penalties on anyone or any group that “assists, encourages, directs or induces a person to reside in or remain in the U.S. or attempt to reside in or remain in the U.S. knowing that such person is an illegal alien.”

  • Deputizes local police to enforce immigration laws.
    Would authorize and reimburse local Sheriffs or Sheriff Coalitions to enforce the immigration laws and to transfer illegal aliens to federal custody.

  • Denies admission to nationals of certain countries.
    Would deny admission to anyone who seeks to enter the U.S. for business or pleasure from countries such as Cuba, China and Vietnam that refuse to accept their nationals back when the U.S. seeks to deport them.

  • Expands the definition of aggravated felony.
    Document fraud of any kind, even when committed by asylum seekers who had no other means to escape their persecutors, would be considered an aggravated felony, and would subject any asylum seeker so charged to deportation and bars to re-entry.

  • Creates mandatory detention.
    The Department of Homeland Security would be able to detain indefinitely any individual after serving his sentence upon the determination that he is a “dangerous alien.”

  • Disrupts the country’s economy.
    The retroactive application of an overly broad Employment Verification System would severely limit workers’ claims, prohibit class action lawsuits, and displace millions of workers.

  • Denies due process and citizenship.
    Certain provisions would blatantly limit judicial review, violate due process and the separation of powers, and strip courts of their remaining jurisdiction over immigration matters; the Act would also make it harder for legal permanent residents to became citizens.

  • Builds a fence along about a third of the Mexico/US border.

“Help Defeat H.R. 4437 in the U.S. Senate”

Albany Office:
Rm. 921 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12248
518.455.5511 (phone)
518.455.5449 (fax)
District Office:
2488 Grand Concourse, Room 310-11
Bronx, New York 10458
718.933.6909 (phone)
718.933.2613 (fax)

New York State Assembly
[ Welcome Page ] [ Committee Updates ]