Thanks to the National Council of La Raza for this Action alert- please distribute!
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be directly connected to your Senators’ offices.
Urgent Alert: Senate May Vote On Thursday On
the Coleman Forced Immigration Enforcement Amendment
(Amendment 1158 To the Immigration Reform Bill)
CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON COLEMAN AMENDMENT # 1158 (Forced Immigration Enforcement)
Senator Coleman (R-MN) has filed an amendment to the immigration reform bill that would force cities and police departments to put immigration law enforcement above protecting the health and safety of their communities.
What the amendment would do:
Coleman 1158 would outlaw state and local policies that prevent their employees—including police and health and safety workers—from inquiring about the immigration status of those they serve if there is “probable cause” to believe the individual being questioned is undocumented.
There is no exception where such policies are necessary to protect the health and safety or promote the welfare of the community.
Here’s what’s wrong with this amendment:
· Many cities, counties and police departments have decided that it’s a matter of public health and safety NOT to ask about immigration status when people report crimes, or have been the victims of domestic abuse, or go to the hospital seeking emergency medical care.
· That’s why they have passed local laws and set policies limiting when police and city and county employees can ask people to prove their immigration status.
· The police understand that community policing depends on residents who will cooperate with police. Witnesses to crimes will not come forward if they believe police officers or other city employees will require them to prove their status.
· They understand that communities are hurt when their residents are afraid that their immigration status will be questioned when they seek refuge at a domestic violence shelter or ask the police for help in escaping an abusive spouse.
· These aren’t sanctuary ordinances, they are public health and safety ordinances.
· The police have the authority arrest and detain immigrants when they commit crimes or are suspected of committing crimes. No criminals are given “sanctuary.”
· The Coleman amendment will run roughshod over these policies, saying that Congress knows better than local governments what best protects their residents.
· This amendment will cost the localities in training, implementation and enforcement. Local governments should be the ones to decide when and where to use their resources in keeping their communities healthy and safe.
· This amendment will encourage racial profiling. People who look or sound foreign will be the ones whose citizenship or immigration status will be questioned.
· This amendment will create fear in the immigrant community when facing a question of whether to contact emergency services such as police, fire or the rescue squad.
· This amendment asks public hospital workers, teachers, police, social workers and all public employees to decide when there is probable cause to believe someone does not have lawful immigration status. That means treating anyone who looks or sounds foreign with suspicion. That’s wrong.
CALL YOUR SENATORS NOW AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON COLEMAN AMENDMENT 1158.