The House of Representatives is voting on two bills that further criminalize immigrants, expand detention, and undermine community well-being, rather than offering a lasting remedy for a punitive and outdated immigration system. FCNL urges members of Congress to oppose these bills.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is a Quaker lobby in the public interest committed to pursuing policies that build just societies, peaceful communities, and equitable relationships among all people. FCNL looks to Congress to legislate on immigration in a manner that honors the value of immigrants and American citizens alike and urges congressional representatives to reject any legislation which would undermine immigrant families and communities. Congress is tasked with creating lasting solutions for our nation. FCNL therefore urges members of Congress to oppose H.R. 3003 and H.R. 3004 which together further criminalize immigrants, expand detention, undermine community well-being, and offer no legislative remedy for a punitive and outdated immigration system.
H.R. 3003 is an extreme interior enforcement proposal that would affect over 600 cities, counties, and states^1 and raises serious fourth and tenth amendment concerns.^2 Effective policing depends on building authentic trust between police officers and the communities they serve; blurring the lines between federal immigration enforcement and local police results in fewer reported crimes and makes communities with large immigrant populations more vulnerable. Perpetrators of crime, assault, and abuse know that these communities are less likely to report the crime if they legitimately fear it will result in the deportation or detention of an immigrant neighbor, a loved one, or themselves. Law enforcement officials^3 and advocates for survivors of domestic violence^4 agree that the proposals included in this bill would be damaging for the communities they serve. FCNL heeds this call to ensure safety for the most vulnerable among us, and urges members of Congress to oppose H.R. 3003.
H.R. 3004 would expand grounds for indefinite detention and decrease legal opportunities for certain migrants challenging their removal. Our call as Quakers to welcome the stranger does not rest on the legal status of any individual. Criminalizing entire immigrant communities based on the senseless actions of a few individuals tears at the moral fabric of our society and will not make our communities safer. H.R. 3004 could prevent migrants from adequately accessing asylum and would increase family hardship through separation by offering no meaningful opportunity for family members to pursue a legal route when seeking reunification across borders. These provisions will only fuel the brokenness of our system, which is already heavy-handed on indefinite detention and dangerous deportations at great expense to U.S. taxpayers and our collective moral conscience. Thousands of faith leaders have urged members of Congress to reject similar proposals in the past and live up to our call to minister to all those in need, especially those who have been marginalized.^5 In keeping, FCNL urges members of Congress to oppose H.R. 3004.
FCNL looks instead for legislation that proceeds from a recognition of the inherent worth of all individuals, as acknowledged in our Quaker faith, as well as in our shared Constitution, laws, and American values. We call on Congress to reform the U.S. immigration system so that it is in line with the Quaker principle to answer to that of God in everyone and ensures we live up to our legacy as a country that thrives because we are a nation of diverse peoples and immigrants. Congress has the opportunity to enact practical solutions for comprehensive reform that includes clear and workable processes for legal entry and eventual citizenship. FCNL is eager to partner on such efforts, and seek the fundamental policy changes we need to help U.S. communities truly prosper.