1. Statement
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

FCNL Opposes Two Enforcement-Only Immigration Bills

By Hannah Graf Evans, May 23, 2017

The House Judiciary Committee is marking up two bills (H.R. 2406 and H.R. 2407) that would expand immigration enforcement without offering necessary accompanying policy reforms to the U.S. immigration system.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Statement for the Record as it pertains to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee Markup of H.R. 2406 and 2407

May 23, 2017

The Friends Committee on National Legislation operates on the Quaker principle that there is “that of God in every person” and seeks legislation that honors the inherent dignity of each individual. We are gravely concerned about the impact that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Authorization Act (H.R. 2406) and The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Act (H.R. 2407) will have on communities across our nation.

These two bills greatly expand machinery of deportation without addressing the underlying unjust reality of an outdated and punitive immigration system. Rather than ramping up enforcement as proposed in these two bills, FCNL and Quakers across the country are eager to work with Congress to reform the legal processes through which people can achieve lawful status in the U.S. and stay unified with their families in an equitable and straightforward manner.

Instead of providing solutions, H.R. 2406 instead provides authorization for an additional 10,000 deportation officers, nearly doubling a force solely focused on deportation. The bill also expands the authority for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to access personal information within any Department of Homeland Security database. Of those most threatened are the parents and family members of recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA recipients are an integral part of U.S. communities and call no other country their home. Congress should not be plotting ways to separate them from their families, but rather determining how to best protect family unity as part of any lasting solution for DACA recipients. Sensitive information originally collected for the purposes of protection should not be utilized to carry out enforcement operations.

H.R. 2406 also extends the ability for ICE to issue detainers to local and state authorities to keep immigrants detained. Multiple courts have ruled that local and state authorities carrying out voluntary ICE detainers without demonstrating probable cause for an individual’s arrest are in violation the Fourth Amendment.[1] The bill’s direction to expand the use of this practice only deepens Fourth Amendment concerns.

H.R. 2407 shifts the focus of USCIS to enforcement by shifting to a disproportionate emphasis on fraud and requiring a mandatory expansion of E-Verify. Without accompanying reforms to the U.S. immigration system and without necessary improvements to the program, mandatory expansion of E-Verify will both undercut important industries that sustain communities across the nation and jeopardize thousands of U.S. workers nationwide. Already, E-Verify has led to increased discrimination and unfair hiring and firing practices. Particularly in the absence of increased rights and protections for immigrant workers, E-Verify should not be expanded or permanently reauthorized. It is immoral for our nation to benefit from the labor of individuals who contribute to our economy while preventing them from being fully part of our society.

FCNL is ready and willing to partner with Congress on efforts to meaningfully reform the underlying problems with the U.S. immigration system, and stand opposed to measures that make the U.S. immigration system even more restrictive and punitive. We urge members of the Judiciary Committee not to pass H.R. 2406 and H.R. 2407 which offer enforcement-only provisions after decades of inaction for our immigrant community members.

Hannah Graf Evans

  • Former Legislative Representative, Immigration and Refugee Policy

Hannah Graf Evans led FCNL's lobbying for compassionate immigration and refugee policies, with a particular focus on detention practices, the rights of border communities, and protection of vulnerable communities. Hannah served as co-chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition steering committee for three years.