CAIR-Chicago Attends Press-Conference in Response to Passage of HR 4437 in the House

CAIR-Chicago’s Governmental Relations Coordinator attended a press conference on Wednesday, December 21st, 2005 held by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The conference was held in response to the passage of HR 4437, “Border Protection and Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act” in the House of Representatives this past Friday. The proposed anti-immigration legislation places even more stringent regulations on immigration policies including but not limited to: criminalizing any illegal presence in the United States, criminalizing any individual who aids an undocumented individual, and gives local and low level law enforcement agents authority to enforce immigration laws.

The bill was pushed through on a fast track lead by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (IL-R) where representatives voted ten days after the bill was first brought to the floor. Rahm Emanuel (IL-D), an Illinois representative and Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was reported to have put pressure on at-risk Democratic members, threatening to not fund their campaigns in the upcoming elections, if they did not vote in favor of the bill. The at-risk incumbents were pressured so they would not be seen as soft on immigration policies and as a result lose in their districts. The bill passed by a vote of 239-182 where seventeen Republicans voted against the bill and thirty-six Democrats voted for it, providing victory for the bill’s sponsor US Rep James Sensenbrenner (WI-R), who also sponsored the REAL ID Act earlier this year.

HR 4437 is expected to be brought to vote in the Senate early next year when Congress reconvenes. Among those present at the press conference were: State Senator Martin Sandoval, State Rep Susana Mendoza, Little Village Chamber of Commerce, Insitituto Del Progresso Latino, ICIRR, and CAIR-Chicago.

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