Immigration Bill Effects Relations With 141 Countries Yet No Hearings
Washington, DC, November 18, 2011
Today the House Judiciary Committee, without holding a single legislative hearing, began consideration of H.R. 3256, the “Deport Convicted Foreign Criminals Act of 2011.” Under the bill, for every 90 day period a country does not repatriate an individual scheduled for deportation by the U.S. government, the State Department must automatically retaliate by denying visas to individuals from that country, including the spouses and minor children of American citizens, tourists, students, scientists, engineers, and other high-skilled foreign workers. At the markup, the bill’s Republican sponsors admitted that as written the measure would apply to 141 of the 196 countries of the world. This bill then includes nations with strong cultural, diplomatic, and economic ties to the U.S. such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, and Japan. In response to the Committee’s premature consideration of the bill, Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) made the following statement:
“There is no question that certain countries drag their feet or simply refuse to take back their citizens after we have ordered them deported. This is a real problem. We need to find a way to pressure these countries to take back their nationals, especially when they have broken our criminal laws and have been found deportable under our immigration laws. But to change the behavior of countries that flout their responsibilities under international law, we need a bill that puts real pressure on them, not one that harms innocent people including American families and businesses.
“The majority decided not to hold hearings on this bill prior to its consideration. Considering the potentially dire consequences for American families and the economy, I urge the committee to hold a hearing before moving forward on this bill.”