Monday, January 9, 2006

King claims HR4437 not to punish humanitarians: I say prove it

Image hosted by Rep Peter King (R-NY3rd), co-sponsor of HR4437 has claimed he never intended it to target humanitarian groups who aid undocumented immigrants and he will be looking into rewording the bill. It is now time for Mr King to put up, or shut up. He has an opportunity to prove that he respects the rights of those who help their fellow man, or can show himself to be a simple bully who has no real respect or compassion for human life . He claims those who voiced concern with hr4437 over reacted ... I say prove it

(more below the fold)

The bill which has now moved on to the Senate calls for the reclassification of immigration offenses to federal crime status, permits "deputization" of local and state police officers to enforce immigration laws and allows for “Expedited Removal” and "Mandatory Detention" of undocumented immigrants. It also included a provision that makes it a crime for anyone to assist undocumented immigrants to "come or remain" in the United States.

Immigrant advocates and officials from churches and relief agencies have criticized the bill saying it could lead to the arrest and imprisonment of priests, nuns, doctors, social workers and Good Samaritans who may provide immigrants with anything from counseling to medical care, or even a ride to the store or doctors office.

The recent arrests of the Daniel Strauss and Shanti Sellz in Arizona by agents of the US Border Patrol after trying to take three desperately ill immigrants they found wandering in the desert to a nearby hospital has only confirmed these fears. Strauss and Sellz currently face up to a fifteen year prison sentence for the "transport of illegal aliens."

After the outpouring of criticism from churches and relief groups, Rep. King has backed down and said he is willing to reword the legislation.

King said that it was never the intention of the provision, which he said targets gangs that smuggle undocumented immigrants into the country.

The measure "is not aimed at humanitarian groups at all," said King, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "If there are any specific words they want changed, I can assure you that will be done."

King said the groups were misinterpreting the bill and that "the church is developing a persecution complex here ... If an alien smuggling ring gets a guy into the country and he stops at St. Brigid's at a soup kitchen, we're not going to lock up the pastor of St. Brigid's. They're not part of the smuggling ring."

Some church workers greeted King's words with relief Friday, although they said they were still outraged by the bill in general and do not believe they were misinterpreting its broad language.


King said the bill is unlikely to be passed in its present form by the Senate, which he expected to add provisions for a guest-worker program granting temporary visas mainly to low-skilled workers.

However, he did say "a significant portion of it has to become law otherwise no immigration reform bill will pass the House."

Now it is to be seen exactly what Mr. King means by "re-wording". As one who was born and raised in Mr. King's home town and lives in his district, I look on with skepticism at anything he does.

Perhaps as Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee he could call the DHS and intercede on Mr. Strauss and Ms. Sellz behalf. Maybe we should all drop him a note at: to let him know that one way he could show that we are not suffering from a "persecution complex" would be to make sure that those already facing jail time for the "transport of illegal aliens" while only trying to save lives, were set free. Their hearing will be Tuesday Jan. 10th, so it might be a good idea to reach out to Mr. King ASAP so he has ample opportunity to show us he's not the hypocrite we know him to be.

[UPDATE] You might want to phone or fax him at:

Phone: 202-225-7896
Fax: 202-226-2279


Gladys Morale said...

Hello Mr.King my name is Gladys Morales. I am a fifteen year old from Dallas, Tx. I was reading your page and would like to express my feelings on the matter. Well I don't think it's right to pass this bill because MOST immigrants come to American to live the American Dream not to cause trouble. In Mexico they only get paid $200 a month, who can live on that? They come to America to make a better life for themselves and their family, and the next generations to come. Now not all accomplish this because of the boundries put on immigrants. They are forced to hide in the cracks of our society for fear of the government. Really it is not their fault they weren't born here in the United States. We can't choose where or when we can be born. Well I have more to say but PLEASE, PLEASE writeback or something i'm a student trying to get my point across also joined with a few more students. We don't want to cause any trouble, we just want for the United States to know we do appreciate being here. You can e mail me at We just want to stay in America and live our lives freely. Thats what the country is mainly about FREEDOM!! Isn't it? I hope to be hearing from you very soon. Thank you for your time.


Anonymous said...

Did you know that the Rep. who wrote the Bill (Sensebrenner) put in an Ammendment to the Bill that would have removed the "Felony Clause" from it? The DEMOCRATS shot it down with 191 Democrats voting NO (allowing the Felony Clause to remain). The same Democrats who now use that section of the Bill to show how "unfair" and "racist" it is.
Your being played for a fool.
Here is a link to the Bill. Click on "Amendments" and its number 656 (19 of 32).