A project of the Center for Community Change

Obstruction of Justice: The SAFE Act

By: Adam Isaacson

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This week, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act, with Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) leading the charge. With the bill’s extreme policies, such as prolonged detention of some nonviolent immigrants without judicial review, it’s hard to see the SAFE Act as anything more than a large obstruction on the path to immigration reform.

The architects of the SAFE Act are driving a wedge between realistic legislation and extremism. Perhaps the most dangerous consequence of this bill, if it were passed, is that all undocumented immigrants would be classified as criminals, subject to immigration laws that are different for each state.

I agree with the L.A. Times editorial board’s strongly worded statement they released Wednesday morning, “Shelve the SAFE Act.”  “The bill’s real purpose,” the op-ed reads, “is to derail the current legislative effort to reach a bipartisan agreement on a comprehensive immigration law.”

Bipartisanship seems hard to come by these days. And while we’re encouraged by recent proceedings in the Senate, where both parties are working hard to reach agreeable compromise on the amendment package to the reform bill currently under debate, it’s not a sure bet that Republicans on the House side will fall in line. But it’s high time they do.

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