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SENATOR HARKIN CALLS FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM FOLLOWING SWIFT RAIDS December 20, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Immigration reform, MyComments, News and politics, Politics and World Events, Simply Immigration!.
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WASHINGTON D.C. —- In the wake of the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on Swift & Co., Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to express concern about alleged humanitarian and civil rights abuses against detainees, and to urge the agency’s cooperation with Congress in implementing comprehensive immigration reform.

The complete text of the letter is as follows.

The Honorable Michael Chertoff

Secretary of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

3801 Nebraska Avenue Center, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

I am writing to express my deep concern about the handling of workers of the Swift & Co. meat processing facilities detained throughout the nation last week. As you know, Swift has a plant in Marshalltown , Iowa and close to one hundred workers were arrested at this facility.

Your Department has an obligation to fully enforce our nation’s immigration laws and these raids have provided a very clear illustration of just how broken our current system is.

However, I am appalled by the process that has apparently been used to detain and deport the workers. First, according to both media reports and information my office has received, the hotline by which family members and others were supposed to obtain information has at times been unanswered by ICE officials, and at other times provided no information of any use.

Second, your Department has apparently made it almost impossible for lawyers and even clergy to obtain access to those detained and has transported workers to other states without granting them access to counsel.

Third, although assurances were provided to my staff that any individuals with small children who would otherwise go without care would be released to make alternative arrangements, there continue to be reports of numerous single mothers remaining in custody.

I continue to be concerned that the process in the wake of such raids lacks transparency and is being conducted without even the most basic fairness. I hope you share my belief that the failure to ensure that basic legal rights and humanitarian protections are afforded to individuals in our immigration system reflects poorly on the principles that have made the United States strong.

Finally, this incident highlights the need for comprehensive reform to our antiquated immigration system. Only when we bring the 12 million illegal workers out of the shadows and into the legal system will both industry and employees benefit. These improvements must include increased security at our borders and a means to legal citizenship for immigrants already in the country, which would include fines, learning English, passing a background check and paying back taxes. I hope that your agency will pledge to work with Congress next year to bring about this change.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Tom Harkin

United States Senator

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Comments»

1. Allan L. Krehbiel - March 18, 2008

Dear Senator Harkin:

Whenever I need reassurance that there really are decent people in our government, I reread your letter of December 20, 2006 to Michael Chertoff. It is reassuring to find that the humanitarian American spirit is still alive. Again, thank you for being an inspiration to me and my fellow Americans. You have my very highest regard.

Most respectfully yours,
Allan L. Krehbiel, CPA

2. Donald Ruppert - April 13, 2008

Dear Senator Harkin,

As a native Iowan and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stems from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill’s provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I’m excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year.

Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as “in-state” tuition rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver’s license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car. If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become (illegal retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent,

Donald Ruppert
Burlington , IA


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