What: All Issues : Environment : Wildlife/Forest/Wilderness/Land Conservation : H.R. 418. Illegal Immigration, Homeland Security/A Vote to Defeat an Amendment to H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act, to Narrow a Provision Granting Broad Authority to the Secretary for Homeland Security to Waive Any Law, Including Those that Protect Workers and the Environment, that Interferes with Construction of Any Physical Barrier Designed to Impede Illegal National Border Crossings. (2005 house Roll Call 29)
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H.R. 418. Illegal Immigration, Homeland Security/A Vote to Defeat an Amendment to H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act, to Narrow a Provision Granting Broad Authority to the Secretary for Homeland Security to Waive Any Law, Including Those that Protect Workers and the Environment, that Interferes with Construction of Any Physical Barrier Designed to Impede Illegal National Border Crossings.
house Roll Call 29     Feb 10, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Sam Farr (D-CA) offered an amendment to H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act, a bill to make broad changes to certain aspects of U.S. immigration and asylum laws. Changes to existing immigration law in the REAL ID Act included restricting standards for those claiming asylum, expanding the authority of immigration judges in asylum proceedings, standardizing procedures for obtaining driver's licenses amongst the states and limiting their use for federal purposes, forbidding entry into the United States of those people who have supported terrorist organizations, and removing all local and state barriers to construction of a border fence at San Diego. Farr's amendment would have removed the fence-facilitating provisions from the bill. Progressives stated that they did not oppose the construction of the border fence at San Diego; rather, they argued that the provision was phrased too broadly and would give the Secretary for Homeland Security unprecedented, sweeping authority to waive any state and local laws anywhere, including child labor, environmental and other types of laws. Republicans countered that this provision was necessary because the fence-which nearly everyone agrees should be built-has been under construction without reaching completion for an unduly long time, and that the delays were at least in part due to state or local environmental barriers. (They did not raise specific arguments on the floor regarding the Democrats' contention that the bill would grant authority for waivers in places other than at San Diego.) The House defeated the amendment by a vote of 179 to 243, thus retaining in the bill language granting the Secretary of Homeland Security broad authority to bypass state and local laws at San Diego and elsewhere, including laws designed to protect workers and the environment.

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