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URGENT Action Alert: CALLS needed TODAY (Thursday, May 9)
TODAY is the first day that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering amendments on the bipartisan immigration bill, S. 744. Today they will consider amendments on the bill’s border provisions. We’ve learned that Sen. Grassley of Iowa plans to offer his amendment 17 as a 2d-degree to Feinstein’s amendment 2 today.  Grassley’s amendment 17 is aimed at gutting the judicial review protections in the Gang of 8 bill that are essential to protecting the RPI, DREAM, and AG JOBS programs.

Please call 202-224-7703 or 202-224-5225 TODAY to speak with the Majority and Minority offices of the Senate Judiciary Committee.Below is a sample script you can use. More information on the amendments is below.

Do you tweet? If you use Twitter, please note that @SenatorLeahy will be tweeting out real-time info on what amendment they are on, etc., and #CIRmarkup is the hashtag that Judiciary staff will be using. Tweet to oppose this amendment.

From our friends at the ACLU – 

Please urge Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) offices to:

Vote NO on Grassley 17 (to be offered as a second-degree to Feinstein 2)

Sample script: “I urge the Senator to OPPOSE amendment 17 proposed by Senator Grassley, which would eliminate judicial review and would deny individuals a way to correct an agency mistake over which they had no control.” [See below for further details, if you want them.]

The S.744 judicial review provisions provide for review of individual denials in district court or the court of appeals under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”) standard; the bill also provides for full review of pattern and practice violations and class action suits in the district court under APA standards. The Grassley 17 amendment would severely restrict review and provide 1) review only in the district court in DC, and 2) only over challenges to the constitutionality of sections of the program and implementing regulations.  In other words, Grassley 17 would abolish all judicial review of decisions relating to RPI and adjustment of status applications, including those relating to Dreamers, agricultural workers, and the spouses and children of all these individuals — except to challenge the constitutionality of the law itself or the regulations.

The need for judicial review is critical because RPI/Dream/Ag Jobs will be newly created programs with new provisions being implemented for first time.  Agency mistakes are inevitable.  Under Grassley 17 — if the executive branch were to adopt a regulation, policy or practice that erroneously denies thousands of people legalization, there would be no way to correct it – even if the regulation, policy or practice was manifestly inconsistent with the legalization standards created by Congress.  Without judicial review, Congress’s intent in the Act will be thwarted.

Giving an agency employee the sole responsibility on such important decisions puts far too much unchecked power in the hands of a single agency employee.  A single error by a single agency employee will destroy the life opportunity that Congress has chosen to make available to the individual.  In the RPI dependent context, such an error could result in long-term, often permanent, separation of spouses or separation of parents from their children.  Without judicial review, these errors will go uncorrected.

By restricting judicial review to the DC district court only, Grassley 17 would be highly unfair to RPI applicants who are unable to travel to DC.  As long as the DC Dist. Court says a provision or regulation is constitutional, an individual can be deported even if the legalization denial was blatantly wrong under the standards created by Congress.

In our justice system, it would be unprecedented to bar judicial review of administrative agencies’ decisions involving individual interests of this magnitude.  Grassley 17 would be unconstitutional because it wouldn’t provide review over non-constitutional legal claims or even non-systemic constitutional claims, as required by US v. St Cyr and other Supreme Court cases.

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