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Mission: Defending Dissent Foundation is a non-profit civil liberties organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the right to dissent in the United States.
October 22, 2013
Dear Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi:
The undersigned organizations oppose the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772) and urge you to oppose its passage. If passed, the bill will require every employer in the United States to use E- Verify within two years and will allow employers to re-verify every worker. H.R. 1772 does nothing to change our broken immigration system. Instead, the bill represents an outdated, enforcement-only approach that threatens the livelihood of all workers, including U.S. citizens, while failing to provide real solutions for law-abiding employers.
Mandating E-Verify without providing for legalization will threaten our nation’s economy and will send workers and businesses into the underground economy. E-Verify is not a silver bullet to catch unauthorized workers; instead mandating its use will only push employers and workers further into the underground economy, as paying workers cash or misclassifying the workers as independent contractors is the simplest way of not complying with the bill’s mandate. Mandating E-Verify, while providing no way for unauthorized workers to become work-authorized, would cost the country more than $17.3 billion dollars in federal revenue because it would increase the number of employers who resort to the black market outside of the tax system, robbing workers and citizens billions of dollars in payroll, state and federal income taxes.
Moreover, given E-Verify’s current error rates, the bill will force hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and legally authorized workers to visit Social Security Administration offices to correct an E-Verify error, or lose their job. Yet despite these alarming statistics, H.R. 1772 lacks any meaningful protection for U.S. citizens or authorized workers who lose their jobs due to a government error. H.R. 1772 is a misguided approach that threatens our national economy and American jobs. The real answer is broad reform of our immigration system that includes a tough but fair path to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans living in our communities. We urge you to reject this enforcement-only bill and pursue comprehensive immigration reform that supports, rather than undermines, our country’s economic vitality.
(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)
March 11, 2013
We the undersigned organizations write in opposition to H.R. 624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2013 (CISPA). We are gravely concerned that this bill will allow companies that hold very sensitive and personal information to liberally share it with the government, which could then use the information without meaningful oversight for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.
CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity. Although a carefully-crafted information sharing program that strictly limits the information to be shared and includes robust privacy safeguards could be an effective approach to cybersecurity, CISPA lacks such protections for individual rights. CISPA’s information sharing regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet records or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for undefined ‘national security’ purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.
Developments over the last year make CISPA’s approach even more questionable than before. First, the President recently signed Executive Order 13636, which will increase information sharing from the government to the private sector. Information sharing in this direction is often cited as a substantial justification for CISPA and will proceed without legislation. Second, the cybersecurity legislation the Senate considered last year, S. 3414, included privacy protections for information sharing that are entirely absent from CISPA, and the Obama administration, including the intelligence community, has confirmed that those protections would not inhibit cybersecurity programs. These included provisions to ensure that private companies send cyber threat information only to civilian agencies, and stricter limits on how this information may be used. Finally, witnesses at a hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence confirmed only weeks ago that companies can strip out personally identifiably information that is not necessary to address cyber threats, and CISPA omits any requirement that reasonable efforts be undertaken to do so.
We continue to oppose CISPA and encourage you to vote ‘no.’ Fundamental changes to this bill are required to address the many civil liberties problems.
(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)
September 11, 2012
We, the undersigned organizations, which support both security and liberty, write to urge you to vote “no” on H.R. 5949, the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012, which would extend the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) until December 31, 2017. Unless reauthorized, the FAA will sunset on December 31, 2012. We urge you to impose measures to prevent abuse of the FAA, and to require that government officials implementing the law be more transparent about its use.
The FAA authorizes the government to conduct surveillance in the U.S. of individuals reasonably believed to be non-U.S. persons located outside the U.S. Even if the target communicates with people in the U.S., the surveillance is conducted without meaningful judicial authorization and without probable cause. Instead, the FISA Court evaluates only whether the procedures under which surveillance is conducted are reasonably designed to target people reasonably believed to be abroad.
Though the FAA surveillance authority is broad and the criteria for conducting it lax, the National Security Agency has reportedly overstepped the bounds of the law. In April 2009, the New York Times reported that the NSA “intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress,” and it reported that intelligence officials characterized the illegal surveillance as “significant and systemic.” Further, despite evidence of impropriety, the government has not publicly detailed the extent of the problem or publicly explained what, if anything, it has done to prevent it from recurring. Before the Congress considers legislation to reauthorize the FAA, it should require the government to specify the nature and extent of this illegal surveillance and in any reauthorization legislation, Congress should impose statutory mechanisms to ensure that illegal surveillance does not recur under the FAA umbrella.
In addition, Congress should, prior to considering reauthorization, or in the reauthorization legislation itself:
Require the government to disclose more about the extent and the nature of the surveillance that has been conducted under the FAA, most notably, the number of U.S. citizens and individuals in the United States that have been affected; Impose reporting requirements that require such disclosures for future FAA surveillance; Amend the FAA to prevent bulk surveillance of entire categories of persons; and Strengthen the FAA minimization procedures to ensure that the information collected under the FAA is not repurposed for government uses unrelated to national security.
Thank you for considering our views. Please direct any questions to Gregory Nojeim of the Center for Democracy & Technology and to Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Opposes Sections 1112 and 1113 in H.R. 1, the House Continuing Resolution, which would impose a blanket ban on transfers of Guantánamo detainees, even for prosecution or resettlement or repatriation.
Urge members of the House to vote against the Pence Amendment to deny federal funding to reproductive healthcare providers who offer abortion services (federal funds are NOT used to provide abortion services, but to support reproductive healthcare. The Amendment specifically targets Planned Parenthood. In attacking Planned Parenthood they have launched an outrageous assault on womens health that would deny preventive health services, birth control and reproductive care to 3 million Americans and would certainly guarantee an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies. It is difficult to understand why people who say they are opposed to abortion would do so much to undermine the family planning and contraception that prevents it.
Planned Parenthood is a community based provider of life-saving health and reproductive care to 3 million patients each year and the largest provider of reproductive health care in America. Even the supporters of this extreme legislation don't pretend that this political attack on Planned Parenthood will save a single cent in the budget, nor have they explained how the 3 million Americans currently served by Planned Parenthood's more than 800 health centers will find essential healthcare services.
The bill extends 3 provisions of the PATRIOT Act that are due to sunset at the end of February. Congress should focus on oversight to correct abuses to our privacy and liberties, and enact strong protections rather than renewing the PATRIOT act