HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.C.R. NO.

74

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2004

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


HOUSE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

urging the united states congress to amend the laws on immigration to allow immigration authorities to exercise judicial discretion in a proceeding to deport an alien convicted of a crime and to allow a convicted alien to seek a waiver from deportation upon demonstration of successful rehabilitation evidenced by no subsequent criminal convictions.

 

 

WHEREAS, resident aliens living in the United States who have been convicted of a felony are required by immigration law to be deported from the country; and

WHEREAS, in the 1990s, the United States Congress eliminated virtually all discretion that authorities once had once a resident alien was convicted of a felony; and

WHEREAS, driving the immigration reform at that time was criticism that hundreds of aliens convicted of serious crimes remained free across the country while their deportations were being processed and their appeals were pending; and

WHEREAS, in 1996, the 104th Congress passed and the President signed into law the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act meant to control illegal immigration and combat terrorism; and

WHEREAS, on the other hand, those two laws significantly affect American families, legal immigrants, and others seeking to enter the United States legally; and

WHEREAS, these two laws expand the grounds of deportation, subjecting long-term immigrants to mandatory detention and automatic deportation for relatively insignificant crimes; and

WHEREAS, low-level immigration officials are given complete authority and the federal courts have been denied the power to review most deportation decisions and immigration authority activities; and

WHEREAS, moreover, these laws are being applied retroactively and as a result, many immigrants have been expelled from their adoptive country for one-time offenses and youthful indiscretions that occurred, in some cases, many years ago; and

WHEREAS, the 1996 laws are merciless, providing for no second chance, changing the rules in the middle of the game, and denying people their day in court; and

WHEREAS, the case of Christopher Ulep provides a good example of why flexibility is appropriate; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Ulep immigrated to Hawaii at age thirteen, was convicted of a drug felony at age nineteen, served two months in prison, and was then allowed, for reasons unknown, to stay in the country as a resident alien; and

WHEREAS, now age twenty-eight, Mr. Ulep has been rehabilitated, has overcome his environment, has complied with all requirements imposed upon him by the system, has not committed any other offenses, holds two jobs and is respected by his employer and peers, and supports his mother and sister; and

WHEREAS, however, in March, 2003, immigration authorities began deportation proceedings against Mr. Ulep for his felony conviction in 1995 and is now under detention while contesting deportation - a process that could last up to two years; and

WHEREAS, under current immigration law, Mr. Ulep and other resident aliens in similar situations have no recourse for relief and immigration authorities have no judicial discretion; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, the Senate concurring, that the United States Congress is urged to amend the laws on immigration to allow immigration authorities to exercise judicial discretion in a proceeding to deport an alien convicted of a crime and to allow a convicted alien to seek a waiver from deportation upon demonstration of successful rehabilitation evidenced by no subsequent criminal convictions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Secretary for Homeland Security, the President of the United States, and Hawaii's Congressional delegation.

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

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Report Title:

Aliens Convicted of Felony; Deportation Discretion