Civil Liberties Union Finds “joker” in Immigration Bills

Mrs. Helena Hill Weedon, who is in charge of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union, has called the attention of Congress to what she called a “joker” in the Johnson Immigration Bill, now pending in the House, which says that every citizen as well as every alien whose right to remain in the United States is challenged shall have the burden of establishing that right.

The section of the House bill to which exception is taken is as follows: “Section 23 – In any proceedings under the immigration laws the burden of proving the right of any individual to enter or remain in the United States shall, as between him and the United States, be upon such individual.”

The Reed Immigration Bill pending in the Senate has modified this provision to some extent by using the word “alien” in place of “individual” but leaving the burden of proof the same.

Mrs. Weedon says that this provision gives Government officials an unheard of power to attack American citizens without cause, according to the House bill. The word “remain” will make it possible for a Government official to deport American citizens without real cause since they would have to prove their right to stay in the United States – sometimes a difficult and expensive, if not impossible, thing to do.

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