One week after gutting anti-terrorism legislation, the House of Representatives included a key provision of the measure in an immigration reform bill.
Lawmakers approved streamlined deportation proceedings for accused terrorists living in the United States. The measure, which was buried in the immigration bill, drew no attention during debate.
The deportation provision had split the Jewish community during debate earlier this month on anti-terrorism legislation and led to spirited debate among lawmakers.
The government could move to deport a suspected terrorist without sharing the evidence with defense attorneys, according to the measure, which also allows the United States greater latitude in barring entry to suspected terrorists.
Some Jewish officials who monitor capitol Hill down played the significance of the House’s action.
“The Senate has no similar provisions,” said Richard Foltin, associate director of the American Jewish Committee’s Washington office. In addition, Foltin predicted the terrorism bill would come up for a final vote before the immigration bill, rendering the provision moot.
Others, however, cautioned that with the current atmosphere on Capitol Hill, anything can happen.
“Who knows how this is going to play out,” said Mark Pelavin, Washington representative of the American Jewish Congress.
Many Jewish groups, including AJCongress and AJCommittee, had backed a competing proposal that would have forced the government to share at least some evidence with the accused.
The Senate is scheduled to take up the immigration reform bill in the coming weeks.