MATERIAL SUPPORT BILL -- (House of Representatives - September 28, 2006)
(Mr. PITTS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PITTS. Madam Speaker, Saturday's New York Times ran an editorial headlined Punishing Refugees Twice, which describes a very real problem that deserves our attention. The PATRIOT Act and the REAL ID Act are important laws to keep out of the U.S. those who provide aid to terrorists. However, an excessively broad interpretation of the law has tied our hands when it comes to admitting harmless refugees into America. No distinction is made for people who have been coerced under duress to provide material support, including under threat of rape or death or at gunpoint.
In addition, the definitions make no exceptions for people or groups that our government supports or that support our government, such as those resisting ethnic cleansing by the dictatorship in Burma, or anti-Castro groups in Cuba, or the Montagnards.
H.R. 5918 would fix this problem by allowing us greater ability to distinguish between our friends and our enemies. The many terrorism-related bars on entry would all remain in place.
I urge consideration and support of this bill.