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Government Keeping Secrets From Itself—Backed By $10,000 Fines
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June 01, 2006, 04:40 PM
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Ted Kennedy, the man who gave us the 1965 Immigration act, has done it again.

When one of Juan Mann`s whistleblowers wrote this, recently:

There is even a provision to allow affidavits from day labor centers (what`s next—affidavits for tamale vendors and popsicle vendors?) to "prove" employment; fines of up to $10K for immigration officers who dare to use evidence that aliens have committed fraud in immigration applications to disbar them from citizenship;

we weren`t sure what section he meant, or if it was in the public text of the bill.

However, there`s a story in the Washington Times about an interview with the Cuban-born head of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services Emilio Gonzalez, who said

On the issue of information sharing and confidentiality of applications, Mr. Gonzalez said the law usually allows his agency to share information when its employees come across an application that raises questions. But he said the 1986 amnesty included confidentiality provisions that prohibited sharing information from those applications, and he said the Senate bill makes the same mistake.

"We ought not to be kept from using that information," he said.

The issue has already been fought out in the Senate, when Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, offered an amendment to change the confidentiality requirements. His amendment failed on a tie vote, 49-49.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and a key backer of the Senate bill, fought Mr. Cornyn`s amendment. He said the underlying bill struck a balance that still allows law enforcement to go after cheaters, while at the same time not discouraging illegal aliens from coming forward. [Immigration agency head slams Senate`s alien bill The Washington Times, June 1, 2006]

This is the provision that says that if the aliens commit fraud during the interview, that can`t be used against them, and also, what concerns Mr. Gonzalez, that if they let slip, somehow, that they`re terrorists, that can`t be used against them either.

S. 2611 has the following provision, and this version may include some of the language that was removed by Kennedy.

`SEC. 245B (e) Confidentiality of Information-

`(1) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this section, no Federal agency or bureau, nor any officer or employee of such agency or bureau, may—

`(A) use the information furnished by the applicant pursuant to an application filed under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) for any purpose other than to make a determination on the application;

`(B) make any publication through which the information furnished by any particular applicant can be identified; or

`(C) permit anyone other than the sworn officers and employees of such agency, bureau, or approved entity, as approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to examine individual applications that have been filed.

`(2) REQUIRED DISCLOSURES- The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State shall provide the information furnished pursuant to an application filed under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a), and any other information derived from such furnished information, to a duly recognized law enforcement entity in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution or a national security investigation or prosecution, in each instance about an individual suspect or group of suspects, when such information is requested in writing by such entity.

`(3) CRIMINAL PENALTY- Any person who knowingly uses, publishes, or permits information to be examined in violation of this subsection shall be fined not more than $10,000.

Ted Kennedy was apparently worried that "sharing information would discourage some aliens from coming forward because they would fear making an innocent mistake that would hurt them later. "

You can see some the results of the 1986 amnesty "Red Cover" confidentiality provisions here and here.

UPDATE: Note: Remember, Juan Mann wrote that

scandalously, no copy of the final bill is as yet available to the public.

So I can’t confirm what my correspondent tells me was in the early versions—and it’s quite possible that it will all be law beforeAmericans know anything about it.