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02/09/2005 Archived Entry: "A class above the law"

OMB Watch reports, "A bill [H.R.418, the Real ID Act] to establish national identification card standards and restrict asylum claims also contains a controversial provision to empower the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive any and all laws in the course of securing the borders from illegal immigration. The provision also includes an exemption from judicial review that not only shields the waiver decisions from court scrutiny but also strips courts of any power to order remedies for anyone harmed by the consequences of such decisions." To quote the provision...

Section 102(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended to read as follows:
“(c) Waiver. —
“(1) In general. — Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.
“(2) No judicial review. — Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction —
“(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or
“(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.”

The Real ID Act, including this provision, is expected to be approved by the House on Thursday. In effect, it exempts Homeland Security and its subcontractors from the Constitution and other laws of land, and even from judicial review.

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