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CONGRESSWOMAN SYLVIA GARCIA INTRODUCES THE POLLING ACCESS SECURITY ACT (PASA) TO PREVENT VOTER INTIMIDATION BY ICE AND CBP AT THE POLLS

October 17, 2019
Press Release
Media Contact: Robert Julien – Email: Robert.julien@mail.house.gov; Cell: 202-227-0330

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) introduces the Polling Access Safety Act (PASA), a bill to prevent immigration enforcement from being used as a voter intimidation tactic.

 

To protect eligible voters’ sense of security at the polls and encourage free and fair elections, PASA would:

● Bar immigration enforcement actions at or within one mile of a polling location on a voting day, except under exigent circumstances.

● Bar federal officials from checking identification at polling locations, except in exigent circumstances.

● Require polling locations to post notices stating that no immigration enforcement may take place at or around the polling place.

● Prohibit ICE and CBP from conducting temporary vehicle checkpoints, searches of public transportation, or public training exercises on voting days.

● Require that in the event of a covered enforcement action on a voting day as a result of exigent circumstances, the Secretary of Homeland Security will notify the relevant congressional committees, the DHS Inspector General, the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the Office of the Special Counsel.

● Create civil service positions within DHS to monitor and ensure compliance with this legislation.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will discuss issues related to the bill at a hearing on “Legislative Proposals to Strengthen the Voting Rights,” TODAY, Thursday, October 17 at 10:00am in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

 

Statement from Congresswoman Garcia:

 “I was among the many members of Congress alarmed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) planned show of force using armed border agents in El Paso on Election Day in November 2018. This bill will help ensure that eligible voters in all communities, including in predominantly immigrant communities, are not deterred by immigration enforcement activity from exercising their constitutional right to vote.”

 

Statement from United to Protect Democracy:

“The cornerstone of American democracy is the right to vote, and every eligible voter must have unfettered access to that right. The Polling Access Safety Act will prevent immigration enforcement from ever being used to intimidate eligible voters from casting a ballot. In doing so, it will strengthen our democracy as a whole."

The bill is cosponsored by: Rep. Holmes Norton, Rep. Escobar, Rep. Jackson Lee, Rep. Vela, Rep. Cisneros, Rep. Haaland, Rep. Evans, Rep. Barragán, Rep. Dean

The bill is supported by the following groups: United to Protect Democracy, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American Vote), Mijente

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Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018, becoming the first Latina ever to represent Texas 29th Congressional district.