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Immigration Daily

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Immigration Daily June 3, 2003
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Editor's Comments

Bush Administration Is Looking At 245(i), Legalization

A report from the Department of State (see below) quotes Secretary Powell extensively on immigration issues, and reveals that the Administration still hopes for Congressional action on 245(i) in addition to a guest-worker program and legalization. An article in the Tuscon Citizen (see link below) quotes Sen. Lieberman (D-CT), a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination "If I were President today, I would immediately invite President Vicente Fox to the White House to sit and talk. Let's get something done ... If it doesn't happen before Jan. 20, 2005, it's one of the first things I'll do when I'm privileged to enter the Oval Office." Sen. Lieberman is quoted further as saying " ... it almost seems as if the American government can't tell the difference between a tourist and a terrorist, or an immigrant and an invader." These statements from Secretary Powell and Sen. Liebermman highlight the fact that immigration will be a key issue in the 2004 Presidential election. It's not hard to see why - with approximately 10 million people undocumented in the US (that's one out of every ten people you see as you walk down any street in a large city) - immigration is the elephant in the room that no one in politics can ignore anymore, 9/11 notwithstanding. This is a crisis - the law on the books is not working. And the solution is not hard to find - despite the wishful thoughts of the anti-immigrationists (it is just not realistic to pretend that we can somehow deport large numbers of people without destroying the American economy) - legalization is surely coming, the question is merely when. The day for legalization will come when the political stars are aligned. As the 2004 campaign picks up steam early next year, it is entirely possible that some immigration legislation may get precipitated thereby. And if the President decides to make 245(i) his priority, we predict he will get it. Immigration Daily will continue to cover immigration issues in the 2004 campaign as it unfolds.


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Featured Article

E-filing At The BCIS
Gregory Siskind writes a firsthand account describing his firm's efiling experience, including screen shots.

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Immigration Law News

DOJ Says It Makes No Apologies For Protecting The American Public
Director of Public Affairs Comstock of the Department of Justice issued a press statement on the Inspector General's report on 9/11 detainees which said, "We make no apologies for finding every legal way possible to protect the American public from further terrorist attacks."

OIG Report On 9/11 Detainees Says Significant Problems In Way Detainees Handled
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice issued a report (239 pps.) examining the treatment of aliens held on immigration charges in connection with the investigation of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in which Inspector General Fine stated, "While our review recognized the enormous challenges and difficult circumstances confronting the Department in responding to the terrorist attacks, we found significant problems in the way the detainees were handled".

Secretary Powell Expresses Regret Over Death Of 19 Illegal Immigrants
A Department of State press statement included comments by Secretary Powell where he told reporters that one of the great concerns of both the US and Mexico was "we don't want to see things happen such as has happened out in the desert [in Texas] where people desperate to get in this country" pay smugglers "to transport them illegally across the border and put them at such risk."

DOJ Employees May Be Named In 9/11 Suit
The United Press International reports "Certain employees of the Justice Department have been advised to hire lawyers to defend themselves against lawsuits by people who were detained after Sept. 11, according to a published report Saturday."

Displaced Computer Professionals Coalesce To Stem Outsourcing Of US Jobs
The San Francisco Chronicle reports "In California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Washington, groups of computer professionals are searching for ways, from legislation to tax incentives, to somehow slow the flow of high-paying jobs overseas."

Sen. Lieberman Wants To See Guest Worker Program Accompanied By A Legalization Program
The Tucson Citizen reports "The grandson of immigrants, Sen. Lieberman (D-CT) said he wants to see a guest-worker program accompanied by "a legalization program" for some who have been working illegally inside the US. Shying from the term "amnesty," Lieberman said he supports giving legal status to some illegal workers, but with strict monitoring to prevent fraud."

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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
Let me be the first to respond in what I imagine will be a long line of responses to your recent Immigration Daily editorial concerning the Family Based 2A quota. To quote an old expression that was popular in the '70's, "Right on!" And the same criticism holds true in the case of spouses of US citizens, who if from a country where it is difficult to get a tourist visa to the US, can also have to wait overseas for more than a year to have their I-130 processed at the Service Center and then go through lengthy Consular Processing at a US Consulate abroad, giving new meaning to the term "immediate relative". As in your premise, "Why the law should be broken", I can only respond with, "Because the law is broken." In fact our entire system of immigration in the US is broken and needs not a patchwork quilt of addendums, but a clean sweep that takes into consideration the speed at which our world moves in the 21st century. You are absolutely correct when you say, "Ultimately, the fault - and the choice - is with Congress". And yes, the ball is in their court. Let's hope the game does not get called off because of rain.

David D. Murray, Esq.
Newport Beach, CA

Dear Editor:
Immigration Daily should be proud for its editorial comment entitled "Why the Law Should be Broken", on the 2A backlog. Some of us have been saying for years that a law which requires that husbands and wives, parents and small children be outlawed or exiled is simply immoral, unAmerican, and worst of all, impractical. People will live in the same countries as their spouses and kids, and the law be damned, quite literally.] Yet all the advocates whom the naive might think would champion this cause have helped to perpetuate this cruel injustice. Don't stop hammering on this one, because the record shows that "immigration advocates" like AILA, the Conference of Bishops, La Raza, and various other groups, letter heads with foundation grants, simply don't care much about the closest family members of legal permanent residents. In 1990, the House proposed to treat 2A the same as the immediate relatives of citizens, and the groups yawned. In 1995, the Jordan Commission proposed to make 2A a priority, and the groups fought it, tooth and nail. I recall Warren Leiden, then executive director of AILA and a member of the Jordan Commission on Immigration Reform, voting against the Commission's proposal to make this the top priority for immigration reform, and helping Congress defeat that priority, which led directly to the atrocities which did pass. I recall Jeanne Butterfield, who took over from Leiden at AILA, telling the Congress that the 2A backlog was simply the "amnesty echo", and would fade over time. It hasn't. They were wrong. If anything, the numbers then were understated and have since grown much larger. I remember Stuart Anderson, then a Senate aide and until recently a ranking Bush administration official, telling his Senate colleagues that there was no need to prioritize for nuclear families, because "most of them are already here, "illegally". I remember Senator DeWine making that argument on the Senate floor, immediately before voting down a measure by Senators Feinstein and Boxer to provide 150,000 extra visas a year for the 2A backlog. Much of the debate over immigration policy is simply counterproductive, nasty and brutal. There are only two ways to resolve the 2A backlog, either create more visas or take them from someplace else. It's that simple. Yet for all the hooey about a "Grand Bargain" with Mexico, none of the participants, including a bishop, fercryinoutloud, wanted to stand up for the sanctity of marriage and the central importance of the nuclear family. Values-based immigration is a better way to go.

Paul Donnelly

Dear Editor:
I have been living with the same pain described in Immigration Daily's recent editorial. I recently became a US citizen and am still waiting for INS to complete review of my petition for my wife that I filed as a permanent resident in 2001. I talked to INS officer at the service center where I filed my petition and they said it will be placed for review and approval process and that it would take about 30 days to complete. It has been way more than 30 days since I was given this timeframe. I contacted the same service center and now they tell me to wait 120 days. I have been separated from my wife for almost 30 months now (over 6 months since I became a US citizen). This kind of delay causes lots off stress and puts lots of pressure on newly formed relations between a husband and wife. During and after the recent war, I have listened closely to interviews of family members of soldiers describing the pain and stress of having to leave behind their spouse. Isn't this the same for all those immigrants with green cards separated and waiting to be reunited with their families? These delays are not only harmful for nuclear families, but also seriously affects a person's ability to lead a normal life. It would be better if green card holders can bring their spouses and children in the US on a non-immigrant visa to await visa availability. There was a bill introduced in the House to amend the INA on 3/14/2001 by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. from NJ sixth district. Bill # H.R.1028: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit the admission to the United States of nonimmigrant students and visitors who are the spouses and children of United States permanent resident aliens, and for other purposes. This bill was last referred to House subcommittee on 4/19/2001 and there has been no action since than. This bill would help permanent residents and also the airline industry by transporting these travelers to the US to be reunited with their families.

Name Not Provided

Dear Editor:
In May I debated Bill O'Reilly on WOR-Radio. The experience brought home to me the ignorance and bigotry that the masses tune into daily. The purported topic was the lawsuit recently filed by the family of a Mexican who died in an airless tractor-trailer in Texas. I pointed out that there was enough air for a 911 call. It was received by a small-town Texas Police Department with no Spanish speaker. O'Reilly said access to a translator is too expensive for such 911 systems. O'Reilly said that Mexican illegals are bankrupting California. He was oblivious to the Social Security and income tax wage deductions of foreign workers who lack bona fide social security cards. He was oblivious to the need for immigrant labor. He trashed both the Mexican Government and would-be immigrants. Unlike O'Reilly, I think the lawsuit is terrific. It creates an opportunity to focus national attention on the issues of the Mexican border and the need for legislation. I hope it gets coverage beyond the Houston Chronicle.

Jo Anne Chernev Adlerstein
Head, Immigration Law Group, Proskauer Rose LLP

Dear Editor:
In a recent news conference, Sen. John McCain advocated security for our borders, and a guest-worker program to fill jobs in our country which "American workers simply won't do". He spoke of the necessity of identifying all people in our country who are not citizens for home-land protection with possible amnesty for some as a vital and realistic measure. He predicted the need for a national I.D. program to fight terrorism. He said that immigration reform and our relation with Mexico must be a priority in Congress. As a life-long Democrat, I would be tempted to vote for Republican Sen. McCain should he be a candidate for president.

Richard E. Baer

Dear Editor:
Martin, in his letter (and in response to a letter published yesterday), makes a good point about exactly who, through immigration, has been stealing land from the "neighbor" who is supposedly the rightful owner. I can't help but think of something that Chief Ben American Horse of the Sioux tribe reportedly told former Vice President Alben Barkley: "Young careful with your immigration laws. We were careless with ours." It's obvious that the "FAIR" crowd wants nothing more than to keep America white, but I wish they would at least acknowledge that it wasn't that way to begin with.

Rob Randhava
Washington, DC

Dear Editor:
In response to R L Ranger, a post on ILW.COM did in fact advocate death for those entering without inspection, though perhaps RL missed it. Also, what he or she calls invasion may more aptly be called migration, a phenomenon that has taken place for many thousands of years. Although it appears that RL may not be aware of this as his or her grasp of history may be quite shaky if he or she believes the native Americans did not have a complex society. Having a Lexus and membership to a country club doesnt mean you live in a society that is socially more complex than societies in the past. Immigration is something that cant be stopped and can only be controlled to a certain extent. Control of immigration in the US should be as orderly as possible but done without any sort of discrimination based on ethnicity or social status. Equality and equal opportunity are foundations of our country and must remain so.

Chicago, IL

Dear Editor:
The following press release was submitted by National Immigration Forum.

On Memorial Day, we honored the men and women who have served in our countrys armed forces in previous wars and the most recent conflict in Iraq. The fact that so many military enlistees are immigrant Americans demonstrates the love they have for their adopted homeland. It endorses our countrys openness to new people, and affirms our success in turning newcomers into "new Americans." Born in places as diverse as Egypt, Colombia, Guyana, Scotland, and the Philippines, foreign-born soldiers are making their mark in the U.S. military. More than 60,000 immigrants are currently on active duty, with a little more than half of them not yet citizens. Over 20% of all Medal of Honor recipients (716 of 3,406 total) were immigrants, and immigrants were (and continue to be) among the casualties and prisoners in the most recent war in Iraq. By making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of the United States, immigrants prove beyond a doubt that they believe in and support the ideals of this great country. President Bush and members of both parties in Congress have sought to recognize the contributions of immigrant servicemen and women by making U.S. citizenship a more attainable, and less costly, goal. The Presidents Executive Order 329, issued in July 2002, removes the three-year wait period for non-citizens in the military who want to become U.S. citizens. However, this order is limited to the time in which the U.S. is engaged in "the war against terrorists of global reach." In the Congress, Representative Martin Frost (D-24th/TX) has led the charge to ease the path to citizenship for immigrant soldiers, introducing bills in both the 107th and 108th Congresses that address this issue. Several other members of Congress in both chambers have also offered their own proposals. A hybrid, bi-partisan bill now moving through the House (H.R. 1954)sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-5th/WI) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-14th/MI), among otherswould permanently cut the three-year wait period to one year, waive application fees, make the entire process accessible for people who are serving overseas, and clear up a technical barrier faced by non-citizen relatives of soldiers who die in the line of duty. Under current law, even immediate family members lose access to permanent residency if the family member who would sponsor them dies. This is a horrific situation, particularly in the wake of such a tragedy as losing a loved one in a military conflict, and must be remedied. Given the incredible faith, loyalty, and sacrifice immigrant soldiers have exhibited, passing such a measure is wholly consistent with American values. This bill rewards the type of citizens we are proud to have call themselves "Americans." Congress should move quickly to enact this bill.

Lynn Tramonte
National Immigration Forum

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