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Immigration Daily June 4,, 2003
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Editor's Comments

The Undocumented Are Everywhere

A Letter to the Editor today reminds us that 10 million undocumented aliens comprise 1 in 30 people in the country, not 1 in 10 that we see on any street in a large US city (as we stated in passing in our comments yesterday). The 1 in 10 number was just our estimate, and since it was not central to our argument yesterday, we did not provide the basis for our estimate. But this issue is critical in understanding the crisis in immigration law, and an overview of the numbers here is essential to understanding why legalization must be part of the solution to this crisis. Here is how the numbers seem to play out: The 10 million undocumented aliens make up roughly 1 in 30 people in the US today. Since aliens are somewhat concentrated in some regions in the country more than others, their concentration there is somewhat higher, say about 1 in 25. Even within these regions, aliens are somewhat concentrated in cities as opposed to suburbia or rural areas, so the concentration in cities is likely somewhat higher, say around 1 in 20. Furthermore, aliens tend to be disproportionately younger than the native population, and therefore more likely to be in the workforce. So, on a working day in a major city, the concentration of undocumented aliens will be even higher, say 1 in 15. In the downtown areas of large cities on a typical workday, our estimate is that 1 in 10 people are undocumented. Granted, this is a rather rough-and-ready calculation, and the truth might be closer to 1 in 20 rather than 1 in 10, but in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, our opinion is that it could be as high as 1 in 5 in selected areas. There is a reason why these numbers are important: When considering the contributions of the undocumented in our economy, imagine what would happen if 1 in 10 people in the four largest cities of the US suddenly disappeared. This gives one a visual grasp of the significance of the undocumented to our economy. Lets put it another way - you are likely rubbing shoulders with many more undocumented people than you think you are. And that's why this is a crisis - the numbers will yield to no other designation. And that's why legalization has to be part of the solution to the crisis - there is simply no other way that does not ruin either our economy or our security.


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Featured Article

Disquieting Eighth Circuit Decision on Removal to Somalia
Carl R. Baldwin writes "In Jama v. INS, No. 02-2324 (8th Cir. May 27, 2003) the court approved the removal to Somalia of a man born there, even though the country has no functioning central government that could agree to accept him."

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Immigration Law News

Sen. McConnell Calls For Expansion Of Visa Ban Against Burmese Leadership
Sen. McConnell (R-KY) during a debate in Congress said, " In response to Suu Kyi's arrest and the murder of Burmese democracy activists, the administration should immediately--right now--expand the visa ban against the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to include past and present leadership of both the Council and the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA).

Congressional Hearing Testimony On John Allen Muhammad, Document Fraud, and the Western Hemisphere Passport Exception
The Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives held an oversight hearing related to John Allen Muhammad, Document Fraud, and the Western Hemisphere Passport Exception, and received testimony from the following witnesses: John Fuller, a private Antigua attorney; Robert Cramer, Managing Director Office of Special Investigations; Roderick Beverly, Special Agent in Charge Office of International Operations Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Sharon Palmer-Royston of Attorney Adviser, Chief of Passport Legal Office Passport Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

No Due Process Violation Where Petitioner Explicitly Declines To Choose Alternate Country Of Deportation
In Desta v. Ashcroft, No. 01-9530 (10th Cir. Jun. 2, 2003), the court said that it found no violation of Petitioners' procedural due process rights since "Petitioners were represented by competent counsel and when asked by the Immigration Judge to designate an alternate country of deportation, they explicitly declined, choosing instead to stand mute on the matter."

Reentry Is An Act Committed During Offense Of Being Found In US
In US v. Mendez-Cruz, No. 02-3052 (DC Cir. Jun. 3, 2003), the court rejected Petitioner's argument against a two-point enhancement that reentering the country was neither an element of, nor conduct relevant to, that offense, and said that "reentry was clearly an act committed during the offense of being found in the US because that offense is a continuing violation that commences with the illegal entry.

IJ's Adverse Credibility Finding Is Based On Erroneously Stringent Standards
In Secaida-Rosales v. INS, No. 01-4109 (2nd Cir. Jun. 2, 2003), the court said that the Immigration Judge's (IJ) adverse credibility finding was based on erroneously stringent standards and was not supported by substantial evidence in the record. For the dissenting opinion, please see this link.

LIFE Legalization Deadline Approaches
The Star Telegram of Fort-Worth, Texas reports "The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services said 412,000 people nationwide had applied for the [LIFE legalization] program by May 1. Of those, 300,000 have been approved, and 61,000 were denied."

H-1B Fee Used To Provide $229M In Training Grants
The New York Times reports "Since the [visa fee] program began in 1998, the government has given out $228.5 million in training grants, according to the Employment and Training Administration, part of the US Department of Labor."

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We are pleased to announce that the latest edition of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) is now available. This reference tool is invaluable while writing to the INS about a RFE or preparing a petition. Attorneys have been using the exhaustive topic indices in the 8 CFR Plus and The Whole ACT - INA (Annotated) to do just that for years. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or a less experienced attorney entering the immigration law field, these books are a must-have. Not satisfied with your purchase? We offer a money-back, no questions asked guarantee. For information on our various publications, please see this link.

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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
Apparently due to the importance of immigrants in the upcoming elections, there are signs that 245(i) might be extended and that there will be talk about a possible amnesty of illegal immigrants; however, is there any initiative to help those who have started their immigration process following the legal path and are caught in the surreal bureaucratic quagmire of the BCIS department, previously known as INS ? My situation is not unique; it is probably a repeat of the prolongued anguish that many foreign professionals who intend to immigrate are suffering due to the long wait and stark inefficiency of the immigration bureau. I was transferred from a branch of a major oil service company in my home country to their main office in Houston 7 yeas ago; I have been working here legally by a combination of intracompany transfer visas (L1) and H1. They started my immigration process by filing a petition for a Labor Certificate in 2001; now, the DOL is still processing year 2000 applications; so I will probably have to wait three years just to get an LC add 2 more years at the BCIS, in the best of cases, to finally get a green card. During this 5 year period, I will have to pray vehemently that the company that initiated the process does not lay me off; since then all the effort will be lost and I will have a few days to pack up and meekly come back home. Now, my question: How can it be possible that an illegal undocumented worker will probably have better chances of becoming a permanent resident in the next five years than those that are following all that is required by the law and are still patiently waiting ? Where is the fairness, where is the logic? I will not endanger my family by becoming an illegal; but jokingly my co-workers have pointed that as a possible solution. I know that AILA has been instrumental in advancing laws to help immigrants but I see too much of an emphasis on the situations of illegal aliens (no, the word alien does not offend me, I am a legal alien); and the politicians are paying attention mainly because of the potential electoral gains and not out of compassion. My case is absurd but it is even more so when American citizens have to be separated from close relatives for many months and even years while processing their permanent residence. Am I against legalization? Certainly not; but priorities should be logically and in fairness set. Deportation? Let me do some arithmetic the F.A.I.R way: Let's have as a goal cleaning out the country of 8 million aliens (not from Mars) in one year. That makes about 22,000 a day; they can be transported as cargo in oil tankers. They do not need much air; they come here in air tight trailers, don't they? This way the cost of repatriating these noxious vermins will be minimal, at the same expense of sending cattle oversea, what will that be? $1000? This does not count any legal expense: yes, this can be done summarily: a general blanket deportation, no due process required. Are amnesties not done this way? And the total cost is $8 billion (8.0E06*1000). Too much money? Bah, how much do we spend in any war in foreign shores? This a war in our midst, even more justified. Leaving the exercise there: People, we are taking here about a workforce created by an economy that is fueled by people and goods consumption at a rate never seen before; an economy that had such a growth that generated many jobs that these workers filled in; and now because the economy dwindled you just want to throw them out? These are sad times when immigrants and tourists have to be dealt as terrorists. "War makes fools of us all. The rest it kills".

Manuel Felix

Dear Editor:
You just flunked fourth grade arithmetic. If in fact there are 10 million undocumented persons in the US, they represent about one in thirty, not one in ten. But they are not "one out of every ten people you see as you walk down any street in a large city" as large numbers of them are concentrated in a very few areas. With this kind of imagery you are contributing to what the late Barbara Jordan described as the "furor" over immigration. You should be ashamed of yourself, not for making a simple arithmetic error, but for contributing to public hysteria by posing that wholly erroneous analogy. It is what I have learned to expect from FAIR not from ILW.COM.

Roger Daniels
Charles Phelps Professor of History Emeritus, University of Cincinnati

Editor's Note: Please see today's Editor's comments above.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Marc Ellis, Gary Endelman

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