INS's Proposed Visitor Regulations Would Scapegoat Immigrants
Attorney General John Ashcroft turned 60 on May 9, 2002. For his birthday, the AG and his senior officials were treated to a special screening of "The FBI Story". The film found its way into a dream that the AG had that night. The dream opens with the following scenario: Scene: Three Al Qaeda operatives are meeting secretly in a city near you.
Abdul: Okay, so everyone's onboard with the plan to blow up the stadium?
Jamal: I'm onboard, but I've got a problem with the date.
Abdullah: What's your problem?
Jamal: My I-94 expires the day before the bombing. I don't have a good reason to get an extension of stay, and if I don't leave timely, my visitor's visa will be voided by operation of law under §222(g).
All: Then we'll have to call off the whole operation! Foiled again by the Great Satan!
Suddenly Attorney General Ashcroft, accompanied by a phalanx of INS Special Agents, bursts into the room and arrests all three terrorists.
Abdul: G-Man! How did you know where to find us?
AG Ashcroft: It was easy! I had INS remind everyone of the need for nonimmigrants to file their AR-11 Change of Address forms. When you filed yours, we ran it through our security check system, identified you as Al Qaeda members and used the Global Positioning System on our new INS squad car to track you down!
A bit facetious? Of course, but we think that changing the rules for visitors is only going to catch terrorists when terrorists start playing by the rules. In the real world, the only victims of the proposed regulations will be those tourists who do play by the rules. And, of course, their relatives and friends in the U.S., the millions of Americans employed by airlines, hotels, theme parks and other industries built around tourism, and U.S. workers who lose their jobs.
See our FAQ on the proposed INS visitor regulations, and the complete text of the regulations, at
Over 70,000 persons signed petitions opposing the INS proposed regulations, members of Congress made speeches on the floor of the House and Senate opposing them. One of our readers summed up his objections in a very calm and deliberate way. See
Let's not resort to scapegoating all immigrants because of the Attorney General's inability to focus on measures to protect us from terrorism.
About The Author
Carl Shusterman is a certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.