In today's Featured Article, the American Immigration Law Foundation reminds us that "immigrants are an integral part of the structural fiber that has kept the great melting pot flowing with creative ingenuity." However, as today's "Other Items" below make clear, an influential group of Americans, both in and out of government, sees immigration as mostly a problem that needs to be tightly regulated, and immigrants as potential problem-makers who need to be closely watched. The current debate on abolishing the INS with another agency is taking place within this larger philosophical context with its differing views of immigration. A glance at the headlines of today's Daily makes clear that nothing in the immigration debate is untouched by this larger context.
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Making A Difference In America - Immigrants Continue To Benefit Our Nation
The American Immigration Law Foundation writes "without immigration, our nation would not continue to grow and prosper, which is something at which America's enemies would surely delight. Instead, the United States must continue to welcome newcomers as we always have."
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Immigration Law News
Bush Administration Wants Improvements In Bill To Abolish INS
In a statement issued on April 24th supporting the passage of the Bill to Abolish the INS in the House of Representatives, the Bush Administration said "the Administration believes the bill needs to be improved in certain important respects."
AILA Testifies To Senate Judiciary Committee On INS Reorganization
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Stephen Yale Loehr testified "INS restructuring is not a dry exercise involving reform of a government bureaucracy. Decisions in this area will impact directly on our national security, as well as the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens, businesses, and legal immigrants who daily interact with this system. Making the wrong decisions can weaken our security through less effective and unfair enforcement, and result in unconscionable delays in citizenship processing, reuniting families, and helping American business to acquire the workers they need."
VAWA And Immigration Discussed In Debate On DOJ Appropriations Act
The House of Representatives's debate on its Motion to Instruct Conferees to the Joint House-Senate Committee for the Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act included a discussion of immigration in the context of violence against women.
Immigration In DOS Appropriations Bill And The Andean Trade Preference Act
An amendment to the Andean Trade Preference Act was offered in the Senate to impose conditions on any suspension of immigration processing of alien orphans. The amendment offered in the Senate to the Department of State Appropriations Bill included an immigration provision concerning relocation of Soviet scientists under the Soviet Scientists Immigration Act of 1992.
Senate Discussion On Revocation Of Visa For Cuban Official
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) discussed the revocation by the Department of State of a visa to a Cuban official.
INS Seeks Comments
INS is seeking comments from the public on the following forms:
Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322; Form N-600K,
Application for Certificate of Citizenship; Form N-600,
Application by refugee for Waiver of Ground of Excludability; Form I-602.
DOS Seeks Grant Proposals
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department of State requests Grant Proposals for Jazz Ambassadors, Islamic Life in the United States, Moscow State University Journalism Support Project, and Fulbright American Studies Institute on U.S. National Security: American Foreign Policy Formulation in an Era of Globalization.
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Tensions Within The Bush Administration On Immigration
This article in the Washington Monthly says "a fundamental tension operates within the Bush administration itself, and the GOP generally, between national-security conservatives, who want a strong INS capable of keeping terrorists out, and libertarian conservatives, who want a weak INS incapable of stopping the free flow of labor."
National Immigration Forum Material On DOJ Plan To Authorize Local Police Enforcement Of Immigration Laws
The National Immigration Forum has made available material on the Department of Justice's plans to authorize local police to enforce federal immigration laws. The material includes quotes from Police Departments, Police Associations, Elected and Appointed Officials, Community Leaders and Advocates, and Editorial Boards. The material also includes talking points.
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Letters to the Editor
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Neelam Bhardwaj, Attorney
Dr. Baer, in his most recent letter, suggests that those of us who do not
agree with him are guilty of a lack of compassion. The fact is, our
compassion is with others: with the people who are waiting to come legally,
or to the American poor already here. Every illegal alien who is
"legalized" is one less slot available for legal immigrants--actually, more,
because illegal immigrants who "legalize" may then sponsor their families.
Every job an illegal alien holds is a job that is not available to a legal
immigrant, or to our native underclass. By the way, according to the LA
Times that underclass these days includes young Latino citizens who are not
able to get a foothold at a job because they are being undercut by
I am an Arab-American, and have lived and traveled extensively in the Middle
East for the past 30 years. It is precisely because I am aware of the
poverty that exists elsewhere, and how widespread it is, that I support an
orderly, legal, and fair immigration system, NOT one which favors Mexican
immigrants because it's relatively quick and convenient for them to cross
our borders. I've also experienced firsthand in the Middle East the
problems of terrorism and political disruption which make the problems of
illegal Mexican economic migrants insignificant. Is the need of a Mexican
economic migrant greater than that of a Lebanese or Afghan or Kurd? While
most immigrants are not terrorists, make no mistake that some are. Careful
scrutiny and control of our immigration process are essential.
Unfortunately, there is no easy means that I know of to distinguish a
terrorist from an immigrant, legal or illegal. Does Dr. Baer really believe
that terrorists are so stupid that if one avenue into the US is closed, they
will not make use of another, such as a porous southern border with Mexico?
As for the children of the family he speaks of, it is not possible to deport
US citizens. The deportation proceedings will decide if deportation of the
parents would be an undue hardship on the children.
However, many American kids grow up living abroad--in fact we speak of the
benefits of being multicultural. How is this different? Because the kids
may grow up in poverty there rather than here? Some may actually see it to
be a benefit, in terms of the values, to grow up in Mexico, poor or not,
than in the US. Alejandro Portes, a Princeton University sociologist, notes
that many Latino youth are assimilating to gangs and the like in the US.
What it comes down to, though, is that the parents made a choice in coming
here illegally which impacted their children's lives, and now they may have
to make another one. This is something every parent does, but it is still a
choice. It is the parents' responsibility (and fault, if any).
It seems to me that Mr. Richard Baer still hasn't realized that there are two separate categories in this ongoing debate: 1- whether or not there should be a way of legalizing illegal immigrants; and 2- how to go about legalizing them. I personally am not necessarily against finding methods of legalizing illegal residents of this country. What I am opposed to and frustrated with is the "how" part of the equation- the fact that they are being processed for legalization at the expense of those who maintained their status. Because of severely flawed immigration laws.
I also do not appreciate the reference to "compassion" in Mr. Baer's letter. I, too, am a "compassionate" person, Mr. Baer. I, too, "oppose the mistreatment of people". I too, "care about families and their hopes and dreams". I don't think that is the issue here. I never said that illegal immigrants should not be legalized. I am simply demanding that law-abiding immigrants get a fair shake, rather than be trampled by the stampede of illegal immigrants. Law-abiding immigrants, if they cannot be placed in a separate category, deserve priority over law-breaking immigrants, period. Isn't that the case in every other part of the legal system? Does someone renewing a driver's license have to wait three years to have the application processed because of thousands of people applying for waivers of license suspension? No. Nowhere else in this country is this kind of ridiculous reality so salient. Using Mr. Baer's emotional terminology, I'd like to claim my "compassion" for those who respect the laws of the country they reside in- those who follow a fairly basic code of conduct.
We are in need of finding a solution to both categories discussed- the "yes/no" of legalizing illegal immigrants, and the "how" of legalizing illegal immigrants. If we are going to legalize illegal immigrants, we should do it not at the expense of legal immigrants. There are tons of workers whose H-1b visas are running out while they wait for labor certifications in places like New York and Washington DC- they are forced to terminate their jobs, pack up, and leave when their visa expires, because there are so many illegal immigrants with applications pending before theirs. There are tons of family members of legal immigrants who are waiting outside the country for years and years for their applications to be processed, because they are in the line with family members sponsored by formerly illegal immigrants who legalized through amnesties and 245(i). There needs to be a separate department, or priority for those who entered legally and maintained legal status. The point of my letter is not to condemn or frown upon illegal immigrants (the former category); it is to remind people that there are one too many legal immigrants facing hardships because of a lack of basic legal infrastructure (in immigration law) to support law-abiders over law-breakers. And a legal system supporting law-breakers is... a bit chaotic.
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