Moving the INS into the proposed Department of Homeland Security may have an unintended result in hampering legal immigration. An immigration attorney quoted in Legal Times on this issue says "If catching illegal immigrants and patrolling the borders becomes the agency's focus to the detriment of processing work visas and citizenship applications, companies with foreign employees could suffer." One way around this would be to move the services part of the INS into the Department of Commerce, while moving the enforcement part into the Department of Homeland Security. In order to maintain national security in this scenario, the Department of Homeland Security would still conduct background checks for immigrants whether they were processed through the Department of State or by the Department of Commerce. An important practical effect of such a move of INS immigrant services into the Department of Commerce would be the explicit political recognition that immigration benefits the US economy.
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INS Move Into Department Of Homeland Security Would Adversely Affect Business Immigration
Law.com reports on the planned move of INS to the proposed Department of Homeland Security and quotes attorney Michael Maggio "If catching illegal immigrants and patrolling the borders becomes the agency's focus to the detriment of processing work visas and citizenship applications, companies with foreign employees could suffer." The article also quotes Jeanne Butterfield of AILA who called the plan a "paradigm shift" and said that "immigration is now primarily a matter of internal security rather than a phenomenon that strengthens our country."
Columnist Says Ashcroft Has Come To His Senses
A columnist for the Bergen Record says "amid announcing his plans to fingerprint and photograph immigrants coming from countries that harbor terrorists, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft backed down from his plan to use state and local police to enforce immigration laws."
Excessive INS Fees Decried
A spokesman for Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) was quoted in the Seattle Times "a $3 fee on a $1,200 ticket for an international cruise is not a hardship, but the same fee on a $9 ferry ride is crazy."
Adding Korea To Visa Waiver Program?
The Korea Times reports on efforts to add Korea to the Visa Waiver Program.
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Letters to the Editor
Continuing the responses regarding the "anonymous European citizen" and the suggestion that he needs an I-601 waiver -- if he was the subject of an expedited removal, I would suggest that he also needs an I-212 waiver (in addition to his petition/adjustment packet.) And, it seems that he has made an illegal re-entry, so there may be a 245(i) issue -- but, depending on his circumstances, maybe not. His condition may not be as dire as he believes -- I believe in my part of the West if he were admissible and the waivers were convincing, he would be granted his permanent residency. He does need to get himself to a good immigration lawyer, and consult his state's bar association or attorney general about the unauthorized practice of law. And he should do something soon!
Responding to "Anonymous good European citizen": An afterthought... Your options, rather than one-step, if you are outside the U.S.,
(as opposed to adjusting status from within the US and the one-step), so you
must consular process, may include your U.S.Citizen spouse completing an
I-130 immediate relative petition for you, in the U.S. or abroad, and then,
if approved, filing the I-485 at a later stage with various supporting
documents. A waiver if you are subject to a ground of inadmissibility, may
or may not be required at that time or later. Don't give up yet! Good Luck.
INS has conceded that those undocumented immigrants now in this country do not face mass deportation efforts. This concession is the effect of an inevitable conclusion that mass deportation is: (1) in no way practical and would entail enormous expenses, (2) that the loss of these workers would adversely affect our economy, and (3) it would have serious political repercussions in our relations with our neighbor, Mexico – our second largest trading partner.
The INS announcement may relieve fear of deportation for being undocumented, but there is still no solution offered to remedy the immigrants’ breach of immigration law. There also remain additional legal roadblocks to overcome: Undocumented workers are in effect being permitted to stay and work, but are denied any way to obtain a valid Social Security number necessary to legally obtain work. A valid SS number is a requirement, too, in more and more states in order to obtain or renew a driver’s license. In some states, an undocumented worker may legally purchase an automobile (acquire the title) but he cannot register the vehicle (and get state license tags to operate it on the roads) without a SS card identification.
No matter which way he turns, the undocumented worker loses. When applying for employment the worker may be told, sometimes with a wink and a nod, that he needs a Social Security number in order to be hired, the employer knowing full well that the card eventually presented may be fraudulent (The owner’s interest is in covering his own back.) Other employers knowingly hire without requiring SS identification. Whether collected SS taxes in the first instance reach their government destination or the pocket of the unscrupulous employer is a matter of speculation. No SS tax is collected in the second instance. The employee for sure will never benefit from his payments. The same is true of income tax collected. The worker is afraid to make claim for what may be his legitimate refund because he has heard all too often that others in filing such claims have been traced and faced with deportation. The alternative "pay under the table" leaves the employee at the mercy of the whims of his employer and the government again without taxes. (Some workers have been in this country for as long as twenty years working as day workers in exchange for cash work payments—no income taxes or Social Security taxes collected here.)
The number of persons trying unlawfully to enter the United States across the Mexican border has fallen dramatically in 2001 and in the first months of 2002. The reasons given for the decrease include the recent US recession, economic improvements in Mexico, and increased enforcement after Sept 11th (Siskind’s Immigration Bulletin, 5/31/02). New planned border security measures should reduce the number even further. Border control is improving. An adjustment in our immigration policy to facilitate the legal migration of unskilled workers (properly documented with background checks) to fill the work demands in our country (where they, these workers, are needed) would still further decrease the numbers of EWIs. ("America should make it easy to come for those who do work that we need." – Gary Endelman, Immigration Daily, 6/11/02). Efficient management and control of the border can become a reality – it's a question of demand and orderly supply.
Yet there remains no solution for the undocumented immigrants already in this country. The present disregard and failure to manage this situation is like the game of a cat playing with a mouse.
Richard E. Baer, D.V.M.
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