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[Congressional Record: May 22, 2001 (Extensions)]
[Page E894]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr22my01-39]                         
 
                  SECTION 245(i) EXTENSION ACT OF 2001
                                 ______
                                 
                          HON. ELTON GALLEGLY

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, May 22, 2001

  Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I voted in favor of H.R. 1885, 
a bill sponsored by Immigration and Claims Subcommittee Chairman George 
Gekas, which will extend by four months the time illegal immigrants may 
apply for legal residence while remaining in the United States. The 
measure requires illegal immigrants who utilize Section 245(i) of the 
immigration law to have been in the United States as of December 21, 
2000. In addition, H.R. 1885 requires that the family relationship or 
employment existed by April 30, 2001. These two important provisions 
contained in H.R. 1885 will ensure that the extension of Section 245(i) 
does not provide future incentives for illegal immigration or punish 
legal immigrants waiting in line for their applications to be 
processed.
  I supported this short-term extension of Section 245(i) because it 
will assist those immigrants who were eligible to apply for a green 
card as of April 30, but were unable to meet the deadline due to 
administrative problems, such as the INS not issuing regulations on 
Section 245(i) until March of this year. At the same time, H.R. 1885 
will not reward those who enter illegally with the hope of becoming 
legal without first returning to their native country. Most 
importantly, it will send the message that legal immigrants, who waited 
in line and obeyed our immigration laws, should get first priority in 
the processing of immigration applications.
  Although I supported this four-month extension of Section 245(i) for 
the reasons discussed above, I will not support any extension beyond 
this time period. This is not the first time that this ill-conceived 
provision has been extended. Section 245(i) was first added to the 
immigration law in 1994. Since that time, it has been extended on 
numerous occasions, including most recently in December of last year. 
This has provided persons who wanted to apply for permanent residency 
status more than enough time to submit their application to INS.
  A longer extension than the period of time contained in H.R. 1885 
will further encourage illegal immigration and punish legal immigrants 
waiting for their application to be processed. Also, because U.S. State 
Department consular officers are better suited than INS employees to 
determine if the illegal immigrant has a criminal background, a longer 
extension of Section 245(i) will undermine the important law 
enforcement goal of preventing criminal aliens from remaining in our 
country.
                          ____________________


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