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Dear Editor:

While Ms. Flower's criticizes the characterization of all 245i applicants as being "lower quality", she goes to the other extreme and implies that these applicants are innocent victims of immigration bureaucracy, that they overstay visas because they simply don't understand our immigration system. That is also an oversimplification.

Does she really believe that approximately 6 million people (my own guess, based on reports of the number of illegal aliens in the US) came here on tourist visas or student visas or some other nonimmigrant visa and then just decided, once they were here, to abandon their lives in their homeland and remain here? Think again. Think of all the "tourists" we were getting until recently from Argentina, who were escaping the economic crisis in their homeland by immigrating here under false pretenses. (I do realize that until recently, Argentina was part of the visa waiver program, and that technically Argentinians didn't apply for tourist visas in their homeland. However, overstays by Argentinian nationals violated the spirit of the program - visa waivers were given to countries because their citizens were presumed to have no reason, economic or otherwise, to remain here illegally.) The "students" who don't show up on college campuses, but use the visa to gain access to the US to work illegally or who have every intention of remaining here, legally or illegally, after graduation, despite the fact that showing an intention to return home is a condition of getting the student visa. In other words, many of these nonimmigrant visa holders, and others like them, lie to immigration authorities about their intentions. They commit fraud in getting the visa, and then remain here, violating our immigration laws. Certainly, some are "innocent" victims of our bureaucracy, but many others came here with absolutely no intention of returning home. Why should they be rewarded for committing fraud?

Ali Alexander