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Dear Editor:

I am an attorney who practices business immigration and have subscribed to your Immigration Daily for the past year. In addition, I am a first generation Arab-American who has learned first hand the valuable contribution immigrants, both legal and illegal, can make to this country. Yesterday, I thought I could not bear to read yet another letter about 245(i), but today here I am writing one myself. What happened in the meantime to cause this change of heart? I received notification from the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services that it has NOT EVEN BEGUN PROCESSING an application for labor certification our office filed on May 25, 2001. It has been nearly a year and no action has been taken whatsoever! And the sole reason for this is the deadline for 245(i), which fell on April 30, 2001 and completely destroyed our already over-burdened labor certification system, and ruined any hope of the DOL implementing the PERM system that is so greatly needed to simplify a ridiculously confusing and over-burdensome process.

Here's the real irony, however. My understanding of 245(i) is that it is supposed to be about "recognizing that families should not have to be split up when they are in this country already, nor go back to their country for immigration status" (at least according to the White House's statement reported in the March 20, 2002, issue of Immigration Daily). But my client, who has been here legally for six years as an H-1B, and four years as an F-1, my client who has spent 10 years here legally, contributing all the while to our economy in a variety of ways, now has to leave the United States because the ODJFS could not process his application fast enough. And the single reason for such a delayed processing time is the amnesty given to those who broke the law, who commit fraud on a regular basis by lying about their status to countless government entities, and who have probably contributed less to this economy than my client.

Why is our country so intent on protecting those who have behaved so dishonestly, and worse still, why is our country so intent on protecting them to the detriment of those who have obeyed all the rules and contributed a great deal more (through extremely high tuition, living expenses, as well as through gainful (and honest) employment)? Why is the White House more intent on preventing illegal immigrants from having to return to their home countries to obtain immigration status, when legal immigrants have to do the very same thing, solely because our system completely broke down when 245(i) was thoughtlessly implemented? If 245(i) is supposed to be about justice for those who perservered in their illegal status despite all obstacles, what about the justice for those who have obeyed every rule and have done nothing but devote 10 years of their life to the American Dream? Justice has completely failed my client, and the countless others like him whose needs and concerns have been subordinated to those of illegal immigrants who have contributed next to nothing in comparison. Where is the special legislation offering relief for my client, and the others like him who are suffering due to 245(i)?