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Dear Editor:
I would like to pass on to the readership the text of an INS Field Memorandum which shows why I reject the inclusion of 245(i) beneficiaries in the same pot with all "illegal aliens", when in fact they have been given a quasi legal status. Our government is allowing employers to sponsor them, and is allowing them to adjust status notwithstanding their illegal status if they pay a fine. Furthermore, in an April 27, 2001 Memo Michael Pearson instructed the INS field offices "not to initiate removal proceedings against an individual who is an alien eligible for adjustment under section 245(i), based solely on an immigrant petition, labor certification application or adjustment of status application filed by or on behalf of that alien....seeking to legalize the alien's status under 245(i)." The Memo goes on to state quite explicitly that " this guidance is intended to ensure that individuals eligible for the benefits of section 245(i) of the INA and relatives or employers eligible to file immigrant petitions or labor certifications on their behalf, will not be deterred from initiating that process through fear that their filing will be used to identify and remove them." How much clearer does it need to be? Our government has passed legislation and issued field office guidance which gives at least these "illegal aliens" in the process of 245(i) adjustment a measure of protection against deportation by saying that they will not hunt them down and will not prosecute them solely on the basis of their illegal status. If they come to the attention of the Service through routine enforcement actions or because they committed other crimes, they will continued to be processed according to established procedures. Therefore, while not creating any right or benefit enforceable by law to anyone in removal proceedings, the 245(i) legislation and this INS Memo serve to illustrate, if nothing else, the philosophical view of Congress and the Agency with regard to the comparative insignificance of illegal status vis a vis other violations of law. It also illustrates their view that the economic and social benefits of 245(i) outweigh the moral or ethical problems of a virtual amnesty. As law-abiding citizens, we must also abide by this law, which allows those aliens who have successfully qualified for labor certification to stay here and work free of fear and I would hope, free of prejudice, until their cases can be completed.

SJD



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