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Dear Editor:
President Bush’s recent proposal to reform our immigration system can best be summed up by the quote from the Wizard of Oz: “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. But instead of the curtain hiding a feeble old man trying to make others believe he was the all-powerful Wizard of Oz, behind this curtain of policy reform is hiding none other than Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political strategist. The fact that the chief architect for the creation of a new temporary worker program that was announced today in a White House press conference was Karl Rove, a political strategist, and not staff from the Department of Homeland Security or any other executive agency who would have more expertise on this matter underscores the President’s true reasons for today ’ s address- political expediency and not the expressed desire to “promote compassion” and “fix the broken system”. If President Bush is sincere about wanting to reform the immigration system then my colleagues and I from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) would be happy to assist the administration as we may have a bit more experience working with the immigration system than Mr. Rove. AILA has been working with policymakers in Washington to help draft legislation that would overhaul the system for allocating work visas and other legislation that would allow the children of undocumented workers the opportunity to continue their education after high school. We would be happy to share our resources with the Bush Administration and work with them to create legislation that would improve our immigration system so that it would enhance our homeland security, be flexible enough to allow for current as well as future economic needs, and provide a mechanism for family reunification and earned adjustment into lawful permanent residency status for those who help fuel America’s economic engine. However, despite the proposal’s many shortcomings and the questionable motives behind today’s announcement, we are grateful that President Bush is willing to discuss immigration reform again. Today’s address was the first time since 9-11-01 that President Bush has directly spoken about our need to reform our immigration system and we are grateful that this important issue is once again in the forefront where it should be. We only hope that with time and input from concerned individuals and organizations the Bush Administration will be return to their pre 9-11-01 stance on immigration reform when they were willing to do more to allow for earned adjustment into permanent residency for foreign workers and wanted to do more for immigration reform than bolster the President’s polling numbers with Latino voters.

Angela Ferguson
Austin and Ferguson LLC

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