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Immigration Daily August 28, 2002
Previous Issues
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Editor's Comments

In today's Featured Article "The Role Of Foreign-Born Workers In The U.S. Economy," Abraham T. Mosisa, an economist in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, first reviews the history of immigration, focusing on the changing national origins of the foreign born; then presents a comparison of labor force characteristics of the foreign-born population with those of the native-born population; and finally discusses the role of the foreign-born in regards to the labor force growth that occurred between 1996 and 2000. The article is full of interesting information, among the nuggets: "The foreign born played an important role in the 1996-2000 labor-force expansion. During this period, foreign-born workers 16 years and older constituted 48.6 percent of the total labor force increase of 6.7 million. Nearly two-thirds of the increase in the number of men in the labor force, and more than a third of the increase among the women were foreign-born workers" and "The Economic downturn that began in March 2001 had unexpectedly different effects on the foreign born than on the native born." For more, read the article.


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Featured Article

The Role Of Foreign-Born Workers In The U.S. Economy
Abraham T. Mosisa, an economist in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, first reviews the history of immigration, focusing on the changing national origins of the foreign born; then presents a comparison of labor force characteristics of the foreign-born population with those of the native-born population; and finally discusses the role of the foreign-born in regards to the labor force growth that occurred between 1996 and 2000.

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Immigration Law News

INS Interim Rule On Part-Time Commuter Students
INS promulgated an interim final rule with request for comments which says in its summary "This rule amends the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Service) regulations governing F and M nonimmigrants. This rule will clarify that Mexican or Canadian nationals who reside outside the United States and regularly commute across a land border to study may do so on a part-time basis within the F or M nonimmigrant category. These changes are being made to facilitate and legitimize certain part- time study along border communities while ensuring that all applicable requirements and safeguards are met."

President Bush On Part-Time Commuter Students
Giving an address at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, CA President Bush said "I know it's an important part of life for many students in our border communities in Mexico and Canada to attend school here in the United States. There's a lot of trans-border crossing on a daily basis, to take advantage of our great educational opportunities. That's what we want, by the way. We shouldn't try to restrict people. It's good for our colleges, and it's good for the Mexican citizens and the Canadian citizens. And so we're going to expand eligibility for student visas, to ensure that part-time commuter students can continue to study here in America."

Omission In Evidence Is Not Inconsistency
In Singh v. Ashcroft, No. 01-70505 (9th Cir. Aug. 27, 2002), the court held that a omission of one detail, included in Petitioner's oral testimony, from a physician's letter submitted as evidence for Petitioner's asylum claim, did not make the letter inconsistent with the oral testimony and therefore could not serve as the basis for the Board of Immigration Appeals's (BIA) adverse credibility decision; and also held that to support an adverse credibility determination based on unresponsiveness, the BIA must identify particular instances in the record where the petitioner refused to answer questions asked of him.

Circuit Court Will Not Review Decision Not To Depart Unless District Court States It Has No Authority
In US v. Dimas-Bernal, No. 01-1477 (10th Cir. Aug. 23, 2002), the court said that unless the sentencing judge's language unambiguously states that the judge does not believe he has the authority to make a downward departure, the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to review the denial of the downward departure.

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The Home Of Liberty Does Not Need Welfare For Immigrants Nor For Americans
Writing in the Tucson Citizen, Robert Carreira says "We have forgotten that liberty made her home here, and we have woefully neglected her altar. And we ought to be ashamed ... Thomas Jefferson once wrote of "the natural right which all men have of relinquishing the country in which birth or other accident may have thrown them, and seeking subsistence and happiness wheresoever they may be able" ... those who make the treacherous journey across our Southwestern deserts are ... made of the same blood and guts as the rugged individuals who built this nation ... once we end welfare for immigrants, we can end it for native-born Americans as well - leading to a return to times of self-sufficiency for all, when we did in fact lift the lamp beside the golden door, welcoming those who yearned to breathe free."

Hope For EWIs - Fruit/Vegetable Picker EWI Joins Police Department
The Raleigh, NC News-Observer reports "Eight years ago, Hector Gutierrez lost his way in the Arizona desert after crossing the border from Mexico, but made it to a highway where he waited for the Border Patrol to take him back -- for the third time. Gutierrez was down to his last dollars. He was tired and scared and kept thinking of his father's words before he headed north: "Don't go." The next day, Gutierrez made it across. And now after years of picking fruits and vegetables, a marriage, a college education and U.S. citizenship, Gutierrez, 32, has been hired by the Raleigh Police Department. He will enter the police academy next month and plans to graduate in March as a sworn officer."

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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
AILA is distributing the following on behalf of the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued regulations yesterday that will dramatically limit many immigrants' rights in appeals of adverse immigration decisions. The regulations make sweeping changes that will reduce the size and authority of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the most important immigration tribunal in the country. BIA members routinely make decisions that determine whether immigrants who have been persecuted and tortured in their home countries, often because of their political and religious views, will have the opportunity to live in the United States or will be sent back to face persecution, torture, or even death.

In the name of increased efficiency, the DOJ has adopted rules that will force BIA members to rule upon cases within exceptionally truncated time frames under procedures that impinge upon due process rights. The new rules will cut the number of BIA members by more than half, even though this Administration recently increased the number of BIA members to 23 (4 of these slots remain unfilled). The DOJ claims that this reduction will work hand-in-hand with other "streamlining measures" it intends to employ. It contends that these measures will enable the BIA to reduce the current backlog of roughly 56,000 cases in 180 days, all while remaining current with the approximately 18,000 new appeals expected to be filed during that time. Yet in order to accomplish this task, each Board member would have to decide a staggering one case every 15 minutes.

The likely result of this emphasis on dispatching cases so quickly is that many asylum denials will merely be rubberstamped rather than carefully reviewed. This undermines the very purpose of the BIA - to ensure consistent, fair decisions - while raising substantial due process concerns. In addition, this initiative ignores the fact that many requests for appeal are based on provisions of the nation's extremely complex - and recently reformed - immigration laws. The BIA is charged with providing guidance on these complex issues to the INS, immigration courts, and immigration advocates, but the DOJ's new regulations will greatly impede the BIA's ability to meet this obligation.

The DOJ's new regulations also are worrisome because they largely abandon the three-member panels that have traditionally decided the majority of BIA cases. Instead, single BIA members now will render most decisions, and do so without written explanations. This will undermine the very legitimacy of the review process because such summary decisions provide no proof that the BIA member carefully considered the appeal. Yet such careful consideration is imperative given that these appeals can mean the difference between life and death for refugees fleeing persecution. Indeed, Circuit Courts already have admonished the BIA that "Cookie-cutter credibility findings are the antithesis of the individualized determination required in asylum cases ...[W]e 'will not tolerate boilerplate' decisions."

The Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) recognizes the need for efficient adjudication of appeals that reach the BIA, but is concerned that the DOJ is willing to sacrifice immigrants' due process rights in order to achieve that efficiency. Although the CAIR Coalition and numerous other parties submitted extensive comments to the DOJ in March 2002 expressing concerns about the proposed regulations, the DOJ has issued final rules that are nearly identical to those originally proposed. The result is a restructured BIA that will not adequately protect the due process rights of innocent immigrants who have come to this country merely in search of a better life.

The Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition is a not for profit corporation based in Washington, D.C. The CAIR Coalition seeks to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees, to foster an environment of positive human and community relations in our society, and to work for a fair and humane immigration policy. To this end, the CAIR Coalition visits indigent asylum seekers in jails and enlists pro bono attorneys to represent them in their asylum applications.

If you have questions about the CAIR Coalition or this news release, please contact Debi Sanders at (202) 756-2770.

Amanda Carufel
Public Affairs Manager
American Immigration Lawyers Association

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Editorial Advisory Board
Marc Ellis, Gary Endelman

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