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Immigration Daily December 20, 2002
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Editor's Comments

Here we go again. The Department of Justice announced on Monday, December 16, 2002 that Armenians would be subject to Special Registration along with Saudis and Pakistanis, only to withdraw Armenia from this unholy list on Wednesday, December 18, 2002.

Why did this sudden about-face happen? Writing in the Los Angeles Times, columnist Steve Lopez says "It was all a mistake ... Or maybe it wasn't a mistake. I can't tell, and the really frightening thing is that the Justice Department can't seem to tell either." Why was Armenia put on the list in the first place? Mr. Lopez continues "This might be a simple case of someone in the Bush administration having flunked geography, and thinking Armenia was a suburb of Tehran. Other possible explanations? This was a wink and a nod to Turkey, a strategic ally that has a long history of conflict with Armenia. Or some mid-level weasel decided it would look bad to have only one other non-Muslim nation -- besides North Korea -- on the list."

Be the causes as they may, it appears unlikely that any terrorists would hasten to register. Instead what appears to be happening is a round-up of immigrants, many of whom have pending adjustment applications, but are currently out of status. The unintended effect of such a round-up will likely be that the government will lose in its Special Registration initiative as more and more immigrants find out that attempting to comply with the requirement is a one-way ticket to deportation. The immigrants who decide not to register will also lose in that they will likely have to abandon their applications for permanent residency and join the gray underground where millions of undocumented immigrants toil in obscurity. This looks like a lose-lose situation for all parties involved.

What's next? If the DOJ's Special Registration program continues down its present course toward a quagmire, it is likely that the cries alleging discrimination against Muslims and those of Arab origin will be heard at the Department of Justice. What will likely follow is Special Registration for everybody, all nationals from everywhere around the globe. When and if that happens, we will be only a short step away from Special Registration for all Americans and becoming a Nazi state.


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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
Your editorial in the December 17th issue of Immigration Daily which reports that Armenia is included in the Justice Department registry list is incorrect. Please see the corrected version of the federal register, as well as our release below.

"The Armenian Assembly of America has been informed that the Federal Register mistakenly included the Republic of Armenia on a list of countries whose non-immigrant male nationals over the age 16 residing in the US must register with the US INS. The Assembly has been assured that Armenia's name will be removed from this list as soon as possible. "This is a very serious matter and we are relieved that the Administration is correcting the situation in an expeditious manner," Assembly Board of Directors Chairman Peter Vosbikian said. The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. It is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization."

Please advise that you will print a correction in tomorrow's edition.

Joan Ablett, Director of Public Affairs
Armenian Assembly of America

Editor's Note: The Department of Justice announced on Monday, December 16, 2002 that Armenians would be subject to Special Registration along with Saudis and Pakistanis, only to withdraw Armenia from this list on Wednesday, December 18, 2002.

Dear Editor:
Please direct me to where I can find BIA case or directive regarding a family member who did not qualify because she did not have a qualifying member. Her parents were granted cancellation. I heard it was in your site and stated the BIA will hold in abeyance until parents are lprs and then she would qualify. I hope it's true. Please help.

Miguel Gadda

Editor's Note: ILW.COM encourages you to utilize our newly improved search engine to find cases or other items of interest. The updated advanced search tool allows you to sort by cases, articles, or sitewide.

Dear Editor:
To the question of whether or not registered nurses are, or should be, eligible for H-1B, it is quite fortunate that the Executive Associate Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, INS, has spoken on the issue. In a memo dated 11/27/02 directed to the Directors of the various Service Centers, as well as the Director of the appeals unit, the memo clearly states that critical care nurses can be shown to qualify as specialty workers, entitled to H-1B visas. Fortunately as well, it was not, as Attorney Murray suggested, necessary to go to Federal District Court to pursue the position. Someone with better understanding at INS, in Washington, finally understood and accepted the obvious position espoused by our attorney for the last few years, that critical care nurses require much more training than ward nurses and can qualify for H-1B visas. The next battle will be to get the visa screen removed as a requirement for nurses. We should be placing as few obstacles as possible in the way of RNs willing to come here and work, not setting unreasonable barriers in their way. For example, the nurses must pass their CGFNS test and/or NCLEX in English. This has been, when taken in conjunction with the TOEFL examination, sufficient in the past to allow foreign nurses to enter. It should be sufficient now with the critical need for nurses throughout our country. As to why the Visa Screen is an unreasonable barrier, this is left to a later letter. But make no mistake, the Test of Spoken English is used in an unreasonable manner to keep nurses out. The amount of time taken by CGFNS to process cases keeps nurses out. Despite the fact that the visa screen rests in law, the decision to use it is political and policy. The cost of the process keeps nurses out as well. It is not a reasonable requirement. Occasionally well thought out positions, even if contrary to the general consensus on an issue, prevail when put to the test. It is apparent, in view of the position taken by the Executive Associate Commissioner in the Office of Field Operations, that our attorney understood the law far better than certain self-styled experts.

Brian E. Grutman, Executive Vice President
Pilot Employment Agency II, Inc.

Dear Editor:
It seems like when a study or a report agrees with our point of view, we call it "well written". When it doesn't, we say it was "out-of-context". To me, the following cited reports seem "well written". In 1997, Donald L. Huddle, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Rice University, published a report entitled: Public Costs of Immigration: Recent Net National Public Service Costs and Projected 1997-2006 Costs. In the conclusion he wrote: "Since 1992 annual net cost of immigration has risen from $42 billion to $65 billion." George Borjas, in his book Heaven's Door published in 1999, is described as "Pforzheimer Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research." He has said, as noted in Huddle's report, that "native workers who compete with immigrants lose about $133 billion yearly due to immigration whereas producers gain about $104 billion". This doesn't include the $65 billion discussed in the preceding paragraph. The Urban Institute study of 1994, which Mr. Richard Baer cited as "favorable to immigration", is one of those "out-of-context' cases. As I said in my previous post, they were only able to reach that conclusion by excluding from their calculations, immigrants from Mexico, Cambodia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, the former USSR, and Viet Nam (over 40% of the immigrant population at the time).

John H. Frecker
Baileyville, ME

Dear Editor:
In response to the letter from Mr. Frecker, I am not sure about Maine but in Illinois I dont think undocumented immigrants can get welfare, anything other than emergency medical services, or subsidized housing. Anyone from Illinois out there that can confirm or dispute this? Just curious. So I think that, at least in Illinois, the undocumented workers are making a few bucks an hour in jobs that I doubt Mr. Frecker would willingly perform, paying taxes (payroll taxes at least I think), and not getting much back from the Government for the taxes they pay. To all of the undocumented folks out there. Some of us love ya! Remember, the Pilgrims didnt have I-94s either. Lucky the native Americans didnt have an INS.

Justin Randolph
Chicago, IL

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