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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

ILRC ISSUES RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A LEGALIZATION PROGRAM

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The folks at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center have come up with a list of recommendations for legislators as they craft a legalization plan in the upcoming comprehensive immigration reform debate:

1.   Date of entry requirement for eligibility:  The required date of entry should be as close to the date of introduction of the bills as possible.  This will accomplish the goal of legalizing as many otherwise deserving immigrants as possible as well as simplifying the administration of the program by CIS.  [Simple and Broad Eligibility Provisions]  


2.  No "known to the government" requirement:     The legalization program should not include a requirement that a person with an unexpired non-immigrant visa demonstrate that his or her unlawful status was "known to the government."  This requirement in IRCA created a host of problems, including added difficulty and costs to adjudicate these applications and very costly litigation.  [Simple and Broad Eligibility Provisions]


3.  Exempted  Grounds of Inadmissibility: The legalization program should not make people ineligible based on events that occurred in the past such as INA sections 212(a)(4) [relating to public charge], 212(a)(6) [relating to immigration violations],  212(a)(7) [documentation requirements], 212(a)(9) [unlawful presence bars], and 212(a)(10)(B) [guardian required to accompany helpless alien].   We also recommend eliminating bars for prior deportation or removal orders, and  the reinstatement of removal provision [INA 241(a)(5)] since these events often result inevitably from unlawful status.  [Exemption from Most Grounds of Inadmissibility and Broad Humanitarian Waivers]    

4.    Waivers: Broad waivers for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity or otherwise in the public interest should be available for all grounds of inadmissibility, except those related to national security, genocide, and terrorism.   [Exemption from Most Grounds of Inadmissibility and Broad Humanitarian Waivers]     A related policy objective outside the scope of a legalization program is to restore discretion to immigration judges by restoring waivers for deserving immigrants.

5.  Exempting certain misdemeanors: We recommend that a legalization program not include IRCA's one felony/ three misdemeanor disqualification. because numerous bars based on criminal convictions have been added to the INA since IRCA, and therefore this rule is no longer needed.  In addition we recommend that misdemeanors for convictions which do not involve theft, violence or other malicious acts, and which flow directly from persons' unlawful status be exempted from the misdemeanors which are counted for purposes of a three-misdemeanor bar, if such a disqualification to eligibility is included.   The most common of these is driving without a license.  IRCA had a three misdemeanor bar, but prior to IRCA, persons without lawful status were able to obtain drivers licenses.  Now, however, this is not the case, and counting such offenses toward a three misdemeanor bar would eliminate hundreds of thousands of otherwise deserving persons.

6.  Requirement of English Proficiency and Civic Integration:  This recommendation is designed to promote integration of immigrants by requiring English language acquisition, including for those for whom this is difficult because of lack of education or advanced age. For a new legalization program we recommend that the applicant be able to fulfill the basic English language requirement by showing that they are "satisfactorily pursuing a course of study (recognized by the Department of Homeland Security) to achieve such an understanding of English..." if they cannot already demonstrate proficiency in English. (The italicized portion is an excerpt from our suggested statutory language, which we adopted virtually intact from similar language in the 1986 IRCA legalization program.  Without such a provision, probably at least one to two million otherwise eligible persons will not be able to qualify for legalization because of failure to achieve the required level of English proficiency. This alternative way of satisfying the English (and civics) requirement by taking recognized courses will promote use of the English language as well as civic integration.

7.  Cut-off dates for derivative eligibility of children: Most legalization proposals have included derivative eligibility for the "child" of a successful legalization applicant.  The definition of a "child" by INA is an offspring under 21 years of age.  We recommend that for purposes of legalization eligibility, a "child" of a legalization applicant be an offspring who was under 21 years of age on the date of enactment. This is especially important for uniting children who live abroad with their families in the United States. This policy also promotes administrative economy shown by the implementation of section 203 of NACARA. The INS spent a good deal of time and resources to expedite applications of NACARA principals so that they were adjudicated before the child turned 21 and that the child retained eligibility.   This would not be necessary if the definition of child had been based on the age of the child on the date of enactment rather than the date of approval of the parent's application.  There is precedent for this practice in implementing regulations of the Family Unity program, section 301 of IMACT 90, and it is consistent with the policy underlying the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).  [Simple and Broad Eligibility Provisions]

8.  Temporary Residents be considered "admitted" for purposes of adjustment of status: Applicants who are granted temporary resident status pursuant to a legalization program should be deemed "admitted" for a number of purposes, especially adjustment of status pursuant to sec. 245 and other existing provisions of the INA.  This would permit a significant number of applicants to immigrate by these other provisions, thereby reducing the administrative burden of the CIS in implementing the legalization program. [Simple and Broad Eligibility Provisions]

9.  Protection of Jobs for American workers:   The CIR bill should include increased funding to implement the existing Department of Justice program through the Office of Special Counsel, initially established as part of IRCA, to protect workers against discrimination based on citizenship.  There are employers who prefer to hire workers who are not U.S. citizens in order to pay lower wages and provide fewer benefits. The program should promote jobs and decent wages and working conditions for American and all workers.

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Comments

  1. Jack's Avatar
    1. Date of entry requirement for eligibility

    Implementation details? This is always a HUGE problem with amnesty schemes. How do you prevent massive fraud?


    4. Waivers

    Naturally. And they want them 'broad' and undoubtedly vague.


    6. Requirement of English Proficiency

    Except it's not--read it. Requirement is the way it always sounds in amnesty push polls and, as always, the actual proposal would require no proficiency. 'Learn English' is a nice policy goal but a complete joke as far as 'requirement'. Amnesty proponents should just be honest and not call it that but I understand why they want to fool people.
  2. analytical's Avatar
    Hi Greg
    Very nice to hear regular news on future CIR??
    It is the only lawyer blog which regularly posting first-hand news & development on immigration !
    Greg :: are you sure(by heart) this CIR rumor will really come true by 2010 March???

    We bloggers don't have much faith on these congressman! They talk much but they do very little at last!!
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090803/ap_on_en_tv/us_tv_lou_dobbs

    "How does Lou Dobbs keep his job?"

    For the same reason Dan Mudd gets to head Forrester after running Fannie Mae to the ground. For the same reason Pat Buchanan keeps his job...Dobbs, Buchanan and Mudd all happen to be white males who are pretty vociferous..and the squeakiest wheel gets the most attention!
  4. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    The prospects for CIR have improved markedly in the last few weeks and the improving economic news certainly helps. But it's still too early to say how things will play out.
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