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AILA Doc. No. 03021442 | Dated February 12, 2003
February 12, 2003
The Honorable Michael Garcia
Immigration and Naturalization Service
425 I Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20536
RE: INS No. 2176-01
Dear Acting Commissioner Garcia:
The organizations listed below write to reiterate our concerns regarding the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) proposed rule, "Limiting the Period of Admission for B Nonimmigrant Aliens (67 Fed. Reg.1065 (April 12, 2002) RIN 1115-AG43, INS No. 2176-01).
We are very concerned this new proposed rule will negatively impact the travel and tourism industry, the real estate market in resort areas like Florida, and the millions of jobs and small businesses that represent 90% of this sector, while doing little to substantially address concerns about terrorism and visa overstayers. INS’ stated objective in proposing this rule are: 1) to prevent aliens from planning and executing acts of terrorism against the United States, and 2) to reduce the likelihood that an alien will establish permanent ties in the United States and remain in the country illegally. However, INS has not demonstrated a clear link between its proposed rule and how the proposal leads to achieving these objectives. The rule neither provides new tools to gather intelligence on suspected terrorists nor creates new mechanisms to enforce limits on an individual’s stay. Terrorists are unlikely to arrive without having an explanation of their intended stay that would satisfy an inspector, nor would they care about overstaying their visas. We believe this rule will do little to enhance our security or help achieve our law enforcement aims.
The proposed rule generated more than 10,000 comments, many calling for maintaining the current rule or substantially altering the proposed rule. The proposed rule was also critiqued during a House Small Business Committee hearing on June 19, 2002. During the hearing, Chairman Manzullo ordered the INS to meet with business leaders. However, neither that hearing nor this meeting clarified why changes to the existing rule were necessary, what security purpose they would serve, or how the Service would take into account the potential hundreds of millions of dollars this rule, if implemented, would cost our economy. Our specific concerns about the proposed rule follow.
For these reasons we urge you to keep the current visa rules in place. However, if the proposed rule moves forward, we urge you to make the following changes:
Because the current standards for granting an extension provide a high level of scrutiny, there is no reason to change them for the more restrictive standards in the proposed rule. Under current law, visitors are asked to show that they have a residence abroad that they do not intend to abandon, that they were unable to accomplish the temporary purpose of the trip within the period granted, that they are not attempting to prolong their stay indefinitely and that they are capable of maintaining themselves financially for any period of stay requested.
As stated above, we would strongly urge you to weigh the enormous benefits international visitation and investment bring to the U.S. and seriously consider modifying the rule along the lines detailed above.
American Hotel & Lodging Association
American Immigration Lawyers Association
National Association of Home Builders
National Association of Realtors
Travel Industry Association of America
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 03021442.