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AILA Press Release: Immigration Lawyers Laud Abraham-Smith Agreement

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 00051803 (posted May. 18, 2000)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 19, 2000

CONTACT:  

Matt Tallmer
202-216-2404

IMMIGRATION LAWYERS
LAUD ABRAHAM-SMITH AGREEMENT

Elimination of Entry-Exit Controls Reflects Realities

WASHINGTON, D.C. ¾ The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) hailed an agreement between the House and the Senate that effectively revokes Section 110 of the 1996 immigration law.

Section 110 would have required the Immigration and Naturalization Service to record the arrival and departure of every alien at every port of entry. Under the agreement crafted today by Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) and Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Fred Upton (R-MI), Section 110 will be replaced with a new law requiring that the INS integrate existing data collected by INS, Customs Service and the Border Patrol at our ports-of-entry, allowing those agencies to focus their attentions on the potential problems – smugglers, drugs and illegal entrants, so as to free resources to facilitate the entry of legitimate visitors and travelers.

“Senator Abraham and Representative Smith deserve our thanks. They negotiated an agreement that will help the INS, border enforcement, businesses and tourists seeking to enter this country for legitimate reasons. This agreement reflects AILA’s long-stated opinion that the original entry-exit controls enacted in 1996 were unworkable and had the potential to grind all border crossings to a halt,” said Jeanne Butterfield, AILA’s Executive Director.

AILA and its members have been working to repeal this requirement since shortly after its enactment in 1996, and along with the Canadians, were the first to recognize its potential impact. As a result, AILA helped form the Americans for Better Borders coalition with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This coalition of trade, travel, tourism and industry organizations and companies worked closely with Senator Abraham and Representatives Smith and Upton during these negotiations.

“Today’s agreement between Senator Abraham and Representative Smith shows that cooperation between affected groups can result in positive, reasonable immigration policy, rather than sweeping changes with unintended consequences. AILA looks forward to continuing to work with the Senator, Representative and all Members of Congress toward passage of this legislation, and with the INS, Customs, the Border Patrol and other government agencies on implementation.

“This agreement also allows Congress to focus its energy on other important immigration priorities including: passage of H-1B visa legislation (S. 2045 and H.R. 3983), providing relief for Central Americans and Haitians, changing the registry date, and reforming the overly harsh 1996 immigration laws,” Butterfield said.

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