Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 00071859 (posted Jul. 18, 2000)"
to the Editor
72 Marietta Street, NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
recent article on immigration was excellent (“Web of U.S. immigration red tape
entangles millions,” July 1). It accurately pointed out many of the problems
immigrants face in seeking to naturalize and become legal permanent residents.
While the author faults the Immigration and Naturalization Service, he neglected
to point out that Congress must take responsibility as well for the long delays,
massive backlogs, and poor service that currently plague the INS.
has forced on the INS unfunded, confusing and difficult mandates, and has
created a funding mechanism that leaves the INS with insufficient money to
process applications. While the INS enforcement function receives direct federal
appropriations, the adjudication side is supported almost entirely by user fees.
In recent years Congress has diverted a significant portion of the user fees to
other functions. In addition, Congress has imposed a number of onerous mandates
-such as mandating that INS take over fingerprinting applicants in one week and
build an entire new computer system- without providing the funding needed to
undertake those tasks.
these mandates and INS mismanagement, it should come as no surprise that we now
have record backlogs in processing virtually every kind of INS petition and
is a way to reshape the INS so that it functions efficiently and fairly:
separate, but coordinate, the enforcement and adjudications branches; appoint a
single person in charge of both agencies who has the clout and line authority to
set and enforce national immigration policy; and adequately fund both the
enforcement and adjudications sides of INS.
bill before Congress, S. 1563, the INS reorganization measure introduced by
Senators Spencer Abraham (R-MI) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), would do all that. We
urge support for this bill and opposition to the false reform measure introduced
by Representatives Harold Rogers (R-KY), Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Silvestre Reyes
Simmons, a partner in the Atlanta law firm of Arnall, Golden & Gregory, is
the Atlanta Chapter Chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.