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AILA Press Release: President Bush's Remarks

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 01012559 (posted Jan. 25, 2001)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 25, 2001

CONTACT:
Matt Tallmer,
Public Affairs Manager
202-216-2404; Fax: 202-371-9449
mtallmer@aila.org

Immigration Lawyers Applaud President Bush’s Inaugural Remarks;
Look Forward to Working with Administration

In his inaugural address, President Bush eloquently stated how immigrants reinforce our American identity: “America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American.”

The President also indirectly touched on the concepts of justice and fairness which are at the heart of the debate about the overly harsh provisions of the 1996 immigration laws that deny people their day in court and change the rules mid-game. President Bush said America’s promise is “that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born,” and that “America, at its best, is compassionate.” The President also made a “solemn pledge” to “work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.”

“AILA is heartened by these words that represent a vast departure from the restrictionist rhetoric of the past,” said Jeanne A. Butterfield, AILA’s Executive Director. “President Bush’s appointment of a new INS Commissioner who believes and will fight for the principles of justice, fairness, accountability and efficiency will be an important signal to the immigrant community of his commitment to the ideals behind his remarks.”

“We look forward to working with the Administration on vitally important issues, including permanently restoring Section 245(i), so that people eligible to apply for permanent residency are not separated from their families, their communities and their employers for up to ten years; restoring to our nation’s immigration system American principles of law, justice and fairness; treating fairly all people fleeing oppression and civil strife by adopting NACARA equity; and reorganizing and adequately funding the Immigration and Naturalization Service so that it becomes a fair and efficient agency.”

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