Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 01043059 (posted Apr. 30, 2001)"
Public Affairs Manager
President and Congress Need to Act
on Important Immigration Issues
WASHINGTON – The
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today released letters
to President Bush and Congress, calling on both to take action on vital
“We are issuing these
letters because today, April 30, is an important date, marking the first
100 days of both the Bush Administration and the 107th
Congress, and the last day immigrants can file to maintain their
eligibility for an important immigration provision. During these 100
days, both the Administration and Congress did not address issues of
vital importance to immigrant communities nationwide,” said Jeanne A.
Butterfield, AILA’s Executive Director.
“We urge both the
President and Congress to take concrete, positive steps during the
second 100 days to support extension and permanent restoration of
Section 245(i), reorganizing the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS), implementing due process reforms, and supporting essential
letters specifically call upon the President and Congress to take the
and Permanently Restore Section 245(i): April 30 also marks the last date a person can file a petition or
application with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to
preserve eligibility under Section 245(i). (Section 245(i) allows
eligible people to adjust their status in this country. It is
vitally important given the three and ten-year bars that were
included in the harsh, 1996 immigration laws. Section 245(i) is
pro-family, pro-business, good policy, and makes fiscal sense.)
Eligible people have struggled to file their petitions by April 30.
However, we know that many will be unable to benefit from Section
245(i) because there are insufficient attorneys and authorized legal
service organizations available to handle theses cases by April 30.
“We urge Congress
to immediately pass, and President Bush to immediately sign, an
extension of this urgently needed provision. While vitally important,
extending 245(i) only is a temporary solution. We urge the President and
Congress to support the permanent restoration of Section 245(i),”
the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS):
Both the Administration and Congress recognize the need to
reorganize the INS. To be successful, such reorganization should
fulfill the following criteria: Put someone in charge with clout;
separate, but coordinate, the enforcement and adjudications
functions; and provide adequate resources to fund the adjudications
function. In addition, the long backlogs at the INS need to be
significantly reduced prior to any successful reorganization
explained that immigration advocates expect that bills that seek to
reorganize the INS shortly will be introduced in Congress. “We urge
you to base your support for these measures on their fulfilling the
criteria noted above,” she said.
Due Process Reform:
The harsh 1996 immigration laws need to be changed because they
violate core American principles of law, justice, and fairness.
These laws lack proportionality, subjecting legal, long-term
permanent residents to deportation for minor offenses, often
committed decades earlier. These laws operate retroactively,
changing the rules in the middle of the game. By prohibiting
judicial review and discretion, they do not allow people their day
in court. In short, the 1996 immigration laws are un-American.
urges both the President and Congress to support measures that address
these harsh laws and prevent families from being torn apart.
Our country is experiencing a labor shortage, especially in the
service sector. This shortage is expected to last for more than two
decades. At the same time, service sector employers are seeking to
regularize the status of currently undocumented workers to stabilize
their labor forces.
urge the President and Congress to support legislation that would create
workable and new temporary nonimmigrant visa programs, additional green
cards for essential workers, as well as earned adjustment for
undocumented workers who are in the labor force, paying taxes, and
contributing to our economy,” Butterfield said.