Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 38me9021 (posted Aug. 31, 1999)"
August 31, 1999
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
To The Editor:
As one of two non-government witnesses who testified at a May hearing on immigration
fraud, I must object to the mischaracterization of my remarks in a recent article
(“Bill Reopen Debate Over Visa Limit,” Aug. 31, 1999).
During my testimony before the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary
Committee, I noted that given the millions of visa applications, the incidents
of actual fraud “are a tiny percentage of the total number.” I also mentioned
significant problems with fraud detection, including the fact that there is
no clear definition of what constitutes visa fraud, that low-level administrative
personnel determine complicated issues of fraud with no review or appeal, and
that the INS devotes large resources to routing out a relatively small number
of cases, thereby causing significant hardship to people and companies with
legitimate visa applications.
Aside from my testimony, your reporter also misstated the problems with H-1B
petitions at a single consulate in Chennai, India. In the first place, the documents
in which fraud was found were not visa applications, but pre-approvals. Secondly,
and more importantly, the fact that fraud was detected shows that the system
worked. The pre-approvals were stopped in their tracks when the INS and State
Department could not authenticate information. That is exactly what is supposed
to happen. Finally, both INS and the State Department have said repeatedly that
the incidents at Chennai are not representative of visa applications in general.
So it is time we focus the issue on where it should be: America’s need for
more foreign professionals to help U.S. businesses remain vital and global competitive.
Mark A. Macini
Mr. Mancini is a partner in the immigration
law firm of Wasserman, Mancini & Chang.
August 31, 1999