Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 04071563 (posted Jul. 15, 2004)"
July 12, 2004
The Honorable Tom Ridge
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
The Honorable Colin Powell
U.S. Department of State
Harry S. Truman building
2201 C St. NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Messrs. Secretary:
The undersigned companies and organizations write to express our concern about the planned discontinuation of the visa reissuance program. This program is of central importance to the business community, and has become all the more so in the past two years as visa processing delays have soared at consular posts. We urge you to quickly reinstate the visa reissuance program, and we propose two options to that end, either of which would satisfy the needs addressed by the program and still allow the State Department to meet its mandate of collecting biometrics by October 26, 2004.
Visa reissuance allows employees who already are working in the United States on employer-sponsored nonimmigrant visas to renew their visas within the U.S. This program is particularly essential in situations where employees must travel internationally and have neither the time nor the opportunity, given geographic barriers, to apply for a new visa.
Employers make significant investments in these employees who must be able to travel internationally when and as needed. The visa revalidation process is therefore critical to businesses that operate in the international arena, as it helps business deal with: increasing delays at consulates and the uncertainties surrounding obtaining an appointment for a visa interview; complications in the appointment process caused by business travel to a country other than the employee's home country; and the all-too-frequent delays at the consulates that strand employees often for months outside of the United States. These delays threaten companies' bottom lines and cause hardships for employees and their families.
We believe that the purpose of the visa reissuance program can continue and the Department of State can fulfill its mandated deadline of collecting biometrics for visas by implementing one of the following options:
- Use the ASCs: The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security has created a network of Application Support Centers (ASCs) that collect biometrics for the issuance of green cards, work authorization documents and other such documents. Particularly because the Homeland Security Act dictates DHS's involvement in visa issuance policy, it would be appropriate for the ASCs to collect the biometrics on behalf of the visa reissuance office. We understand that some computer improvements and an amendment to the ASC contract would be necessary, but these issues can be dealt with.
- Revise regulatory policy on readmissions: Another alternative would be to revise 22 CFR 41.112(d) to cover travel to any destination. This regulatory provision currently allows the readmission of a nonimmigrant (except a national of designated state sponsors of terrorism) without a new visa after an absence of 30 days or less if the nonimmigrant status was extended or changed by the USCIS prior to the nonimmigrant's departure to Canada or Mexico. Upon return to the U.S., the traveler could be enrolled in US VISIT at the port of entry and be readmitted for the duration of the underlying approval notice
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Advantest America Corporation, Santa Clara, CA
Alliance Semiconductor, Santa Clara, CA
American Immigration Lawyers Association, Washington, D.C.
American Chamber of Commerce in Korea
American Council on International Personnel, Washington, D.C.
Applied Materials, Inc., Santa Clara, CA
Big Bend Technology, Inc. Sparta, TN
Bloomsxpress, Inc., Miami, FL
Computer Task Group, Inc. (CTG), Buffalo, NY
Deaconess Foundation, St. Louis, MO
Foresite Solutions, Inc., Wayne, PA
Four Soft LLC.San Francisco, CA
Google Inc., Mountain View, CA
HR Business Partner,Workscape, Inc., Framingham, MA
IFS North America, Inc., Schaumburg, IL
Intel Corporation, Santa Clara, CA
Intersil Corporation, Palm Bay, FL
MTC Holdings, Oakland, CA
NAFSA, Washington, D.C.
National Foreign Trade Council, Washington, D.C.
National Tour Association, Alexandria, VA
New Horizons Agriculture LLC, Madison WI
Nikon Precision Inc., Belmont, CA
Old Prince Waleans Association (USA) Inc., Washington Metro Area
Peking Handicraft, Inc., South San Francisco, CA
PeopleSoft, Inc., Pleasanton, CA
Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce, Plattsburgh, NY
Quebec-New York Corridor Coalition, Plattsburgh, NY
Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc., San Francisco, CA
Seagate Technology, Scotts Valley, CA
seeUthere Technologies, Santa Clara, CA
Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), Washington, D.C.
Synopsys, Inc., Mountain View, CA
TODO1 Services Inc., Miami, FL
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
Vivecon Corporation, Mountain View, CA
Washington International Education Council, North Potomac, MD
Workscape, Inc., Framingham, MA