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AILA Press Release: CBP Commissioner Bonner Strikes the Right Balance

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 04081377 (posted Aug. 13, 2004)"

American Immigration Lawyers Association

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2004

Contact: Crystal Williams
202-216-2405
(cwilliams@aila.org)
or
Julia Hendrix
202-216-2404
(jhendrix@aila.org)

CBP Commissioner Bonner Strikes the Right Balance

Washington, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauds the recent announcement by Bureau of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Commissioner Robert Bonner that gives CBP officers new discretion to grant no-risk travelers who overstayed under the Visa Waiver Program on a prior visit a one-time parole. The Visa Waiver Program allows foreign visitors from designated countries to enter the U.S. without a visa for up to 90 days. However under previous program rules, visitors who overstayed the 90 day limitation were required to obtain a visa for their next visit. According to the CBP, visitors may now be granted a one-time reprieve and will be informed that in subsequent visits, they must obtain a visa to enter the U.S.

"We applaud Commissioner Bonner for creating a common sense solution that could possibly affect more 13 to 14 million of all visitors to the U.S.," stated Paul Zulkie, President of AILA. "This solution makes economic sense, and more importantly, makes sense by prioritizing our national security needs."

"Commissioner Bonner understands that the U.S. cannot afford to alienate those who only seek to visit us by handcuffing and detaining them," continued Zulkie. "By allowing CBP officers to focus their attention on those who mean to do us harm, we no longer will be searching through such a large haystack to find the one needle that ultimately will harm us."

"Commissioner Bonner is correct when he states that enforcement must always be tempered with common sense. In light of this new approach to monitoring those who visit our country, we call for a similar common sense approach to apply to all visa holders with minor overstays. Focusing our attention on real threats can only make our nation's enforcement efforts that much stronger," concluded Zulkie.

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Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides its Members with continuing legal education, information, and professional services. AILA advocates before Congress and the Administration and provides liaison with the DHS and other government agencies. AILA is an Affiliated Organization of the American Bar Association.

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