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AILA Press Release: INS Backlogs Won't Be Tolerated

Wednesday, May 17, 2000


Matt Tallmer



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) offered their support for a measure introduced today by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would put the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on notice that it must reduce its tremendous backlogs.

“Senator Feinstein’s bill sends a message to the INS that we no longer will tolerate tremendous backlogs that hurts millions of people seeking to become U.S. citizens, fleeing political persecution, trying to reunite with their families, and businesses seeking to employ foreign workers who are needed for our continued economic growth,” said Jeanne Butterfield, AILA’s Executive Director. “This measure is a necessary first step in urging the INS to provide quick, effective and fair adjudication of the millions of applications that, for too long, have languished in the bureaucracy.”

“The measure also acknowledges that money is the major problem,” Butterfield said, explaining that for the past few years, Congress has provided direct appropriated funds to INS enforcement, while the adjudications branch has been subsisting largely on user fees – the funds that people and businesses pay when they file applications. At the same time, Congress has imposed numerous unfunded and conflicting mandates on the INS. The agency has paid for those mandates out of the only pot of money they have access to: the user fees. As a result, we have seen the backlogs skyrocket to the current unmanageable and unconscionable levels.

“We thank Senator Feinstein for her efforts on behalf of the millions of people whose hopes and dreams are buried on desks in INS offices. We also call upon Congress to take the next logical step and provide direct appropriated funds to the INS adjudications in amounts necessary to permanently reduce the backlogs,” Butterfield said.



Cite as AILA Doc. No. 00051702.