AILA Doc. No. 01052399 | Dated May 22, 2001
AILA Senior Director of Advocacy
202-216-2403; Fax: 202-371-9449
Passes Limited Section 245(i)
Extension with Additional Restriction:
Four-Months is Not Enough Time and Restriction is Unworkable
Washington, D.C. -- The House of Representatives on May 21 passed a limited extension of Section 245(i) by a vote of 336-43. H.R. 1885 would extend the Section 245(i) deadline for only four months, while also requiring beneficiaries to demonstrate that the required familial or employment relationship existed on or before April 30, 2001. “While this proposal ultimately may expedite the passage of an extension, said Jeanne Butterfield, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, “the four-month window would offer insufficient time, cause needless delays and hardships for people seeking Section 245(i) relief, and prove difficult for the INS to administer. We call on Republican Congressional leadership to get behind a measure that will work for immigrants, their American citizen families, their communities, and this country. We also call on President Bush to support a longer extension with no additional requirement.”
“While we are concerned with the short four-month window,” continued Ms. Butterfield, “we also are concerned about the impact of the new requirement.” Given this new requirement, INS would have to issue a new regulation which would take them a minimum of three months.” The short four-month window, along with the new requirement, will cause panic and confusion among immigrants and create an opportunity for unscrupulous and fraudulent immigration “advisors.” Past experience argues for a clean extension of a longer period of time without new provisions.
“We hope that the final measure that Congress passes,” said Ms. Butterfield, “moves closer to the bill introduced in the Senate, S. 778, by Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA).” S. 778 would extend the Section 245(i) deadline for one-year without the restriction in the House proposal.
AILA strongly supports the extension of Section 245(i). Immigrants on the brink of becoming permanent legal residents should be able to file their green card applications from within the United States, rather than having to travel back to their home countries and possibly face draconian consequences that would prevent them from returning to America for years. Without Section 245(i), people fully eligible for green cards can be bared from returning to the United States for three or ten years. Restoring Section 245(i) is pro-family, pro-business, fiscally prudent, and a matter of common sense. Section 245(i) allows immigrants with close family members here in the United States to remain with their families while applying for legal permanent residence; allows businesses to retain valuable employees; and provides INS with millions in annual revenue, at no cost to taxpayers.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 01052399.