AILA Lauds Senate Negotiators’ Compromise But Notes Concerns on Impact

Friday, June 21, 2013

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC -The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today acknowledged the tremendous step forward in the Senate on the part of negotiators who arrived at a difficult political compromise on immigration reform. However, some of the details of that compromise can potentially damage, rather than improve, the immigration system.

The amendment would add more than 40 billion dollars in new border security spending, including a near-doubling of border security agents, new drones, hundreds of miles of fencing, and have a tremendous impact on the quality of life for our fellow citizens in the border cities. But a startling and little-publicized requirement of the amendment would be that all "mandatory enforcement expenditures under the Act" would be funded not by appropriated funds but by additional fees charged to those petitioning through the regular, legal immigration process. Depending upon what would be considered "mandatory" and "enforcement" expenditures, the result could be an increase in filing fees in the thousands of dollars per petition, putting the legal immigration system out of financial reach for families and for small businesses seeking to hire needed foreign-born talent.

"AILA is concerned that the amended bill includes wasteful and needless spending on border security and enforcement. Frankly, I've been fascinated by the number of legislators concerned about spending overall who are now in favor of throwing billions of new dollars at the border, despite not knowing if the increased funding will really solve anything. " said Laura Lichter, AILA President.

She continued, "Let's be realistic. This border "surge" that the amendment's coauthor Senator Corker himself called 'almost overkill' isn't intended to protect against attacks, but is instead going to be spent making our country into 'Fortress America.' I recognize that these changes may be politically expedient, but needed votes shouldn't come at the cost of putting legal immigration out of the financial reach of families and small business. You can't fix a broken system by making it off limits to the very people who are supposed to use it," Ms. Lichter concluded.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 13062166.