It’s All About Enforcement

Enforcement. It is the current catch-word of the presidential race. I hear it every day. Governor Perry said it in last night’s debate. “I believe in enforcement. We must enforce the laws as they are on the books.” I agree with him. Bet you never thought you’d hear me say that. But yes, I agree. The laws must be enforced. All of them. Not just those that exclude. Those that include must be enforced as well.

Enforcing the law means approving applications submitted by qualified applicants. It means promoting investment in the U.S. and encouraging entrepreneurs, medical professionals, artists and entertainers, and students to share their talents with us.

Our laws say that applications are to be decided favorably when they meet the legal criteria of a preponderance of evidence. That is, that an applicant has shown that it is more likely than not that he or she qualifies for the status they are seeking.

I spent the last two weekends responding to an absurd request for additional evidence in connection with an application for L-1 Intracompany Transferee status. It is a category created to encourage and assist companies that exist both in the U.S. and abroad to work freely and smoothly with each other. Our economy needs it. The global economy needs it. Our laws sanction and provide for it. Sadly, those are the laws that are not being enforced.

Friday I had to tell a company with 31 subsidiaries on five continents who opened its fourth U.S. major manufacturing facility that the employee it wants to transfer to the U.S. to assist with the development of the new facility, and who has been employed by a subsidiary outside of the U.S. since 1962, doesn’t, in the eyes of our government, possess specialized knowledge about the company.

The company doesn’t understand why the press releases, newspaper articles, company letters, and performance evaluations we submitted did not show that it was more likely than not that the employee had specialized knowledge about the company. Neither do I.

They don’t understand how the government’s request that we provide and account for every single percent of the employee’s time spent in each of his duties over the past 40 years is what is necessary to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard. Me either.

They also don’t understand how the company’s audited public annual report, which shows the existence and ownership of the company’s affiliates as well as their financial status doesn’t prove that there is relationship between the companies. Even when there is an additional certification to state that nothing has changed since the filing of the annual report. It’s inconceivable.

Yes, I favor enforcement. Enforcement of the laws that permit people to come here when they are qualified, that encourage the growth of business, that keep families together, that make us the nation who offered to take the tired, sick and hungry. When we enforce the laws that include the need to enforce those that exclude will lessen. Think about it. Give it a shot. Clearly concentrating on enforcing only those that exclude has not solved anything.

by Leslie Holman