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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    2 Ariz cases show tangled mess US immigration law has become

    2 Ariz. cases show 'tangled mess' U.S. immigration law has become

    Dennis Wagner and Susan Carroll
    The Arizona Republic
    Jul. 21, 2005 12:00 AM

    A pair of controversies involving Arizona children have focused a spotlight on the vagaries of U.S. law when it comes to undocumented immigrants.

    In one case, a Mexican woman will be allowed to remain in the United States after her children were kidnapped and other members of her family were murdered. Isabel Acosta of Queen Creek, who authorities say is undocumented, is expected to be a crucial witness in the prosecution of her ex-boyfriend, Rodrigo Cervantes Zavala.

    In the other case, four Phoenix students who were brought to the United States as toddlers face deportation because they have neither citizenship nor visas. Oscar Corona, Jaime Damian, Yuliana Huicochea and Luis Nava, all graduates of Wilson Charter High School, consider the United States their home and have pleaded to remain here. They could find out their fate today at an immigration hearing in Phoenix.

    Although the dramas have become intertwined on talk-radio, immigration experts stress that, legally speaking, they have little in common.

    "The two cases are very different," said Tim Counts, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Valley lawyer Marianne Gonko of Friendly House says the only common denominator is that the U.S. immigration system comprises a bewildering maze of statutes, regulations, politics and bureaucracy.

    "So many of the laws are counterintuitive, you get the opposite of what you'd think," added Gonko, who represents the "Wilson Four." "It doesn't make sense, and the regulations are a tangled mess."

    Chris Brelje, a Valley immigration lawyer, agreed. "There are rules that may have been well-intentioned at the time they were put in place. (But) they paint with a broad brush. I want to think it's a matter of unintended consequences."

    Brelje said that U.S. immigration statutes cover hundreds of pages, backed by even more complex regulations and policies. He said measures that seem to make sense often have cruel consequences when applied to real people.

    But Counts said the law is clear in both cases: Acosta received a "public interest parole" because her testimony may be instrumental in obtaining justice in a murder-kidnapping case.

    The Wilson Four face removal because "they are in the country illegally," Counts said. "The (immigration) judge makes the decision about whether the individuals can stay or must leave."

    The mother

    So far, Acosta has not been granted official residency. Counts stressed that her parole "does not lead toward any legal status."

    "This is for a specific purpose only, and that is to be available to investigators," he said.

    Beyond a temporary reprieve, Acosta's options for staying in the United States are murky. To date, she has not applied to the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services for any special visas.

    The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 created a new visa category, called the U visa, designed to encourage non-citizen crime victims who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse to cooperate with government officials and aid with prosecution. The visas offer a possible path to legal residency after three years.

    U visas are issued only on an interim basis and have specific restrictions that could make a case for Acosta "a bit of a stretch," said Maurice Goldman, a Tucson-based immigration lawyer.

    Normally, after a court case like the one involving Cervantes Zavala concludes, the undocumented witnesses or victims return to their home countries, Goldman said.

    "The government will use people for what they need and say 'You go on, now,' " he said.

    However, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he intends to ask the federal government to provide long-term status to Acosta, assuming she helps prosecutors.

    In pursuing the case, deputies accompanied Acosta to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, this week so she could retrieve her 3-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son, who were abducted.

    An Associated Press report quoted the mother as saying, "I didn't think I'd see them again, but now they're with me. I am so proud of my country. What the authorities of the United States couldn't do, they succeeded in doing here. This is my Mexico!"

    Arpaio complained that some critics on talk radio, outraged by that statement, have accused him of smuggling an undocumented immigrant back across the border, an allegation he discounts as ludicrous.

    "I take heat when I go to the toilet, so it doesn't matter," Arpaio said. "But our mission was to solve this murder, and I wanted those two kids back. They're citizens of the United States."

    If all else fails, Acosta will have another legal option available in 18 years: Because her children are citizens, they will be able to petition the government in their mother's behalf for legal residency, but not until they are age 21.

    The students

    While Acosta gets at least a temporary stay in the United States, the Wilson students' removal seems likely.

    All four are scheduled to appear before a judge today, seeking a delay. If that fails, they will be given a choice: Leave the country voluntarily or be deported to Mexico.

    Gonko said ICE could grant a "deferred action," allowing the youth adults to stay indefinitely in the United States. She has asked for compassion based on the students' time in this country, family ties here and their good moral character. But she said she sees little hope.

    Goldman said federal authorities probably believe leniency in the Arizona case would open "a can of worms" nationwide because thousands of immigrants have been brought to the United States by their parents over the years.

    "I think their fear is that if they do it for one person, then everyone will come running," he explained. "I think they're afraid to start a policy, and it will get out of control, in their minds.

    "It's really a shame these four students wound up in the situation they're in. They didn't do anything wrong. They were brought here and through no fault of their own are in a horrible situation."

    The Wilson Four case is especially sensitive because some of the young people cannot even recall their homeland, and all have grown up with the U.S. culture and language.

    Gonko said immigrant children in these circumstances represent the "most egregious" injustice in a flawed system.

    "A lot of families are split because of the weird laws," she said. "Maybe the government can't open the doors completely, but certain rules could be remedied."

    Congress has resisted a proposed measure, known as the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), that would allow undocumented immigrants who graduated from U.S. high schools to seek legal status if they were brought to the United States by parents at least five years earlier.

    The measure, first drafted in 2001, has failed to garner enough support because critics say it would create a new incentive for undocumented immigrants and their children to enter the United States.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    There is no tangled mess.

    The problem is our immigration laws are NOT BEING ENFORCED! Enforce immigration laws!

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