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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 1970

    Lawyers also polarized on immigration reform ... 334122.htm

    Lawyers also polarized on immigration reform
    Charlotte Observer
    As the general attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in the late 80s, Steve Hader saw up close the kind of chaos immigration reform can trigger.

    Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 -- the last time the nation tinkered with immigration policy. That act imposed penalties against employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. It also granted certain illegal immigrants legal residency, provided they could prove they'd been here since 1982.

    Hader headed the employer sanctions program in New York, and was soon prosecuting companies with illegal immigrants on the payroll. He also saw a ramp-up of fly-by-night operations that sold letters from employers, utilities receipts and other forged documents purporting to show longtime residency.

    A bill currently stalled in the Senate grants amnesty-like provisions. If it passes, Hader predicts the already booming bogus-document business will skyrocket, and "immigrants will pay a lot of money for fraudulent service."

    Last week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service warned the public that no temporary-worker program exists for undocumented immigrants. People "should not pay any fees or fines to any person or organization claiming they can help apply for or receive benefits for a temporary worker program," the warning said.

    Hader is a lawyer at Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte. He handles A-list corporate clientele -- including British soccer superstar David Beckham, who told ESPN on Tuesday he's considering living in the United States.

    Hader doesn't really have a stake in the proposed legislation, which primarily targets those jumping the border and illegal immigrants who are already in the U.S.

    "But if I'm a betting man," he said, "there'll be no legislation before (this year's) elections."

    Other local immigration lawyers, however, say proposed measures could lift undocumented immigrants from an underground economy and help them achieve cultural assimilation.

    Differing opinions among legal minds reflect the polarizing nature of the immigration debate, which recently has spurred hundreds of thousands to protest against laws that would criminalize undocumented immigrants.

    A bill passed in the House would make being in the country illegally a felony, rather than a civil offense. It also calls for a "digital" fence of cameras strung along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

    A proposed Senate bill would provide a direct path to citizenship for those here five years or more, and a more complicated track for those here between two and five years. Immigrants here less than two years would have to leave the country or risk deportation.

    If the Senate bill becomes law, "We'd be busier because we'd be able to assist employers" hire immigrants, said Alan Gordon, a Charlotte lawyer who has practiced immigration law for 28 years.

    Gordon is past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, past chairman of the N.C. State Bar Committee on Immigration Specialization and chairman of a local immigration study commission.

    He said there's a five-year delay for employer-sponsored work visas. Gordon also noted that many undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens fear engaging the system to obtain citizenship. It often involves returning to their country of origin and applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate. Because they entered the United States illegally, they face a 10-year waiting penalty.

    If the Senate passes its bill, "I think it would be the first time in many years immigration lawyers would feel happy and proud," Gordon said. "We see people every day and have to explain to them how the present law does not allow them to become legal."

    Cynthia Aziz has been an immigration lawyer in Charlotte since 1988. Like the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, she's in a holding pattern, waiting to see what, if any, new immigration law comes to pass.

    She hopes Congress passes a comprehensive bill, one that address holes along the border, as well as "breathes new life to once hopeless" immigrant cases.

    However, Aziz also fears that reform could ignite exploitation.

    "There will be non-lawyers and untrained professionals using it as an opportunity to prey on people and make money," she said. Immigrants, she said are "a very vulnerable population."

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    The see plenty of work but can't figure out how they will get paid. Enforce immigration laws!

  3. #3
    Senior Member CountFloyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Occupied Territories, Alta Mexico
    If the Senate passes its bill, "I think it would be the first time in many years immigration lawyers would feel happy and proud," Gordon said. "
    Well, we must pass it then. What could be more important to the country than happy proud lawyers?
    It's like hell vomited and the Bush administration appeared.

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