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Thread: 2nd Chance at Amnesty to End Soon

  1. #1
    2nd Chance at Amnesty to End Soon
    Thousands of illegal immigrants who applied under a 1986 program and were disqualified on a technicality have until Saturday to reapply.
    By Anna Gorman
    Times Staff Writer

    December 26, 2005

    Almost 20 years have passed since Congress approved an amnesty for nearly 3 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, but for perhaps as many as 100,000 undocumented residents, the door is still open.

    It closes Saturday.

    With the final deadline approaching, lawyers are reaching out to those immigrants who may still be eligible for green cards under the 1986 amnesty program.

    They are people like Valentin Badillo, a San Gabriel Valley resident who crossed the U.S. border illegally in 1980. After the amnesty took effect, Badillo applied, but a trip he'd made back to Mexico to visit his ill father disqualified him.

    Under the rules in force at the time, people who left the country between 1982 and 1987, even for brief trips, were rejected for the amnesty. But as a result of a legal settlement in two class-action lawsuits, that changed. Now, people such as Badillo have until Dec. 31 to reapply for legal residency.

    Without immigration papers, Badillo said, he has had to work under the table " often for meager wages " as a construction worker, janitor and factory employee.

    But after 25 years, the 64-year-old Badillo said he is optimistic that he may finally become legal.

    "Esperanza muere al ultimo," he said, which is similar to the English saying "Hope springs eternal."

    Groups that work against illegal immigration see the new deadline as yet more evidence of the weakness of U.S. immigration laws.

    "That's the reason we have large-scale illegal immigration: because we send a clear message that there are no negative consequences to breaking our immigration laws," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "And if you persevere long enough, you are going to get what you want."

    The fact that immigrants can still apply for legal residency under the 1986 law should discourage legislators from passing a new amnesty or guest worker program, he said, adding that "we'll be litigating this one into the 22nd century."

    But advocates for immigrant rights call the new deadline a measure of justice for longtime U.S. residents.

    "This is the last chance to end their underground lives," said Peter Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. "This is not going to happen again probably in our lifetime."

    The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act resulted in roughly 2.7 million undocumented immigrants becoming legal permanent residents. About 250,000 applications were rejected on the grounds that the applicants had temporarily left the U.S. during the designated grace period and had not lived here continuously.

    But a group of undocumented immigrants filed suit, successfully challenging the disqualifications. The government filed numerous appeals and the case dragged on for years, finally settling last year. Beginning in May 2004 the immigrants were allowed to apply for legal-resident status.

    To be eligible, applicants must submit proof that they were in the country from 1982 through 1987, that they traveled out of the country during that time and that they tried to apply for amnesty. The evidence could include school or medical records, rent receipts and tax returns. Because most immigrants do not keep a paper trail dating back more than two decades, they also can submit declarations from friends and family members to bolster their cases.

    Some whose applications were rejected in the 1980s have died or returned to their native countries. Others became permanent residents through family members or other means. A law passed in 2000, the Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act, provided an alternate way to apply for permanent resident status while the litigation continued. About 100,000 immigrants applied, but most of those cases are still pending.

    Schey and other immigration lawyers believe nearly half the original number of applicants may still be eligible. So far, roughly 60,000 people already have, primarily from Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and New York, according to Bill Strassberger, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agency suspects that many applications may be fraudulent. But Schey believes between 40,000 and 50,000 may be valid.

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will notify applicants on the outcomes of their cases next year. Those who do qualify for legal resident status can later apply to become U.S. citizens. Applicants will not face deportation or arrest based on their applications if they are denied " unless there is obvious fraud.

    "If they think they are qualified, they should apply," Strassberger said. "But at the same time, they have to realize that there are penalties for filing for fraudulent benefits."

    Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said she was happy for those who could reapply for legalization. But, she said, "it's very limited" and "has absolutely no bearing on anybody who came after 1982."

    With just days left in the reapplication period, Schey is spreading the word among immigration attorneys and advocates throughout the nation. He is advertising in ethnic media and sending thousands of letters to potential applicants.

    He also is warning them to watch out for con artists attempting to make money from vulnerable immigrants.

    "Whenever there is an opportunity for legalization, these unscrupulous notaries and lawyers ... come out of the woodwork to mislead immigrants," he said.

    Becoming permanent residents would enable the immigrants to legally work and drive. Legalization also would reduce their exploitation by employers and increase cooperation with law enforcement if they are crime victims, Schey said.

    Digna Emerita Hernandez came to the U.S. illegally in 1980 to escape poverty in Honduras and provide her children with more opportunities. But it hasn't been easy, she said. A few years ago, the single mother said, she was arrested by immigration authorities but never showed up in court because she didn't want to risk being deported and separated from her children.

    "In reality, I didn't think I was going to encounter as many difficulties as I have," said Hernandez, 51. The possibility of legalization after so many years, she said, is like someone offering a "piece of gold."

    Another applicant, Catalina Herrera, 27, was a toddler when she arrived from Puebla, Mexico. Herrera said her family moved constantly because they feared deportation. They also shared homes with other families to save money. Though she received a work permit through the 2000 Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act, Herrera said she should already be a U.S. citizen.

    "This is the last opportunity that we have," she said. "It's been a long struggle and it's finally going to be over " hopefully."

  2. #2
    2nd Chance at Amnesty to End Soon
    Thousands of illegal immigrants who applied under a 1986 program and were disqualified on a technicality have until Saturday to reapply.
    By Anna Gorman
    Times Staff Writer

    December 26, 2005

    Almost 20 years have passed since Congress approved an amnesty for nearly 3 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, but for perhaps as many as 100,000 undocumented residents, the door is still open.

    It closes Saturday.

    With the final deadline approaching, lawyers are reaching out to those immigrants who may still be eligible for green cards under the 1986 amnesty program.

    They are people like Valentin Badillo, a San Gabriel Valley resident who crossed the U.S. border illegally in 1980. After the amnesty took effect, Badillo applied, but a trip he'd made back to Mexico to visit his ill father disqualified him.

    Under the rules in force at the time, people who left the country between 1982 and 1987, even for brief trips, were rejected for the amnesty. But as a result of a legal settlement in two class-action lawsuits, that changed. Now, people such as Badillo have until Dec. 31 to reapply for legal residency.

    Without immigration papers, Badillo said, he has had to work under the table " often for meager wages " as a construction worker, janitor and factory employee.

    But after 25 years, the 64-year-old Badillo said he is optimistic that he may finally become legal.

    "Esperanza muere al ultimo," he said, which is similar to the English saying "Hope springs eternal."

    Groups that work against illegal immigration see the new deadline as yet more evidence of the weakness of U.S. immigration laws.

    "That's the reason we have large-scale illegal immigration: because we send a clear message that there are no negative consequences to breaking our immigration laws," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. "And if you persevere long enough, you are going to get what you want."

    The fact that immigrants can still apply for legal residency under the 1986 law should discourage legislators from passing a new amnesty or guest worker program, he said, adding that "we'll be litigating this one into the 22nd century."

    But advocates for immigrant rights call the new deadline a measure of justice for longtime U.S. residents.

    "This is the last chance to end their underground lives," said Peter Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. "This is not going to happen again probably in our lifetime."

    The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act resulted in roughly 2.7 million undocumented immigrants becoming legal permanent residents. About 250,000 applications were rejected on the grounds that the applicants had temporarily left the U.S. during the designated grace period and had not lived here continuously.

    But a group of undocumented immigrants filed suit, successfully challenging the disqualifications. The government filed numerous appeals and the case dragged on for years, finally settling last year. Beginning in May 2004 the immigrants were allowed to apply for legal-resident status.

    To be eligible, applicants must submit proof that they were in the country from 1982 through 1987, that they traveled out of the country during that time and that they tried to apply for amnesty. The evidence could include school or medical records, rent receipts and tax returns. Because most immigrants do not keep a paper trail dating back more than two decades, they also can submit declarations from friends and family members to bolster their cases.

    Some whose applications were rejected in the 1980s have died or returned to their native countries. Others became permanent residents through family members or other means. A law passed in 2000, the Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act, provided an alternate way to apply for permanent resident status while the litigation continued. About 100,000 immigrants applied, but most of those cases are still pending.

    Schey and other immigration lawyers believe nearly half the original number of applicants may still be eligible. So far, roughly 60,000 people already have, primarily from Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and New York, according to Bill Strassberger, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agency suspects that many applications may be fraudulent. But Schey believes between 40,000 and 50,000 may be valid.

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will notify applicants on the outcomes of their cases next year. Those who do qualify for legal resident status can later apply to become U.S. citizens. Applicants will not face deportation or arrest based on their applications if they are denied " unless there is obvious fraud.

    "If they think they are qualified, they should apply," Strassberger said. "But at the same time, they have to realize that there are penalties for filing for fraudulent benefits."

    Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said she was happy for those who could reapply for legalization. But, she said, "it's very limited" and "has absolutely no bearing on anybody who came after 1982."

    With just days left in the reapplication period, Schey is spreading the word among immigration attorneys and advocates throughout the nation. He is advertising in ethnic media and sending thousands of letters to potential applicants.

    He also is warning them to watch out for con artists attempting to make money from vulnerable immigrants.

    "Whenever there is an opportunity for legalization, these unscrupulous notaries and lawyers ... come out of the woodwork to mislead immigrants," he said.

    Becoming permanent residents would enable the immigrants to legally work and drive. Legalization also would reduce their exploitation by employers and increase cooperation with law enforcement if they are crime victims, Schey said.

    Digna Emerita Hernandez came to the U.S. illegally in 1980 to escape poverty in Honduras and provide her children with more opportunities. But it hasn't been easy, she said. A few years ago, the single mother said, she was arrested by immigration authorities but never showed up in court because she didn't want to risk being deported and separated from her children.

    "In reality, I didn't think I was going to encounter as many difficulties as I have," said Hernandez, 51. The possibility of legalization after so many years, she said, is like someone offering a "piece of gold."

    Another applicant, Catalina Herrera, 27, was a toddler when she arrived from Puebla, Mexico. Herrera said her family moved constantly because they feared deportation. They also shared homes with other families to save money. Though she received a work permit through the 2000 Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act, Herrera said she should already be a U.S. citizen.

    "This is the last opportunity that we have," she said. "It's been a long struggle and it's finally going to be over " hopefully."

  3. #3
    ...and President Bush wants ANOTHER "temporary" amnesty for illegal alien law breakers?

    Did everyone see that? TWENTY YEARS after the original amnesty took effect, that nonsense is still not resolved.

  4. #4
    President just want a temporary guest worker program.German has the guest worker after the WWII.Their kids not German Citizen. I think the same way in USA 11 million undocumnetd workers can be regularize.US economy need them cuz in 2010 baby boomers gonna retire and US economy will need 165 million workers in 2015.But US will have only 152 million.So u need them.Its demand and supply theory.

  5. #5
    As the German experience proves, there is no such thing as a "temporary guest worker program." Twenty years ago, America had a "one-time" amnesty program for illegal aliens...that has still not been brought to a conclusion. Now, the American people are being told that they need another amnesty...while the original one is still ongoing!!

    Is it any wonder that there is massive opposition to amnesty from the American people?

  6. #6
    I don't think it is the massive people against the Amenesty probably 10-15% and thier voice is very loud.Thats it.U can deport all undocumneted workers. But US economy will need 165 million workers in 2015 where do u get them.So why don't u regularize those who are here.Honest working good people.If u deport them its gonna tear apart family and actually its not feasible to deport 11 million people. Its gonna cost probably billions.These guys are here so long and build US economy with their blood and labor.So think wise.

  7. #7
    If these 11 million people are deported and have a strong desire to return and live in the USA legally, let them petition to do so. During their stay they should have learned the language well enough to read the rules and complete the necessary paperwork. Hopefully, they will have also put aside some money while living the American dream to pay the necessary processing fees. If US needs 165 million workers in 2015 I am sure we will be able to get that many through legal immigration.

  8. #8
    Dear ILW Discussion Board members:

    My wife and I are illegal aliens in the US. We were originally from India and we entered the US in 1976 on student visas. We violated our student visas because we started working in an Inidan restaurant from the get go. Neither of us carried a full course load. We briefly left the US in 1982 to visit our families in India and we came back on tourist visas and we've never left. We both stayed and worked illegally. We now have our very own Indian restaurant and Indian grocery store.

    We have three boys who are US citizens. They are 10, 7, and 5 years old. They are very American and they don't speak with an Indian accent like us. They don't know that we are illegal aliens.

    We applied for the late amnesty (I-687) last year and we got our interview in August 2005. We still haven't heard anything yet.

    My brother passed away a few months ago and I couldn't go back to India to attend his funeral.

    My parents are very old now and I haven't seen them for 23 years and counting.

    My wife's mother and her brother passed away two years ago and she couldn't go back to their funerals.

    We are always very sad this time of the year. We were very sad on Thanksgiving and now it's Christmas and New Year's and we're very sad again. It's been 23 years now since we lived here. Our parents are so old and we might never see them again. They're too frail to travel to the US.

    We hope to hear from CIS soon on the status of our I-687. We hope it will be good news.

    We were thinking of traveling under Advance Parole but our attorney discouraged us from doing us. We might never be able to get back into the US if our application were denied while we're in India. We have built our lives here for the past 30 years.

    We pray for good news everyday. Please pray for us. Amen.

    We learned our lesson. We will never ever be illegal aliens again. What's happening to us now is self-inflicted and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

  9. #9
    Someone12
    Guest
    oh boo hoo boo hoo....nobody is interested in helping two more illegal visa cheats. Pack your bags and leave. I hope DHS visits your fly-infested restaurant soon and deports your sorry a$$es.

  10. #10
    Legalize them all - all the 11 millions of hard working people. The undocumented deserved it..

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