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February 1997, Volume 4, Number 2

INS: Enforcement and Asylum

Under Operation Jobs, the INS is seeking to open up jobs for US workers by persuading employers to recruit legal replacement workers before the illegal workers are removed. After legal workers are ready to go to work, the INS removes the illegal workers.

The INS also plans to expand its cooperation with welfare offices in California and other immigrant states by notifying them of job openings after raids in which illegal workers were detected and removed. The INS already notifies Virginia and Florida welfare offices when it removes illegal aliens.

Many of those removed, however, soon return. For example, on December 10, 1996, the INS apprehended 78 illegal immigrants earning about $6 an hour from Deffenbaugh Industries, Omaha, Nebraska's trash hauler. The workers received their final paychecks before 70 of them returned to Mexico on December 12.

On December 13, nine of the workers came back illegally across the border at Douglas, Arizona after paying a smuggler $700 each, raised in part by the workers' families who remained in Omaha. By December 19, 1996, the nine were back in Omaha. Some observers estimate that half of those apprehended at work and returned by the INS to Mexico soon return.

In a raid on Media Copy, a Bay Area firm with 1,000 employees that duplicates videotapes for Blockbuster and other outlets, the INS on January 7, 1997 apprehended 99 aliens. They earned an average of $14,000 a year. Most used false documents to obtain jobs.

In Waterloo, Iowa, meat packer IBP recruited 47 Bosnians from the Chicago area to replace illegal Hispanic workers who were removed by the INS. IBP paid the Bosnians' bus fare to Iowa, arranged housing and paid the first month's rent and the first week's transportation to work.

The INS on January 28, 1997 issued new employment authorization document cards (Form I-766) to aliens that both establish identity and work eligibility with high-resolution photographs and holograms that are more counterfeit resistant than the old cards. The INS issues temporary work permits to 700,000 aliens each year.

Asylum. Beginning April 1, 1997, the INS may summarily exclude applicants for asylum from the US if they cannot show a "credible fear of persecution" in their country of origin. Applicants can appeal their exclusion to a trained INS staffer, but not, as previously, to a court of law. A decision must be made within seven days.

An Islamic militant elected to the Algerian Legislature in 1991, but not seated when the military annulled the election, was detained by the INS in December 1996 after his parole expired. The Algerian was expelled from France in 1992, came to the US on a tourist visa and applied for asylum. His application for asylum in the US was denied in October, 1996.

Two Chinese men who were on the ship Golden Venture that ran aground in New York June 6, 1993 with 286 Chinese attempting to enter the US were released from detention under section 601 of the new immigration law, which permits up to 1,000 foreigners per year to receive asylum in the US on the basis of justified fear of forced abortion or involuntary sterilization.

The INS is reviewing the remaining cases to determine which refugees should be paroled while their cases are reconsidered. The INS reports that of the Golden Venture passengers released on bond, 70 percent have failed to show up for court hearings.

According to a report in the New York Times, one third of the 286 have been released or resettled in Latin American countries, 99 were sent back to China and 55 have remained in detention since 1993.

Some 4,000 Chinese have been apprehended trying to enter the US from boats in the 1990s.

In the nine months after the INS changed its policy in 1995 and refused to grant work permits to asylum seekers during their first six months in the US, the number of asylum applicants dropped from 90,000 to 43,000.

The INS mistakenly closed down a post office box that Central Americans were supposed to contact to report their current addresses in August 1996, so that, as notices to appear for hearings on applications for asylum are mailed, some applicants may not get them, and thus be denied asylum. The United States settled the ABC lawsuit in 1990, granting temporary protected status to some 236,000 Salvadorans and Guatemalans whose must in 1997 receive asylum or return home.

Implementation. Many of the provisions of the new immigration law become effective on April 1, 1997 as, for example, the ability of the INS to summarily exclude or return aliens who arrive in the US without documents.

Also effective on that date, is a rule that foreigners who overstay their visas and remain in the US for six to 12 months in an illegal status are barred from the US for three years. Those who overstay for a year or more are barred from the US for 10 years. After April 1, 1997, aliens must have been in the US illegally for 10 years, up from seven years, and prove that their deportation would cause an "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship" before they qualify for permission to remain in the US.

Beginning October 1, 1997, the US government must establish a "specific intent to discriminate" to show that the employer unlawfully discriminated on the basis of immigration status in hiring.

The INS has made the I-9 form available on the Internet at http://www.doj.gov/ins />

Celia Dugger, "Dozens of Chinese From 1993 Voyage Still in Jail," New York Times, February 3, 1997. Wes Allison, "Change in Law, Hope for Freedom," Richmond Times Dispatch, January 19, 1997. Cindy Gonzalez, "Arrests move immigrants like a yo-yo," Omaha World Herald, January 5, 1997.