March 27, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
We represent the Arizona Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Based on a survey that we took prior to coming to Washington to meet with you, we’ve been able to identify the 5 main issues our members would like us to address:
1) The Dream Act Children are absolutely the most immediate concern;
2) The so-called permanent bar due to unlawful presence - specifically in combination with people who are eligible to adjust their status under INA 245(i);
3) The unjustifiably high standard of “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” in cancellation of removal makes it almost impossible for Immigration Judges to grant relief to people who would otherwise be eligible for relief – they do meet the ten year requirement, have no criminal record and do have US citizen children, spouses or parents;
4) The inexplicable unexpected difficulty of obtaining non-immigrant visas for US employers on behalf of their employees is creating serious problems for US employers and has a direct effect on economic expansion. The denial rate for H-1B and L-1 visa applications has shot up without having the government providing any reason for this;
5) Detention of non-criminal aliens, specifically asylum seekers (who are held without eligibility for bond) is unjust, unnecessary and an increasing burden on tax payers. Detention conditions, access to attorneys and medical assistance are deplorable in all centers, specifically in privately run facilities (CCA) and county jails.
The Arizona Republic reported on March 24, 2012 that the undocumented population in Arizona had shrunk by 200,000. Even though some may claim that this shows the success of tough enforcement, this number actually reflects only two things: fear and lack of opportunity. We believe that these principles cannot be the leadership that you would be proud of. This becomes a race to the bottom and will result in further economic troubles for the State. We hope that you join us in providing leadership based on creativity, inclusion and imagination.