Juan Mann's Frequently Asked Questions About Immigration and the Law

[VDARE.com note: Thanks to the efforts of immigrationist advocacy groups, the immigrationist press, and immigrationist politicians, it's difficult to get a straight answer on what the law is. We've seen Bush administration officials claim that Section 245(i) was not an amnesty for illegals. (It was.) Police officers claiming that "Illegal immigration is not a crime. It is. The English language is twisted in outrageous ways to serve the cause of immigration, as when President Bush called illegals "hardworking citizens who are willing to walk 400 miles of desert in blistering heat to find work." They're not citizens. This FAQ will provide our readers with ammunition if they are writing about or debating the immigration crisis in America.]

  What is an alien?
  What's the difference between legal and illegal aliens?
  What's a green card?
  What's an LPR?
  Can legal or illegal aliens be deported?
  How can someone REPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS or criminal alien residents to the federal government?
  En Espanol -- Cómo denunciar ilegales
  What's the difference between an immigrant and a non-immigrant?
  Would a U.S. citizen ID card help fight illegal immigration?
  What is amnesty?
  Who were the beneficiaries of the 1986 amnesty?
  The federal government has stopped giving amnesty to illegal aliens, right?
  How does the federal government deport aliens?
  How can the EOIR be abolished?
  How can the BIA be abolished?
  What do the immigration judges do?
  How do aliens avoid being deported in Immigration Court?
  Who else could do all the work if the EOIR and the Immigration Court system is abolished?
  What if someone gets deported that wasn't supposed to be deported?
  What is an immigration bond?
  Why is detention, detention, detention so important?
  Where can I learn more about the immigration process?

 

What is an alien?

An alien is "any person not a citizen or national of the United States." This definition comes from Section 1101(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (with amendments by Congress through 2001). Contrary to Marxist diversity-speak, the word alien is not "hate speech." It is defined by United States statute. Aliens can be either legally or illegally in the U.S.

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What's the difference between legal and illegal aliens?

Short answer: a piece of paper. Illegal aliens are foreign nationals who have entered the U.S. without any legal status. The most common ways are by either crossing a land or sea border without being inspected by an immigration officer, or simply by violating the terms of a legal entry document. Legal aliens are entitled to enter and remain in the U.S. as long as they maintain the terms of their status. Legal aliens who have entered the U.S. with various types of non-immigrant visas can become illegal by not obeying the terms of that visa.

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What's a green card?

The "green card" is a Form I-551 card issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This card identifies the alien as a "lawful permanent resident alien" in the United States who is entitled to live and work in the country.

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What's an LPR?

An LPR is a lawful permanent resident alien. An LPR has a legal "green card" and is entitled to live and work in the United States, and to file petitions to bring more alien family members into the United States. According to the INS, a "permanent resident alien" is an alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the United States.

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Can legal or illegal aliens be deported?

Both potentially can be deported. One would think that illegal aliens that never had any status in the U.S. at all could be deported immediately, but that would be too easy. Unless illegal aliens agree to leave the U.S. voluntarily, they fall into the federal litigation bureaucracy of Immigration Court, and may even wind up with a "green card" before the process is over. Legal aliens are subject to deportation if they commit certain crimes classified as "deportable offenses" under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Fortunately, having a "green card" doesn't mean having a free pass for a foreign national to commit crimes in the U.S. Unlike our own citizen criminals, alien criminals are under the threat of deportation because of their actions. But under the way the system is set up now, the United States does not take full advantage of this incredible luxury of bring able to clean house and get rid of all of its foreign criminals. Because once in deportation proceedings, many criminal aliens could actually wind up keeping their LPR status, in spite of long records of criminal activity. Many criminal aliens actually pass through the state and federal criminal justice systems undetected as foreign nationals at all. Unless the INS places these criminal aliens in deportation proceedings, these foreign criminals just walk back into American society after serving time for state or federal crimes.

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How can someone REPORT ILLEGAL ALIENS or criminal alien residents to the federal government?

As illegal immigration continues unchecked in occupied America, the desperation level grows . . . especially among VDARE.COM readers.  The number of emails we get from people trying to report illegal aliens is rising sharply once again. 

Alas, VDARE.COM has no power to deport aliens (yet). But here's our latest update on how to report them:

There is still no government web site for reporting illegal aliens to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division. 

But a concerned citizen can make a report via telephone or in person based on the suggestions I've compiled here: FAQ – Report Illegal Aliens.

There is, of course, still no guarantee that the government will actually do anything with the information. But remember, every report generates some sort of record. And paper trails bother bureaucrats.

A private web site, reportillegals.com, has now appeared charging would-be tipsters for what they could do for free on their own—picking up a telephone and calling (866) DHS-2ICE to "report suspicious activity"—(866) 347-2423.

Opinion is divided about this. It seems to me that complaints filed by a private "reporting service center" will have much less credibility if they are all from the same place, rather than from the actual complaining individual.  The new "reporting service center" may be another novel way of separating people from $10 on the internet. Peter Brimelow is more tolerant and says it could serve a need—after all, who knew we needed $5 cappuccino from Starbucks?

Herewith we again publish our (free!) suggestions for reporting illegal aliens—updated with the most up-to-date information available:

First, read this article [The Struggle To Report Illegal Aliens: A Status Report] for background information.

If there is no U.S. Border Patrol station nearby, your best bet will be contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security by calling (866) DHS-2ICE to "report suspicious activity"—(866) 347-2423. Either make a report there or ask for the number of the nearest ICE field office with an investigations division "duty agent."

A list of phone numbers for former INS district offices that now have ICE investigations divisions has been complied by American Patrol in its report illegals section.

Please do not send illegal alien reports to VDARE.com or its writers, as we can only refer you back to this same information anyhow.

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What's the difference between an "immigrant" and a "non-immigrant?"

An "immigrant" is an alien who is in the United States with lawful permanent resident status. These aliens are entitled to live and work in the U.S. and to file petitions to bring in other alien family members into the U.S. under certain categories. Alien spouses, parents, siblings and children can be brought into the United States through immigrant visa petitions, creating an endless chain of family "chain migration." Aliens can also obtain immigrant status through petitions by their employers.
According to the INS, a "non-immigrant" is "an alien who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. The alien must have a permanent residence abroad (for most classes of admission) and qualify for the nonimmigrant classification sought. The nonimmigrant classifications include: foreign government officials, visitors for business and for pleasure, aliens in transit through the United States, treaty traders and investors, students, international representatives, temporary workers and trainees, representatives of foreign information media, exchange visitors, fiance(e)s of U.S. citizens, intra-company transferees, NATO officials, religious workers, and some others. Most non-immigrants can be accompanied or joined by spouses and unmarried minor (or dependent) children."

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Would a national U.S. citizen identification card help to fight illegal immigration?

Not really. All aliens in the U.S. already are required to carry a passport and visa, or their permanent resident alien card with them at all times. Aliens in the U.S. already have their own "national ID card," but the problem is that no one in law enforcement bothers to check them anyhow! Forcing United States citizens to have a new "citizen ID" is not necessary. Every state in the union already issues their own ID in the form of a driver's license. Until the INS or some other law enforcement agency starts checking aliens for proper documents systematically, there is no need for another form of ID for U.S. citizens.

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What is "amnesty?"

Sections 210 and 245 of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 gave away resident alien status to illegal aliens on a massive scale. The aliens were obliged to "prove" that they were in the United States illegally prior to a certain date, or that they had performed only ninety-days of field work during a certain period … and presto! . . . instant green card! Needless to say that the minimal "proof" required for these applications was an open invitation for fraud. As we know now, the 1986 amnesty programs did nothing to solve the problems of illegal immigration. They were a disaster of enormous proportions, rewarding aliens who had already served notice on American society that they were unwilling to abide by our immigration laws.

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Who were the beneficiaries of the 1986 amnesty?

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, "several hundred thousand amnesty applicants came from a dozen zip codes concentrated in a five mile radius of city hall in Los Angeles, California." This data was part of a prolific report, "Immigration and California Communities, C.I.S. Backgrounder, February 1999 by William A.V. Clark. Southern California has never been the same since. Just ask the folks at American Patrol.

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The federal government stopped giving amnesty to illegal aliens, right?

Wrong. The give-aways never stopped. Keep in mind that every alien who is not rounded up and deported immediately has been granted a de facto amnesty of their own, due to the government's refusal to enforce our immigration laws. But there are also several ways already built into the immigration law where illegal aliens can get green cards through the very process that was supposed to be deporting them in the first place! Here is a sampling of the permanent amnesty of federal immigration bureaucracy:

Cancellation of removal for non-permanent residents
This benefit is another rolling amnesty program which rewards illegal aliens for disobeying the law. Aliens who have lived illegally in this country for ten years and have a U.S citizen or resident alien spouse, parent or child can be rewarded with a green card in EOIR Immigration Court proceedings. Thanks to this perverse incentive of our immigration laws, illegal aliens can benefit from their contempt for our law. If the aliens manage to hide for ten years and procreate, they are home free to get a green card. Only in America.
INA Section 240A(b)(1)

Adjustment of status under Section 245(i)
This is a stealth amnesty program! If someone who is illegally in the United States without current status is NOT immediately deported, this alien is being given the benefit of an amnesty! Section 245(i) allows aliens who have no legal status in the United States to avoid being deported as long as they file a visa petition (through a spouse, parent, child, brother, sister) prior to a certain date. These aliens should have been put on a bus or a plane instead of being given the opportunity to file visa petitions. Unfortunately, Congress has been threatening to extend this benefit to more persons who don't deserve it, waiving the "unlawful presence" grounds of the immigration law. These aliens, by definition, have already shown that they are not willing to abide by the immigration laws of the United States. Section 245(i) beneficiaries have actually cut in line ahead of the thousands of visa beneficiaries who lawfully waited their turn outside of the country until a visa number becomes available. Instead, the 245(i) crowd violated our laws, and now can benefit from their misdeeds.

Registry
This benefit is yet another stealth "amnesty" for aliens who didn't bother to apply for the 1986 amnesty give-aways. Aliens who have been in the United States since 1972 can get a green card through registry.
INA Section 249

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How does the federal government deport aliens?

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) are separate agencies within the Department of Justice (DOJ). Both are responsible for the removal of illegal aliens and criminal aliens residents from the United States. The INS has the responsibility of apprehending and bringing immigration charges against aliens. The EOIR consists of the nationwide United States Immigration Court system and its appellate component, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in Falls Church, Virginia. In Immigration Court proceedings, the INS plays the role of the prosecuting agency, while the Immigration Judges of the EOIR play the role of judge. Cases are appealed to the eighteen-member BIA, and then to the federal circuit courts of appeal. The process of seeing one illegal alien or criminal resident alien through Immigration Court hearings and the two-stage appeal process frequently lasts years, prolonging any final decision on deportation. As the EOIR bureaucracy busies itself with this process, the aliens (who were supposedly facing deportation) remain in the United States living their lives. Though the idea behind the hearing and appeal process was apparently for illegal aliens to be given "due process" before being deported, the end result is a system that only prolongs the stay of illegal aliens and criminal alien residents in the United States. This system is broken. It needs to be streamlined in order for the United States to be able to control its immigration. Moving the INS into the newly-created Department of Homeland Security, while the EOIR remains intact in the Department of Justice, does little to eliminate the deportation abyss of federal immigration bureaucracy.

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How can the EOIR be abolished?

It's up to Congress. The Executive Office for Immigration Review, as an agency of the Department of Justice, was created through legislation. Now that Congress already abolished the INS, why not go ahead and scrap the EOIR litigation bureaucracy once and for all?

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How could the BIA be abolished?

It's up to the Attorney General. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) was created as a creature of regulation. The Attorney General could modify the Code of Federal Regulations, 8 C.F.R. Section 3.1 to be exact, and eliminate the redundant appellate component of the EOIR completely. The Attorney General already stopped the BIA's expansion in its tracks in Feburuary, 2002. Why not finish the job, Mr. Ashcroft?

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What do the immigration judges do?

The EOIR's immigration judges nationwide are responsible for determining whether illegal aliens and criminal alien residents are removable from the United States. The country's over 200 EOIR immigration judges earn from $103,840 to $136,476 per year. They preside over EOIR Immigration Court hearings called "removal proceedings" under Section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. But with so many ways available for aliens to avoid actually being removed, these "removal" proceedings really should be called "get to stay" proceedings. Getting aliens to stay in the United States winds up being the primary focus of this bureaucratic exercise. After the INS apprehends the aliens, reviews their immigration status, and serves the alien with a "Notice to Appear" in removal proceedings, the immigration judge reviews the charges again to see if the alien is deportable. The charges are based on the alien committing criminal activity or violating the terms of legal immigration status. If the immigration judge finds that the INS has presented "clear and convincing evidence" that the alien is removable from the United States, the immigration judge will issue an order of removal. But that is just the beginning of a process where the alien wins just by being in it, because of the inherent delay, delay, delay of the system.

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How do aliens avoid being deported in Immigration Court?

If the immigration judge finds that the INS has not met its burden of burden of proof by "clear and convincing evidence," then the case is terminated, and the alien is free to disappear back into the United States. But if the alien is found removable, the alien can apply from a laundry list of relief from removal contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in order to prevent being issued an order of deportation. That's why "removal" proceedings really should be called "get to stay" proceedings. Here's the proof. The laundry list of legal ways that aliens can avoid being ordered deported by the EOIR's Immigration Court (note that any denial of these benefits can be appealed through the BIA and federal courts in order to postpone any actual departure from the United States):

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Who else could do all the work if the EOIR and the Immigration Court system is abolished?

There are thousands of federal government employees around the country and at United States consulates abroad who already perform the same functions as the employees of the EOIR. They already do the same jobs in a fraction of the time, without the ridiculous bureaucratic delay of endless hearings and appeals, and at a fraction of the cost of EOIR's government lawyers in black robes. Here's who is already doing the EOIR's job or could do it better in a heartbeat:

INS District Adjudications Officers (examiners) – adjustment of status, derivative citizenship claims, inadmissibility waivers INS Asylum Officer Corps – political asylum, withholding of removal, U.N. Convention Against Torture INS Special Agents (investigators) – administrative removal, criminal alien apprehension  INS Deportation Officers – administrative removal, criminal alien removal U.S. Border Patrol Agents – administrative removal, Section 235(b) determinations INS Immigration Inspectors – expedited removal, Section 235(b) determinations INS District Directors – waivers, registry, humanitarian parole
INS District Counsels – provide legal advice to determine whether aliens are removable U.S. consular officers abroad – all immigrant and non-immigrant visa processing, political asylum, refugee petitions, U.S. citizenship determinations Relief that should be abolished – all stealth amnesty provisions that reward law-breaking; including Section 245(i) adjustments, and non-permanent resident cancellation of removal under Section 240A(b).

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What happens if someone gets deported who wasn't supposed to be deported?

The bottom line is that deportation is not a criminal sentence for prison time or the death penalty. If the alien was "wrongfully" deported, all the alien would have to do is ask to come back in again! Any foreign national has the potential of showing up at a United States consulate in any country of the world, or showing up at a United States land border at any time to make an application for admission. If the alien claims to be a United States citizen, that claim could be heard. Our immigration inspectors and consular officers make decisions as to who should be admitted to the United States every day of the year. We already trust them to make these determinations. If aliens believe that a mistake was made, all the alien has to do is reapply for admission! It's as simple as that.

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What is an Immigration Bond?

INS District Directors throughout the country set the custody conditions for aliens detained for Immigration Court proceedings. But these decisions are immediately reviewed and second-guessed by EOIR immigration judges throughout the country in Immigration Court. The Immigration Judges can turn around and release just about any alien where the INS sets a bond, except the most serious criminal aliens. The BIA then can review the rulings of their fellow EOIR employees, the immigration judges. After that, the circuit courts of appeal can review the decisions of the BIA, making a federal case out of the detention bond amount for every single alien detained by the INS. With this system in place, it is no wonder that the INS actually detains so few aliens, compared to the staggering amount of illegal aliens and criminal resident aliens in this country. So while the Immigration Court proceedings go on and on, with all the needless delay that EOIR bureaucrats can muster, aliens released from INS custody continue their illegal and criminal presence in this country.

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Why is detention, detention, detention so important?

If the United States actually is going to deport illegal aliens and criminal alien residents, the aliens need to be detained throughout the deportation process. Period. If the aliens are not kept in INS custody, there is no guarantee that the government will ever see them again -- regardless of the outcome of their Immigration Court case. The deportation system of the EOIR is broken. If the INS continues to catch and release aliens as they are entering the country for the first time, the charade of EOIR Immigration Court hearings actually creates new illegal aliens every day. As long as the process is focused on litigation bureaucracy, rather than on detention and deportation, the EOIR process will remain open for business as an institutionalized amnesty machine.

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Where can I learn more about the immigration process and the INS?

The INS' frequently asked questions page.

The INS' glossary of terms.

The INS' secret language of acronyms.

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December 11, 2002