Hello everybody. This is Cyrus Mehta. Welcome to this week's edition of immigration matters.
The Indian community is extremely distressed about "Operation Seek and Keep", so named by the INS, that busted the largest known international smuggling ring that brought immigrant workers from abroad, notably India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria, at the behest of employers who sought cheap labor. In all, 31 people were indicted. The INS said the operation might have brought into the U.S. over 12,000 illegal immigrants in three years at a cost to employers of up to $28,000 each.
Obviously, human smuggling actively deserves the strongest possible condemnation. However, the alleged wrong doings of a few should not stereotype the entire India community. Furthermore, these are just initial statements that have come from the INS. No trials have been conducted to actively verify whether Indian businesses paid $28,000 to employ a smuggled worker. Many Indian community leaders have expressed surprise that a business person would pay $28,000 to employ a smuggled person when it would be for cheaper and easier to employ a person in the U.S. local market itself.
Smuggling also does not help the immigrant who is brought into the U.S. After the Immigration Act of 1996, a person who surreptiously crosses the border cannot apply for any form of immigration benefit in the U.S. even if he or she were to marry a U.S. citizen. And if is smuggled person were to leave the country to apply for an immigration benefit overseas, he or she may be barred for ten years. If only potential immigrants knew this they would not pay enormous sums to smugglers.
On another note, December 10, 1998, marked the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Actress Vanessa Redgrave organized a splendid program at the United Nations in New York where she invited survivors of the Holocaust, celebrated asylees such as Fauzija Kassindja whose asylum case received widespread media attention in the U.S. Also present were celebrities such as Bianca Jagger, Tim Robinson, Mia Farrow and Edward Said. I too was there. We made brief presentation on our personal thoughts and feelings about the right to asylum.
It is important to have such events to focus on the deficiencies in asylum system around the world. Fifty years ago the nations of the world adopted the UN Declaration of Human Rights to prevent similar atrocities in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Many victims of the Holocaust could have been saved if other countries had accepted them as refugees. Unfortunately, gross human rights violations have continued to occur even till the present day and asylum in most countries remain arduously difficult to obtain, even for the most genuine of refugees. Events such as the one organized by Ms. Redgrave, even if symbolic in nature, help us to focus attention on the right to asylum and the obligation of countries to honor international legal treaties protecting refugees.
I hope you found this segment informative and helpful. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Cyrus D. Mehta at 212-686-1581. The number once again is 212-686-1581. You could also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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This is Cyrus Mehta wishing you a wonderful weekend. See you again in two weeks.