The Corner

Mission Impossible

Like Andy, I’m not a “restrictionist”. I believe in efficient, secure legal immigration. But, having been through the system myself, I found this a bit of a jaw-dropper:

Section 601(h) Treatment of Applicants

(1) IN GENERAL –An alien who files application for Z-nonimmigrant status shall, upon submission of any evidence required under paragraphs (f) and (g) and after the Secretary has conducted appropriate background checks, to include name and fingerprint checks, that have not by the end of the next business day produced information rendering the applicant ineligible

(A) be granted probationary benefits in the form of employment authorization pending final adjudication of the alien’s application;

B) may in the Secretary’s discretion receive advance permission to re-enter the United States pursuant to existing regulations governing advance parole;

(C) may not be detained for immigration purposes, determined inadmissible or deportable, or removed pending final adjudication of the alien’s application, unless the alient is determined to be ineligible for Z nonimmigration status; and

(D) may not be considered an unauthorized alien (as defined in Section 274A(h)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1324a(h)(3))) unless employment authorization under subparagraph (A) is denied. 

Is that This-background-check-will-self-destruct-in-24-hours clause for real? If the entire “undocumented” population of, say, Falls Church, Virginia wanders into the local immigration office at 4pm on Monday, the clerks have got till 5pm on Tuesday to find anything on the guys or they’ve got no choice but to issue the Z visa? For the agency that takes the best part of a decade to process nanny applications and which sent Mohammed Atta his visa six months after he’d died, this is, to say the least, a massive cultural change.

If the 24-hour dry-cleaner standard were to be mandated for every government agency, I might reconsider my position. But it seems curious, to put it at its mildest, that only the lucky members of the Undocumented-American community will get to enjoy the benefits of express service from the US government.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.