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National Origins Act

National Origins Act


The National Origins Act of 1924
was a component of the Immigration Act of 1924 that established a quota system
for determining how many immigrants could enter the United States, restricted
by country of origin.  Although the quota
system established by this Act has been abolished and other provisions heavily
modified by the Immigration Act of 1965, this Act represents a significant
redesign of the American immigration system for several decades in the mid-20th
century.  The impetus to restrict
immigration picked up steam in 1907 when the Dillingham Commission recommended
restricting immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, noting that
immigration from those countries was “undesirable.”

National Origins Formula

The most important provision of
the National Origins Act was the restrictive immigration quota system.  The first quotas were established three years
earlier, through provisions in the Emergency Quota Act that limited immigration
from any country to 3% the number of residents originating in that country
living in the United States.  This Act
caused immigration to drop by almost 500,000 persons between 1920 and 1922,
primarily Southern and Eastern European immigrants.  Nominal Latin American and African immigration,
and the immigration of professionals however, were not restricted.  The policy was renewed in the Immigration and
Nationality Act of 1952, over presidential veto, before finally coming to an
end in 1965.

Other provisions

The National Origins Act
established a system of consular based immigration, which required immigrants
to have a visa issued by an American consular officer abroad before immigrating
to the United States.  This practice is
still in use today.

No immigrant ineligible to for
citizenship naturalization could immigrate to the US.  Since Asian immigrants were ineligible for
citizenship, this meant, in effect, that no Asians could immigrate to the
US.  Although provisions were made for
family reunification, “picture brides,” which were the primary means for Asian
women to immigrate to the US, was expressly disallowed.  Distinctions between kinds of alien visitors,
such as temporary visitors were also established by this legislation.

In practice

Although there were no racial
restrictions in the National Origins Act of 1924, the nature of the quotas
ensured that limited numbers of certain Europeans and almost no Asians could
enter the United States.  The addition of
the Asian Exclusion Act, which barred Asians from becoming naturalized
citizens, shut the door on meaningful Asian immigration until 1965.  If populations of those immigrants from
undesirable nations were already small, then only a minuscule amount of
additional immigrants from that country could join them.  For example:

There are 1,000 immigrants from China living in the US.  In reality, further Chinese would not be
eligible for immigration due to naturalization laws, but if they were;

The National Origins Act limits additional immigration from all
nations, including China to 2% of the number of Chinese Americans living in the

2% of 1,000 equals 20, which means that only twenty more persons from
China could immigrate to the US.  If
there were additional restrictions on new immigrants, such as literacy tests,
that number may be lower.

Conversely, if there were 150,000
Americans of British descent, 3,000 more immigrants could join them.

This process effectively skewed
the immigration system with the intention of keeping America’s ethnic
distribution consistent.  The provisions
were calculated and amended several times with the quota percentage reduced to
2% and the population numbers from 1890 to be used as a benchmark, restricting
undesirable immigration even further.


1907 – Dillingham Commission determines that immigration should be
restricted to avoid undesirable elements from entering the United States,
leading to the drive to establish limitation on Southern and Eastern European

1921 – The Emergency Quota Act is the first to establish
discriminatory quotas aimed at preserving the ethnic and racial composition of
the United States.  Limitations prevented
newcomers from each country to 3% of that population in the United States
according to numbers in the previous census.

1924 – Immigration Act/National Origins Act lowered the quota
percentage to 2% and added provisions to limit total immigration to 150,000 yearly
by 1927.  Other provisions included using
an earlier census to restrict new immigration by ethnicity even further, allow
family reunifications and reducing the number of unskilled workers.  The United Sates also switched to a
consular-based immigration system that requires immigrants to obtain an
immigration visa from the US Consulate. 
Due to these changes, immigration from Italy fell almost 90% and some
“undesirable” immigrant populations actually decreased.

1927 – Percentage quotas end in favor of a proportional system
based on the United States population that allowed 150,000 immigrants into the
US yearly.  This took effect in 1929.  This was just as restrictive as the previous
system as “undesirable” immigrants were still subject to smaller numbers that
Western and Northern European Immigrants.

1952 – Revised Immigration and Nationality Act continues National
Origins Formula with proportional quotas but removes racial restrictions.  Veto by President Truman overridden by

1965 – The immigration system, as defined by the National Origins
Act, ends and discriminatory quotas are abolished.  Immigration to the United States opened too
all persons from all countries.


Immigration Forms


I-130  Petition for Alien Relative

N-400 Application for Naturalization

I-864 Affidavit of Support Under 213A of the Act

I-134 Affidavit of Support

G-325a Biographic Data Sheet

I-140 Petition for Alien Worker

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

I-131 Application for Travel Document

I-751  Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence



Passport Application Form US Passport Application



I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence

I-90 form  Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card



DS 160 Form Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

DS 156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application



I-94 Arrival and Departure Record


National Origins Act Text

National Origins Act Text


Full Text to National Origins Act


SIXTY EIGHTH CONGRESS. SESS.I. Ch. 185, 190. 1924. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Immigration Act of 1924" Sec. 2. (a) A consular officer upon the application of any immigrant (as defined in section 3) may (under the conditions hereinafter prescribed and subject to the limitations prescribed in this Act or regulations made thereunder as to the number of immigration visas which may be issued by such officer) issue to such immigrant an immigration visa which shall consist of one copy of the application provided for in section 7, visaed by such consular officer. Such visa shall specify (1) the nationality of the immigrant; (2) whether he is a quota immigrant (as defined in section 5) or a non-quota immigrant (as defined in section 4); (3) the date on which the validity of the immigration visa shall expire; and such additional information necessary to the proper enforcement of the immigration laws and the naturalization laws as may be by regulations prescribed. b. The immigrant shall furnish two copies of his photograph to the consular officer. One copy shall be permanently attached by the consular officer to the immigration visa and the other copy shall be disposed of as may be by regulations prescribed. c. The validity of an immigration visa shall expire at the end of such period, specified in the immigration visa, not exceeding four months, as shall be by regulations prescribed. In the case of a immigrant arriving in the United States by water, or arriving by water in foreign contiguous territory on a continuous voyage to the United States, if the vessel, before the expiration of the validity of his immigration visa, departed from the last port outside the United States and outside foreign contiguous territory at which the immigrant embarked, and if the immigrant proceeds on a continuous voyage to the United States, then, regardless of the time of his arrival in the United States, the validity of his immigration visa shall not be considered to have expired. (d) If an immigrant is required by any law, or regulations or orders made pursuant to law, to secure the visa of his passport by a consular officer before being permitted to enter the United States, such immigrant shall not be required to secure any other visa of his passport than the immigration visa issued under this Act, but a record of the number and date of his immigration visa shall be noted on his passport without charge therefor. This subdivision shall not apply to an immigrant who is relieved, under subdivision (b) of section 13, from obtaining an immigration visa. (e) The manifest or list of passengers required by the immigration laws shall contain a place for entering thereon the date, place of issuance, and number of the immigration visa of each immigrant. The immigrant shall surrender his immigration visa to the immigration officer at the port of inspection, who shall at the time of inspection indorse on the immigration visa the date, the port of entry, and the name of the vessel, if any, on which the immigrant arrived. The immigration visa shall be transmitted forthwith by the immigration officer in charge at the port of inspection to the Department of Labor under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Labor. (f) No immigration visa shall be issued to an immigrant if it appears to the consular officer, from statements in the application, or in the papers submitted therewith, that the immigrant is inadmissible to the United States under the immigration laws, nor shall such immigration visa be issued if the application fails to comply with the provisions of this Act, nor shall such immigration visa be issued if the consular officer knows or has reason to believe that the immigrant is inadmissible to the United States under the immigration laws. (g) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to entitle an immigrant, to whom an immigration visa has been issued, to enter the United States, if, upon arrival in the United States, he is found to be inadmissible to the United States under the immigration laws. The substance of this subdivision shall be printed conspicuously upon every immigration visa. (h) A fee of $9 shall be charged for the issuance of each immigration visa, which shall be covered into the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts. DEFINITION OF IMMIGRANT. SEC. 3. When used in this Act the term "immigrant" means an alien departing from any place outside the United States destined for the United States, except (1) a government official, his family, attendants, servants, and employees, (2) an alien visiting the United States temporarily as a tourist or temporarily for business or pleasure, (3) an alien in continuous transit through the United States, (4) an alien lawfully admitted to the United States who later goes in transit from one part of the United States to another through foreign contiguous territory, (5) a bona fide alien seaman serving as such on a vessel arriving at a port of the United States and seeking to enter temporarily the United States solely in the pursuit of his calling as a seaman, and (6) an alien entitled to enter the United States solely to carry on trade under and in pursuance of the provisions of a present existing treaty of commerce and navigation. NON-QUOTA IMMIGRANTS. SEC. 4. When used in this Act the term "non-quota immigrant" means- (a) An immigrant who is the unmarried child under 18 years of age, or the wife, of a citizen of the United States who resides therein at the time of the filing of a petition under section 9; (b) An immigrant previously lawfully admitted to the United States, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad; (c) An immigrant who was born in the Dominion of Canada, Newfoundland, the Republic of Mexico, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Canal Zone, or an independent country of Central or South America, and his wife, and his unmarried children under 18 years of age, if accompanying or following to join him; (d) An immigrant who continuously for at least two years immediately preceding the time of his application for admission to the United States has been, and who seeks to enter the United States solely for the purpose of, carrying on the vocation of minister of any religious denomination, or professor of a college, academy, seminary, or university; and his wife, and his unmarried children under 18 years of age, if accompanying or following to join him; or (e) An immigrant who is a bona fide student at least 15 years of age and who seeks to enter the United States solely for the purpose of study at an accredited school, college, academy, seminary, or university, particularly designated by him and approved by, the Secretary of labor, which shall have agreed to report to the Secretary of Labor the termination of attendance of each immigrant student, and if any such institution of learning fails to make such reports promptly the approval shall be withdrawn. EXCLUSION FROM UNITED STATES. SEC. 13. (a) No immigrant shall be admitted to the United States unless he (1) has an an unexpired immigration visa or was born subsequent to the issuance of the immigration visa of the accompanying parent, (2) is of the nationality specified in the visa in the immigration visa, (3) is a non-quota immigrant if specified in the visa in the immigration visa as such, and (4) is otherwise admissible under the immigration laws. (b) In such classes of cases and under such conditions as may be by regulations prescribed immigrants who have been legally admitted to the United States and who depart therefrom temporarily may be admitted to the United States without being required to obtain an immigration visa. (c) No alien ineligible to citizenship shall be admitted to the United States unless such alien (1) is admissible as a non-quota immigrant under the provisions of subdivision (b), (d), or (e) of section 4, or (2) is the wife, or the unmarried child under 18 years of age, of an immigrant admissible under such subdivision (d), and is accompanying or following to join him, or (3) is not an immigrant as defined in section 3. (d) The Secretary of Labor may admit to the United States any otherwise admissible immigrant not admissible under clause (2) or (3) of subdivision (a) of this section, if satisfied that such inadmissibility was not known to, and could not have been ascertained by the exercise of reasonable diligence by, such immigrant prior to the departure of the vessel from the last port outside the United States and outside foreign contiguous territory or, in the case of an immigrant coming from foreign contiguous territory, prior to the application of the immigrant for admission. (e) No quota immigrant shall be admitted under subdivision (d) if the entire number of immigration visas which may be issued to quota immigrants of the same nationality for the fiscal year already been issued. If such entire number of immigration visas has not been issued, then the Secretary of State, upon the admission of a quota immigrant under subdivision (d), shall reduce by one the number of immigration visas which may be issued to quota immigrants of the same nationality during the fiscal year in which such immigrant is admitted; but if the Secretary of State finds that it will not be practicable to make such reduction before the end of such fiscal year, then such immigrant shall not be admitted. ( f ) Nothing in this section shall authorize the remission or refunding of a fine, liability to which has accrued under section 16. DEPORTATION SEC. 14. Any alien who at any time after entering the United States is found to have been at the time of entry not entitled under this Act to enter the United States, or to have remained therein for a longer time than permitted under this Act or regulations made thereunder, shall be taken into custody and deported in the same manner as provided for in sections 19 and 20 of the Immigration Act of 1917: Provided, That the Secretary of Labor may, under such conditions and restrictions as to support and care as he may deem necessary, permit permanently to remain in the United States, any alien child who, when under sixteen years of age was heretofore temporarily admitted to the United States and who is now within the United States and either of whose parents is a citizen of the United States. MAINTENANCE OF EXEMPT STATUS. SEC. 15. The admission to the United States of an alien excepted from the class of immigrants by clause (2), (3), (4), (5), or (6) of section 3, or declared to be a non-quota immigrant by subdivision (e) of section 4, shall be for such time as may be by regulations prescribed, and under such conditions as may be by regulations prescribed (including, when deemed necessary for the classes mentioned in clauses (2), (3), (4), or (6) of section 3, the giving of bond with sufficient surety, in such sum and containing such conditions as may be by regulations prescribed) to insure that, at the expiration of such time or upon failure to maintain the status under which he was admitted, he will depart from the United States. SEC 28. As used in this Act- (a) The term "United States," when used in a geographical sense, means the States, the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Porto Rico, and the Virgin Islands; and the term "continental United States " means the States and the District of Columbia; (b) The term "alien" includes any individual not a native-born or naturalized citizen of the United States, but this definition shall not be held to include Indians of the United States not taxed, nor citizens of the islands under the jurisdiction of the United States; (c) The term "ineligible to citizenship," when used in reference to any individual, includes an individual who is debarred from becoming a citizen of the United States under section 2169 of the Revised Statutes, or under section 14 of the Act entitled "An Act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese," approved May 6, 1882, or under section 1996, 1997, or 1998 of the Revised Statutes, as amended, or under section 2 of the Act entitled "An Act to authorize the President to increase temporarily the Military Establishment of the United States," approved May 18, 1917, as amended, or under law amendatory of, supplementary to, or in substitution for, any of such sections; (d) The term "immigration visa" means an immigration visa issued by a consular officer under the provisions of this Act; (e) The term "consular officer" means any consular or diplomatic officer of the United States designated, under regulations prescribed under this Act, for the purpose of issuing immigration visas under this Act. In case of the Canal Zone and the insular possessions of the United States the term "consular officer" (except as used in section 24) means an officer designated by the President, or by his authority, for the purpose of issuing immigration visas under this Act; (f) The term "Immigration Act of 1917" means the Act of February 5, 1917, entitled "An Act to regulate the immigration of aliens to, and the residence of aliens in, the United States"; (g) The term "immigration laws" includes such Act, this Act, and all laws, conventions, and treaties of the United States relating to the immigration, exclusion, or expulsion of aliens; (h) The term "person" includes individuals, partnerships, cor porations, and associations; (i) The term "Commissioner General" means the Commissioner General of Immigration; (j)The term "application for admission" has reference to the application for admission to the United States and not to the application for the issuance of the immigration visa; (k) The term " permit " means a permit issued under section 10; (l) The term "unmarried," when used in reference to any as of any time, means an individual who at such time is not married, whether or not previously married; (m) The terms "child," "father," and "mother," do not include child or parent by adoption unless the adoption took place before January 1, 1924; (n) The terms "wife" and "husband" do not include a wife husband by reason of a proxy or picture marriage.


Immigration and Nationality Act

Immigration and Nationality Act



Link to the Full Text





The Immigration and Nationality Act in the United States



The Immigration and Nationality Act, often referred to as the INA, is a federal law and a basic act of immigration law. Prior to the Immigration and Nationality Act, there were a variety of different statutes which governed immigration law but were not consolidated in one location.



The Immigration and Nationality Act is divided into different titles, chapters, and sections. While the Immigration and Nationality Act stands alone as a separate body of law, it is also found in the United States Code.  The different sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act can be found by using its U.S. Code citation, or the INA citation.



Today, the Immigration and Nationality Act governs almost all immigration issues. The Act prohibits employers from hiring undocumented workers knowingly and also requires employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of their employees as stated on the IRS Form I-9. Additionally, the act prohibits job discrimination on the grounds of immigration status. 



The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952



The Immigration and Nationality Act 1952 is also called the McCarran-Walter Act, was the first act which consolidated immigration law into one body.



President Truman was concerned about the Immigration and Nationality Act due to decisions to keep the quota system for national origins and to create quotas for Asian countries based on race. The president vetoed the act because he felt the bill was discriminatory. However, his veto was overridden by Congress with a vote in the House of 278 to 113 and a vote of 57 to 26 in the Senate.



Many of the earlier immigration policies were incorporated into this act. However, there were also many new policy changes including:



Eliminating gender discrimination and racial restrictions.



Readjusting the quota formula used to restrict immigrants from certain countries.



Creating selective immigration to aliens with certain skills and family members of American citizens and alien residents through quota preferences.



Creating a reporting system for United States aliens to report their current residence to the INS annually.



Creating a central index of aliens for use by enforcement and security agencies.



Allowing the government to deport naturalized citizens or immigrants who engaged in subversive activities.



Restricting suspected subversives individuals from entering the United States.



Expanding the United States to include Puerto Rick, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.



Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments of 1965



The Immigration and Nationality Act 1952 Act was amended many times, but the biggest changes were made with the amendments in 1965.



Major amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act included the following:



Eliminating the quota based on national origins as well as the race, ancestry, or national origin as a foundation for United States immigration.



Created a preference for individuals with special occupational training, skills, or abilities as well as for those who were relatives of American citizens or permanent residents.



Established two different categories of individuals (immediate relatives of American citizens and special immigrants) who were not subject to numerical restrictions.



Kept the quota restriction but expanded the limits globally by limiting immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere and for the first time setting a ceiling on immigration from the Western Hemisphere. Neither the 20,000 per-country rule nor the preference categories were applicable to the Western Hemisphere.



Created a prerequisite visa issuance where an alien worker could not replace a worker within the United States nor affect the working conditions or wages adversely of those similarly employed in the United States.



Congress passed this amendment with a 326 to 69 vote in the House and a vote of 76 to 18 in the Senate. The bill was signed into legislation by President Lyndon B. Johnson July 1, 1968.



How the Immigration and Nationality Act Affects Employment



The Immigration and Nationality Act makes it illegal for an employer to hire individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States knowingly. The act also requires employers to look over documents and to confirm the identities and work eligibility of potential employees.  Employers can hire individuals whose documents prove both identity as well as work authorization. Many different combinations of documents are acceptable as long as they all seem to be genuine documents. 



Another policy of the act states that employers must treat all employees and applicants equally, regardless of status. Employers cannot discriminate during the hiring, referring, recruiting, or firing process. They are also not allowed to retaliate against individuals or employees who have participated in an investigation against the employer for discrimination or against those who have filed a charge for discrimination. Immigration-related employment discrimination includes being discriminated based on citizenship status, national origin discrimination, nationality, birth origin, accent, language, or appearance. 



If an employer fails to verify the employment eligibility and identity of his or her employees, the employer is subject to punishment by fine. The United States Congress established the Office of Special Counsel to handle unfair employment practices based on immigration. Specifically, they enforce the policies of the act and also educate the public regarding employment discrimination related to immigration status. 



Since 1987, the Office of Special Counsel has received over 6,000 different charges of discrimination that involve either citizenship status or national origin. Since this time, the agency has also collected nearly $2 million in the form of back pay to compensate those victims of employment discrimination. They have also assessed over $1.3 million for violations of the antidiscrimination provisions of the act through civil penalties. The Office of Special Counsel serves all American citizens, permanent residents, asylees, and refugees. Many of the individuals being serviced are from Asia or Latin America, whether native-born American citizens or newcomers.



Selective Service Act

Selective Service Act



What is the Selective Service Act of 1917?



The Selective Service Act of 1917 set up the system that gives the federal government the power to maintain a database of all male citizens and immigrants between the age of 18 and 25 for possible conscription.  In the event of the reinstitution of a military draft, the Selective Service database will provide the information of men to be conscripted. 



Why do I register for the Selective Service?



Regardless of political views or personal philosophy, registration with the Selective Service is mandatory 30 days after a male citizen or immigrant turns 18.  Failure to register with the Selective Service will disqualify the individual from receiving federal aid, such as student loans and grants.  Additionally those that do not register with the selective service are not eligible for federal employment and immigrants will not be eligible for citizenship.  Prosecution of individuals that do not register stopped in the 80s owing to the difficulty of proving that the failure to register was willful.  One can only be punished for failing to register if the government can prove that the non-registration was willful and the individual was well aware of the legal obligation.



Who has to register for the Selective Service?



There are very few exceptions to the Selective Service registration requirements.  Conscious objectors must register and can only note their objection to military service in the event that they are called for a draft.  All male immigrants of the appropriate age must register, including refuges and illegal immigrants.  The Selective Service does not investigate immigration status, but failure to register can disqualify any type of immigrant from future US citizenship.  



Men with disabilities must also register as the system makes no differentiation.  If the draft were to be called, all potential recruits would be subject to examination, where they are likely to receive and exemption.  As long as the disabled man lives at home and can leave the house on his own accord, he must register.  Disabled men in institutions and hospitals need not register.



Men already in the military or in military academies do not need to register, although if they leave the service before they turn 26, they must register.  Non-immigrants, such as international students and tourists need not register for the Selective Service.



Males at least 17 years and 3 months can begin to register for the Selective Service with the information automatically added to the system once they turn 18.



How do I register for the Selective Service?



There are several ways to register for the Selective Service.



Generally, a man may go to the Post Office and fill out the form there, leaving the SS# space blank until he manages to obtain one.  The forms are available at all US Post Offices.



High School students may register at their school with a staff member that is a Selective Service Registrar, who trained and authorized to help students register in the system.



For college students, the easiest method is to fill out a Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) application, usually required by most schools and “checking” Box 22 on the form to register.  Further instructions will be sent by the Department of Education.  For those filling out the form online, they will be directed to the Selective Service website with instructions.




Additionally, all males may register online at the Selective Service System website: 






How would the Selective Service be used in the event of a draft?



If a draft were to be called by the President and approved by Congress in a time of crisis, then conscription will be used to bolster the volunteer army.  Selected Service Offices and Boards on the local and district level will be activated for the purposes of administering the draft.  



A lottery will be organized and individuals will be drafted in order of age, with 20 year olds eligible for drafting first, picked by a lottery ball that corresponds to their date of birth.  The lottery then proceeds to 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 year olds.  It will be rare to have a situation where 18 and 19 year olds are drafted, but their lottery order will proceed after the 25 year olds.  The lottery is a new provision to ensure fairness in drafting individuals and ending arbitrary terms in selecting individuals to be drafted.



After the conscripts are selected, the applicants must report for examination.  Should they pass the physical examination, the conscript will have ten days to file for an exemption, postponement or deferment.  All conscripts have the right to meet with the local board before being inducted to the military.  In the event that no exemption has been filed or that the claim has been denied, a local Selective Service Board will issue notices for the male to report for military induction at a processing station.  This entire process must take no more than 193 days to deliver recruits to the military.



How would one avoid military service if selected by the Selective Services?



There exists the process for men that pass medical evaluations to apply for certain classifications that would exempt them from military service.  These classifications include:



• 1-O Conscientious Objector- conscientiously opposed to both types (combatant and non-combatant) of military training and service – fulfills his service obligation as a civilian alternative service worker.



• 1-A-O Conscientious Objector – conscientiously opposed to training and military service requiring the use of arms – fulfills his service obligation in a noncombatant position within the military.



• 2-D Ministerial Students – deferred from military service.



• 3-A Hardship Deferment – deferred from military service because service would cause hardship upon his family.



• 4-C Alien or Dual National – sometimes exempt from military service.



• 4-D Ministers of Religion – exempted from military service.



Unlike previous wars, college students may no longer avoid military service by remaining in college until the age of 26.  The regulations defer the draft process until after the end of the current semester.



Conscientious Objectors must prove that the beliefs that bar him from military service play a central role in his life before the local board.  These beliefs are usually but not always religious and can be moral or ethical.  The reasons for objection cannot be political or motivated by self-interest.  The person’s lifestyle must reflect their beliefs.  An appeal can be filed with the Selective Service District Appeal board and the appeal may even proceed as high as the National Appeal Board if the district decision is not unanimous.



Some aliens, via treaty agreements with their home country can be exempted from American military service, although this option usually disqualifies that alien from US citizenship and reentry into the country.  



What is Alternative Service?



Men that successfully receive conscientious objector status are placed the in the Selective Service Alternative Program.  From there, they will need to perform service vital to national health or safety.  This includes conservation, elder care, education and healthcare and typically lasts for 24 months.



What is the JAMRS?



Data collected from Selective Service is provided to the Joint Advertising Marketing Research & Studies, which is a Pentagon database of 16-25 year olds that collects personal information for recruitment purposes.  Data is also cleaned from the DMV and the College Board.  With this data, which includes racial and ethnic information, the Federal government will target individuals for recruitment.  Individuals can opt out of the database by sending a form letter (found here at www.nyclu.org/milrec/jamrs) directly to the program office.  The legality of this database was upheld in the court decision Hanson v. Rumsfeld although the DoD made concessions to enable opting out of the database and to “stop collecting Social Security Numbers, keep student information for only three years, restrict the ages of students included in the database, and maintain better privacy standards for student information.”














First Worship Center Opens at Processing Center for Immigrants

First Worship Center Opens at Processing Center for Immigrants

On November 8, 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that the first-ever Detainee Intercultural Center was opened at the El Paso Processing Center.  The Center in Texas lets people in ICE custody reflect, worship, and meditate.  

Sandra Marinelarena, the interim assistant field officer director, states: “The El Paso Processing Center is the only ICE detention facility in the country with such a dedicated center.”

The opening at the El Paso Processing Center was attended by Father Joseph Molina of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in El Paso.  He blessed the new building, but ministers in all religious denominations are available to give guidance at the Detainee Intercultural Center.  

The El Paso Processing Center holds immigrant detainees who are currently waiting to be deported or waiting for their immigration case in the El Paso Immigration Court.  The new facility was converted out of an older building, and the center can now hold about 840 inmates.  The center is currently seeing an average attendance of 750 adult detainees every day.  

ICE Field Office Director Adrian Macias stated: “The new Detainee Intercultural Center, not only serves the spiritual needs of people in our custody, but it’s part of the ICE’s larger effort to reform the immigration detention system as a whole.  For the past three years, ICE has been making a concerted effort to move away from a punitive immigration detentions system to one that’s more suited to civil immigration.  The Detainee Intercultural Center in El Paso is another positive step in that direction.”

The opening of the new Detainee Intercultural Center comes after government authorities reported they will start transporting illegal immigrants from Mexico to the interior of Mexico before they are released to local authorities.  The new initiatives reduce the chances of the deported immigrant joining a criminal organization or being killed.   

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants marks World Refugee Day

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants marks World Refugee Day

On December 4, 2000, the United Nations declared June 20 to be World Refugee Day. World Refugee Day is a global event that aims to raise awareness of the plight of the tens of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons around the globe. Beyond aiming to raise awareness, World Refugee Day is a great opportunity to honor the courage and determination of refugees the world over.

One organization here in the United States that has been a champion for refugee rights is the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). Founded in 1911, USCRI serves uprooted people, regardless of their race, nationality, ideology or social group. It provides opportunities and tools for both refugees and immigrants nationally, fights the warehousing of refugees globally, serves victims of human trafficking and advocates to protect the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children.

(More on News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

The following is an interview conducted by laws.com with Roberto Ponce, Director of Communications, and Ana White, Director of Government and Community Relations at USCRI, on how they are celebrating World Refugee Day and what USCRI is doing to help raise awareness of the plight of refugees and what you can do to help.

Often times when people hear the term ‘refugee’, their mind conjures up images of displaced persons living in camps in some far off corner in Africa. However, there are many refugees seeking shelter in the United States, aren’t there?

There are many refugees seeking protection in the United States and other countries. Unfortunately, only about one percent of them have a chance to start a new life in a new country through resettlement. We are projected to receive 70,000 refugees and 4000 Special Immigrant Visa holders in the United States this year.

Eight million out of the world’s 16 million refugees are warehoused – which means they live in a refugee camp. Many of them are living in terrible conditions and this must end!

Is USCRI launching any special projects or initiatives in celebration of World Refugee Day?

World Refugee Day is a great opportunity to call attention to the pleas of refugees around the world! So this year we are actually going to be focusing on refugee women and girls. Most refugees are women and children, and women and girls are impacted in many ways and face tremendous barriers in terms of accessing services from healthcare to education. They are also often victims of abuse and sexual based violence. USCRI is trying to bring attention to their needs and ensure that there are adequate programs servicing the needs of refugee women and girls.

We are also highlighting the courage and resilience of refugee women and girls. So this World Refugee Day, we are highlighting five stories of five refugee women who were resettled by USCRI and by our partner agencies and offices in five different locations. The stories chronicle the moment they fled their country of origin, and the courage they had and how they used that to succeed and integrate in the United States. These stories are essentially messages of hope, and will give a human face to the issue of resettlement.

This is what USCRI is doing in the DC office, but our field offices have many other amazing plans for World Refugee Day. Our Field offices are holding events that not only bring together refugees, but also bring together the communities that welcome refugees. For example in our office in Dearborn Michigan there will be a refugee celebration that will feature an Iraqi band that will perform in both English and Arabic. Our Albany office is hosting a World Refugee Picnic, a very popular event, where people bring food and games so the community can get a taste of different cultures. And our Des Moines office is hosting a farmers market where refugees can sell and showcase foods and produce from their culture.

All these events have occurred over this past week, and they are events that try to engage the community and the refugees living within them.

How can the public get involved in helping USCRI in its mission to provide aid to countless, vulnerable refugees?

There are a number of ways the public can get involved to help refugees in their own community. Donated items such as clothes, furniture and personal hygiene products are in high demand. Job training programs and English language programs are also needed. You can help by donating directly to USCRI to fund these critical programs. People are encouraged to visit www.refugees.org/donate to support the work we do and to learn more about donating items to local offices.

You can be confident that USCRI uses your donation responsibly because 97 percent of every dollar donated is spent directly on programs to help refugees. We have top ratings from the Better Business Bureau and Charity Watch. Whether you want to donate time, talent or money you can contact your local USCRI office to make a difference on World Refugee Day.

For more information on USCRI, please visit their siteFor more information on immigration laws and news, please visit our Immigration Laws Page. 
Interviewed with Roberto Ponce, Ana White, Washington, D.C. by Adam Abdelaziz.

ISAAC – Approaching the Issue of Immigration the Christian Way

ISAAC - Approaching the Issue of Immigration the Christian Way

The Gang of Eight senators set out to reform the immigration system in profound ways through the immigration reform legislation that is being debated the Senate. The bill aims to increase border security, expand legal immigration for a decade, and, controversially, grant legal status to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. It is especially this last provision which has gained the support of many religious and social justice organizations.

(More on News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

Once such organization is  a collaborative ministry between Baptist University of the Américas and the Baptist General Convention of Texas that is called the Immigration Service and Aid Center (ISAAC). It seeks to properly equip ministries and other organizations with the tools to cater to the needs of the immigrant community. Naturally, ISAAC tackles the issue of immigration and immigrants from a Christian perspective.

The following is an interview with Dr. Jesus Romero, Project Coordiantor of ISAAC and Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Baptist University of the Américas,  who speaks to laws.com about ISAAC’s views on immigration reform.

How do you feel about the immigration-reform bill being debated in the Senate?

I feel hopeful, perhaps guardedly hopeful, but nonetheless hopeful. This is the closest we have been to a reform of any kind! Even though the proposal is not perfect, I am hopeful about the positive elements in the bill.  

What are some of the key changes you would like to see happen to U.S. immigration policy?

One element of concern to us at ISAAC is family unity. Although this bill puts people on a pathway to citizenship, we are a bit concerned that some preference categories may be eliminated. Not that we do not want more skilled people, that makes sense from an economic perspective, but, from a pastoral perspective, we do not want to see families in any form of disunity, so I wish this portion of the bill was more generous.

How are you addressing the issue of immigration from a Christian perspective?

When one starts taking a serious look at the Bible, one realizes that the history of faith is a history of migration. It is a story of different migrations, going all the way back to Adam and Eve migrating from the Garden of Eden to Earth. Abraham himself was an immigrant from present-day Iraq who was called by God to leave his place and go somewhere else where he would be a blessing to the nations.

Jesus Christ himself migrated from Heaven to Earth to become a man and reconcile all men to God. His incarnation takes place as a cosmic migration of sorts, but no sooner does he get to Earth does he get persecuted by an evil king trying to kill him, so his family is forced to take him and migrate to Egypt!

Jesus teaches to love others the way we love ourselves. The story that demonstrates this is that of the Good Samaritan. A Samaritan, a man part of a culture despised by mainstream Jewish culture at the time, is the one who helps a man in need on the road. The migrant is the good samaritan of our day.  He is our neighbor, and just like us, he is created in the image of God.  As Christians, we must love this stranger as we love ourselves.

What are some of the accomplishments of ISAAC?

Our best accomplishment has been in the area of training. Part of our mandate is to help other churches and other nonprofit religious organizations go through process of recognition and accreditation  with the Board of Immigration Appeals so they can provide legal services to immigrants.

What are some of the future plans for ISAAC?

We decided to apply for our own accreditation and recognition with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which was granted last April! We are planning on opening an office on the campus of Baptist University of the Américas. Beyond this, we want to expand our training so that we train in more places in Texas and elsewhere in the nation.

For more information on ISAAC, please visit their site.  For more information on immigration law and news, please visit our Immigration Laws Page.

Interviewed with Jesus, Romero, San Antonio, Texas by Adam Abdelaziz

Alabama Jails Immigrants!

Alabama Jails Immigrants!Alabama’s new immigration law, harshest yet in the state, requires for anyone who cannot prove that they are legal in the country to be arrested. The new policy goes as far as to have schools check the status of its students, although they are still allowed to attend school, many are outraged by the practices. 

Chief Deputy Randy Christian is wondering where to place the detainees as the jails are already suffering from overcrowding. 
The new law threatens financial struggle to the the farming industry as most of the labor is done by illegal immigrants. 
Obama administration acted to appeal the strict Alabama immigration law but we have yet to see how it will affect the situation. As of right now it is better to carry your ID with you or think about moving out of state if you do not have one.

Champions of Refugee Rights – The Refugee Council USA

Champions of Refugee Rights - The Refugee Council USA

The immigration reform legislation that has been introduced by the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators is now being marked up the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has proposed a total of 300 amendments to the 844 page bill. These amendments are certainly as diverse as the political ideologies of the senators who put them forth, ranging from protections to gay couples to efforts to increase border security. The obvious goals of some of the amendments are to dismantle the provisions in the legislation that would create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants. However, most observers have stated that it is not very likely for the basic composition of the bill to change significantly, as its bipartisan supporters are likely to stick together to stop any major changes.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

The Republican side has proposed the bulk of the amendments – 194 of the 300 total – and most of these aims to further secure the American border. Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas submitted a lengthy plan, 70 pages long, to beef up border security and make it much more difficult for undocumented immigrants to get on the controversial path to citizenship. Other amendments proposed by Democrats, such as the amendment proposed by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont that would make foreign born same-sex partners of American citizens eligible to apply for a green card, are also controversial.

The original legislation that was introduced by the Gang of Eight aims to expand legal immigration over the next decade, increase border security, and provide a path to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. This last provision in particular has naturally gained the support of many social justice and civil rights organizations, although some have voiced strong opposition to the length of time undocumented immigrants must wait before applying for citizenship, which is proposed to be 13 years. The bill also has provisions that aim to help refugees settle and integrate into American society.

It is these provisions specifically addressing the needs of refugees that have gained the support of the Refugee Council USA (RCUSA). RCUSA was founded in 2000 and it is a coalition of American NGOs dedicated to the protection of refugees. RCUSA provides advocacy on issues affecting the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, displaced persons, victims of torture and victims of trafficking in the United States and globally. RCUSA also serves as the main consultative forum for national refugee processing and resettlement agencies as they create common policies, conduct their relations with the American government and other strategic partners and enhance and support refugee service standards.

Laws.com conducted the following interview with Erol Kekic, RCUSA Chair and Director of the Immigration and Refugee Program at World Church Service, on RCUSA’s stance on the current immigration reform bill.

How do you feel about the immigration-reform bill being debated in the Senate?

Well, this is a long overdue issue. We have been very actively engaged, both directly through RCUSA as well through individual member activity, in trying to work towards the goal of having this bill finally introduced. We are very excited and optimistic, however cautiously, and look forward to working with the Senate and the House, as well as the administration, to make sure this bill becomes law.

What are some of the key changes you would like to see happen to U.S. immigration policy?

Firstly, I think it is incredibly important to balance the issues of national security and humane treatment of immigrants. However, the humanitarian nature of this bill should not be sacrificed in order to add additional security measures to already safe borders.

Immigration reform is necessary to make our nation’s immigration system more efficient, fair and secure. We strongly support the key reforms in the Senate Bill that would improve the lives of asylum seekers, refugees and the US communities that welcome them.

We are excited about the potential that 11 million undocumented immigrants bring to the US economy.

We are very optimistic about the provisions in the bill relating to refugee programs, especially Subsection E, where the important issue of refugee and immigrant integration is described. The Senate’s proposed legislation would transform USCIS’ Office of Citizenship into an expanded Office of Citizenship and New Americans that would be tasked with filling the void in coordination of integration programming, and bringing efficiency to federal programs affecting New Americans. The Bill further proposes creation of an innovative private-public partnership, the U.S. Citizenship Foundation, which would assist the federal government in meeting the civic integration needs of newcomers in a more cost-effective manner. The USCF would be authorized to accept private donations, which would be used to underwrite immigration, naturalization, and immigrant integration assistance; and to develop creative solutions to reduce barriers to naturalization. The USCF would also provide financial support to two competitive grants programs: the Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance (IEACA) Grant Program for eligible public or private nonprofit organizations to provide direct assistance to immigrants applying for immigration services; and a pilot grant program that would expand the capacity of local and state entities to help integrate new immigrants. This alone would be a great help with the argument that refugee resettlement is only a lifesaving program if we actually admit people – and with more resources to integrate them, receiving communities will be better prepared to extend the welcome.

There is a provision in this bill that would give the president authority to designate a group for resettlement for humanitarian reasons or if there is a national interest in doing so. However, is there not a danger that lobbying and politics will now start playing a greater role in determining which groups of refugees should be admitted, rather than a true need for help?

Well, I do not think what is being proposed in the bill is very radically different from what we already have in place. There is a process by which the State Department consults with the public and then makes recommendations for the president, who then in turn determines the annual admission ceiling and the makeup of populations to be considered for resettlement.

The information about groups who are to be considered for resettlement is debated quite vigorously with the State Department and national and local organizations, as well as the UNHCR. The guiding star is who needs the most help. So I am not concerned about the decision being politicized.

What we would like to see, however, is a real commitment to increase the refugee ceiling in years to come, because we have more capacity than is being utilized at this point in time. Secondly, we would like to see more resources dedicated to the domestic programs, because we do believe the Office of Refugee Resettlement is struggling with managing its multiple mandates with very limited resources. This impedes integration, and if integration is indeed the final goal of refugee resettlement, then we need to be able to measure that integration.

What are some of the major accomplishments of Refugee Council USA?

I think the biggest accomplishment over the last ten years or so is that the (refugee resettlement) program has stayed alive. I think it would not necessarily be so without the direct engagement of the members of the RCUSA. We have 25 members that represent a fairly wide cross section of American society. We have faith groups, secular agencies, large international NGOs and very small one-issue dedicated community based organizations.

Another accomplishment is that by working with the State Department, and other partners, we have raised the annual number of refugee arrivals to 70,000. We have recognized that our colleagues at the State Department have worked hard and created a pipeline that is steady and orderly, making programming on domestic side easier to manage.   

If this legislation does not pass, what would be the next step for Refugee Council USA?

Well, we are here to stay! We believe that we represent a vast constituency in the United States and this constituency wants us to do this work on their behalf.

The RCUSA itself has been around since 2000, but some of the agencies that compose the RCUSA have been around for 130 years and others for somewhat less than that. The cross cut of our membership really wants us to be very intent on continuing to offer safe haven for refugees and those oppressed across the globe.

If the bill does not pass, we will try to work with the administration and Congress to create alternatives. That would mean we would look at individual pieces of legislation which would not necessarily be as comprehensive as the current Senate Bill, but would target specific needs of the populations that are coming in.

The refugee program has changed dramatically over the past 10 or 15 years because we have moved from resettling political exiles from Eastern Europe who were fleeing communism, to turning this program into a humanitarian lifesaving operation that brings in the most vulnerable. The United States is the only major resettlement country that does not take the integration potential of newly arriving refugees into consideration when they make their determination of who is to be admitted. That decision is based solely on the vulnerability . That is something we should be extremely proud of, because no other major resettlement country does it that way. We need to preserve that. And our membership is definitely dedicated to doing so in years to come.

For more information on Refugee Council USA, please visit their site. For more information on immigration law and news, please visit our Immigration Laws Page.

Interviewed with Erol Kekic of Refugee Council USA, New York, New York