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SERVICE CENTER INFORMATION LINES TO BE CLOSED

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June 2003
SERVICE CENTER INFORMATION LINES TO BE CLOSED

SERVICE CENTER INFORMATION LINES TO BE CLOSED

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS, formerly the INS) has made known that the BCIS 800 customer service number will begin accepting inquiries for all the service centers, starting May 12 or 13. Then, approximately two weeks later, it plans to cut off all service center information numbers, other than premium processing, and require that all calls go to the 800 number. Inquiries that require service center response will be forwarded to the applicable service center by the 800 number officer, and it is anticipated that the service center will reply to the inquirer by mail. Currently, there are reports of incorrect information emanating from the toll-free number. Immigration proponents are concerned about this move, because it will make it much more difficult to get accurate information quickly on any given case.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP PROPOSED BY INDIAN CABINET

The Indian Central Cabinet approved a proposal to allow dual citizenship for persons of Indian origin (PIOs) living abroad. The proposal, which must be submitted to the Indian Parliament in order to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 and become law, would apply to PIOs living in eight countries that allow dual citizenship. These countries are: the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Italy.

According to widespread news reports on this topic, an Indian living in one of the eight countries would have to apply for dual citizenship. The request would be verified and subject to scrutiny. Security concerns would be part of the review and are one of the reasons dual citizenship will only be granted on a case-by-case basis. One of the reasons for the move is to encourage and allow PIOs to invest in India's economy. When one is once again an Indian citizen, the dual citizen presumably would be able to own real estate and purchase property within India with few or no restrictions. Dual citizens would not be allowed to vote in India, run for public office, or take defense jobs. The decision to grant dual citizenship had been announced by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the "Indian Diaspora Day" organized by the Indian government in January. Although the measure has not been made into law as of yet, as a government-sponsored proposal, it has a strong likelihood of success.

LIST OF NATIONALITIES SUBJECT TO POINT OF ENTRY SECURITY

PROCEDURES

A "Countries of Interest" list, apparently used by the Bureau of Customs and Border Patrol inspectors to determine who should be subjected to IDENT procedures (additional security checks) before entering the United States, was released to the public. The list includes approximately 50 countries, including: Afghanistan; Algeria; Bhutan; Egypt; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; and Saudi Arabia.

LATEST NEWS ON THE STUDENT ADJUSTMENT ACT

Many in the southeast Asian community have been closely following developments in the Act popularly known as the DREAM Act. On April 9, Representatives Chris Cannon (R-UT), Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) formally introduced the Student Adjustment Act of 2003 (H.R. 1684) to the House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation will allow immigrant students who have grown up in this country, graduated from high school, and have no criminal record, to go to college, legalize their immigration status and obtain work authorization. This bill would help a new group of well-educated young professionals enter the job market and put their hard-earned talent to use.

H.R. 1684 recognizes the reality that some of our best and brightest students are prevented from reaching their potential because they were brought across the border as young children. Without proper immigration status or the option of in-state tuition, these students cannot work and do not have a chance to attend college. Without the ability to regularize their status or earn a college degree, these hard-working, intelligent students are unable to join the work force and U.S. companies are denied access to an untapped pool of talent.


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