December 15, 2008

EVERY TIME A BELL RINGS...:

Settlement opens up amnesty for tens of thousands of immigrants: Many who entered the United States on valid visas but fell out of legal status between 1982 and 1988 are eligible for the amnesty offered under the 1986 immigration reform law. (Teresa Watanabe, 12/15/08, LA Times)

For two decades, Anaheim businessman Erkan Aydin has taken on a task unimaginable for most immigrants like himself: trying to convince the U.S. government that he was here illegally.

Aydin, 50, arrived in the United States from his native Turkey with a valid student visa in 1981, but fell out of legal status when he failed to enroll in school, he said.

The customer service representative has a powerful reason why he wants to be considered an illegal immigrant. It would make him eligible for the amnesty offered to 2.7 million illegal immigrants under the 1986 immigration reform law.

Thanks to a recent legal settlement, the chance to apply for amnesty is finally open to Aydin and tens of thousands of others who entered the country on a valid visa but fell out of legal status between 1982 and 1988. The settlement, approved this fall by a U.S. district court in Washington state, stems from a class-action lawsuit filed by attorney Peter Schey originally on behalf of an immigrant assistance program of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

"I have been born again, like a new baby," Aydin said last week in his Anaheim car dealership office. "I will start a beautiful life in this beautiful country."


It's always amusing when folks pretend to draw careful distinctions between Legal and illegal immigrants in a system that's so dysfunctional that your pal the legal almost certainly is or was at some point illegal, though, oddly enough, his qualities as a human being were unaffected.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2008 9:13 AM
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