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BECOMING Legal: A Guide to the New Immigration Law : Special Provisions

May 04, 1987



The law prohibits the INS from using information provided in applications for any purpose other than considering legalizing the applicant's stay in the United States.

However, if the INS determines that counterfeit documents or false information are filed with the application, officials will turn the case over to the United States attorney's office for the possible prosecution of the illegal alien, who might be prosecuted.

And even if there is no criminal case, the INS will institute deportation proceedings.

Anti-Discrimination Provision

Many fears have been expressed regarding employer sanctions. Some worry that employers, for fear of sanctions, will tend to not employ people of "foreign" appearance. Others think that employers who don't want to get caught up in the law will simply not interview anybody who looks foreign.

To avoid this possibility, the law prohibits employment discrimination based on immigration status and sets up a protection mechanism.

The law requires the President to create an office of special counsel in the Department of Justice in order to investigate charges of discrimination based on immigration status. In the case of legalized aliens, discrimination against them is only prohibited if they have given written notice of their intent to become United States citizens within six months after they become eligible for citizenship.

This provision applies only to employers of three or more workers, and it recognizes the right of an employer to hire, all things being equal, a citizen instead of a legal resident.


Employers are subject to fines starting at $250 per worker and jail terms up to six months for repeated offenses. However, during the next year, the government will issue warnings for the first offense before applying these sanctions.

And applicants for legalization who submit fraudulent documents or information are subject to fines and jail terms up to five years under criminal provisions of the legislation.

REGISTRY The immigration law contains a special section called REGISTRY DATE, which grants permanent residency to all people who can prove continuous residency in the country before Jan. 1, 1972, good conduct and fulfillment of the eligibility requirements for residency.

These are the sole basic requirements, and those who believe they qualify may apply for their permanent residency at any time. Applicants need to fill out and file form I-485 with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

INS officials state that once the application and proof of continuous residency since Jan. 1, 1972, have been filed, the processing should take no more than three months.

The application can be filed at any INS office.


The INS will notify the applicant in writing of its decision on the application for legalization and, if the request is denied, give the reasons.

Each individual whose legalization application is denied has the right to appeal that decision by filling out form I-694, and filing it with the Associate Commissioner, Examinations in Washington. This form, along with $50, must be filed during the 30 days following the denial.

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