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Alert Aliens to New Amnesty Rules, INS Ordered

November 17, 1987

A federal judge in Los Angeles ordered the Immigration and Naturalization Service on Monday to develop an educational program to alert illegal immigrants who have recently re-entered the country on visitor's visas that they may now be eligible for amnesty.

U.S. District Judge William D. Keller suggested the informational program in response to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of immigrants' rights groups challenging a previous agency policy that granted amnesty to aliens who had left the country briefly and stole back across the border but excluded those who returned with improperly obtained re-entry documents.

The INS announced Oct. 8 that it has revised the policy and will now allow those immigrants to apply for amnesty, though they will be required to apply for waivers to excuse their use of the fraudulent documents.

Government officials say the new policy should result in dismissal of the lawsuit, but immigrant lawyers say as many as 200,000 people were told under the old regulations that they do not qualify for legalization and may not be aware of the new rules.

Keller gave the INS two weeks to file a status report on an "outreach" program to notify those immigrants of their rights, but postponed a decision on the immigration groups' claims that the waiver requirement is unfair. Government lawyers said the new regulations should be published this week.

In an unrelated immigration case, a Fresno-area immigrant consultant was accused Monday by the state attorney general's office of trying to defraud illegal aliens who are seeking amnesty.

According to a complaint in Fresno County Superior Court, Maria Ybarra-Garcia of Sanger was accused of violating the state's immigration consultant law by charging $500 in return for filling out and submitting amnesty application forms; refusing to return original documents such as marriage and birth certificates, and failing to provide clients with written contracts describing the service she would provide.

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