P.O. BOX 3465, VAN NUYS, CA 91407
April 9, 2002

Sheriff Lee Baca
L. A. County Sheriff Department
4700 E. Ramona Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754

Dear Sheriff Baca:

I read in today's Los Angeles Times, that you support the idea of having the driver's licenses of undocumented immigrants identify them as being illegal workers. In principle, it is a good idea. But in reality, such a license with a code or no code, would grant the privilege of driving to any illegal foreigner who wants to do harm to Americans.  Such a licence would also allow free air travel (airlines require a picture ID).

In April, 2002, I listened to INS Director, James Ziglar when he made an appearance at the National Press Club and I wanted to comment on something that Ziglar said.

In giving the chronology of the two terrorists whose visa approvals arrived six months after [their] 9/11 [suicide deaths], Ziglar said that their visas were actually approved before 9/11. He said the approvals were made before anyone knew that they were terrorists and referred to the document of approval as the "Notice of Action" (NOA) form which the two terrorists received shortly after they applied for their visas (before 9/11).

The truth is that other than an INS clerk's skimming of the submitted visa applications, none of the information on those applications was ever verified.

Let me tell you what the NOA form is. THE NOA FORM IS NOTHING MORE THAN AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND A RECEIPT THAT THE INS HAS RECEIVED A FILLED OUT FORM AND THE ACCOMPANYING FEE.  The NOA is used to acknowledge ANY INS form submitted by almost anyone. IT IS NOT PROOF OF ANYTHING! How do I know this? Because my wife, who immigrated from Mexico eleven years ago and is now a U.S. Citizen, petitioned for immigration visas for two of her brothers who are presently in the U.S. illegally.

You might recall that last year, congress enacted an immigration provision called 245(i). The provision allowed  undocumented aliens, including visa over stayers and border jumpers, who would normally be eligible to immigrate legally from their home country, to process their papers while remaining in the U.S. Since both of my wife's brothers qualified under the 245(i) provision, my wife petitioned for them (I filled out the papers).

In California alone, about 300,000 illegal aliens got in on the 245(i) before the April 30, 2001, deadline, -- and congress is about to allow  another 245(i).

The 245(i) provision allows illegal aliens in the U.S. who would otherwise be eligible to be sponsored by a legal U.S. resident or U.S. citizen, to immigrate legally if they were in their own country, to apply for an immigration visa while remaining illegally in the U.S. with the permission of the INS.

There is a $1,000 fine which must be paid for the 245(i) privilege, but that doesn't need to be paid until the INS is ready to issue a visa to the applicant, which could be up to 10 years from the time that the applicant received their NOA. As the law is now, the applicant cannot receive permission to work even though they are allowed to remain in the U.S., so there is a period (the length of time to get a visa) of being in limbo. However, working is not a problem for an illegal alien because the illegal alien can obtain an IRS ITIN (Individual Tax Payer Identification Number).

The 245(i) does not change the fact that the applicant is still an illegal alien. Moreover, a thorough background check will only be required at the time just before the visa is issued. On the NOA itself, it states "It usually takes 815 to 825 days from the date of the receipt for us to process this type of (any) case." That's over two years before the INS gets around to verifying the information on the form -- IF AT ALL!  In other words, any criminal background check of the 300,000 who applied for a visa via the 245(i) provision, who are presently residing in California by way of INS permission, will not be made for at least two years and possibly up to 10 years.

To apply for legalization via the 245(i) provision, the applicant's U.S. Sponsor fills out an I-130 petition for their alien relative, just the same as if the illegal alien relative was in his/her home country, but declares that the illegal alien relative is presently in the U.S. "without inspection" (lines 13 and 14) and simply mails it in to the INS along with a check in the amount of $110. Upon receipt of the form, the INS sends the NOA receipt. What is important to know, is that the NOA is not proof that the information sent to the INS has been verified -- it has not! If the form contains false or erroneous information, that information won't be known for years, if at all. But even when an applicant says truthfully that they have had a bout with the law, the INS still sends an NOA. One of my wife's brothers was once deported by the INS and so indicated that on line 16 of the I-130 form -- but the INS never said anything about it.  Simply put, the INS accepts any application, whether falsely filled out or not, cashes the check, and sends the NOA.

The 245(i) applicant carries the NOA with him/her and can present it to any law enforcement agency as "proof" that they have permission from the INS to be in the U.S.

The only document that an alien will be able to present to show that they have applied for their papers, will be the NOA receipt number. Moreover, the NOA receipt is easily forged and will no doubt become a hot item on Alvarado Bl. (where in L.A., false documents are sold in the open).

Summarizing: anyone can download any INS form, fill it out with false information, mail it in with a check, and receive a "Notice of Action" receipt. They will not receive any further documents until their visa turn comes up in eight to ten years.

As much as I would like my brothers-in-law to get driver's licenses, I would not want the security of the U.S. compromised.

The incompetency of the INS is a given. So unless California's state and local law enforcement want to take the responsibility of doing a complete background check of every illegal alien who applies for a driver's license, you will be putting the public at risk.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Hal Netkin
Community Activist

CC: Governor Gray Davis