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Reconsidering Simpson-Mazzoli BY DAN CARNEY Washington IT IS DOUBTFUL that U.S. Rep. Bruce Morrison has met Fernando Castillo, Victor Quezada or Roman Hernandez. The former is a mustached and good-natured Democrat from Connecticut, and the others are Dallasites, or former Dallasites, who have had brushes with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The names of the Dallasites, along with a handful of others from around the country, may work their way into Congressional debate this session when the House takes up the immigration issue. Earlier this month, the Dallas INS district office backed off just before putting 3-year-old Fernando Castillo on the stand in his own deportation hearing; Fernando is not old enough to understand much of what is happening to him. To avoid deportation, Fernando must demonstrate that both of his parents are here legally or that his mother is a single parent. Fernando was born in Mexico. His father is believed to be in Mexico, and his mother is a legal resident of the U.S. Victor Quezada wasn’t as lucky. The 35year-old was shipped back to El Salvador, much to the disappointment of his wife and four children, all of whom are either American citizens or legalized alien residents. It’s unclear what the Dallas office will do with Roman Hernandez, a 7-year old suffering from eye cancer. Hernandez’s father can stay here thanks to a federal program for farm laborers. His mother and one of his sisters were rejected from the same program and are in deportation hearings. Two other sisters are legal residents. Roman Hernandez’s hearing is scheduled for January 22. The Dallas INS office has been one of the more vigorous prosecutors of illegal aliens who have relatives living in this country legally. Most other district offices interpret the so-called “family fairness” doctrine of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 more liberally, said Vanna Slaughter, Program Director for Catholic Charities in Dallas, a group that represents aliens. “As I’ve compared experiences with my colleagues around the country, we’ve got one of the strictest district offices, if not the strictest, on the family fairness issue.” Dan Carney is a writer for States News Service in Washington, D.C. Francisco Garza, national director of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund is more direct: “It’s not a family fairness program. It’s a family unfairness program.” Apparently Congressman Morrison agrees, and is in the position to make some changes. Just six years after being elected to Congress, he was made chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration, one of the most fractious yet entertaining panels around. Morrison has proposed a sweeping bill that would ban splitting up a family by deportation. He introduced it last year and had scheduled a subcommittee vote but postponed the vote until the beginning of the January 23 session. Morrison’s quick rise stems in part from the divisive nature of the committee and has a Texas twist. His predecessor, Romano Mazzoli of Kentucky, the coauthor of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, the sweeping immigration reform package of 1986, was siding too much with conservative elements of the subcommittees, according to a group of young liberals, including John Bryant of Dallas and Barney Frank of Boston. So the liberals sacked Mazzoli. In the summer of 1988, Mazzoli, without telling his fellow Democrats, agreed to hold a hearing in San Angelo at the request of Lamar Smith, a Republican who represents suburban San Antonio and a . big chunk of West Texas. The decision angered liberals. The San Angelo hearing was aimed at spotlighting labor needs of large farmers. Bryant and others protested, forced a second hearing in San Antonio focusing on the treatment of immigrants, and voted Mazzoli out of his chair at the end of the year. Now that Morrison is chairman, his bill, to say the least, should sail out of his subcommittee and stands a reasonable chance thereafter. In addition to banning deportations of spouses and children, it eliminates the deadline for applying for amnesty under the 1986 legislation, softens sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, and orders the INS to provide worker-identification cards to those legal residents who want them. The bill has fairly widespread support among Democrats, although the ID card is controversial. Many Republicans and conservative Democrats are openly hostile, arguing that the immigration reform package of 1986 was a carefully balanced plan that balanced amnesty for long-time \(though ille tions. To the conservatives, fooling with that package shows a lack of resolve to control immigration policy and to punish those who violate it. “Everyone understood that legalization would not be expanded, extended, or repeated,” said Alan Nelson, the former INS administrator who now works for the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform. “This provision breaks that contract.” If Morrison’s bill is passed on the House floor the deportation ban at least stands a reasonably good chance of becoming law. Last summer, the Senate passed a similar provision as part of a massive bill that included both legal and illegal immigration issues. With the same provisions in bills in both houses, it is likely to be included in the final bill that emerges from the conference committee, which will work out the differences between the House and Senate legislation and send a single bill back to the bodies for final approval. However, one possible snag on the House side is that Morrison’s bill is not part of a legal immigration bill. If it were included in the legal immigration bill, it would have a better chance of passing. Morrison’s subcommittee has so far been unable to work out differences on legal immigration specifically the relative importance of job skills versus family ties in the United States in granting immigration visas. And without the legal immigration legislation to pull it along, Morrison’s plan could face slower going. To try to force it through, Hispanic lobbying groups such as the National Council of La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund are making it a prime focus of the session. Slaughter says she has received a steady flow of calls from the groups gathering information about her cases to present to congressmen. She said she is more than happy to help because she supports a ban, which would enable her to spend more time on different types of cases. “About half my caseload are these types of cases,” Slaughter said. This publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International. Call toll-free 800-521-3044. Or mail inquiry to. University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13