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From: Hal Netkin [e-mail him]
When I heard that the Senate's "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" bill wasn't "amnesty" because illegal aliens would have to pay a $5,000 fine, I recalled the $1,000 fine my illegal alien brother-in-law was to have paid.
My naturalized U.S. citizen wife could have petitioned for legal residency for him. But he entered the U.S. illegally anyway. Then, in 2001, he applied for legalization via the 245(i) provision, which required the payment of a $1,000 fine.
[For those not familiar with 245(i), here's a thumbnail: It allowed people illegally in the U.S. who could have been legally petitioned for if they were still in their own country—got that?—to be petitioned for without having to leave the U.S., as long as they paid a $1,000 fine. It expired in 2001.]
I was the one who filed, on behalf of my wife, for my brother-in-law. In my telephone inquiries to the then-INS (the part that was succeeded by the equally dysfunctional U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS) for official instructions on how to proceed, I asked when and where the $1,000 fine would have to be paid.
I was told that there were no specifics, but it would probably have to be paid when my brother- in-law received his visa, approximately eight years from the time we received his "notice of action" form in 2001 The time period was subsequently stretched to about 13 years, so he has 7 more years to go.
As it turns out, there are still absolutely no specifics on how and where the fine has to be paid. Recently I checked my brother-in-law's status by phoning USCIS. His application was approved but has not yet been transferred to the National Visa Center.
During the telephone conversation, I asked when the fine had to be paid. I was told that there was nothing in my brother-in-law's record about paying any fine!
If history is any guide, the $5,000 amnesty fine will also never happen.