A Reader Has Personal Experience Of The Problems With Foreign Surnames And Immigration Enforcement
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07/22/08 - A Hispanic Reader Defends Janet Murguía

Re: Memo From Mexico, By Allan Wall (Dunlavy!) What's In A (Sur)Name? Plenty, If You're Planning An Amnesty

A Reader writes

I am a former USCIS adjudicator.

It is quite a task to do Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) checks on all the names used by an alien. Arabic names change simply by having a son or becoming an adult.

For non-European based names, the translator's spelling might not be the correct spelling that the individual person prefers. There is a subset of non-Latin alphabetical names. For example, is it Petroff or Petrov? What about patronyms and gender suffixes and prefixes?

And there are the nitpickers who use a ONE letter change as justification to require naturalization applicants to get a legal name change in court.

The software behind all this is based upon a SOUNDEX system designed for the census of 1890.

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