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Non-citizens put on notice to file change in addresses
July 23, 2002 4:34 AM   Subscribe

Non-citizens put on notice to file change in addresses
The Ashcroft Gestapo strikes again!

If a permanent resident doesn't file this change-in-address form, they are talking about penalties up to and including deportion! Note we aren't talking about student visa holders or anything like that .. we are talking about people who have lived in this country for 10 .. 20 .. 30 years or more in many cases.

This country is really turning into a police state the way things are going.
posted by ssheth (44 comments total)

 
I have much greater fears about the military becoming a national police force than I do about a regulation that says that if you are not a citizen of this country the country has a right to know where you live etc. Heck, this is hardly carrying papers of identiy (passports etc) with you throughout the day. What would give someone the "right" to come into this country, not be a citizen, and wander about for 15 years without the government knowing a bit about him? disclosure: I am a right-winger. I voted Democrat in every election.
posted by Postroad at 4:40 AM on July 23, 2002


you have to find a better balance - it is so much easier being a completely off the records illegal alian in the states than it is to be a INS abiding immigrant. and that's wrong.
posted by dabitch at 5:11 AM on July 23, 2002


Registration...
posted by dash_slot- at 5:27 AM on July 23, 2002


All right - who registered the metafilter username but didn't use metafilter as the password!?
posted by donpardo at 5:28 AM on July 23, 2002


wow, the bar for being labeled a "nazi" just keeps getting lower and lower.
posted by nobody_knose at 5:30 AM on July 23, 2002


The Ashcroft Gestapo strikes again!

This post has been pre-Godwinized for your inflammatory pleasure.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:34 AM on July 23, 2002


The "cypherpunks" pair is registered with a different password too. What's up with the subterfuge?
posted by Hilarion at 5:35 AM on July 23, 2002


Good one nobody_knose! I laugh at your humor, yes?

Will we have to suspend Godwin's Law in light of recent events? I'm boning up on Mussolini quotes myself as they seem appropriate more often lately and avoid "the dreaded invocation of Nazis."
posted by nofundy at 5:36 AM on July 23, 2002


please strike matches away from this thread......nazis.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:37 AM on July 23, 2002


My point is Why should legal residents be treated any differently than citizens?

Legal residents pay taxes like any other citizen and many serve in our millitary. The only major distinction between citizens and legal residents historically has been the ability to vote and serve on juries, etc.

The govt in fact already has a record of the current addresses of legal residents (at least back to their last tax filing). Why does the govt need more records on legal citizens than citizens?
posted by ssheth at 5:37 AM on July 23, 2002


Why does the govt need more records on legal citizens than citizens?

Because the only way that the state can insure victory over terrorism is if they completely control everything, including what they know about my dad (a legal resident alien. Oh Canada, my home and native land...)

This is yet another stupid government policy, designed to keep better (but wholely unneccessary) tabs on peaceful civilians. Maybe Larry Ellison will give em some free Oracle software so they can put all the legal residents (or should I say "terror suspects") in a nice big database. Of course, this will not stop terrorists, and so when terrorists strike again, the government will demand even more money, more power, and more control. This fairy tale (esque) analogy seems fairly apt.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:50 AM on July 23, 2002


I'm a legal resident (landed immigrant actually). I never _knew_ about the requirement to notify the INS of any moves. I didn't know this despite spending the last 3 or 4 years with a lawyer moving me along through the immigrant visa process. I don't have any problem with the INS knowing where I live. Hell, I pay taxes, so its not like the government doesn't know where to find me.

I don't recall seeing a requirement for notifying the INS in particular about my address. Maybe its transparent, like any other notification to the government. You change the address on your drivers license and the IRS magically knows where to find you. On the other hand, maybe it isn't. Having laws aimed at a particular group of people that haven't been enforced in the past or even really mentioned to those affected by it is dangerous when the lack of compliance to the law is being considered as a basis to dish out punishments is what should be considered frightening.
posted by substrate at 5:59 AM on July 23, 2002


> Why does the govt need more records on legal
> citizens than citizens?

Because the US leadership is filling up with paranoid xenophobes. I get that sort of treatment as a legal resident of Poland, but I half expect it from an ex-Iron Curtain place still peeling off layers of Soviet-era law and custom. You might expect better of the US, which has more than its share of "US = freedom and liberty" blowhards.
posted by pracowity at 6:00 AM on July 23, 2002


Doesn't it bother you that the IRS already has the most incredibly detailed information about you in its database already? Doesn't it bother you that you need to update that data for them every year, or face severe penalties? Why is it that not considered terrifyingly Orwellian (I'll refrain from invoking the N-word) while the mere logging of non-citizen addresses is considered a giant step down the road to total government control. The INS has a long way to go before it can approach the IRS in the intrusive and possibly unconstitutional use of government power.
posted by Faze at 6:02 AM on July 23, 2002


The INS has a long way to go before it can approach the IRS in the intrusive and possibly unconstitutional use of government power.

Agree with that one. I've been a US Green card holder since I was 4 ( 1981 ) and a British citizen throughout. I appreciate the fact that though I refuse to renounce my Bitish passport, the US still allows me to work and play here.

A little paperwork once every 5 years is a tiny price to pay for the benefits I get in return. After all, I am a guest in your country, the least I can do in return is let you know where I live.
posted by remlapm at 6:18 AM on July 23, 2002


if you want to read: > cpunks/cpunks
posted by dabitch at 6:22 AM on July 23, 2002


Just one question: what's up with the anthrax investigation? I would advise the U.S. to get rid of its (covered up?) domestic terrorism before pointing the finger at foreigners.

Ok, here's another question: does Jose Padilla have to certify his change of address if and when he is freed? I get a bit confused with the foreign combatant status ...
posted by magullo at 6:22 AM on July 23, 2002


While I certainly support the idea that the US Government should be able to track immigrants if need be (no matter what their status), has this demographic actually been shown as a real terrorist threat?

I didn't think so.

I'd propose we track the short-term (student visa, etc.) immigrants. Especially ones from Saudi Arabia - our "friends" - and other countries whose citizens have at least demonstrated that they might be inclined to do us harm. You know... profiling. I doubt Murray from the 4th floor (where I work, my house isn't that big), a Canadian citizen, has any really harmful intentions towards my country.

I would also think that this would be a nightmare to maintain, both from the personal end (like what dabitch said) and from the governmental end.
posted by hadashi at 7:07 AM on July 23, 2002


"The requirement applies to all non-citizens staying in the United States more than 30 days."

A tourist visa lasts for 6 months. So, if you are planning to visit the US as a tourist, make sure you update the INS each time you visit a new city or change hotels, or risk being thrown out of the country.

The US gvt can find legal immigrants as quickly as it can find citizens - by tracking driving licenses, tax filings, and SS info. (They can also find illegal immigrants by tracking driving licenses, tax filings, and SS and taxpayer ID info - the gvt makes those things pretty easy to get, in order to keep illegal aliens from withholding tax payments.) All this law does is make life more difficult for the people who are in the US and already playing by the INS rules, or who are in the US, and are in the INS process to update their visas.

Who it doesn't affect are all the people who are planning on doing heinous things while in America, or people who are here and not in the INS process to stay, legally.
posted by kristin at 7:16 AM on July 23, 2002


Another Ashcroftian push towards the dark side.
The article states that they pulled over a man of arabic descent for going 4 miles over the speed limit, searched his car and found a few thousand in cash and a map of the state with cities circled in red. He defended this saying he was an electronics salesman and the circles represented electronic swap meets. Easy enough to double check.
But instead, they pull his INS records and find he never filed a move in 1999. They begin a deportation action against him.
So the real issue isn't forward looking enforcement of a long neglected req't. It isn't even about finding a res. alien when they want to.
Its selective retroactive application of a rule no one was being effectively required to follow for decades as a means of giving some folks the boot when the INS feels like it.
posted by BentPenguin at 7:18 AM on July 23, 2002


Would not the yearly tax filing be enough notification of moving? It has your address right on it. Come on already.
They should concern themselves more with the illegal alien problem and the visa abusers. Legal aliens should fall way down any list they have.
posted by a3matrix at 7:41 AM on July 23, 2002


It appears the provision in question was part of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which formally organized a body of legislation that up to then had been scattered and confusing. The law explicitly gives the Attorney General the authority to waive certain provisions or conversely the discretion, as here, to apply it to certain groups or even all aliens. It would appear that Ashcroft is proposing to exercise that discretion. There are penalties which treat it as a misdemeanor, but deportation is optional for the DOJ under the law.

I don't think the requirement is onerous. I have to let the tax authorities know where I live, not to mention vehicle and business registration. Through employment the Social Security administration can track me as well. I do suspect it may be applied arbitrarily, but so can other provisions of immigration law.

There's a locally-rewritten story at the LA Times {username/password: i dunno, really}. As many as 1 million of the 10 million LPRs expected to be covered by the regulation live in LA County, it claims. It also implies that the origin of the DOJ's interest in the law stems from a case last year where a deportation was denied by the courts (it does happen!) because the INS had failed to confirm that the immigrant in question had received mailed notices, which were sent to the wrong address. Apparently this case.
posted by dhartung at 7:45 AM on July 23, 2002


Even if I do notify INS, which I dont know how to do yet, what is the guarantee that they would have updated their records by the time some freakin cop pulls me aside. INS is so messed up they sent visas for hijackers a month later. How am I sure that they will do their job.
posted by adnanbwp at 7:49 AM on July 23, 2002


dhartung, you've done a masterful job of pointing out that there are two separate issues here: first, the rightness of requiring notificaiton of changes of address by legal aliens; and second, the enforcement of that provision. The more immediate problem, in this case, is not the law itself, but the selective and retroactive exercise of discretion by the DOJ. What Ashcroft principally lacks is a sense of proportion. It's one thing to enforce the law on the books and make a good faith effort to use the INS to reduce potential terrorism. It's another thing entirely to willy-nilly deport long-standing legal residents for otherwise de minimus violations.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:02 AM on July 23, 2002


I've been a green-card-holding permanent resident since I was 6. I've been trying to get citizenship since I was 17. Having moved back and forth umpteen times since becoming a college student, I can't imagine how easy it would be to lapse for 30 days in between addresses (e.g. I'm currently subletting an apartment for the summer; this is such an impermanent living situation that I never put my current address on anything, but I've been living here for over 30 days). Even more likely is the possibility that INS screws up and doesn't register my numerous changes in address. It sounds like they wouldn't enforce the law that harshly in general, and they're trying to fish for excuses to deport people of whom they're suspicious. But it's still frightening.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:11 AM on July 23, 2002


everything will be fine....as long as they don't bring back the Office of Alien Property. (think I'm kidding, they existed)
'they'- ppsst
posted by clavdivs at 8:33 AM on July 23, 2002


penalties up to and including deportion

Would that be like being drawn and quartered?
posted by gnz2001 at 9:46 AM on July 23, 2002


Godwin's Law is stupid. Can we repeal it, already? Nazis are people too (and therefore, at least potentially relevant).
posted by rushmc at 9:51 AM on July 23, 2002


Because the only way that the state can insure victory over terrorism is if they completely control everything, including what they know about my dad (a legal resident alien. Oh Canada, my home and native land...)

I love Canada but do you realize how draconian the immigration laws are there? Permanent resident status is extremely difficult to receive and also requires constant updates on residence.

A little paperwork once every 5 years is a tiny price to pay for the benefits I get in return. After all, I am a guest in your country, the least I can do in return is let you know where I live.

I'm happy to see someone who has to deal with this regulation being rational about it. The upfront requirements to acquire this status are very low compared to most countries. Damn, I'm a natural born citizen and my state requires that I notify them within 15 days of an address change so they can update my driver's license files! We're cutting these people some slack!
posted by RevGreg at 10:02 AM on July 23, 2002


I've taken care of that Godwin bastard, we should not see him around much more. Reported his ass to the IRS, I did!
posted by quonsar at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2002


Unbelievable! But it appears The Chicago Tribune has given us MeFites carte blanche to read the story login free.

Check it out. It says "Hello Metafilter". I've never registered there. Pretty cool.

Now I'll go read the article.
posted by crasspastor at 10:45 AM on July 23, 2002


Nazis are people too

I have a mental image of this being sung by happy Hitler Youth in some alternate universe to the tune of "Kids Are People Too" from the old TV kid's show Wonderama.
posted by MrBaliHai at 10:53 AM on July 23, 2002


This country is really turning into a police state the way things are going.

I don't like it too, but are not these types of registrations typical in Western European Countries? When I studied/lived in Italy I had to submit a report to the Federalies (a.k.a. the national military police force) where I live and how long I would be staying there and for what reason I was in Italy. Failure to comply was punishable by a fine, jail time or deportation. Is this any different? This is not the police state per se, but ssheth you are right on with your fear and concern that registrations like this one is one step closer a place we all don't want it to be.

Has anyone else had the same or similar experience in a Western European country (other otherwise) that I had? And if so, is this request by the Federal government any different? Or is it worse?

Historical Note for context: During the 1970s and 1980s Italy was the victim of a serious terrorist treat by the name of the Red Brigade. The Red Brigade kidnapped and killed the prime minister. They were also reasonable for a series of bombings. The Red brigade, I believe, were composed of Italians and not foreigners.

and...

I have much greater fears about the military becoming a national police force

A very good point, but when I lived in Italy I found the Carbonari (sp.?), Italy's national military police force, very benign. I too share your fears, but I still hesitate to proclaim all liberty is deal and that we are going a inevitable path to 1984. Call it couscous pessimism.
posted by Bag Man at 11:54 AM on July 23, 2002


Couscous Pessimism?

Next you'll be telling me that the porridge is revolting and the rice is up in arms. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 1:15 PM on July 23, 2002


My Bad...I mean cautious pessimism. I gottan admit dejah420, that was funny!
posted by Bag Man at 1:23 PM on July 23, 2002


That's one of the funniest typos I've seen in a long time. I thought it was a Moroccan saying or something.
posted by Summer at 1:36 PM on July 23, 2002


dhartung:

It appears the provision in question was part of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which formally organized a body of legislation that up to then had been scattered and confusing. The law explicitly gives the Attorney General the authority to waive certain provisions or conversely the discretion, as here, to apply it to certain groups or even all aliens. It would appear that Ashcroft is proposing to exercise that discretion.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Oh yeah, Sieg Heil to ya!
posted by mark13 at 3:53 PM on July 23, 2002


Unbelievable! But it appears The Chicago Tribune has given us MeFites carte blanche to read the story login free.

Check it out. It says "Hello Metafilter". I've never registered there. Pretty cool.


I'm not getting that. I can't even log in as metafilter :(
posted by Neale at 6:23 PM on July 23, 2002


[i]It's another thing entirely to willy-nilly deport long-standing legal residents for otherwise de minimus violations.[/i]

Of how many willy-nilly deportations of long-standing legal residents under this law are you aware?
posted by syzygy at 7:11 PM on July 23, 2002


Sorry for the botched italics...
posted by syzygy at 7:12 PM on July 23, 2002


A little paperwork once every 5 years is a tiny price to pay for the benefits I get in return. After all, I am a guest in your country, the least I can do in return is let you know where I live.

remlapm gets it right here, you would do the same in my country* and most others.

Now let me suggest what's contrary here, I have all privileges of citizenship, pay taxes, social security (the government will get if I leave the country, I think, don't assume it can be claimed from abroad), I cannot vote, so share no responsibility for Ashcroft or any elected government, and all you want is my address, fine, my question being is there a problem with that, and who has it? I am still undecided.

*(I did it for my wife and after my son was born in Delhi I had to get him an Indian visa!)
posted by bittennails at 7:25 PM on July 23, 2002


As to the change of address thing, you'll get a reminder in the mail, as to how and when to update your address.
posted by bittennails at 7:26 PM on July 23, 2002


For anyone that may need it: INS AR-11 Change of Address form as a PDF (You can even type in your information through Acrobat, how's that for efficiency). This will be the first time I've submitted a change of address form in the six years I've been here (three moves) - better late than never.
posted by zedbends at 11:12 AM on July 24, 2002


Who it doesn't affect are all the people who are planning on doing heinous things while in America, or people who are here and not in the INS process to stay, legally.

That sound you hear is me bookmarking this thread for the next discussion on gun registration.

In reality, I suspect that the real reason for this requirement is not to ensnare the legal residents who follow the law, but to give the government greater authority to arrest, interrograte, and deport people it suspects of other crimes.
posted by mikewas at 11:59 AM on July 24, 2002


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