Opposition to legislation in the U.S. Congress which
proposes to limit the numbers of immigrants invited to work for companies in
need of their special expertise and members of their families is growing,
according to Daryl Buffenstein, president of the American Immigration Lawyers
Association (AILA).

But Mr. Buffenstein told GlobalFax in an interview in his
Atlanta office that U.S. businesses generally were caught off guard by the
immigration legislation which will be considered when Congress reconvenes this

 Only now is there beginning to be widespread recognition
of the threats to the global competitiveness that the legislation presents, he
said, adding that firms operating internationally are beginning to mount their
opposition.  He cited the opposition to the proposed legislation of national
and local business organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the
National Association of Manufacturers and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of

In addition, he stressed that the  immigration debate
should focus first on separating the proposals dealing with illegal and legal

Unless such a separation occurs, the “global COMPETITIVENESS
issues” will never be addressed apart from the emotional arguments that “the
streets have to be made safe by deporting immigrants,”  he said.

“The issue never has been in the national spotlight the
way it is today,” he said during the interview.  At the AILA annual meeting in
Atlanta June 16, Mr. Buffenstein, who is a partner in the law firm of Paul,
Hastings, Janofsky and Walker, said that he would lead a “grassroots” campaign
against the proposals limiting legal immigration.  (See GobalFax Vol. 3, Issue

“By shutting off the flow of knowledge to this country,
we would only hurt ourselves,” Mr. Buffenstein said in the interview. “This
country can take ideas and translate them into action.  Other ideas may even be
generated and innovations occur which create jobs, improve productivity and
halt sliding standards for research and development.”

As examples, he cited the decision of the U.S. Senate
Armed Services Committee to assist the entry of a metal matrix expert vital to
aerospace research, and another case where a phosphate expert was able to
consult on the renovation of a Mississippi plant, thereby saving 200 jobs.

Companies such as Scientific-Atlanta that are hired for
projects in countries around the world are dependent on their knowledge of
foreign markets if they are to compete successfully against other global
companies, he added.   Others such as Motorola, Microsoft and Intel could
suffer in their development of emerging technologies if the legislation is
passed, he said.

Some proposals such as those hampering the entry of
family members of a recent immigrant should be considered in business as well
as humanitarian contexts, according to Mr. Buffenstein.  If a 21-year-old
son or daughter cannot obtain a visa to live with his or her parents, isn’t it
likely that the parents will reconsider moving to the U.S., he queried.

Mr. Buffenstein may be reached by calling (404) 815-2232;
or by fax, at (404) 815-2424.