Amendment needs a closer look
Regarding "Senate's effort fails to please both sides" (Page A-l, June 28): The story refers to the Lautenberg Amendment of 1990 as "allowing Jews and other religious minorities leaving the Soviet Union to receive protection in the United States."
The Congressional Research Service says the amendment allows those groups covered by the legislation to prove they are eligible for special refugee status "with a credible, but not necessarily individual, fear of persecution."
By contrast, the Immigration and Nationality Act "requires prospective refugees to establish a well-founded fear of persecution on a case-by-case basis."
Those covered by the Lautenberg Amendment are eligible for special cash assistance and for federal public assistance programs including, but not limited to, Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has reported "The Lautenberg Amendment allowed some 350,000 to 400,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union to gain entry into the United States without having to prove they were individu ally persecuted."
Charles Kamasaki, executive vice president of the National Council of La Raza, has written, "To some Hispanic advocates, the inequity was obvious."
A brief look at the Lautenberg Amendment reveals disparities in classification and treatment between those who are covered and not covered by the amendment and related special programs and assistance. A much closer look at the disparities in classification and treatment can provide important information for those struggling for more equal and just immigration, refugee and domestic policies.
Jeffrey B. Perry