By Saen Hayes
An article entitled ``Misunderstanding of the New E-2 Visa'' appeared in The Korea Times on Dec. 27. An Immigration official, seemingly speaking for the Ministry of Justice, wrote the article.
He said that articles by ``E-2 visa holding English teachers were shocking to my colleagues and myself who work in the Korea Immigration Service, the Ministry of Justice.''
The article notes that Mr. David Louis Quick, and others, made ``incorrect claims'' in articles written and that ``When one makes arguments, it is very easy for people to fall into the trap of emotional feelings and become very illogical, unless he is well trained in logical reasoning.''
The article continues, in this condescending tone, by stating that the author is ``a member of the New York Bar'' and has ``experience working at an American court.'' The New York Court Web site states that the author was sworn to the New York Bar in 2007.
The author who has come to a solution that I like to refer to as ``Immigration Logic."
This Immigration Logic leads to a conclusion that the ``New E-2 Visa,'' its not a new visa, doesn't require an FBI criminal record check but teachers ``can use the following options'' ― contact a ``local police station'' or a ``privately-run criminal record check'' service, such as ``www.criminalbackgroundrecords.com.''
If this is true, this regulation is another useless reactionary rule that directly stems from this ``Immigration Logic.''
The first solution to contact the ``local police station'' would still ``tolerate sex offenders in the classroom.'' A local city police station can only provide criminal records for the state where the police station is located.
For example, in my home state of Connecticut, the state police and some local police departments may conduct a record check, but the report will only include information from Connecticut criminal history records.
A smarter than immigration ``pedophile'' can simply request a record check from a town police department in a state where he has no criminal record and would then receive a clean ``no record'' statement.
The second option of obtaining a criminal check from a commercial service contains the same ``Immigration Logic.'' The service, the article mentioned, provides information on only 46 of the 50 states and only contains limited information for many of the 46 states.
For example, for Arkansas the service only provides information for those that are presently serving time, for California it only includes detailed information for certain counties, for Hawaii it only includes records for the past 12 years, for Pennsylvania it only includes information on those that are imprisoned or under Corrections supervision, and for Missouri, where the author went to law school, it only contains records since 1999.
We must realize that Korea is receiving a very bad name because of this ``Immigration Logic.'' A logic that leads to a Q&A message board on Immigration's Web site that has unanswered questions for over 2 years; immigration officers with English ability that is worse than most kindergarten students that many of our E-2 visa holders teach; an immigration office in Seoul that, until recently, was housed in the same building as a parole office; a Web site that has incorrect and incomplete information; holding cells that contributed to the deaths of 11 foreigners in the Yeosu Detention Center; immigration laws that are arbitrarily and inconsistently enforced; immigration officials that treat foreigners in a condescending and sometimes inhuman manner and numerous constitutional and human rights violations that have been perpetrated in the name of this Immigration Logic.
In the words of President-elect Lee ``All sides and corners of this country must now elevate to a more mature level. We must do away with the old, and create the new to step toward the future and the world.''
Hopefully, the reform-minded President-elect Lee, with the assistance of the Human Rights Commission, will force Immigration to mature and finally turn the prodigal son of the Ministry of Justice down the right path.
American attorney Sean Hayes is a law professor at Kookmin University and researcher for the Constitutional Court. He is pursuing a doctorate in law at Seoul National University. He can be reached at SeanHayes@ahnse.com and www.ahnse.blogspot.com.