• Congress asked anew to replace 70-year-old immigration law

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    AFTER three failed tries,  the  Bureau of Immigration (BI) appeals again to  Congress to pass a new immigration law that will replace the “antiquated” Immigration Act of 1940 to make it attuned to the present realities and changing times.

    “The enactment of a new Philippine Immigration act is long overdue.  We appeal to Congress to give this proposed law a priority,”  said Immigration Commissioner Morente in a statement.

    According to the BI chief, a new immigration law should be crafted to address the ever growing threat of international trafficking and the scourge of human trafficking that has victimized many Filipinos.

    He said the same law should plug loopholes in the BI’s systems and practices prone to corrupt practices.

    Morente also stressed that the corruption may be curbed if the law would upgrade the salary scales of BI employees which he described as very low compared to the take home pay that their counterparts in other Asian countries were getting.

    The first attempt to amend the law was during the time of former Immigration commissioner Rufus Rodriguez, which did not reach even first base.

    The bill was refiled during the watch of former Immigration Commissioner and now Pagcor Chairman Andrea Domingo and former Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan but in both instances also did not prosper.

    It was on Sept. 3, 1940 that then US president Franklin Roosevelt signed into law Commonwealth Act No. 613 or the Philippine Immigration Act, which created the BI under the supervision of the Office of the President.

    It was attached to the Department of Justice and again to the Office of the President and later to the Department of Labor.

    It was in 1948 that the BI reverted to the supervision of the justice department where it has remained up to the present. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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