AFTER three failed tries, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has appealed again to Congress to pass a new immigration law that will replace the “antiquated” Immigration Act of 1940 to make it attuned to realities and changing times.
“The enactment of a new Philippine Immigration Act is long overdue. We appeal to Congress to give this proposed law priority,” Immigration Commissioner Morente said in a statement on Friday.
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 that are prone to corrupt practices.
Morente added that corruption can be curbed if the law upgrades the salaries of BI employees that he described as very low compared to the take-home pay of their counterparts in other Asian countries.
The first attempt to amend the law was made 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 of former Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan but in both instances also failed.
It was on September 3, 1940 that then-US President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law Commonwealth Act 613 or the Philippine Immigration Act, which created the BI under the supervision of the Office of the President.
Afterward, it was attached to the Department of Justice and again to the Office of the President and later the Department of Labor and Employment.
It was in 1948 that the BI reverted to the supervision of the Justice department where it remains up to the present.