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February 10, 1989 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-10

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Officials' Impatience Growing
Over Immigration Controversy


Washington Correspondent

he mystery over recent
Immigration and Nat-
uralization Service
policies on fleeing Soviet Jews
continues to deepen. And
both Soviet Jewry officials
and congressional supporters
of the movement are growing
impatient with the govern-
ment's inability to get to the
bottom of the latest rash of
U.S. visa denials.
"We've been in regular con-
tact with 'INS, and they've
been less than helpful — to
put it mildly," said a
spokesman for Rep. Ben Car-
din (D Md.), who has been a
leading figure in supporting
the current wave of Soviet
But the problem is an elu-
sive one — in part because
jurisdiction for refugees is
split between the Justice
Department, which includes
INS, and the State Depart-
The controversy mostly in-
volves Soviet Jews waiting in
Rome for approval to move to
this country. Previously,
Soviet Jews were automatic-
ally granted refugee status.
But now, in response to
policies that have yet to be
clearly defined, refugees must
demonstrate "a well-founded
fear of persecution."
The decision of what con-
stitutes a "well founded" fear
is left to the. individual INS
Despite earlier promises
that this move to make
refugee decisions on a case-
by-case basis would not result
in a significant number of
visa rejections, Soviet Jewry
activists learned recently of a
steep increase.
There is speculation that
some of the impetus for the
change is budget driven;
refugee status provides a
number of financial benefits
for immigrants, and INS ex-
aminers may be attempting
to comply with new guide-
lines handed down by the Of-
fice of Management and
In an attempt to solve the
problem, top Soviet Jewry ac-
tivists met last week with At-
torney General Dick Thorn-
burgh. Participants indicated
that the tone of the meeting
was open and friendly — but
several suggested that Thorn-
burgh was not able to explain
the causes of the persistent
INS problem.
More meetings on the sub-


ject were scheduled for this
week — including one with
Richard Schifter, Assistant
Secretary of State for Human
Rights and Humanitarian

Abram Nominated
For U.N. Post
In Geneva

Outgoing chairman of the
Conference of Presidents of
Major Jewish Organizations
and noted civil rights at-
torney Morris • Abram has
been nominated by the Bush
administration as ambassa-
dor to the United Nations
agencies in Geneva.
Initially, Abram was re-
ported to be a leading can-
didate for the U.N. position in
New York. But President
George Bush, in what was in-
tended as a signal to the
world organization about a
new, less • political relation-
ship to the United Nations,
appointed a career diplomat
to the position, former U.S.
ambassador to Israel Thomas
But the Geneva assignment
may take on special impor-
tance in the months to come
as the Middle East question
garners a growing share of
the U.N.'s attention.
Several months ago, the
General Assembly meeting
planned to debate the Middle
East issue was moved to
Geneva after the State
Department turned down a
visa that would have allowed
Palestine Liberation Organi-
zation chairman Yassir
Arafat to address the interna-
tional body.
Abram, when contacted
about his impending appoint-
ment, referred all questions
to the State Department.

AIPAC Survives
Group's Attack

The American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC),
the pre-eminent pro-Israel
lobbying group, won a quiet
victory recently when the
Justice Department declined
to act on a complaint lodged
by a group with strong anti-
Zionist connections.
The complaint was filed by
New American View, a
publication with apparent
ties to the controversial anti-
Israel group, Liberty Lobby.
According to the Anti-Defa-
mation League of the B'nai
B'rith, Liberty Lobby is "the
most active anti-Semitic

organization in the country."
The prime movers behind
the group's complaint were
Mark Lane, former general
counsel to Liberty Lobby and
now the publication's editor,
and Victor Marchetti, the
former CIA employee and
critic of American foreign
In the complaint, Lane and
Marchette argued that
AIPAC, a registered lobbying
group, is in violation of the
Foreign Agents Registration
Act of 1938 because of its
links to the Israeli
But the Justice Department
reply indicated that • such
charges had been in-
vestigated several times in
the past — and had been
judged groundless.
"While AIPAC does engage
in political activity which
benefits the Government of
Israel, there is no evidence
that this activity is carried
out in any capacity other
than that of concerned
American citizens exercising
the rights guaranteed by the
The letter was signed by
Assistant Attorney General
for the Criminal Division,
Edward Dennis Jr.


Jewish Groups
Court Likely
DNC Leader

Washington are beginning to
reach out to Ron Brown, the
heir-apparent to the top post
at the Democratic National
Brown, a black attorney
who has been active in a
number of national cam-
paigns, has been drawing
heat for his recent association
with presidential contender
Jesse Jackson — an associa-
tion Brown's supporters are
attempting to minimize.
Recently, Brown's leading
rivals — including Richard N.
Wiener, chairman of the
Michigan Democratic Party
and a well-known Jewish ac-
tivist — pulled out of the race,
leaving Brown with a fairly
clear track to the top post.
"Jewish groups are, above
all, pragmatic," said one
analyst for a major pro-Israel
group. "There may have been
some grumbling about
Brown's ties to Jackson — but
his overall record contains
nothing that might alarm the
Jewish community. Now that
his election is assured, we're
seeing a number of quiet ef-



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