Monday, June 25, 2007

"All You Have To Do Is Ask"

These were the words of Tom Lee during a speech at last week's convention, where nothing transpired without his notice, and everything went his way. Agree or disagree with him, he is to be commended (and sincerely so) for his energy and his mastery of AFM politics. In 2010, no AFM President will have served a longer term since Herman D. Kenin (1958-1970).

However, a few footnotes to his speech are required. Though claiming not to read "the blogs" (which would be a serious error—the service provided by the various AFM blogs is important, interesting, and informative) Tom Lee displayed a mastery of the content of our recent articles regarding visa processing fees. He suggested that if we wanted to understand the issues surrounding visa processing fees, all we needed to do was ask constructively, and a voice from on high would oblige us with an explanation.

Tom Lee took a different tack at the March 2007 New England Conference. When I asked on the floor for information about visa processing fees (quite constructively, I thought), Tom Lee directed me to the Freedom of Information Act. Far from "all you have to do is ask," this was more like "I'm not going to give it to you unless you force me."

(I didn't need to look into the Freedom of Information Act, which applies to federal agencies, and has nothing to do with this issue.)

Nor was this the first time I had asked. I have letters dating back to 2004 constructively, politely, and civilly requesting this information.

Finally, I made a request under 29 U.S.C. 431(b)(2) and (c). The information then began to seep out, and even then, somewhat incoherently (as we have pointed out).

And all I had to do was ask!

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