Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘removal’

6th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention, via the website MetroWeekly.com, that the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, has vacated a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals which applied controversial section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) in a recent case. To quote directly from a PDF copy of AG Holder’s order as posted to the aforementioned website:

Pursuant to my authority set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h)(1)(i), I order that the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) in this case applying Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, be vacated, and that this matter be referred to me for review.

In the exercise of my review authority under that regulation, and upon consideration of the record in this case, I direct that the order of the Board be vacated and that this matter be remanded to the Board to make such findings as may be necessary to determine whether and how the constitutionality of DOMA is presented in this case, including, but not limited to: 1) whether respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union qualifies him to be considered a “spouse” under New Jersey law; 2) whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a “spouse” under the Immigration and Nationality Act; 3) what, if any, impact the timing of respondent’s civil union should have on his request for that discretionary relief; and 4) whether, if he had a “qualifying relative,” the respondent would be able to satisfy the exceptional and unusual hardship requirement for cancellation of removal.

Those reading this posting are encouraged to read the article on Metroweekly.com posted by Chris Geidner regarding these issues as this blogger found that posting to be very insightful.

For those who are not familiar with this issue it should be noted that the current provisions of DOMA preclude accordance of federal benefits to those who have entered into a same sex relationship. This preclusion even overrides State prerogatives regarding marriage as, in an immigration context, the language of DOMA precludes recognition of even a same sex marriage solemnized and/or legalized in a sovereign American State. Currently, there is some legislation, such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) or the Respect for Marriage Act, pending before the American Federal legislature which would seek to remove the current restrictions being imposed upon the LGBT community.

It remains to be seen whether same sex visa benefits will be accorded the same sex partners engaged in a bi-national relationship, but one thing is clear: there is momentum gathering behind the cause of LGBT equal rights as American authorities would seem to be taking notice of the legitimate grievances of those who have, for too long, been denied their rights to equal protection under the law. Meanwhile, this blogger finds it likely that there will eventually be some sort of decision regarding the accordance of Full Faith and Credit to those legal marriages solemnized and/or legalized by those States which currently license such unions. As of the time of this writing, however, such remedies remain to be seen and the assurances that they will manifest themselves sometime in the future is likely cold comfort to those who are separated from their loved ones now.

For related information please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause.

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29th March 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that it would appear as though the Department of Homeland Security‘s United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is placing certain deportations on hold if such a proceeding pertains to the same sex spouse of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. To quote directly from the website dailynews-update.net:

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service confirmed Monday that it has temporarily put some deportations of partners in same-sex marriages on hold if they could be affected by the recent Department of Justice decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Chris Bentley, Press Secretary for the USCIS said in a statement: “USCIS has issued guidance to the field asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues.”

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click on the above links to view this story in its entirety.

There are many “distinct legal issues” at play when it comes to the issue of same sex marriage and governmental recognition thereof. Those who read this web log with any frequency may have noticed that this blogger has dedicated a great deal of time to commenting and following this issue as it is truly a struggle for both the civil rights of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents as well as a struggle for Federal recognition of sovereign State prerogatives on the issue of marriage.

Throughout the struggle for equal marriage rights for the LGBT community there have been many legislators who have supported the cause of same sex bi-national couples. Most notably, Representative Jerrold Nadler has repeatedly introduced legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) in an effort to make headway in securing immigration benefits for same sex bi-national couples in the same manner accorded to their different-sex counterparts. Meanwhile, as noted on this blog, groups such as Immigration Equality and their Immigration Equality Action Fund Blog have recently announced a position regarding DHS issuance of Green Cards for foreign same sex partners of American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents. Announcements such as these are important because they illuminate the extent to which the political and immigration systems are evolving in an effort to deal with this issue. Clearly, the LGBT equal rights movement has an organic base committed to seeing real change in the immigration system.

It was recently noted on this blog that the Obama administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder issued a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives noting that the administration no longer felt that pursuing so-called “Defense of Marriage Act“  (DOMA) cases was Constitutional. There are some who would argue that this action is contrary to the administration’s duty pursuant to United States law. Some members of Congress, as well as apparent presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, have even made noises about impeachment regarding this issue. As of the time of this writing, such an action has not taken place.

This blogger personally disagrees with the American administration’s decision not to pursue DOMA cases because doing so could preclude Supreme Court adjudication due to lack of a “case or controversy” before that body. This blogger would also argue that the Supreme Court is the best adjudicator of this issue as there are many ramifications of same sex marriage recognition pursuant to the provisions of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

How the whole issue of same sex marriage, and American government recognition thereof; will ultimately be decided remains to be seen, but for advocates of equal LGBT immigration rights this recent USCIS decision is definitely a positive one.

For related information please see: LGBT visa.

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20th September 2010

The United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is tasked with maintaining the security of America’s ports and overseeing the execution of customs regulations. In previous posts on this blog, it has been noted that there is a great deal of economic opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region. Some Americans are unfamiliar with a body known colloquially as APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation). This body has become an increasingly important platform for discussion of various subjects pertaining to inter-jurisdictional matters arising in the Asia-Pacific region. To quote the APEC website directly:

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region .

APEC is the only inter governmental grouping in the world operating on the basis of non-binding commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the views of all participants. Unlike the WTO or other multilateral trade bodies, APEC has no treaty obligations required of its participants. Decisions made within APEC are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

This consensus driven initiative has proven effective in facilitating international trade, cooperation, and dialogue. In a recent press release it was announced that the USCBP will likely be taking on a more hand-on role within the APEC framework. To quote the press release as distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today that it will host the Subcommittee on Customs Procedures as part of the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings that will be chaired by the United States. The Sub-committee on Customs Procedures coordinates CBP’s efforts in customs, immigration and counter-terrorism with partner agencies throughout APEC member countries. The yearlong chairmanship will be handed over to CBP from the Japan Customs and Tariff Bureau today.

“CBP is proud to be hosting the distinguished members of the Sub-committee on Customs procedures for the 2011 APEC meetings,” said Commissioner Alan Bersin. “It is of vital importance to the security of our global economy for the members to coordinate and share
customs best practices.”

The subcommittee is a working level group within APEC. It brings Customs administrations of APEC Member Economies together to simplify and harmonize customs procedures and to ensure trade moves efficiently and safely across the Asia-Pacific region. APEC is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. The APEC region is home to more than 2.7 billion
people and represents approximately 60 percent of the world GDP and 44 percent of world trade.

Japan officially turns over the Chair of APEC to President Barack Obama at the November 13-14, 2010 Leader’s Meeting in Yokohama, Japan.

This is a very interesting development from an economic perspective as it would appear that the United States is taking a keener interest in Asia-Pacific affairs. This may be due to the recent downturn in the US economy as well as the rise of The Peoples’ Republic of China as a major player in global economic relations. Whatever the reason for this increasing interest in the region, this author welcomes further streamlining of Customs procedures in an effort to stimulate new transnational trade and facilitate preexisting trading relationships in an effort to increase the volume trade between the United States and the members of APEC.

Hopefully, through voluntary cooperation trade can be increased and the security of the USA and the other APEC member nations will be increased. To further quote the aforementioned press release distributed by AILA:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Hopefully, this new multilateral initiative will be beneficial for all concerned as US officials and Customs authorities from other participating nations can pool some resources in an effort to combat international crime and facilitate the execution of relevant immigration laws.

Many Americans and foreign nationals are under the mistaken impression that Customs and Border Protection simply “rubber stamps” entrants to the United states who are either from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program or have a US Tourist Visa. Nothing could be further from the truth as even those entering the USA with a valid visa could be turned away or placed in Expedited removal proceedings depending upon their travel history. Those interested in traveling to the USA from a country abroad may find the assistance of an American attorney beneficial as such an individual may be able to provide insight into the Immigration process and streamline the processing of visa applications and petitions.

For related information please see: US Visa China.

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8th September 2010

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE or more commonly referred to by the acronym: ICE) is tasked with enforcing American Immigration and Customs law. Often ICE officers are involved in programs aimed at apprehending those in the United States illegally or those who initially came to the United States legally, but later either dropped out of lawful status or committed a criminal offense which created a legal ground for removal. For the most part, ICE seems to primarily deal with immigration violations which occur along the Southern border of the United States as this has increasingly been an area where illegal immigration occurs frequently. However, their mandate includes all immigrants and foreign nationals from countries around the globe and in a recently promulgated announcement from  the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), it was noted that those from Asian countries who violate US law are just as susceptible to removal. To quote directly from the aforementioned announcement:

SEATTLE – In a chartered flight that originated in Seattle on Aug. 31, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned 96 immigration violators to the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Cambodia; 66 of them had committed criminal offenses in the United States.


ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) coordinated the flight that returned 66 Filipinos, 18 Indonesians, 5 Cambodians, 4 Malaysians, 2 Japanese, and 1 Vietnamese nationals to their respective countries. The group included 79 males and 17 females. These individuals came into ICE custody from locations throughout the United States and were housed at various detention facilities across the country before being transported to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., shortly before the flight.


Among the 66 who had been convicted of criminal offenses while living in the United States, their crimes included homicide, felony drug trafficking and possession, rape and other sex crimes, aggravated assault, weapons possession, grand theft, and burglary.


“This year, ICE expects to remove a record number of criminal aliens from the country and charter flights like this are a big part of making that happen,” said ICE Director John Morton. “The United States welcomes law-abiding immigrants, but foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities should be on notice that ICE is going to use all its resources to find you and send you home.”


ICE officers and medical staff with the Division of Immigration Health Services accompanied aliens on the flight.

Removal from the United States is a serious matter and those immigrants present in the USA on some sort of immigrant visa are well advised to adhere to US law and maintain lawful immigration status at all times. That said, those who have been deported from the US are generally not able to lawfully reenter the United States for a statutorily prescribed period of time. Those barred from the USA may be able to reenter after an approval of either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 petition for advance permission to reenter the USA. In some cases, those removed from the United States are indefinitely ineligible for readmission to the US. USICE offices overseas seem to be tasked with making certain that those removed from the United States actually return to their home country or remain abroad in an effort to prevent from them returning to the USA unlawfully.

United States Immigration law is a complex area of American jurisprudence. The existence of an American warrant on an alien’s record or prior criminal convictions in US Courts can have a serious impact upon one’s ability to immigrate to, and remain in, the United States.

Those seeking information about specific immigration issues are well advised to contact a US attorney in order to ascertain one’s options pursuant to American Immigration law.

For related information please see: Warrant For Arrest, US Visa Indonesia, or US Visa Vietnam.

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27th April 2010

ภายใต้มาตรา 214b แห่งพระราชบัญญัติคนเข้าเมืองและสัญชาติ เจ้าหน้าที่กงสุลสามารถปฏิเสธวีซ่าชั่วคราว ( เจ วัน , เอฟ วัน, บี วัน และ บี ทู ) หากเชื่อว่าคนต่างด้าวผู้ยื่นขวีซ่าไม่สามารถโต้แย้งข้อสันนิษฐานว่าจะอพยพเข้าเมืองได้ ในบางกรณี กงสุลาจจะออกวีซ่าท่องเที่ยวให้ แต่คนต่างด้าวก็อาจถูกปฏิเสธขณะจะเข้าประเทศได้เช่นกัน

คนต่างด้าวได้รับวีซ่าแล้วแต่ถูกปฏิเสธไม่ให้เข้าประเทศได้อย่างไร ? มีความเข้าใจผิดๆที่ว่า ถ้าได้วีซ่าแล้วก็เท่ากับว่า มีสิทธิเข้าประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกาได้ อันที่จริง เจ้าหน้าที่ศุลกากรและ ตำรวจตรวจคนเข้าเมืองมีดุลยพินิจที่จะปฏิเสธคนต่างด้าวไม่ให้เข้าเมืองได้ ถ้าเชื่อว่ามีเหตุให้ปฏิเสธ หากว่าเจ้าหน้ามีมีเหตุให้เชื่อว่าคนต่างด้าวมีวัตถุประสงค์อพยพ ก็มีสิทธิปฏิเสธไม่ให้เข้าเมืองและยังมีอำนาจดุลพินิจในการเร่งส่งตัวกลับเพื่อจัดการให้คนต่างด้าวออกนอกประเทศได้อีกด้วย

ความในพระราชบัญญัติสัญชาติกล่าวว่า

ตามมาตรา 212 (a)(7)(A)(i) แห่งพระราชบัญญัติคนเข้าเมืองและสัญชาติ ผู้อพยพคนใด ในขณะที่ยื่นคำขอเข้าเมือง :

ไม่ได้ถือวีซ่าถาวรที่ยังไม่หมดอายุ คำขอกลับเข้ามาใหม่ หรือหนังสือสำคัญประจำตัวในการผ่านด่าน หรือหนังสือสำคัญอื่นๆที่กำหนดไว้ตามพระราชบัญญัติคนเข้าเมืองและสัญชาติ และหนังสือเดินทางที่ยังไม่หมดอายุ หรือ เอกสารเดินทางอื่นๆที่ใช้ได้ในลักษณะเดียวกันภายใต้กฎเกณฑ์คนเข้าเมือง หรือวีซ่าที่ไม่ได้ออกให้โดยสอดคล้องกับกฎเกณฑ์ที่บัญญัติไว้ในพระราชบัญญัติสัณชาติและคนเข้าเมืองสามารถถูกกันไม่ให้เข้าเมืองได้ (จากสหรัฐอเมริกา )

การขอละเว้นโทษมีอยู่ภายใต้มาตรา 212(k) ซึ่งสำนักอัยการสูงสุดพอใจว่าการกันไม่ให้เข้าเมืองนั้นไม่สามารถทราบได้ และไม่สามารถทราบได้แน่นอนโดยดุลวินิฉัยของคนต่างด้าวนั้นก่อนที่ยานพาหนะจะออกเดินทางมาจากจุดหมายนอกประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกา และนอกดินแดนรัฐอารักขา หรือในกรณีที่คนต่างด้าวนั้นมาจากรัฐอารักขา ให้ใช้เวลาก่อนที่คนต่างด้าวจะยื่นขอให้รับเข้าเมือง

อำนาจของเจ้าหน้าที่ตรวจคนเข้าเมืองดังที่ได้อธิบายไว้ข้างต้นแสดงให้เห็นเหตุผลในการที่ต้องขอวีซ่าให้ถูกประเภทแทนที่จะพยายามลอดช่องโหว่ของกฎหมายคนเข้าเมือง ตัวอย่างเช่น มีคนอเมริกันบางคนที่มีคนรักเป็นบุคคลสัณชาติไทยและหวังที่จะนำเขาหรือเธอเหล่านั้นไปอเมริกาโดยมีจุดประสงค์ที่จะสมรสหรือเพื่อปรับเปลี่ยนสถานภาพเป็นผู้พำนักอาศัยถาวร หรือผุ้ถือกรีนการ์ด โดยทั่วไปแล้ว วีซ่าเค วัน ( รู้จักกันในชื่อวีซ่าคู่หมั้น ) เป็นวีซ่าที่เหมาะกับวัตถุประสงค์นี้ที่สุด อย่างไรก็ดีบางคนเลือกที่จะขอวีซ่าท่องเที่ยวอเมริกาเนื่องจากวีซ่าคู่หมั้นใช้เวลานานประมาณ 6-7 เดือน ในขณะที่วีซ่าท่องเที่ยวใช้เวลาสองถึงสาม สัปดาห์เท่านั้น การถูกปฏิเสธที่ด่านคนเข้าเมืองขณะจะเข้าเมืองทำให้เสี่ยงต่อการถูกส่งตัวกลับและยังต้องเสียเงินไปกับการขอวีซ่าและค่าเดินทางแต่กลับเข้าประเทศไม่ได้ การถูกกันตัวออกจากประเทศสหรัฐอเมริกาอาจส่งผลให้ถูกแบนไม่ให้เข้าเมืองในคราวต่อไปได้ ได้หากว่าเจ้าหน้าที่ตรวจคนเข้าเมืองเห็นว่าการเข้าประเทศเป็นไปโดยจงใจให้เจตนาเท็จแก่เจ้าหน้าที่ ในกรณีเช่นว่านี้จะต้องขอละเว้นโทษเท่านั้น ซึ่งเรียกว่า I601 waiver

การถูกปฏิเสธไม่ให้เข้าเมืองไม่ทำให้ถุกส่งตัวกลับทันที เจ้าหน้าที่ตรวจคนเข้าเมืองมีอำนาจดุลพินิจที่จะอนุญาตให้คนต่างด้าวถอนคำขอเข้าประเทศได้และออกจากประเทศโดยเสียค่าใช้จ่ายด้วยตนเอง แต่การใช้วีซ่าชั่วคราวโดยไม่ถูกต้องทำให้เกิดความเสี่ยงในกาลต่อมาที่จะถูกส่งตัวออกนอกประเทศและคนที่กำลังหาลู่ทางไปสหรัฐอเมริกาสก็ควรจะจำเรื่องนี้ใส่ใจไว้เมื่อศึกษาเกี่ยวกับกฎหมายคนเข้าเมืองสหรัฐ

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10th April 2010

Visa denial is generally something that most bi-national couples do not wish to discuss, but it is something that should be researched by the prospective visa petitioner as legal grounds of inadmissibility and the I-601 waiver process could be relevant to an individual couple’s Immigration petition and visa application.

In a recent report from the Congressional Research service (distributed by AILA) the issue of visa denial was discussed as the report looked at the reasons for denial and the overall trends in inadmissibility findings:

“Most LPR [Lawful Permanent Residence] petitioners who were excluded on §212(a) grounds from FY1994 through FY2004 were rejected because the Department of State (DOS) determined that the aliens were inadmissible as likely public charges. By FY2004, the proportion of public charge exclusions had fallen but remained the top basis for denial. The lack of proper labor certification was another leading ground for exclusion from FY1994 through FY2004. By FY2008, however, illegal presence and previous orders of removal from the United States was the leading ground.”

The finding of a “public charge” grounds of inadmissibility is related to the affidavit of support. A finding that an alien is likely to be a “public charge” stems from a finding that the sponsor does not have the requisite income and assets necessary to support the alien for whom benefits are being sought. The report goes further to note that Comprehensive Immigration Reform may tackle some of the issues associated with the trends in visa application denials:

“Legislation aimed at comprehensive immigration reform may take a fresh look at the grounds for excluding foreign nationals enacted over the past two decades. Expanding the grounds for inadmissibility, conversely, might be part of the legislative agenda among those who support more restrictive immigration reform policies.”

It is interesting to note that the Immigration system may become more stringent or more lax depending upon the mood of legislators with regard to the issue of immigration. That being said, a more detailed look at the current trends provides insight into the dynamics of the system as a whole:

“[M]ost LPR petitioners who were excluded on §212(a) grounds in FY1996 and FY2000 were rejected because the DOS determined that the aliens were inadmissible as likely public charges. In FY2004, the proportion of public charge exclusions had fallen, but remained the top basis for denial. The lack of proper labor certification was another leading ground for exclusion in FY1996, FY2000, FY2004, and FY2008. By FY2008, however, illegal presence and previous orders of removal from the United States had become the leading ground.”

It is interesting to note that unlawful presence and previous removal had become the leading grounds of inadmissibility cited by the year 2008. This would seem to support the anecdotal evidence and personal experience of this author as more and more prospective entrants to the US seem to be placed in expedited removal proceedings with greater frequency. Also, there seems to be an increasing trend of increasingly zealous enforcement of Immigration law in the USA as illegal aliens are placed in removal proceedings more frequently.

For further information about visa denial please see: K1 visa. For general information about US Immigration from Thailand please see: US Visa Thailand.

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11th September 2009

On this website, there is a great deal of information regarding I-601 waivers and grounds of inadmissibility.  However, there are other situations where a foreign national can be barred from reentering the United States of America. For example, where an alien has been deported or removed from the United States, they are usually subject to a reentry ban for a statutorily specified period of time. If a foreign national has been previously deported or removed from the United States, then that person must submit an I-212 application to reapply for admission to the United States (also known as advance permission to reenter).

Deportation and removal are technically the same thing as the terms can be used interchangeably. That being said, forms of removal from the United States should be looked at on a kind of legal spectrum. What is commonly referred to as “Deportation” occurs after a finding by an Immigration Judge that a person should be removed from the United States of America. Another form of removal is known as “expedited removal” this commonly occurs at a port of entry in the United States where a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officer finds that an applicant for admission is not fit for entry under one or more of the  provisions of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. In many situations, a Border Patrol Officer will allow an applicant for admission to voluntarily withdraw their application and return to the point of origin. In this situation, which is akin to voluntary departure, the applicant’s US Immigration record is not adversely affected. However, it is within the officer’s discretion to place the alien in expedited deportation proceedings and thereby have them removed from the United States.

When an alien is removed from the United States through the use of expedited deportation, that alien is barred from reentering the United States without first receiving approval of the aforementioned statutorily mandated I-212 petition. These applications are somewhat similar to I-601 waivers in that the applicant must show something  like extreme hardship to a United States Citizen would occur if the application were denied and the applicant remained inadmissible.

Avoiding expedited deportation at a port of entry (and the consequences arising therefrom) is just another reason why visa seekers should apply for a visa which comports with their intent. One who is viewed as using a United States tourist visa improperly (hiding their intention to marry in the US and adjust status) could be placed in expedited deportation proceedings. If removed, then a great deal of time and resources would need to be expended to deal with the inadmissibility. Therefore, it is not only ethically incumbent upon all applicants to be honest in their immigration endeavors, but it is also practical because avoiding expedited deportation is a great benefit from a long term perspective.

For the above described reasons, those wishing to bring a Thai loved one to the United States for the purpose of marriage are encouraged to utilize a K1 visa for this purpose as a fiance visa is the appropriate travel document reflecting the couple’s true intentions. For those already married, a CR1 visa or a K 3 visa is preferable to a tourist visa if adjustment of status is the ultimate goal.

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