May 4, 2001

Editorial

Immigrants BUSH-WHACKED Again

The George W. Bush administration, showing signs of the Trent Lott influence, backed away from the task of reforming the way we do business on our borders. Given an opportunity to bring a much-needed change to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, President George W. Bush chose to cop-out. Rather than confront entrenched interests that are served by having an inefficient and incompetent INS, Bush decided to do nothing.

The appointment of James Ziglar as Commissioner of the INS, is tantamount to doing nothing to bring order out of chaos in what is clearly a dysfunctional department of our government. Ziglar, a political crony of Majority Leader Trent Lott, is known for giving substantial financial support to the "good-ole-boys" of the Republican Party.

What ever happened to giving Ambassadorships to non-descript countries such as Somalia, to the heavy financial contributors of the party who donate millions in soft money? Offhand two reasons seem cogent: The President can repay political debts to otherwise nice people who are unfit to be appointed to the President's cabinet or run top departments, and agencies of the Federal Government. The positive fallout of carrying out this sort of political intrigue is that they can do little harm to the U.S. or to the host country. The Ambassador is usually the last to know that he is just a glorified dinner-giver to the minor rulers and their satraps.

On the contrary, James Ziglar, if the Senate confirms his appointment as Commissioner of the INS, will be in command of one of the most crucial agencies of our country. Border issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are causing riots and demonstrations from Canada to Chili and from London to Russia and are causing other serious disruptions in our country. Ziglar and his men will supposedly be the main force assigned to maintain the integrity of our borders, control immigration and service the hundreds of thousand of new immigrants who are in the process of gaining legal status and work permits. He will be a Commissioner with no knowledge or experience of what the role of the INS is or in controlling or eliminating the flow of illegal drugs. Mr. Ziglar will be the General of an armed force that has thus far failed to stop our country from becoming the supermarket for drugs in the world. Drugs flow in unimpeded by the Border Patrol, Custom officers and thousands of other Federal employees. Our country is awash in drugs... And, whom does the President nominate for such a crucial post — James Ziglar, a rank amateur!

This appointment may come back to haunt the President when reelection time comes. Whoever the Commissioner of the INS is, this appointment may be one of the most important appointments that the President will make. Did I mention this appointment is more important to the Mexican American, Latino, Hispanic communities than any other in the Federal government?

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