News Column

New Immigration Agency, New Department, Same Old Failed Policies

November 22, 2002

WASHINGTON (U.S. Newswire) -- "The creation of the new Department of Homeland Security is a major victory for immigration reform in that it finally puts immigration enforcement under the purview of an agency with a national security mandate," concluded Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Unfortunately, reorganization and relocation alone will not be sufficient to address the homeland security risks brought to light by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, warns FAIR.

"The mismanagement at the INS has been undeniable," continued Stein. "But the real threat to our domestic security has less to do with INS' inability to protect our borders and enforce our laws than it does with political considerations that, even after Sept. 11, make it impossible for even a well-run agency to protect our nation. More than the failures of INS, the problems with immigration enforcement are a product of politically motivated decisions by Congress, several Administrations, and state and local governments, all made with the intent of satisfying the demands of an array of special interest groups."

Some in the Congress and Administration continue to hold out the promise of a massive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, and other programs that reward people for violating our immigration laws. Internal enforcement of immigration laws remain virtually nonexistent, thereby assuring people that there is no risk of ever being detected for being here illegally, much less deported.

Around the country, state and local governments continue to adopt policies that protect illegal immigrants. Numerous states grant driver's licenses to people living here illegally, while many more jurisdictions now honor foreign consulate issued cards as valid identification in this country. A growing list of states are granting subsidized in-state tuition to illegal aliens attending state-run universities. Many cities and counties have policies on the books that bar police and sheriffs departments from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement authorities.

"Until these and similar policies change, we will have no chance of controlling our borders or removing people who shouldn't be here, no matter what agency is in charge," warned Stein. "For anything to change, politicians must be willing to confront the cheap labor and ethnic interest lobbies that want to maintain the status quo.

"Placing immigration enforcement within the new Department of Homeland Security is significant because it says that managing our immigration policy is a matter of national security," Stein continued. "Now the test will be whether the politicians are prepared to back it up with deeds. That means setting rules, enforcing rules, and never rewarding the people who break the rules. Without the political will to do this, the new immigration agency will be no more successful than the old one, and the American public will be no more secure than they are right now.

"Still needed," says Stein, "is a broader approach to making overall immigration policy that includes agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, the Department of Energy, and other departments whose area of responsibility is affected by mass immigration."

-- "NCLR Expresses Concern Over Folding of INS into Department of Homeland Security"

Source: U.S. Newswire

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