Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 38me9009 (posted Jun. 26, 2000)"
June 26, 2000
Ms. Elizabeth Mueller Gross
U.S. News & World Report
1050 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
To The Editor:
Your article "A borderline cop show?" (July 19, 1999) not only was informative, but also serves to point out some of the problems at the Immigration and Naturalization Service. One solution recently proposed by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) would only make a bad situation worse.
The Immigration Reorganization & Improvement Act of 1999 (IRIA) would break the INS into two separate agencies, one handling enforcement; the other adjudications. The major problems with this bill are that it does not provide for strong, centralized voice on immigration policy-making and implementation; it does not provide for coordination between the two bureaus; and it does not provide a revenue stream.
If you think the INS doesn’t work now, wait until you see what happens if IRIA passes. There will no coordination between the enforcement and adjudication bureaus. As a result, the current imperfect system will be even more complicated and subject to errors that could halt innocent legal immigrants from entering the country, bar residents from reuniting with their families, and weaken enforcement.
There is a better solution. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, which represents the 5,600 lawyers practicing before the INS, believes that true reform must provide for a single person responsible for immigration policy, mandated coordination between enforcement and adjudications, and full funding for both functions.