What to do. What to do.
James Ziglar, the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, head of the principal agency of the United States Department of Justice charged with enforcing the immigration and nationality laws of the United States, appears to be losing touch with reality. He is having trouble grasping the concept that he is the chief law enforcement official in charge of deporting aliens.
According to an incredibly revealing article in the Arizona Daily Star on Friday, May 24, 2002 ("Mass deportation effort unlikely, INS chief says"), reporters Karina Ioffee and Tim Steller captured the embattled INS Commissioner displaying his true colors about what he really thinks of immigration law enforcement. Ioffee and Steller quoted Ziglar as follows:
The wisdom of James Ziglar
"No one likes the idea that people came into the country illegally, but it's not practical or reasonable to think that you're going to be able to round them all up and send them home."
"We need to set up a regime where we don't have to spend so much of our time and effort in enforcement activities dealing with people who are not terrorists, who are not threats to our national security, who are economic refugees."
Oh well. So much for enforcing immigration law and controlling the border. But let's hear it for Ioffee and Steller for some great reporting! The American people really need to know exactly what kind of person is in charge of enforcing the immigration laws of this country. But now that we know the truth about the INS Commissioner, what to do?
It is obvious from his statements, that Ziglar is not serious about controlling illegal immigration. He is not serious about stopping the flow of illegal aliens into the United States. He is not serious about interior enforcement activities by the INS and the Border Patrol in the United States in order to "round up" illegal aliens. He is not serious about enforcing any type of systematic employer sanctions program against American businesses that profit from illegal alien labor.
But Ziglar's statements also raise some serious questions about just what exactly is the Bush administration's immigration policy.
First of all, is Ziglar "off the reservation?" Is Ziglar stating a position that is contrary to the policy goals set by the President of the United States? If he has compromised the position of the United States in controlling its borders, he should resign or be fired immediately for undermining the policy position of the President.
But if Ziglar is not "off the reservation," is he just following orders? — In other words, does the President of the United States actually believe what Ziglar said too? This alternative is even more alarming, but somehow not surprising. Remember that in the pre-September 11th world, President George W. Bush was testing the waters for another "amnesty" for only Mexican illegal aliens. In the post-September 11th world, the Bush Administration is still advocating for the extension of Section 245(i) of the Immigration Act, which is a "stealth" amnesty, emasculating the "unlawful presence" grounds of the immigration laws.
If the President agrees with Ziglar and actually believes that massive illegal immigration by "economic refugees" does not pose a threat to the sovereignty of the United States, then this country is really in trouble. If the President agrees with Ziglar and believes that the illegal alien population has reached such a critical mass that it is entirely uncontrollable, and that any attempt to control it would be "not practical," then our nation is lost.
I would like to believe that Ziglar was "off the reservation" with his comments, and that the President will ask him to resign immediately for compromising the integrity of federal immigration law enforcement. At this point, it would be far more damaging for the President to keep Ziglar in the face of these ridiculous comments. The President has little alternative but to get rid of Ziglar or face the public relations consequences of embracing Ziglar's comments.
Let's face it. Ziglar's comments are a disgrace for a law enforcement official. Ziglar's comments are right up there with President Jimmy Carter's launching of the Mariel boats from Cuba just by shooting off his mouth. Who knows what Ziglar has unleashed by giving a green light to the international alien smuggling of "economic refugees" in his public musings? If America does not make a serious effort to secure its borders and deport aliens, our law enforcement officials will have no way of knowing who is sneaking across — someone's grandmother, Mexican Army units who fire on our Border Patrol, or terrorist operatives. If the border area is not secured, how will we ever know. Ziglar has invited disaster by showing his hand about his unwillingness to "round up" and deport illegal aliens once they've made it past the border.
If there is one man in the country who should be tough on illegal immigration, it should be the INS Commissioner of the INS — the official also ultimately responsible for the U.S. Border Patrol. Instead of publicly contemplating the futility of deporting illegal aliens, the INS Commissioner should have the guts to stand up for the Immigration and Nationality Act. If Ziglar is not standing up for enforcing the laws of the United States passed by Congress and signed by the President, who will do it?
Whether or not Ziglar is following the marching orders of the President of the United States, this country needs someone in the administration to stand up for immigration law enforcement. We need an INS Commissioner who will have the courage to tell all the illegal aliens in this country to GET OUT . . and get out now! And if they don't comply, then they will be subject to removal when they are encountered by any law enforcement official in the United States at any time . . and hopefully, soon.
What is so wrong about standing up for law enforcement is you are a law enforcement official? Is that too much to ask? After eight years of disastrous Doris Meissner at the helm, you would think that the American people finally deserve a law enforcement official in the position of INS Commissioner. They have earned that much. But so far, America's taxpayers have not gotten their money's worth with James Ziglar as the INS Commissioner.
It is time for President Bush to stand up for immigration law enforcement in America and demand the resignation of the INS Commissioner. If James Ziglar stays after making these irresponsible comments, the American people now will have no doubt about the Bush administration's real position on deporting illegal aliens.
Juan Mann is the proprietor of the only immigration reform web site that exposes the bureaucracy of the INS and the EOIR. He dedicates his work to the principle that one man's opinion can make a difference.
May 30, 2002