Your editorial (July 6), "Immigrants Past and Present," prompts me to write. As a career officer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, I am deeply offended by your constantly repeated themes of INS inefficiency and ineffectiveness. But that's not the important thing. I'm used to it now.
This nation's immigration laws and the practical effect of our immigration policy, as it is played out along our borders, say two things at the same time.
On the one hand, the law says it is unlawful to enter the United States without proper documents or a place other than a designated port of entry. Our criminal code carries penalties for illegal entry into the country. A token Border Patrol force is placed along our borders to try to prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States.
On the other hand, our immigration policy says in effect to those masses of people gathered along the border each night, "If you can make it past that thin green line of agents, past the border bandits, if you don't die in the trunk of a smuggler's car--you're home free. You'll get a job; we'll provide health services; we'll educate your children; we'll take care of you. Just get here any way you can."