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'Sweeps Don't Work'

July 31, 1988

The frustration of Los Angeles Times editorialists, because their laissez faire attitude toward illegal aliens is rejected by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (and a majority of our citizens), becomes painfully obvious when your scribes resort to rhetoric and agency-bashing rather than logic and constructive dialogue ("Sweeps Don't Work," July 11).

It is one thing to criticize an agency, pointing out other possible solutions to a problem, but it is something else again to spew venom and inflammatory rhetoric toward an agency, no matter what the frustration level of the writer. Use of such terms as "oppressive and harassing attitude," "brutish approach," "terrorizes" and "rousting" seem hardly apropos, or deserving, when all an agency is guilty of is carrying out the laws mandated by the U.S. Congress at the express will of the American people.

But your writer drops to an even lower level when he subtly, but directly, tries to perpetuate an undeserved racist label often thrown at the INS. He said people are only questioned because "they are Latino."

The fact is that Border Patrol agents in Southern California arrest illegal aliens from approximately 70 different countries, but The Times conveniently ignores this matter. One thing must be abundantly clear: The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 did not grant all illegal aliens in the country legal residency.

One of our prime responsibilities is to detect, arrest and deport illegal aliens, whether they are congregating in masses on street corners or employed in our factories and businesses. Further, many of our enforcement activities are conducted as the result of complaints or information supplied by the public.

During the past year or so, INS employees--including Border Patrol agents--have worked tirelessly to see that eligible illegal aliens get all the benefits due them under the amnesty provision.

In keeping with a "balanced approach" to implement the new immigration law, it is only fitting that we give the same commitment to enforcement--detecting, arresting and deporting illegal aliens.


INS Western Regional Commissioner

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