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Immigration Changes

July 06, 1993

* I appreciated your editorial pointing out the problems Doris Meissner will have to confront as the newly appointed commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("Good Choice for Immigration," June 25).

As you suggested, one of the most important ways in which the INS could be improved would be to separate its immigrant service function from its law enforcement function. Because it has two competing missions, the agency seems unable to perform either one adequately.

Both functions lack adequate funding and personnel, and the current administrative configuration only exacerbates the problem by encouraging internal disputes over the distribution of its limited resources. This arrangement is a disservice to the thousands of legal immigrants and prospective citizens who have waited patiently--sometimes for years--for their documentation, and it has left us with a Border Patrol that has little hope of stemming the flood of illegal entrants.

A bill I have introduced in Congress would allow the two distinct functions to focus on their respective tasks by separating the Border Patrol from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Although this legislation would not solve all of the problems facing the INS, it would enable the new commissioner to more effectively address the vast array of problems that have engulfed the INS.

REP. ANTHONY C. BEILENSON

D-Los Angeles

* In reference to your June 18 editorial, "Firing Wildly on Immigration," you have missed the point completely. The recommendation by the Orange County Grand Jury is not "unrealistic," it is drastic. And the times call for drastic measures.

Your suggestion that "clearly this issue needs further study" is defensible only if conducted during a moratorium. Each month of "further study" means thousands of more illegal aliens invading the country.

We have witnessed the spectacle of "patriotic Americans" roaming the border, guns in hand, like an Old West committee of vigilance. The real danger lies in removing the quotation marks, a situation gaining more support from the citizenry. Already, the quotations marks are beginning to fade and your editorial policy is unwittingly helping this process.

HENRY C. OSTERMILLER

Costa Mesa

* All the recent anti-legal-immigration sentiment is nonsense. The bottom line is that three out of 10 Americans (not counting government or military jobs) actually work for business (companies, farms, real estate) owned, all or part, by foreign money. And when foreign organizations send money to the U.S., business executives come with it. No executives, no more money--it's that simple.

Why not enforce the law we have on the books? Get tough on illegal immigration. Go and get them (as if the government over the past decade has shown any interest in keeping out what is seen by many as more union-busting, cheap labor). But leave honest people and legal, business immigration alone.

Trade is important, and trade includes goods and services. Trade involves people; people need immigration, and the whole thing adds up to help our economy.

GARRY HAMUD

Los Angeles

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