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Clarifying the Security Mission of the INS

July 07, 2002

"INS Covers More Ground Than Homeland Security" (Commentary, July 1) argues that placing the Immigration and Naturalization Service under a new Department of Homeland Security would "deflect the agency from its core missions." The problem, however, is that no one can really define what the INS' core mission is, which is the primary reason the agency has been a bureaucratic basket case for decades.

Ironically, placing it under Homeland Security would give the INS the very thing it has lacked for a long time: a definable national-interest mission. That, along with some competent management, would be needed even if there weren't a serious threat to national security.

Homeland Security is exactly where the INS belongs. Just as every innocent airline passenger is subject to rigorous scrutiny before boarding a flight, all applicants to come to the United States need to be examined to ensure that they do not pose a threat to our society. We cannot ignore the reality of the world in which we live today.

Dan Stein

Exec. Dir., Federation for American Immigration Reform

Washington

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