The Bush administration is seeking to appoint a lawyer with little immigration or customs experience to head the troubled law enforcement agency that handles those issues, prompting sharp criticism from some employee groups, immigration advocates and homeland security experts.What could possibly go wrong in promoting an incompetent to run immigration enforcement?
The push to appoint Julie Myers to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, comes in the midst of intense debate over the qualifications of department political appointees involved in the sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina.
You're thinking of terrorists sneaking through, and illegal immigrants insidiously working for low wages.
Think of something else. There are lots of good, honest people who are trying to become citizens. They are learning who their mayor is and figuring out how to pass tests most native-born American citizens couldn't answer. The hoops new immigrants have to jump through are astounding, but it turns people off. It puts a bad face on this country. These hoops start at our foreign embassies and consulates, and continue in INS offices around the country.
It's the experience of everyone I know that, when someone comes to visit the U.S., no matter how evil they thought this country was to begin with, they come to love it in a short time. This country is the best argument for itself. Making the process for visiting needlessly complex turns that against us. It makes us look arrogant and insular.
The fix is bureaucratic. There will always be an immigration service, the question is how to make it efficient. An outsider won't know what's wrong and what corners should just be rounded off.
Competence matters, experience matters, and belief in the system matters. You can't put barely qualified people who don't believe in the mission of the government into positions of responsibility. That's setting yourself up for failure.