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Borderline insanity.

Bill Clinton is cracking down on the weakest members in our midst - illegal immigrants. Using the World Trade Center bombing as a pretext, he asked Congress in late July for a series of repressive measures that would have made Ronald Reagan and Ed Meese blush.

Clinton's proposal calls for instant, on-the-spot, on-the-border hearings for immigrants seeking asylum. There will be no time for the immigrant to prepare a case - or consult with counsel. If the Immigration and Naturalization Service officer hearing the claim decides unilaterally that it has no basis, then the immigrant has only a limited opportunity to appeal before he or she is sent packing.

The bill would also expand the INS's power to snoop, authorizing it to "intercept wire, electronic, and oral communications" of persons involved in smuggling illegal aliens. This is all we need: another spy agency. Soon, no doubt, anyone sympathetic to the plight of undocumented workers and asylum seekers will become fair game for the INS eavesdroppers.

Clinton's proposal would give other high-tech toys to the INS, including sensors. And it would boost the agency's budget by $172 million and the number of agents by 600.

The great liberal, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, has endorsed these proposals and is expected to introduce the bill in the Senate.

Clinton and Kennedy have stooped to new lows here, trying to score macho points with the xenophobes, the tough-on-crime crowd, and the hard-core protectionists in the AFL-CIO.

But this bill will not solve the "problem" of immigration. First of all, the bill is ostensibly designed to prevent bogus asylum claims, but only the most foolish terrorist registers an appeal for asylum. Secondly, Clinton could post INS guards from San Diego to Brownsville, as Pat Buchanan has suggested, and this would still not end immigration from the South; it would only take the United States a few steps closer to a police state.

There is one thing Clinton could do: He could try to ease the economic deprivations and political prosecutions the United States has fostered around the globe, which themselves have propelled much of the immigration to this country.

But you won't hear Clinton talking about that. It's not popular, and there are no votes to be gained by it.
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Title Annotation:Bill Clinton on illegal immigration
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Open it up.
Next Article:Turn it off.

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