March 19, 2002
INS critics take aim at libertarians at the top
By MARCUS STERN
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON – When James Ziglar took the helm of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service for President Bush, he
turned to a little-known activist named Stuart Anderson to guide
the agency on policy.
Now some critics are questioning whether Anderson, who has
strong libertarian views on immigration, and Ziglar, who also
has described himself as a libertarian, have an appropriate
political philosophy for steering the agency in the wake of the
Sept. 11 attacks.
"Putting a libertarian in charge of the INS is like asking Gloria
Steinem to take over all of the anti-abortion efforts in the United States," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., chairman of the congressional immigration reform caucus. "Libertarians are for open borders . . . I think it's idiotic."
Despite being of the same party as the president, Tancredo is one of Ziglar's fiercest critics on Capitol Hill. Last week, he called on Bush to fire Ziglar after revelations that the INS had sent out visa approval notices posthumously for two of the Sept. 11 terrorists.
INS spokesman Joe Karpinski said yesterday that Ziglar does not embrace the entire libertarian agenda, citing legalizing drugs and open borders as examples where he parts company with the libertarian laissez-faire social philosophy.
"If you're talking about open borders, that is not what he (Ziglar) is for," Karpinski said. "He has not gone up to the Congress asking for it."
When Ziglar uses the word "libertarian," Karpinski said, he means that "we should always be cautious about giving up individual rights."
The debate highlights a growing schism since Sept. 11 between
Republicans who believe immigration should be restricted and
Republicans who believe it should be expanded.
Karpinski cited two actions to underscore Ziglar's commitment
to enforcement since Sept. 11:
Placing the names of people who have not complied with final
orders of deportation in a federal law enforcement database.
Proposing to divide the INS into separate enforcement and
Neither Ziglar nor Anderson was available for comment
Anderson was described privately by several key Republican
immigration staffers as an "open border, Wall Street Journal"
Republican. By that, they meant he espouses a pro-business,
small-government libertarian view of immigration as an
unambiguous economic boon to the nation. The view also
embraces the free-market argument that labor should be just as
free to cross international boundaries as capital, and it tends to
minimize distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants.
Previously, Anderson worked for former Sen. Spencer Abraham,
R-Mich., when he was chairman of the Senate immigration
subcommittee. Together, they opposed legislation to speed
development of a system to track people crossing the border.
Echoing arguments of business leaders along the Canadian
border, they said the system would stymie lawful cross-border
Before working for Abraham, who now is the nation's energy
secretary, Anderson was an immigration policy analyst for the
CATO Institute, a libertarian think tank, where he lobbied for
loosening immigration policies and laws.
"Stuart's brief career has been devoted to obstructing
immigration law," said Mark Krikorian of the Center for
Immigration Studies, a group that generally supports tighter
immigration laws. "And now he's helping run the agency whose
mandate he's denigrated. . . . The first analogy that comes to
mind is the fox in the henhouse."
Krikorian cited Anderson's efforts with the Senate immigration
subcommittee to "water down" legislation to create an electronic
border "entry-exit system" and visa controls, both now high
priorities in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Dan Griswold, who holds Anderson's old job as immigration
policy expert at the CATO institute, said Anderson's opposition
was based on skepticism about the INS' ability to develop and
implement the technology.
Of Anderson, he said: "He's a great asset to the INS. I'd rather
have someone who understands the benefits of immigration
administering the law than someone who is fundamentally
hostile to it."
Likening immigration restrictions to liquor Prohibition in the
early 20th century, Griswold said, "Enforcing a bad law is always
going to be a headache, and perhaps having people (like
Anderson) who better understand the immigration issue will
help us move toward a law that is both consistent with our
economic interests and human liberty and also is enforceable."