To say that immigration law enforcement was merely neglected in the years prior to the Clinton Administration would be a gross understatement. For all intents and purposes each administration before 1992 applied band-aids to the most gaping holes and ignored the rest.
Robert A. McGraw is a senior special agent and president of the INS division of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. This essay appeared in their professional journal, The Eighteen Eleven, Vol. 118, No. 6, Winter 1996-97, and is reprinted by permission. Members of the association are active and retired law enforcement officers; however, interested persons may become associate members and receive the newsletter. Call (516) 368-6117. Clinton, to his everlasting credit, realized the "Curad plastic strip" approach would not contain the incredible surge of illegal aliens crossing the Southwest border and coming up through the Florida Strait, and bolstered the Border Patrol, a component of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, in an unprecedented fashion. We, in law enforcement, applaud his effort to address the front third of the illegal alien problem and encourage him to move forward in his second term and address the less visible two-thirds of the illegal alien problem.
Immigration and Natural-ization, by its own estimates, projects that two illegal immigrants make it into the U.S. for every one caught. The more sophisticated illegals avoid risky border crossing by entering the United States through ports and air terminals using tourist or student visas or simply disappear into American society. A recent USA Today editorial, citing the INS, pointed out the net number of aliens who enter legally with a visa but overstay to become "illegal" is roughly two million, and this