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Ellie Wilson
Red Oak

A colleague has directed my attention to the article by Rebeca Rodriguez. The article is compelling, setting forth the dilemma of an alien mother (illegally in the United States, with a gravely sick child) who may be required to return to Mexico to await the issuance of an immigrant visa with which she may enter the U.S. to assume a legal residence. Surely no one can read the article without being moved.

My purpose in writing is to ensure that your readers understand clearly what role the Immigration and Naturalization Service may play in this particular case. Rodriguez has unfairly mischaracterized INS' responsibility to the Garcia family when she repeatedly employs pejorative language in referencing the agency. She writes: "applicants seeking permanent residency in the United States must return to their home countries while their immigration paperwork inches along. Maricela applied several years ago...but the INS is still working on applications from 1992..." and "...once the INS gets around to it..." and "...she won't have any right to remain in this country while the INS plods along..." and finally, "As the political waters roil, the INS moves on at slug speed."

It's true that the INS has unprecedented backlogs generated by an avalanche of applicants seeking legal residency or U.S. citizenship, without which they may no longer be qualified for public benefit programs. However, with respect to Ms. Garcia, the delay in obtaining permanent residence does not lie with INS, but rather with the congressionally mandated quota allocation system, strictly enforced by the Department of State.

In short, Ms. Garcia may not even submit an application for permanent residence to the INS until her priority date for a visa number is reached. Unfortunately, because so many intended immigrants come from Mexico, the annual legal allocation of visas for Mexican nationals is oversubscribed by many years.

I know it's popular on occasion to "bash" INS, and we'll take the licks when they're due. But please don't credit us with liability for an administrative process beyond our control.

Arthur Strapp
District Director
INS, Dallas

Defending the narcs
Together with Paul Coggins, United States attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and St. Clair Theodore, lead attorney of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, I feel it necessary to respond to certain statements you made in a recent article ["Busted,"July 10].

I am the deputy chief of the Narcotics and Violent Crime Section of the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas. As such, it is my responsibility to coordinate with the Dallas Field Division Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration in their efforts to investigate and prosecute major narcotics offenses in the Dallas area. In my view, your article is largely inaccurate.

The article suggests that the Dallas Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration has not investigated any major drug cases since 1994. This is simply not true. The article further suggests that DEA arrests and drug seizures are down. Again, this is not true. You also state that DEA agents "look down" on state, local, and other federal law enforcement agencies and refuse to work with them. Once again, the facts prove otherwise.

Between 1995 and the present, the Dallas Field Office of the DEA, working jointly with other law enforcement agencies, has arrested, indicted, and convicted over 345 members of major drug organizations responsible for trafficking in over 129,000 pounds of marijuana, 4,375 kilograms of cocaine, 5,235 kilograms of crack cocaine, 200 kilograms of heroin, 1,100 pounds of methamphetamine, and 50 gallons of PCP. Many of the convicted defendants involved in these cases are currently serving life sentences. The majority are serving sentences in excess of 20 years. Those defendants pending trial face 10 to life minimum/mandatory sentences.

The facts regarding these cases are matters of record that can be easily obtained in the files of the district court. The record demonstrates that the DEA, working jointly with other law enforcement officers, has been responsible for the successful prosecution of numerous large-scale offenders in Dallas since 1994. The records show that the Dallas Field Division Office of the DEA has continued to produce outstanding results in narcotics law enforcement from 1994 to the present. DEA agents continue to demonstrate the professionalism, dedication to duty, and diligence that are essential for a successful law enforcement team.

I personally extend an invitation to anyone concerned with the drug enforcement activities of the Dallas Office of the DEA to sit through one of the sometimes month-long trials involving major drug organizations investigated by the DEA. I am convinced that you, too, will appreciate the tremendous effort and sacrifice that special agents of the Dallas Field Division Office, together with other law enforcement agencies, put forth to rid the streets of our community of major drug traffickers.

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