Police should help INS
extract illegal aliens


A Moroccan man who has lived in the United States illegally for more than 13 years is fighting his deportation.

FALAH Abdelhak arrived in the United States in 1988 on a six-month visa and has remained in the country illegally since then. The 35-year-old Moroccan recently has been accused of threatening a Muslim leader in Hawaii and has the audacity to contest his deportation. His case cries out for the need to increase the enforcement of immigration laws.

The ease with which foreigners are able to elude the scrutiny of the Immigration and Naturalization Service after entering the United States has created the impression -- an accurate one -- that successfully crossing the border makes them home free in the U.S.A. That understanding has resulted in the wholesale sneaking of people into the country, by truckload from Mexico to California or in shipping containers from Asia to Hawaii.

With only 2,000 agents to seek out more than 7 million illegal aliens, the INS obviously needs help. The Justice Department has drafted a legal opinion that would give state and local police agencies the power to enforce immigration laws. Those agencies should be willing to assist in fighting a problem that facilitated the Sept. 11 attacks on America.

The INS and Honolulu police worked together four years ago in a massage parlor bust that resulted in the arrests of eight women from Mexico, Korea and Thailand who were in the country illegally. However, state and local police from around the country generally shun immigration issues, saying it would lead to racial profiling and damage relationships with immigrant communities.

Not necessarily. While the Justice Department's roundup of aliens following Sept. 11 was overly aggressive and bordered on racial profiling, increased use of new technology and sharing of government databases could provide evidence of illegal encroachments. President Bush signed into law this week a requirement that foreign visitors carry visas that include biometric identifiers like fingerprints or retinal scans.

The Census Bureau estimates that 440,000 Hawaii residents -- more than one-third of the state's population -- are immigrants or children of immigrants, while about 9,000 are here illegally. Law-abiding immigrants should not take offense at efforts to identity and deport illegal aliens.


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
Assistant Editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762;

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4790;
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533;

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin (USPS 249460) is published daily by
Oahu Publications at 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.
Periodicals postage paid at Honolulu, Hawaii. Postmaster: Send address changes to
Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

E-mail to Editorial Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin