- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2002

Uh-oh, America

Here now, by popular demand, is our third and final chapter of "unbelievable but true immigration stories," told to us this week by the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican.

Chapter one concerned the Mexican border crisis, the second discussed U.S. national-security concerns post-September 11, while today's six stories, as Mr. Tancredo tells us, deal with low morale at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS):

•New INS field officers quickly learn an unofficial creed: "Big cases, big problems. Small cases, small problems. No cases, no problems."

•INS whistleblowers have come to live by another maxim: "You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free to look for another job."

•The INS brought a psychologist to its Newark, N.J., division to deal with the "dysfunctional" office, which officials said was "poorly led" and "very unhealthy." Employees described the office's climate as one of "conspiracy and secrecy" and believed that promotions were based on favoritism, not job performance.

•The INS has a processing backlog of approximately 4.5 million immigration applications.

•Some 300,000 people (as first reported in this column) who have been ordered deported are still in the country because their deportation orders were not enforced by the INS. In many cases, after being ordered deported by a judge, the immigrant simply walked out of the courtroom.

•Studies estimate there are approximately 350,000 people who have become illegal immigrants by overstaying their visas. Because of its failure to implement an entry-exit system as required by 1996 law, the INS has no way to identify or locate them.

Drafting fodder

A former aide to President Reagan says while certain observers of the war on terrorism have called for instituting military conscription, a draft is unnecessary and would degrade the performance of the military.

"Because the United States already has the most powerful and effective military on earth, it has no need for conscripts," says Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute. "In a war against terrorism, the United States needs highly trained, mobile forces. Masses of cannon fodder are of dubious value even in a typical conventional war today, given the killing potential of well-trained soldiers using the latest technology."

A special assistant to President Reagan who worked on the Military Manpower Task Force, Mr. Bandow explains that a volunteer force is more disciplined and effective.

"Think about it: Is a military healthier if it relies on those who desire to serve and succeed, or if it is forced to include those who desire to escape at any price?" he asks. "Draftees have little incentive to train, accept greater responsibility, or re-enlist; yet the military must retain them, almost no matter how ill-suited they are to military service."

Kentucky sailors

On Capitol Hill yesterday we obtained a copy of resolution BR-2906, introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly by lawmaker Tom Burch, a Democrat, to establish a "Kentucky Navy" and "encourage the purchase of a submarine."

And not to fight the war on terrorism.

The resolution orders the submarine to "patrol the waters of the commonwealth and search and destroy all casino riverboats."

It specifically calls for the formation of a Kentucky Navy and the purchase and armament of one "particularly effective submarine," to be named the USS Louisville 688 VLS Class submarine, to patrol the Ohio River and engage and destroy any casino riverboats that may be encountered.

The resolution observes that over the past few years "the scourge" of the casino riverboat has been increasingly significant and "the siren song of payola issuing from the discordant calliopes of these gambling vessels has led thousands of Kentucky citizens to vast disappointment and woe."

Publius distinction

Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist last night was honored at the National Museum of American History's Flag Hall by the Center for the Study of the Presidency, a bipartisan think tank headed by former Ambassador David Abshire.

The Republican became the first recipient of the center's new award for distinguished public service, called the Publius Award, taken from the pseudonym used by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay when they wrote the Federalist Papers.

D.C. comfort

Are you among the Washingtonians who have put on a few pounds since September 11? Join the crowd.

"A study of recent dining habits, particularly since September 11, shows that diners are ordering items traditionally considered 'comfort foods,' such as macaroni and cheese, a hamburger and fries, and a milkshake," reveals DC Coast and TenPenh restaurants' Simone Rathle, who hails from New Orleans.

And because few of these "comfort foods" are listed on the menus of these two upscale Washington restaurants, Ms. Rathle has decided to bring one of her comforting childhood memories a soda jerk to the nation's capital.

"Every child growing up in New Orleans knows the words 'nectar cream soda.' It is a quintessential summer drink and as refreshing as a gallon of water," she says, recalling a white-haired man scooping out ice cream at the counter of the K&B drugstore on the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Napoleon.

A staple of old-time soda fountains, she tells us that a genuine nectar cream soda is blended with red Nectar soda syrup and choices of club soda or seltzer with ice and cream, or better yet with ice cream. And don't forget the chocolate-covered cherry.

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