Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Hearing on the Nomination of
James Ziglar to be Commissioner of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service
I am pleased that we have the opportunity to consider this afternoon the nomination of the Honorable James Ziglar for Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
It is no understatement to say that this job is key not only for the future of the INS and the Department of Justice, but for the entire nation. The INS has a dual mission. Its agents and attorneys must enforce the laws requiring deportation of persons who are not permitted by law to remain in this country. At the same time, it is charged with adjudicating the hundreds of thousands of applications for visas, adjustment of status, and citizenship submitted each year by persons seeking to enter and live in the United States legally.
This apparent conflict of missions prompts many to conclude that INS is due for reorganization. I agree. There is little doubt that INS is a troubled agency in dire need of reform. Just to cite some recent examples reported by the media, in March of this year the DOJ Inspector General issued a report criticizing INS for its inability to account for approximately 61,000 pieces of property worth nearly $70 million. This figure includes more than 500 weapons – six of which have been linked to crimes – and thousands of computers that may contain sensitive information. And in June, DOJ revealed that INS was deporting violent criminal aliens from the U.S. on commercial airliners – without any escort.
The INS cannot function as it should without well-defined direction, internal integrity, a commitment to serve, and dedication to fiscal responsibility. I believe that reorganization of INS can bring about a fundamental change in the way it conducts its business, but only if it is led by a responsible, motivated, and qualified individual.
Jim Ziglar meets these criteria. He brings to the table nearly 35 years of management experience in both the public and private sectors. After clerking for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, Mr. Ziglar spent seven years in the private practice of law in New York and Phoenix. He then entered the high-powered world of investment banking, where he worked in management positions at three prestigious firms. During his roughly 18 years of investment banking, he worked as Senior Vice President of Dillon, Read & Company, Inc.; as Managing Director of PaineWebber Inc.; and as Managing Director of Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc.
His managerial experience has not been solely in the private sector. From 1987 to 1988, Mr. Ziglar served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, where he directed the operations of the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Mines. For the past three years, Mr. Ziglar has served as Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, where he has done an exemplary job of keeping all of us Senators in line – a formidable accomplishment in and of itself.
Without question, Mr. Ziglar has demonstrated his capability to run large organizations that deal with complex substantive and managerial issues. I am confident that he will bring to the INS what it most desperately needs: Immediate and experienced leadership to make the INS an agency that is firm in the enforcement of the law, but fair and consistent in its application. Given the challenges facing the INS at this time, all the immigration experience in the world is no substitute for the ability to lead and a commitment to reform.
Mr. Ziglar, I commend the President for his choice in nominating you for this important job. I look forward to your swift confirmation, and to working with you in the future.