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Dear Editor:
The following is AILA's press release on the resignation of INS Commissioner Ziglar:

Statement by Jeanne Butterfield, Executive Director

The American Immigration Lawyers Association receives with regret the news today that Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner James Ziglar has announced his resignation, effective at the end of this year.

"We thank Commissioner Ziglar for his calm voice of reason reminding us not to equate immigrants with terrorists, his steady leadership in tackling the challenges of backlogs and inefficiencies at the beleaguered INS, and his thoughtful perspective on how we can improve our nation's security and affirm our tradition as a nation of immigrants," said Jeanne Butterfield, Executive Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "Mr. Ziglar will be missed by AILA. We wish him the very best."

"As the Administration begins its search for a new leader of our immigration system, we urge the President to seek out a leader who, like Mr. Ziglar, recognizes the critical role that immigration plays in keeping our nation strong and vibrant. Immigrants who come to America to contribute their hard work and needed skills, to reunite with close family members, and to seek protection from persecution, should be treated with dignity and respect under our nation's laws. The INS needs strong, positive leadership to set the agency on a forward-looking course."

"A sweeping overhaul of the immigration system is critical. As the Administration and Congress rush to create a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, they cannot ignore the urgent need to reform the INS. Service functions, such as administering citizenship tests and evaluating immigration applications, must be separated from, but coordinated with, enforcement functions within the same agency. A strong leader with the authority to develop and administer immigration policy for the entire agency must be placed at the helm."

Amanda Carufel
Public Affairs Manager
American Immigration Lawyers Association