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Dear Editor:
The following is the text of my open letter to Rep. Tancredo.

"Dear Representative Tancredo:

"I have just finished reading your statement on "Defending Our Borders" as reported in the Congressional Record (Congressional Record: September 9, 2002 (House) [Page H6122-H6125]), and I am offended by many of your comments in general, and one comment in particular.

"You state in part on page H6125:

"Because what we are trying to do is to pretend to the American people that we are taking our responsibility of border defense seriously while at the same time assuring that people can come through illegally in order to, quote, take the jobs that no one else will take and in order to increase the ranks of political parties in the United States that benefit as a result of massive immigration, one particular political party, of course, the Democratic party, and the fear that if we actually got tough on the borders, there would be a political reaction. And there would be certainly outcries by immigration advocacy groups, especially immigration lawyers. They would raise Cain. But is our responsibility here to pander to those political extremists? (emphasis added).

"I have been an attorney for nearly 27 years. I am proud to have worked for the INS in the Newark, NJ District Office for over 5 years as a Naturalization Examiner and a Trial Attorney (prosecuting deportation cases), and I am equally proud of my experiences over the past 20+ years in private practice, concentrating in the area of Immigration and Nationality Law. I resent being labeled by you as a "political extremist", implying that I am somehow disloyal to the best interests of the United States, because I have chosen to represent and assist people in dealing with the complexities of our immigration laws.

"In addition to being an immigration lawyer, I am also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. My family first came to these shores over 300 years ago. I have at least three ancestors who fought to obtain our freedom in the Revolutionary War, many others who fought to defend the United States since, and still others who have served our federal, state and local governments in various capacities over the years. Members of my family, therefore, helped to settle our great country, and were here to welcome many generations of immigrants who followed, perhaps even members of your own family. On a personal level, I served on my local Board of Education for 6 years, I have coached children in my community on Little League, Soccer Club, and PAL basketball teams, I give annual presentations to groups of prospective adoptive parents on issues of immigration and adoption law, and I have otherwise been active in PTA and other community and church activities for many years.

"For you to label me as a "political extremist" without knowing anything about me as a person or an attorney, is an insult. With respect to my law practice, I do not consider it an act of "political extremism", or anything to be in any way ashamed of, to help to reunite a hard working, law abiding man with his U.S. citizen wife and children in this country, or to help a Medical Center in one of our poorest cities obtain a visa for a foreign born, U.S. educated, physician who will then provide necessary medical care to some of our neediest fellow citizens, or to help an elderly Italian woman to obtain her U.S. citizenship (just a few of the cases that I have handled recently). To the contrary, I am proud to be able to continue, even if only on a small scale, the efforts of my ancestors to build and strengthen our country (our country's greatest asset being its people and their various and cumulative accomplishments).

"I would therefore urge you to reconsider your intemperate and ill-considered comments, and to publish an appropriate retraction of them in the Congressional Record. Thank you.

"Very truly yours,
"Paul N. Gilbert"

Paul. N. Gilbert,
Attorney At Law
Parsipanny, New Jersey