On Thursday the House of Representatives agreed in a landslide vote to abolish the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). This is the first real step that Congress has taken to remodel the system since Sept. 11, and the measure is a welcome change from the recent bickering concerning energy bills and partisan politics. The House should keep up this remodeling of government agencies not only for homeland security but for the peace of mind of all Americans.
The INS will be split into two different organizations. One will be in charge of immigration into the United States and the other will be in charge of making sure that glitches in the system, such as those that allowed the Sept. 11 hijackers to stay in the United States illegally, will not happen again.
The need to revamp the system has become even more apparent since the terrorist attacks. In March, the INS sent notices to a flight school in Florida approving student visas for two of the hijackers. In addition, a Reuters report states that on March 16, four Pakistani men arrived in Norfolk, VA on a Russian ship and failed to return before the ship left port, and three of the men are still at-large. The need for change is evident.
Another important thing to point out about this development is that this is the second time in recent weeks that Congress has gone against the recommendations of the Bush administration. This kind of politicking is what Congress was meant to do. They are taking the best interests of the government and their constituents to heart with these pressing matters.
While the House may have made a tremendous step forward, the greater test will come when provisions are made for this process through actual legislation. Actions such as these will go far to make a real impression, and perhaps then, terrorists will find it more difficult to wreak havoc in the future.