Alan Bersin seems a pro on immigration policy...and a beginner on how to properly vet household personnel.
The tumultuous rollout of president Donald Trump’s immigration policy has at least one member of the Fifth Estate yearning for the good old days of Alan Bersin, the controversial border czar under Democratic president Bill Clinton and later head of Customs and Immigration under Barack Obama until the senate failed to confirm him. “When I began as U.S. attorney in San Diego during the Clinton administration in 1993, the border was in fact out of control. Illegal immigration was rampant,” says Bersin in a February 13 online piece by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica.com. “We went from 3000 Border Patrol agents to 22,000 agents today, more than 18,000 of them on the southwest border. There were massive investments in technology, air reconnaissance, sensors. This completely altered the border.”
But there remains room for improvement, adds Bersin, sounding to some like a prospective lobbyist for military contractors eager to market costly border-protection gear to the government. “To the extent that President Trump means strengthened border security, I am fully in favor of the idea that the rule of the law, secure borders, and public safety should prevail.” Bersin says he would bolster Trump’s proposed brick-and-mortar wall with Mexico with high-tech alternatives. “You need a strategy that involves layered defense: deployed patrols, sophisticated sensor equipment, and surveillance from the air.”
Back in May 2010, Bersin had his own immigration dust-up when it was revealed during his senate confirmation hearings for customs chief that he repeatedly failed to properly vet his household help regarding their legal residency. “Mr. Bersin did not timely and completely prepare and maintain Forms I-9 for any of the ten household employees he employed, as required by law. One I-9 was timely prepared by an employment agency, but the employee did not sign or date the form and Mr. Bersin’s spouse, Lisa Foster, signed the form but did not enter the date that she signed it,” the senate finance committee report found. “It appears that the nominee [Bersin] was not familiar with the form I-9 requirements to establish that an employee was legally authorized to work in the United States.”