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Make It a Bus Stop, Not a Hideaway

The regional asylum office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service has been operating at two locations, one in Los Angeles and another in Laguna Niguel, pending the establishment of a single facility. Now, as part of a national reorganization, the INS plans to consolidate in Anaheim, a location selected on the ground that it is centrally situated to better serve clients who come from all over Southern California.

It’s no surprise that refugee organizations have complained about the relocation of the Los Angeles office to Anaheim.

They point out that refugees living in Los Angeles will have to drive 45 minutes to the south or take a 2 1/2-hour bus ride.

The local INS office is sympathetic to the complaint, but not that sympathetic; its director of asylum notes that many refugees have come a long way for freedom already and says they won’t be terribly inconvenienced by having to drive or ride a bit farther.

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Maybe so, in some cases.

But because the laudable aim of the new regional system is to serve better, the INS could win friends, and perhaps improve efficiency, by establishing shuttle-bus service for those who must travel a long distance to Anaheim.

There already are plans to take the show on the road to accommodate applicants in Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix, which are also within the sprawling jurisdiction of the Los Angeles office. So it makes sense to help those who must make a long trip to Anaheim, especially because the INS says retaining two offices is out of the question.

The INS says the possibility of bus service has been discussed but that money must be found and approval obtained from the legal staff. Those shouldn’t be insurmountable obstacles for a government that represents the beacon of freedom.

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