You Can't Fight the INS
Thanks for publishing the column on Oscar Fuchslocher ("Red Hot Chile Paperwork," Amy Silverman, December 17), which was no doubt an eye-opener for many of your readers. Few native-born Americans have any idea of the monster lurking at the heart of the federal government--an unaccountable bureaucracy full of faceless, apathetic and incompetent drones that destroys lives every day.

Mr. Fuchslocher and his wife got shafted because they failed to navigate through the Kafkaesque maze of INS paperwork. But it is important to point out that even if you correctly fill out all the forms, pay the often extortionist fees and jump through all the hoops that the INS puts in your path, there is still no guarantee that you will even be treated according to the procedures laid down by the INS, let alone with any semblance of fairness.

In my own case, the INS has "lost" my complete file at least twice, and on each occasion I was told that it was my fault; I didn't submit the files, I shouldn't have moved to Phoenix to accept a job, etc. As a matter of policy, the INS never issues receipts for any forms submitted, since it simply does not want to be held accountable for its incompetence. Several times I have gone through the routine of waiting outside the INS office from 4 a.m. until midmorning for the privilege of an audience with an INS flunky, only to be told: "No, can't help you. Next!"

In the meantime, my mother has had a stroke, but I can't go back to visit her as I will be deemed to have abandoned my permanent resident status and will not be allowed back in. In theory, there is a mechanism for emergency travel: I have to buy a return air ticket for a definite date and petition the INS for "advanced parole." (They never miss a chance to make you feel like a criminal.) In practice, they simply wait for the ticket to expire, then wait another six months for good measure, then arbitrarily reject the petition without a word of explanation.

As far as I am concerned, the U.S. should tear down the Statue of Liberty, as it has long since abandoned the principles for which it stands.

Please do not release my name under any circumstances, as the INS's incompetence is matched only by its vindictiveness!

Name withheld by request

Animal Plights
I deeply appreciated Amy Silverman's revealing column on tragic Ruby, the elephant ("Trunk Murder?" December 10). As a veteran animal defender, I am painfully aware of the grim realities ruthlessly inflicted on captive animals, especially exotic animals and other wildlife cruelly imprisoned in brutal circuses, and equally deplorable zoos--both of which I continue to demand be universally abolished immediately, and the long-suffering animal inmates deservedly retired to suitable sanctuaries. These innocent, concentration-camp slaves have unjustly served their time in hell.

In that same New Times edition, there appeared a brilliant letter by Tim Poirier defending Sheriff Arpaio, whose Pet Posse I continue to vigorously commend and support. Mr. Poirier's highly intelligent letter echoed many of my own opinions on the legal system, and crime, facts that Sheriff Joe bashers seem to be totally oblivious to.

I am also grateful to you and to John Dougherty for his extensive and exposive "Sacrificial Wolves" article (December 17). I found it to be excellently written, and a thorough, unbiased investigation into the tragic issue of the reintroduction of the unjustly maligned Mexican gray wolf, whose reintroduction I am against because the same harsh conditions that caused the original, near extinction of this unique species clearly still exist, and to an even greater degree today. The wolves' welfare should be of paramount concern to both sides in this dispute. Sadly, the intelligent and highly social wolves are once again caught in the middle and are paying the ultimately deadly price. I have come to the conclusion that extinction is the kindest thing humans can do for these wolves. It is the only way this sentient misery will end. As long as the human predator is determined to destroy these wild creatures, we do not deserve to have them among us.

Donna Worthington

Scott's Tale
I have been following your reporting of Scott Norberg and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in New Times ("Tweaking the Truth," Tony Ortega, December 17). Thank you. I first read about Scott's passing in a tiny caption in the August or September 1996 New York Times Magazine talking about Sheriff Arpaio and inmates in pink uniforms. I called my Mom; she was rather casual, like, "Oh, well, he was a drug addict." Since then, I have been searching for information, understanding.

I went to McKemy Junior High and Tempe High School with Scott. I had several classes, including math and physics, with Scott. He was intelligent, and a sincerely nice guy.

By now, this story is about the sheriff, the cover-up, etc.; Scott seems like a minor character. Scott's story is important. I hope his family and friends feel the support of the community. My deepest sympathies to his parents, brothers, children, ex-wife, friends. I don't know what to do; maybe I can learn something from Scott's life. I guess I will say a prayer, wish him peace.

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