Czar Profile: Alan Bersin

This profile is a continuing series based off the initial article on Czars published on December 1, 2010. The subject of this profile is Alan Bersin.

Alan Bersin

He an attorney who holds licenses in California and Alaska. He was a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson from 1975-92. He holds a B.A. from Harvard College; where he met and became friends with Al Gore. He received his J.D. from Yale University (he met and befriended Hillary Clinton here), and was also a Rhodes Scholar which is how he came to know Bill Clinton. He is fluent in Spanish.

From 1993 to 1998 Bersin served as the U.S. Attorney for California’s Southern District.

Superintendent of Public Education in San Diego in 1998. He is a strong advocate for Bi-lingual (Spanish and English) classrooms and proponent of No Child Left Behind. This is ironic since none of his children attended public schools.

Served as an advisory board member for the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at University of California, San Diego.

Bill Clinton nominated him and he was successfully confirmed by the Senate as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California.While at this post he also served as the Attorney General’s Southwest Border Representative. He was responsible for coordinating with federal law enforcement on the border of Mexico that runs from Southern Texas to Southern California. One might wonder how a man with a background in education policy and no prosecutorial experience was named to these posts, remember he is a friend of the Clinton’s.

2000 to 2003 he was a member of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; serving as chairman from 2000 to 2002. The main thrust of all his legal expertise is in the area of Education.

From July 2005 and December 2006, he served as California’s Secretary of Education for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bersin was also appointed to the State Board of Education at the same time – giving him unprecedented power in the education policy making of California. There were some questions as to his managing of certain funds during his time at this post during his confirmation hearings under Clinton. Also of note, was his Student Blueprint for Success strategy (math and reading emphasis) which basically the end result was adjusted student test scoring to give the most positive outlook for any given school. It was seen as a win in the elementary and middle schools but a huge failure in high schools. His militant ‘top down approach‘ via mandates versus board voted on programs (sound familiar?) was widely unpopular:

“Teachers can’t believe it. We Are worried about the future. Alan Bersin is a dictator who never took the opinion of the classroom teacher.”
— Barbara Scott, elementary school teacher, upon the announcement that Bersin would be state education secretary, (San Diego Union-Tribune, April 30, 2005)

Mayor Jerry Sanders in 2006 appointed Bersin to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority of San Diego.

Named DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs by Janet Napolitano for the Obama Administration in 2009. The position is better known as ‘Border Czar” and is essentially the same post as the Clinton administration position. His compensation level is unknown despite calls for the information by various outlets under the Freedom of Information Act and in the face of the fact he oversees an 11 billion dollar budget.

Bersin previously served as U.S. Department of Justice Southwest Border Representative under Janet Reno. His purpose was to coordinate border law enforcement from South Texas to Southern California; this is consistent with the role he currently holds, however the duties have expanded.

Bersin has designs on privatizing the immigration procedure for the southern border. He makes the following statement while at the seventh annual Border Security Conference: “Whether it is crossing the border in a safe, secure facilitated entry but to do it with private initiative rather than waiting for government for government handouts.”

Bersin is associated with the policy instituted during the Clinton years called “Operation Gatekeeper”.  The main purpose was “to stem the tide of illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States and to shift the remaining traffic eastward, where the Border Patrol believed it enjoyed a strategic advantage over would-be crossers.”  In essence they were attempting to divert and control the corridors used by illegals to cross over. Bersin made it clear he was only interested in corralling smugglers and drug traffickers than in the average illegal crossing the border. Opponents of this  move have cried human rights violations and pointed to the rise in deaths of illegals crossing the border by traveling in more isolated and desolate places. These opponents fail in their logic as they don’t seem to take into account these individuals are crossing illegally to begin with.

Bersin’s qualifications for the job are questionable at best. Shouldn’t he know in his wealth of legal expertise that an I-9 form was required by ICE for the 10 household staff members he has had since 1993?

It is clear that Bersin is part of Obama’s vision and love affair with a Global Economy, Unions and Collective bargaining and restructuring (otherwise known as the re-distribution of wealth) of the American Economy.

And now some Clips:

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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