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Cover Story June 13, 2006


 

 

by lyle e davis

The Problem

An estimated one million illegal aliens enter the US each year. To date, there are an estimated 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens living and working in the USA.

Until just recently there were only 2300 federal agents assigned to the task of detaining and/or deporting these 8 to 12 million illegal aliens. Do the math. It would take between 44 and 66 years to reduce the 8 to 12 million illegal aliens to zero. And that assumes that there were no new illegal aliens entering the USA.

According to the INS, only 412,000 illegal aliens were removed during the past decade. That is an average of only 41,200 per year. Again . . . do the math.

One million illegal aliens arriving each year, 41,200 being deported each year. That appears to be a net gain of illegal aliens of 958,800 illegal aliens per year!

Further, if the illegal aliens are not caught at the border, they 'disappear.' There is little, and limited, enforcement on capturing and deporting illegal aliens. And, those that are caught and deported come right back.

The question of illegal aliens has been one that has been with us for ages. There is great frustration on the part of many legal citizens about the fact that we cannot seem to get a handle on a solution for this problem.

Legal Immigrants Are Welcome

America is a nation of immigrants . . . but of legal immigrants. People who followed the rules, filled out the forms, waited their turn . . . and emigrated legally. They, perhaps more than anyone, bitterly oppose the illegal immigrant who committed a crime by entering the nation illegally . . . and then often is granted amnesty.

Paul Van Elderen, Broker/Manager (and former owner) of Hanson Realty/McMillin Realty, Escondido:

"I came to American from Holland . . . but I came here legally. I had to wait for two and a-half years, I had to have a sponsor who had to have a certain amount of money, who would guarantee I would not become a burden to the government for at least two years, I had to have a medical exam, be vaccinated. I had to do all of this in order to enter the country legally.

When I arrived here I milked cows for seven years. Later, my son drove a trash truck for six years, picking up trash along the roads . . .emptied trash cans. We did the jobs that some say Americans won't do, that only the illegal aliens will do. That's just plain crazy. I'm living proof that this is simply not true. I did it . . . but I then developed a separate career and I've done well in that career of real estate. But all that I have done, I have come by legally . . . not by slipping in the back door. We had to jump through a lot of hoops, I'm very upset with our government if they give these people amnesty . . . when they broke the law to come to this country. I think we need stronger support to close the border, go after employers who employ them, perhaps develop personal identification cards for everybody in this country . . . . and we should definitely deport illegals. "

Paul

What Are Our Leaders Thinking?

A Gallup poll last January found that 75% of Americans believe the United States should not make it easier for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.

A 2003 New York Times/CBS poll showed 55% of Americans wanted a decrease in legal immigration, 35% wanted no change and 7% wanted more immigrants.

Despite this apparent sentiment, President Bush has proposed allowing illegal immigrants already in the country to be eligible for legal temporary worker visas. Workers with the temporary visas wishing to become permanent residents and citizens would be able to apply for citizenship.
For quite some time it appeared that there was no national issue where politicians were so out of step with what the people who were shouting what they wanted

Then came election time.

Suddenly, our leaders woke up to hear the people clamoring for something to be done. So far, most any politician worth his or her salt has responded with rhetoric . . . but, so far, there simply hasn’t been enough done.

The Solution? Deterrence, Apprehension and Removal

Many highly vocal critics of the immigration policy of local, state and federal government say the three major components of immigration are: deterrence, apprehension and removal. They say Congress and the Executive Branch need to strengthen these areas if effective control of immigration is ever to be reestablished.

Deterrence has to begin at the border.

The biggest violator of illegal border crossings is Mexico.

It is argued that a major component of the immigration problem from Mexico is that the Mexican economy cannot provide a realistic living income for many of its citizens. The question many critics raise . . ."Is that the problem of the United States? Or is it Mexico's?"

Conservative Radio Commen-tator Phyllis Schafly commented in July, 2003: "We certainly can't depend on Mexico to stop the invasion of illegals. US authorities estimate that smugglers will pay $500 million this year in bribes and payoffs to Mexican military and police to protect this illicit traffic."

The problem is, critics say, that once the illegals are here, they begin to enjoy the benefits of citizens when they haven't earned them. US taxpayers each year spend more than $7 billion to educate the children of illegal aliens, $1 billion for health care and emergency treatment, and nearly $3 billion to detain illegal aliens in state and local jails, according to congressional reports and studies by immigration groups and several universities.

Assemblyman (and Senator-elect) Mark Wyland took the time during a recent interview to tell us the following: "US Code Title 8, 1621 provides that . . Aliens who are not qualified aliens, are ineligible for state and public benefits. Exceptions are for emergency medical care, immunization and communicable diseases. That, I think, makes sense. It goes on to say . . . The state MAY provide that an alien is otherwise not eligible, only by a state law. To my knowledge, there is no such state law in California."

Assemblyman Wyland: “We ought not to be giving these benefits away to illegal aliens. We are mandated by the Supreme Court to provide education K-12 . . . but as to the other benefits? Well, Federal law says you're not supposed to get services unless you're legal, however, the state has a right to grant services, if they choose, to non legal residents. "It's simply not fair for taxpaying citizens or legal residents to be denied the full benefit to which they are entitled, particularly, at a time of fiscal constraint. "

“A lot of these services they get because the proper identification isn't asked for and there's a lot of 'looking the other way.' The Mexican consulate issued matricula cards but I have a problem with them serving as meaningful identification as there are no real procedures in place to see that the person applying for the card is who they claim to be."

“The Mexican government does not recognize the Matricula Consular cards. They use another card because they are concerned about voter fraud."

Can The Military Help?

Not so long ago the National Guardsmen of the 135th Engineering Company from Lawrenceville, Ill., installed a bollard fence along the Arizona border with Mexico in Cochise County, Arizona.

Asked if he supports the California National Guard assisting the Border Patrol in re-establishing tighter border controls and security, Assemblyman Wyland answered . . . "Absolutely! I would strongly support use of the National Guard troops to strengthen our border security.”

Asked whether he would support US Border Patrol being properly and sufficiently augmented by regular US Military forces along the US/Mexican border Wyland answered: "Again, absolutely. Even though the US military is a federal issue and decision, it is clear that we absolutely have to do something to not only tighten our border but enforce the existing laws on the books. We have to tighten our border . . . we have to detain and deport the illegal aliens that are here . . . and we have to penalize the employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens."

Critics argue that the Federal Government must get serious about enforcing immigration laws. Public pressure has finally been applied to politicians who make it difficult for agents to enforce the laws already on the books.


Apprehension and Removal

In June, 2004, INS agents conducted roundups and picked up more than 300 illegal immigrants from north San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The question is: how long will this enforcement action last? It seems to be hit and miss. INS conducts roundups . . . then things go back to normal. While roundups are conducted, familiar street locations where illegal immigrants gather to find work become deserted.

The Border Patrol, now part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was moved out of America's heartland - where it successfully had targeted illegal aliens and the employers who hired them - and was given the primary task of protecting 6,000 miles of international border against terrorists, aliens and smugglers.

That's important, immigration law supporters say, but we need both. Not only do we need to beef up the border security but we also need to have the resources to locate, detain, and deport illegal aliens; we also need to strictly enforce the sanctions against employers who hire illegals. If we dry up the job market, it will greatly reduce the number of illegal aliens who try to enter the United States. Basically, that is what is drawing them.

Actually, fewer than 200 ICE agents nationwide are assigned to identify the thousands of employers who hire millions of illegal immigrants every year. And the number of companies fined for hiring illegal workers has plummeted: 1,660 from 1994 to 1998 compared with 440 from 1999 to 2003, according to INS records.

Immigration-enforcement authorities and analysts think the Border Patrol's new forward-deployment policy, which moved the agents back to the border where they will arrest a million illegal immigrants this year, will be effective only if there is a corresponding reduction in employment opportunities through effective work-site enforcement.

A generation of lax work-site enforcement helped create today's underground U.S. work force of 10 million or more illegal residents.

Now, arguments about border security, temporary workers and pathways to citizenship dominate the political debate over the first overhaul of the nation's immigration system in 20 years.

Yet poor enforcement on the job site can negate any changes passed by Congress.

If employers continue to escape penalties and benefit from undocumented workers' willingness to accept lower wages and inferior benefits, illegal immigration may bedevil government leaders in 2026 just as it did in 1986 and does today.

In the past, business groups pressured the government to weaken enforcement efforts, such as raids on Midwestern meatpacking plants. And now the new proposals, which also contain workplace enforcement provisions, are facing business opposition.

Bills passed in the U.S. House and Senate both carry tougher penalties for illegal workers and the employers who give them jobs, and both would address flaws in the current computer-based system that all employers would use to verify workers' employment status.

Though the House version emphasizes border control, the Senate version - co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and favored by President Bush - would try to direct as many illegal immigrants as possible into a temporary worker program.

But Hagel said enforcement is "a very central part of the legislation," and he said there is strong support in Congress for spending what it takes to have effective enforcement.

Proposals for tougher penalties, more federal immigration agents, grants for local law enforcement efforts and an improved, mandatory electronic verification of work status would change employers' views of whether they can hire someone who may be in the country illegally, he said.

"We would fully expect that this new law . . . would be absolutely enforced just like any law in this country," Hagel said. "There would be no excuse."

For the federal agency charged with enforcing immigration work laws, catching people working illegally is now a lower priority than catching terrorists and criminals.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, organized within the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has about 5,500 agents nationwide. The Senate proposal would add 4,200 agents over five years and require agents to spend 25 percent of their time on work-site enforcement, compared with less than 5 percent today.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Anderson, whose Arizona-based Web site, "The Anderson Report," deals in part with illegal immigration, said a massive and ongoing invasion of foreign nationals into the United States through the Southwest border is the result of the government's failure to properly deal with border security.

"We attribute the lack of real effort to be political, and we fault both the Democrats' lust for cheap votes and the Republicans' lust for cheap labor," Col. Anderson said. "We fault the White House for pandering in a vain effort to glom onto the Hispanic vote."

Thousands of illegals enter the country every day, aided by a growing political movement that has guaranteed them not only a deportation-free environment but voting rights, driver's licenses, social services, housing assistance and in-state college-tuition breaks.”

Several national media organizations, NBC News and CNN, for example, have reported great problems with the Immigration Service in not being able to detain illegal aliens, due to budget shortages. Border agents told NBC News that since April 2004 they've been forced to release most illegal aliens back onto American streets within hours of catching them. Even some who are criminals or from countries known to produce terrorists.

"Shortly after 9/11, we were locking up everybody. There was no exception," says recently retired U.S. Border Agent Peter Kush. "We seem to be going back to the same old, same old song and dance."

Indeed, documents obtained by NBC News show that illegal immigrants were repeatedly "released due to lack of detention funds."

Agents say they only have a few hours for basic checks of terror watch lists and criminal records.

Agents warn that without detentions and longer investigations, terrorists who use aliases or don't have criminal records could well be home-free.
NBC News, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4962320

In an interview with CNN's Lou Dobbs, T. J. Bonner, President, National Border Patrol Council claimed:

• “Our borders are no more secure now than they were before September 11th.”
• “It's simply mind-numbing to the agents. We catch people who could possibly be terrorists and we're being told, 'Gee, we're out of money, we have to let them go.”

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) complaint sums it up in a nutshell . . . "We are BROKE."

"Illegal Immigration is a Crime"

Title 8, Section 1325 of the US Code says so; and it spells out punishment faced if an individual attempts illegal entry to the USA. It is well known that this law is seldom enforced. While the first violation is a misdemeanor, the second and subsequent violations become felonies.

President Bush has sought legal status for illegal immigrants. While this appears to be a political move to placate and woo the Latino vote and employers of illegals, it has drawn strong opposition. Social Security: Under Bush's proposal, Mexican workers who retired to Mexico would be able to draw Social Security benefits from those jobs to which they had paid into the SS fund; critics argue that while the number appears to be relatively small the system would open itself up to widespread fraud.

"The president's proposal rewards people who have broken the law," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Col., chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus. "That's bad policy. It is dangerous to offer additional incentives and rewards for illegal immigration while giving only lip service to border security." Tancredo added.

Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif, a member of the International Relations Committee, predicted that Bush would have trouble winning approval in Congress: "This clearly is an amnesty. It provides not only amnesty but a reward for people who committed a felony by coming here illegally," Gallegly told Reuters. "There will be substantial opposition from Republicans, Democrats and millions of ordinary Americans once they realize what's involved," he said.

Those who support Bush's program, as does the US Chamber of Commerce, encourage more support for stability of illegal immigrants.

"We have 10.5 million illegal workers in the United States right now," Chamber President Thomas Donohue said. "If they went home, we'd have to shut down the country."

Mexico, the home of the majority of illegal aliens, already has made it easier for its citizens to live illegally in the United States by issuing "matricula consular cards" that can be used as legal identification and to open bank accounts in America.

Widely recognized by states and cities, along with dozens of police agencies, the FBI has said the cards pose a criminal and terrorist threat and are useful only to illegal aliens, because legal immigrants already have U.S.-issued documents.

As stated earlier, apprehension and deportation is not all that easy. There are so many that need to be blocked from entering the United States illegally, and there are so many illegal immigrants that need to be apprehended and deported. ICE's immigration priorities include the apprehension and deportation of the 80,000 criminal aliens in America, the arrest of alien smugglers and the dismantling of their operations, and the detention and removal of 320,000 "absconders," who are foreign nationals ordered deported who have disappeared.

The agency's interior-enforcement strategy, announced by its chief in July 2003, does not address the detention and deportation of the 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens in the United States.

Matricula Consular card booklets are available at numerous banks and credit unions, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America. There is no way of verifying the identities on the cards, and many aliens have several -- each with a different ID.

"There is money in the cards," Anderson says. "If you want to hide from the IRS, get a Matricula Consular card. Matricula Consular cards allow illegals to wire funds. It is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are Western Union billboards near the borders to get the interest of illegals. Western Union was fined $8 million in New York for money laundering and reporting irregularities. Their market share dropped about 50 percent. Western Union started a $10 million marketing campaign in favor of the Bush Temporary Worker program. A credit union received a $10 million grant to expand personal loans to coyotes.”

Yet, many Hispanics favor a tighter border and reject granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Immigration and its Link to Terrorism:

Nearly half of the 48 al Qaeda terrorists tied to violent acts in the United States between 1993 and 2001 committed significant immigration-law violations prior to those events but were never detained or deported, federal records show.

"Strict enforcement of immigration law ... is one of the most effective means we have of reducing the threat from foreign-born terrorists," said Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies.

In a petition to Congress and President Bush, the nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based CitizensLobby.com, which advocates stronger border security and increased immigration controls, said the millions of illegal aliens in the United States pose a threat to national security and called on federal authorities, along with local and state police, to "enforce current immigration laws by apprehending and deporting all illegal aliens back to their country of origin."

Illegal Aliens and Crime

In Los Angeles, more than 90 percent of all outstanding homicide warrants are for illegal aliens, and about 65 percent of the city's fugitive felony warrants involve illegals. In Phoenix, alien-smuggling operations last year resulted in a huge surge in home invasions and alien-related violent crimes.

"Our first and foremost priority has got to be criminal aliens," said Thomas M. Baranick, deputy field office director for ICE detention and removal operations in Phoenix. "They prey on the communities and represent a tremendous threat to the safety and security of the public."

Nationwide, the Justice Department says about 40,000 illegal aliens are being held in the federal prison system, about 25 percent of the prison population. They are the fastest-growing segment, and each inmate costs taxpayers about $21,000 a year to house.

Sanctuary? Deportation? Local Enforcement?

Opponents of sanctuary laws argue that state and local police often have the first opportunity at identifying criminal aliens and absconders during traffic stops, field interrogations and arrests. They also said sanctuary laws encourage illegal immigration and offer shelter for would-be terrorists by allowing illegal aliens to establish themselves as residents.

Police Chief Duane White and Lt. Dave Manken, official spokesman for the Escondido Police Department, confirm that there is no ‘sanctuary law’ as such, in Escondido. As to police procedure in Escondido: "We don't stop anyone and ask whether they are a legal or illegal resident of the US. That's not our concern. If, on the other hand, we make a traffic stop, the driver has no drivers license, we normally would just give a ticket, and impound the vehicle; if we can establish an identity, (possibly through a matricula card, which the Escondido Police Department accepts) and if they have an INS arrest warrant, or any other arrest warrant, we would arrest them for that.

Actually, we currently have a program designed to encourage legals or illegals to report crimes. We want to encourage the reporting of crime; we are not looking to arrest illegals if all they do is report a crime. We don't want them to avoid us. We would only be interested in them if they had warrants and, typically, we do not run warrant checks on victims. We're more immediately interested in documenting the crime,” said Manken.

WHAT TO DO?

It appears that what is needed is a comprehensive program to end illegal immigration; that means ensuring that people who overstay their lawful status by visa are not able to obtain employment, public assistance benefits, public education, public housing, or any other taxpayer-funded benefit without detection.

The costs of such a program, it is argued, would be covered by savings to states, counties, communities and school districts across the nation.

Opponents of illegal aliens says illegal immigration is not a victimless crime. They point out that the National Academy of Sciences, the seminal study of the costs of immigration finds that taxes paid by immigrants do not cover the cost of services received by them. It says we cannot provide high quality education, health care, and retirement security for our own people if we continue to bring in endless numbers of poor, unskilled immigrants.

Further, the dramatic population growth overwhelms communities across America -crowding school classrooms, consuming already limited affordable housing, and straining precious natural resources like water, energy, and forestland.

It would seem that the time for political rhetoric is over. The time for political action has arrived.

 

 

 

 

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