Long time ParaPundit readers are going to be surprised to learn that this writer can ever find anything positive to say about Bush Administration immigration and border control policy. But somehow the Bush Department of Homeland Security has found the backbone to make an improvement in border area deportation policy effective enough to anger the Lefties who rule the roost at the United Nations.
A confidential report conducted by the United Nations in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security has found that airport inspectors with the power to summarily deport illegal immigrants have sometimes intimidated and handcuffed travelers fleeing persecution, discouraged some from seeking political asylum and often lacked an understanding of asylum law.
Even Bill Clinton improved deportation practices at US airports (albeit, while supporting Al Gore's effective efforts to gut the mechanisms for vetting illegal alien eligibility for US citizenship).
But the United Nations noted that problems remained at American airports - where summary deportations have occurred since 1997 - even after inspectors received training about the importance of protecting asylum seekers.
The Bush Administration is going to empower Border Patrol agents to catch illegals and deport them even if the illegals have been here for a couple of weeks.
Under the new policy, border agents will summarily deport illegal immigrants caught within 100 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders who have spent up to 14 days within the United States.
There are reasons to think this policy improvement might in some sense be an oversight on Bush's part. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may be taking its responsibility to defend the borders more seriously than Bush intended. After all, Bush DHS Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security Asa Hutchinson can not explain why the Bush Administration stopped illegal alien round-ups inland away from the Border in California. On the John and Ken Show in Los Angeles Hutchinson avoided offering a convincing explanation for why highly effective (a dozen agents rounding up about 500 illegals in a couple of weeks) illegal alien round-ups were stopped. More broadly, reorganization of immigration and border control responsibilites may make it easier for the Bush Administration to shift resources away from efforts to apprehend illegals.
As for the United Nations complaints: We shouldn't care what they think. In fact, if the UN is complaining about the United States far more often than not that is a sign we are doing something right. The United Nations bureaurcrats would like anyone who shows up on the American border and declares themselves as refugees seeking political asylum to be automatically treated as such. Of course, if the United States government accepted at face value all claims of political refugee status then eventually tens and even hundreds of millions of people would show up on America's borders and airports declaring themselves to be worthy of political asylum status.
What I want to know is this: Would the immigration and border control policy of a President Kerry be even worse than that of a 2nd term George W. Bush? Also, would Congress's response to Kerry immigration proposals be worse (i.e. more inclined to let in illegals, give them amnesties, extend them more benefits, hold back from rounding up illegals) than Congress's response to proposals coming from Bush? Another way to put this is: Would a Republican Congress (assuming the Republicans maintain their majority in the House in particular) be more inclined to say no to Bush Hispanic pandering or to Kerry Hispanic pandering?
Update: Writing for the Daily Telegraph Julin Coman reports that the Bush Administration decision to accelerate deportations along the US border with Mexico may be a response to the number of Arabs being intercepted crossing that border.
A string of alarming incidents has convinced Bush administration officials that lax immigration rules, designed to cope with the huge numbers of illegal entrants from Mexico, have become a significant loophole in the war on terror.
Over the past month, border agents from Arizona and Texas have anonymously reported recent encounters with dozens of Arab men, who have made their way across the 2,000-mile Mexican border.
ABC News has also recently reported on greater concern in the US government that Al Qaeda operatives may be using the Mexican border to sneak into the United States.
The 2,000-mile-long border with Mexico is virtually impossible to defend, officials said. And sources tell ABC News there is new intelligence that al Qaeda wants to smuggle terrorists across it.
The national security threat posed by the ease with which terrorists can pass over the US-Mexican border has been apparent for years. J. Zane Walley reported on this back in 2001 when already a large number of Middle Easterners being captured on the border with Mexico.
Another agent, of supervisory rank, stated, "The smuggling traffic of Mexicans has really slowed. We are experiencing a tremendous increase in OTMs" – border lingo for "other than Mexicans." When queried about the ethnic make up of the OTMs, he answered, "Central and South Americans, Orientals and Middle-Easterners." Middle-Easterners? "Yeah, it varies, but about one in every 10 that we catch, is from a country like Yemen or Egypt."
Former United States Attorney Peter Nunez points out that if poor Latin American peasants can cross the border and drug smugglers can bring drugs across then surely terrorists can bring themselves and bomb materials across our borders as well.
It is my belief that you cannot approach the issue of protecting America from future terrorist attacks as an isolated issue, that it is necessary to consider the broader issue of border security to include terrorism, immigration enforcement, and drug trafficking as a whole. Because the same deficiencies that exist - at least along our borders and ports of entry - that would allow a terrorist to gain entry to the U.S. are the same deficiencies that allow for the entry of millions of illegal aliens and many thousands of pounds of illegal drugs every year. After all, if hundreds of thousands of illiterate, unskilled, uneducated peasants from the interior of various Latin American countries can successfully navigate the holes in our borders and ports of entry to successfully take up residence inside the United States and remain here indefinitely, what makes anyone believe that a more sophisticated, better financed, and dedicated member of a terrorist cell could not do the same thing? If international drug traffickers can successfully smuggle hundreds of thousands of pounds of cocaine, marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, and other illegal drugs into the U.S., why is it not equally likely that a terrorist group could successfully smuggle a few pounds or gallons of biological, chemical, or nuclear material into this country? How many illegal aliens stopped by local police for a traffic violation and released under a local policy which provides sanctuary for illegal aliens could be tomorrow’s terrorist? Which student admitted on a temporary visa who overstays that visa, or in fact never shows up for school, will be the next terrorist to kill Americans?
Border control is a national security problem. It is time we started treating it as such.
Also see my previous post Illegal Alien Border Crossing Surge Seen As Terrorism Threat.
Simultaneously, in what bears the stench of a secret deal, Hutchinson announced the federal government will immediately allow what he estimated in the Media Roundtable to be 425,000 Mexican nationals to take up de facto permanent residence in the American Southwest.
Amazingly, Hutchinson also told the same press conference that there are “seven or eight million border crossing card holders.” (My emphasis).
He offered no explanation as to why all of them—not just 425,000—won’t promptly come here.
The Bush Administration continues to be the enemy of immigration restrictionists. The Bush Administration continues to find ways to defeat the will of the majority of the American people who want a decrease in the amount of immigration and a change in the mix of immigrants.
Update III: Mark Krikorian confirms Juan Mann's claim that the Bush Administration did more to facilitate than reduce the flow of illegal immigrants with its latest immigration policy changes.
But the new rules will apply only to non-Mexican and non-Canadian illegals — a minute fraction of the illegal flow. And only to those caught within 100 miles of the border. And only if they've been in the United States for no more than two weeks. And the new procedure will be applied, at first, only in the Tucson and Laredo areas. With all these carve-outs, it will be surprising if this accelerated process is applied to more than a few hundred illegals a year.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
The announcement of the new border-patrol authority was coupled with border-loosening measures. For many years, Mexicans seeking to shop or visit relatives in border areas in the U.S. have been able to get border-crossing cards (informally known as "laser visas"), which are multiple-entry permits good for travel within the border region for visits of less than 72 hours. The new policy will allow visits of up to 30 days at a time — allowing Mexicans, in effect, to live in the U.S. indefinitely, so long as they go home once each month. The motivation for the new rule is clear from the press release: "This decision was closely coordinated between Secretary for Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Mexican Secretary of Government Santiago Creel." No kidding.
George W. Bush deserves to lose in his run for reelection.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 August 15 03:48 PM Immigration Terrorism|