Monday, August 22, 2005

Homeland Security Charade

The Bush administration continues to use "war on terrorism" rhetoric to justify its ever-more costly nation-building efforts in Iraq, but can't be bothered to even make a good pretense of it along the US-Mexico border.
In a storefront courthouse in the baking-hot Rio Grande Valley, next to a ''beauty academy' and across from a sleepy coffee shop, US Immigration Judge David Ayala is a study in effortless efficiency. He pulls blue files one by one from a tall stack, announces the name of an undocumented immigrant caught slipping across the US border, and orders the defendant deported.

There are no cries of protest. The defendants are nowhere to be found. Other than the thwack of a stamp and the judge's voice, the only other sound in the tiny courtroom is the quiet hum of an air conditioner, as Ayala goes through the motions before a Department of Homeland Security prosecutor and a reporter.

Unlike undocumented Mexicans, most of whom are quickly returned to their country after they are arrested, almost all non-Mexicans are charged and released in the United States if they do not have a criminal record and are not deemed a security threat. But like this day, few of the immigrants show up to face charges that they entered the country illegally.

When their names are called, 98 percent of all undocumented aliens ordered to appear at Harlingen Immigration Court do not answer. They are weeks into their new lives in all corners of the United States.

The no-show rate, the highest of those for all 53 immigration courts in the country, has deteriorated as undocumented, non-Mexican immigrants have been crossing the border in exponentially increasing numbers, many from known terrorist breeding grounds such as Pakistan.
Mexicans entering the US may be imperiling American culture identity and erroding the working class by driving wages down, but significant numbers of Arabs and Pakistanis have expressed a outright desire to kill Americans in large numbers and physically destroy the US itself. On September 11, 2001, nineteen Muslim Arabs proved that they had the means and willingness to accomplish at least the former goal. It is inconcievable that the US in the wake of such an attack would fail to secure its borders - but that is exactly what the Bush administration had done, deliberately. Nor is Washington unaware of the danger...
High-ranking federal officials, including retired Admiral James Loy of the Coast Guard, who served as deputy secretary of Homeland Security until March, have warned Congress that terrorists might exploit the porous border with Mexico to enter the United States, where they can take their chances with immigration officials who often have no choice but to release non-Mexicans.

Such infiltration ''is a concern for us,' said Roy Cervantes, the US Border Patrol spokesman in Harlingen.
Despite this,
Nationwide, the number of non-Mexicans who are entering the country illegally is skyrocketing, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Through Aug. 9, for the first 10 months of fiscal 2005, a total of 135,097 non-Mexicans had been apprehended out of 1.02 million undocumented immigrants arrested overall. In all of fiscal 2004, the number of non-Mexicans apprehended was 75,392; in fiscal 2003, the figure was 49,545.

The arrivals are coming from all over the globe, using smugglers in Mexico and the United States to ferry them to river crossings and to guide them along dangerous desert trails in their quest for a better life. The inability of the Border Patrol to stem the tide has provoked a fierce debate about immigration policy and security priorities. The governors of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, and of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, both Democrats, declared states of emergency along their southern borders this month.
Bush's big business cronies enjoy the benefits of illegal aliens - namely, the collapse of US wages, since it means they have to pay workers in the US so much less. Illegal aliens have driven wages down everywhere except at the CEO's office, where compensation perks continue to accumulate.

Of course, the usual racial racketeers advance the cry that any attention to border control issues has darker motives.
Other observers, such as the executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, Brent Wilkes, suggest that the outcry against the growing influx of non-Mexican immigrants, many of them from Central and South America, is rooted in racial bias.

''We get concerned when we feel like the security issue is used as a ruse to crack down on Hispanic immigrants who are economic refugees,' Wilkes said. ''There's a lot of people playing up the threat of terrorists coming across the Mexican border.'
Note that Mr. Wilkes own agenda might be argued as an example of racial bias. Many Latinos perceive it in their racial interest to permit as many of their race into the US as possible so as to dilute the white majority and increase their cultural and political clout. That, too, can be described as a racist agenda, especially when it puts the safety of the entire US population - regardless of racial makeup - at risk of another major terror attack.

Meanwhile, the lunacy at the border continues...
Nowhere are those decisions more evident than in Harlingen. In the first nine months of fiscal 2005, which ends on Sept. 30, 16,376 undocumented immigrants failed to appear at court. Only 214 of them were Mexican. In fiscal 2004, 9,166 immigrants did not appear, or 88 percent. In fiscal 2003, the no-show number was 4,868, again a national high at 88 percent.

In the sprawling Rio Grande sector, which includes Harlingen and covers 320 miles of the river, 68,438 non-Mexican immigrants from 65 countries have been arrested this fiscal year, Cervantes said. That number amounts to much more than double the 26,437 non-Mexican immigrants who had crossed illegally into this sector for all of fiscal 2004.
The situation in Harlingen brings the issue into stark focus. Either the Bush administration does really believe that the US is facing a serious terrorist threat, and so it doesn't matter who comes into the country (from a security perspective), in which case the "war on terrorism" is a PR scam. Or the Bush administration does believe the US is under dire threat, but is willing to mortgage American lives in order to win more Latino votes. Either possibility is revolting, and one, quite possibly, is treason. Should another major attack occur on American soil, and it can be confirmed that the attackers gained access to the US across a poorly-protectec border, the president and his operatives should face criminal charges for their malfeasance.


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