Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Arizona Follows New Mexico, But the Real Emergency is in Washington

Following closely on the heels of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson’s declaration of a state of emergency over the tidal wave of illegal immigrants flooding over the US-Mexico border, Arizona’s chief executive has opted to do the same.
Gov. Janet Napolitano on Monday declared a state of emergency along Arizona's border with Mexico, freeing up $1.5 million in disaster funds to help border counties combat booming illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

Napolitano criticized the federal government for "moving too slow" on border security, evolving into a hot-button, election-year issue in Arizona and across the country.

"This is a federal responsibility, and they're not meeting it," Napolitano said. "I've just come to the conclusion (that) we've got to do what we can at the state level until the federal government picks up the pace."
Ms. Napolitano correctly blames Washington for its deliberate failure to defend US territorial integrity, but she might want to examine her own record of catering to illegal immigrants in Arizona before she fixes the blame entirely on anyone else. Last year, Ms. Napolitano vocally opposed popular statewide Proposition 200, which restricted the welfare benefits available to illegal immigrants. She has also vetoed a number of anti-illegal immigration that passed the Arizona legislature.
In her weekly meeting with reporters May 11, Ms. Napolitano defended her vetoes of bills requiring federal, state or tribal identification to receive government services (S1511); tightening up ID requirements for prospective voters (S1118); contracting for construction of a private prison in Mexico to incarcerate illegal immigrants who commit crimes in Arizona (H2709), and making English Arizona’s official language (S1166).

"These bills . . . will not have one whit of an effect on illegal immigration in this state," she said. "You have to look at what is finally going to stem the tide of all of this illegal entry into Arizona. And I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think they’re coming over here to vote.

"People have a lot of ideas on immigration," Ms. Napolitano said. "My goal is to look at what needs to be done systematically, primarily by the federal government, but we need to look at some state things as well to start stemming the tide. Arizona is paying an undue price."
While it is true that the real source of America’s illegal immigration problem sits in Washington, that doesn’t absolve Ms. Napolitano from doing her job as the chief executive of her state and as an American citizen, which means doing whatever is in her power to make staunch the flow of illegal immigrants, enforce US laws and make life difficult for those who violate them, especially those who have entered our country illegally.

The emergency declaration will send millions of state dollars to afflicted border counties.
The money in Arizona is designated for the state's four border counties - Yuma, Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise - and will be distributed by the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. The $1.5 million is part of $4 million set aside annually for disasters, such as fires or floods.

Politicians and law enforcement officials in those counties said the money is sorely needed. The state is the busiest illegal crossing spot along the entire Southwestern border.

The declaration is the first time Napolitano has tapped the funds for border issues.

And it comes at a time when federal lawmakers, including some from Arizona, and the Bush administration are pushing a series of immigration reform bills and proposals.

Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl have introduced starkly different bills. Kyl's bill would authorize 10,000 new Border Patrol agents and require millions of undocumented immigrants to return to their home countries after five years. The McCain bill would allow undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they pay a fine and participate in a guest-worker program.

The long-running battle over securing the U.S.-Mexican border is expected to be a key issue in next year's midterm elections, both nationally and at the state level.
Senator McCain’s bill would have done nothing less than erase the US-Mexico border, and it displays the shocking disconnect between the GOP leadership and public sentiment over illegal immigration. The Bush administration and its big business supporters may think that there are not enough foreign nationals in the US willing to work for next to nothing, but the US public disagrees. Americans look around and see their country changing around them, wages falling, English rivaled as the national language, and their culture sliding down a perilous slop toward oblivion and they understand that allowing millions of aliens to swarm across the border is a recipe for disaster. GOP-controlled Washington sees only the prospect of attracting Latino votes and catering to businesses that want cheaper labor. The GOP seems increasingly, and quite deliberately, blind to the cultural and societal consequences of the radical transformation of the American demographic landscape that it is permitting.

Given this, it should come as no surprise that the Bush administration is gearing up yet again to pry open even further the door to Mexico and permit, legally, even greater numbers of foreign nationals to enter the US, according to the very pro-immigration Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2005.
The White House is planning a new push to change the nation's immigration laws, looking in part for businesses to lobby Congress to pass measures that give more foreign-born workers legal status while also toughening lax enforcement.

But the conflicting interests of President Bush's big-business supporters, who believe the economy needs more workers, and some Republican Party conservatives -- who have made a top priority of clamping down on illegal immigration in the name of national security -- threaten the prospects for a quick deal.

The White House and its allies are looking to businesses for help in selling and supporting a new immigration policy, including funds to pay for a television advertising blitz. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie is helping to organize a group called Americans for Border and Economic Security to run a public media campaign.

The importance for Mr. Bush's business backers of a revised approach to national immigration policy was underscored again over the weekend, when officials announced they were no longer accepting applications for U.S. visas for high-tech and skilled workers for 2006. That's because the year's quota of applications has been met already -- a month earlier than last year. The so-called H-1B visas are particularly important for companies needing white-collar workers with specialized skills. For years 2001-03, Congress tripled the number of visas allotted under this program, under pressure from high-tech companies. But in an indication of the growing contentiousness of immigration issues, lawmakers since then generally have stuck to the established limit of 65,000 H-1B permits annually.
The administration is still reeling from Bush’s 2002 "immigration reform" proposals, which amounted to nothing less than total amnesty for illegal aliens and which were soundly denounced by most conservatives. Unfortunately, for Americans, President Bush truly believes that mass immigration from alien cultures is a good thing and that American culture should assimilate to that of the immigrants and not the other way around. Thus, not only has he made a shameless display of his semi-fluency in Spanish, but he has deliberately obstructed efforts to improve border control (refusing to use money allocated by Congress to hire 10,000 new border patrol officials, and denouncing civilian volunteers and ‘vigilantees"). Now, under Karl Rove’s careful management, Mr. Bush is preparing to revive his plan to let in as many aliens as possible.
In recent weeks, White House staffers have met repeatedly with potential supporters among business and conservative groups to consult on President Bush's emerging legislative strategy. Based on the briefings so far, Mr. Bush's principles echo a set of proposals he made in January 2004 focusing on a sweeping new guest-worker program. For instance, Mr. Bush's advisers say they want a solution that is 'comprehensive' -- meaning that it includes rule changes to ensure an adequate future flow of workers, according to immigration experts.

Supporters say the issue of changing immigration policy is a vital one for a wide range of businesses that now either depend on unauthorized immigrants or face likely shortages of workers in the future -- from agricultural interests to restaurants, hotels and hospitals. According to current estimates, the U.S. will face a total shortage of 3.5 million workers by 2010, said Bruce Josten, an official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been lobbying for change in immigration policy for years.

'Our economy is growing faster than the availability of qualified and willing workers. Immigrants have always fueled our economy, and that is ever more true as our population ages,' says Terry Holt, a former Bush campaign spokesman who also is involved in organizing Americans for Border and Economic Security. 'The economic arguments [for immigration reform] are very strong and haven't been laid out for people to consider.'
Contrary to the position of the Wall Street Journal and the Bush administration, the US does not have any shortfall in available workers. Americans are, however, generally unwilling to work for next to nothing. But immigrants, especially those from poor, Third World nations, are. Thus, if you want to drive down wages for all American workers, the best means of achieving that is to flood the country will foreigners who will work at any job for a fraction of what Americans would demand as wages. Of course, as wages fall, so does the standard of living and the values that support a middle class existence. The lower, working classes have already felt the pain inflicted by illegal immigration, but as the tsunami of immigration continues, that loss of income and standard of living will creep up the socio-economic ladder. It will stall at the doors of the super-rich, who are forever insulated from the cultural and social wreckage of immigration policy by guards and gates.
Notice how the pro-immigration Wall Street Journal then proceeds to slant the presentation of immigration facts to suit its causes.

In part because of tight caps on work-related visas, illegal immigration to the U.S. soared during the 1990s, and now routinely exceeds legal immigration. Pro-immigration forces estimate that about 500,000 illegal immigrants are added to the U.S. population permanently each year, with most obtaining regular nonseasonal work. Yet only about 5,000 permanent work visas are available for them.

A further 135,000 or so permanent visas are available, but are restricted almost entirely to professionals and other highly skilled workers. More temporary permits are available for high-tech and other skilled workers, and for agricultural and seasonal workers. But because of lax enforcement, many legal temporary workers remain after their visas expire and become illegal residents.

As a result, about 10.3 million unauthorized immigrants now live in the U.S., versus about 10.4 million legal permanent-resident immigrants. That's fueling calls for a crackdown by many conservatives, particularly those who represent working families that feel most pressured by immigration on the job and in their communities.
Of course! 10 million aliens are here illegally solely because there weren’t enough visas made available. And the country is noticeably better off, too, now that Spanish rivals English, Latin American gangs are slaughtering people in every major American city, US wages are falling, and most Americans feel like visitors in their own country. Why, nothing could benefit the US more than coming to resemble a Latin American republic! This is the point of view of the "conservative" Wall Street Journal.

Looking to blunt conservative criticism, Mr. Bush is putting enforcement language into his proposal. This is meant to throw a bone to fanatical Bush acolytes like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who have mildly criticized the president over immigration. Adding the meaningless enforcement language will permit the Bush zealots to claim that the new bill addresses their former criticism and will toughen border security. It is little less than a face saving gesture for Bush supporters.
At the same time, his current position also appears to reach more broadly to include tougher enforcement, and rules out any kind of amnesty for current undocumented workers. But some experts say Mr. Bush's bar on amnesty might leave room for illegal immigrants to remain on their jobs while blocking them from the path to citizenship.
But even this is too much for the business advocacy groups behind the current Bush immigration plan.
Some business groups worry that the White House, chastened by criticism of its earlier plan, might concede too much to House conservatives in restricting future flows of labor and requiring the return of undocumented workers.

In fact, while immigration is moving up on the Bush legislative agenda, the White House clearly is treading cautiously, because of the flak it took last time, and has offered few specifics even in its private consultations. Moreover, Mr. Bush still has other substantial items on his legislative agenda -- including some form of Social Security overhaul, a renewal of the Patriot Act and major changes on Medicaid. With all that and a midterm election ahead, some House leadership aides privately question how hard Mr. Bush will push for any controversial elements in his immigration package.
The conservative movement used to stand for protecting American culture and bettering the economic status of Americans. Under the current GOP leadership and the Bush administration, it has come to mean diluting American culture with massive numbers of foreigners – more than the country could ever hope to assimilate – and undercutting the working and middle classes by importing cheap labor. If the Democrats had any sense, they’d run against illegal immigration and sweep the GOP from power. Unfortunately, the Democrats hanged themselves long ago on racial identity politics and the delusion of multiculturalism. They no longer care for the working class, and will prove no obstacle to the GOP.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New Mexico Declares Immigration Emergency

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has finally done what the governors of virtually every state in the union should have done years ago, he has declared a state or emergency in four border counties of his state, citing the damage wrought by the tidal wave of invading illegal immigrants from Mexico. But he could just as easily have declared the entire state an illegal immigration disaster zone.
The action frees up $1.75 million in state and federal funding to assist local communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Three of the counties - Doa Ana, Hidalgo and Luna - are on the border, while the fourth, Grant County, is just miles from Mexico.

Much of the money is expected to go to additional local and State Police law enforcement in the area.

"As governor, I have a responsibility to protect our citizens, property and communities. Recent developments have convinced me that action is necessary, including violence directed at law enforcement, damage to property and livestock, increased drug smuggling and an increase in the number of undocumented immigrants."

Richardson was in Columbus on Friday to announce that the state will spend almost $50,000 on a security fence around the stockyards in that tiny town 3 miles from Mexico.

The goal is to ward off the possible spread of contagious disease by cattle that aren't screened for diseases before the cross the border.

The 11-foot fence with razor wire at the top will replace shorter and flimsier barbed wire fence on the 20-acre site.

The fence, he said, "will replace the rickety border fence that is so full of holes and gaps that trucks and people can cross with no control."

"This fence we are building is critical to ensure food safety," the governor said in written remarks. "We don't want contagious diseases to contaminate our food supply and disrupt our agricultural economy."
A fence is a good start. But simply protecting the stockyards doesn't even begin to do the job. Cows aren't the only thing a risk from the illegal invasion, American culture and national sovereignty are directly threatened. If fences are to be erected, they should span as much of the border as possible, keeping illegals immigrants from entering the country, not just illegal cattle.
Daniel Manzanares, executive director of the New Mexico Livestock Board, said it's hard to quantify how many cattle have illegally crossed in the area, but that the number is at least 100.

"There's no fence in so many areas," he said of the remote sections of Luna County. "People think there is, but there isn't."

During his trip, Richardson also toured the border by helicopter and met with law enforcement officials and ranchers.

In addition, he ordered an assessment of livestock security by the Livestock Board and the state Department of Agriculture.

New Mexico shares nearly 200 miles of border with Mexico.

Columbus-area ranchers say immigrants tear up fences when they cross the border, often at night, allowing their cattle to get loose or cross into Mexico.
So, let's get this right. Mexican nationals, illegally invading the US, destroy American property with impunity while Washington does nothing to stop them. That's what Americans pay their taxes for, apparently.
So far, the state hasn't been able to pinpoint the outbreak of any diseases to Mexican cattle, Manzanares said. He suspects some of carrying bovine tuberculosis into New Mexico in the past.

Cattle pass through the stockyard, right on the border with Palomas, Mexico, for inspection. There is a checkpoint on the Mexican side where the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects the animals for signs of contagious diseases before they enter the United States.

Richardson said he had been asking for federal money for the security fence to no avail.

"There is no question that the federal government has not shown either the commitment or the leadership to deal with border issues. We lack support and resources to properly secure our borders," he said.
Naturally, the professional liars in Washington dispute this. Plenty of pork has been doled out on the Homeland Security dime, they argue.
But U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, an Albuquerque Republican and member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee issued a statement saying that Congress has provided millions for border security, and set aside millions more for future projects, including around Columbus, which is about 30 miles south of Deming.

"However, the important thing is to realize that money and fences alone are not going to solve the illiegal immigration problem. Congress must undertake real, in-depth immigration reform that will find a long-term solution to this problem. In the coming months, I will be working with my colleagues to bring a comprehensive immigration reform package to the table," his statement said.
What Senator Domenici actually means by "real, in-depth immigration reform" is completely opening US borders to any foreign national who is willing to work for less than minimum wage while keeping quiet about it, and granting those foreign nationals currently residing in the US illegally a general amnesty. That is essentially what the Bush administration had the gall to propose in 2003 before public pressure scuttle the plan. Make no mistake, the amnesty plan favored by the administration and its GOP allies would eviscerate any semblence of national security, making a mockery of the administration's increasingly hollow rhetoric regarding the "war on terrorism" and "homeland security."

Of course, as a good politician, Senator Domenici knows how to speak out of both sides of his mouth.
Domenici applauded the governor for the emergency declaration.

"There is no question that illegal immigration is a serious problem that affects the quality of life of citizens living on the border," he said.
Meanwhile, at the border, the tragedy continues...
Back at the stockyard, the fence is in such disrepair, people also have been able to illegally enter the United States in the area.

"We definitely have concerns about bio security and agro terrorism," said Tim Manning, New Mexico's homeland security adviser.

"There's animal smuggling, but people are smuggled as well," said Manning.
Gee, really? You think?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Better Results on Easier Tests - the New Education Standard

Britain's Labor government was all set to trumpet the results of nationwide standardized tests of high schoolers, which are expected to show yet another yearly increase in the percentage of students scoring at the highest level, the A-standard. Tony Blair had made education a priority and the anticipated results would have made for a lovely talking point on news shows. Unfortunately, the government's glee has been marred by an independent think tank which studied the standardized test and concluded that the scores are going up because the test is getting easier.
Nearly half the public and 43 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds believe that the exam is easier to pass, compared with only 10 per cent who say it has got harder, according to the report by Reform, an independent think tank.

Head teachers insisted yesterday that their pupils were reaching as high a standard as in previous years but admitted that the Government's changes to the exam format - which includes the opportunity to resit papers - had made it easier to do well.

The furore over the results, which will be announced on Thursday, took the exam boards by surprise. They had hoped to head off any criticism of the expected increase in pass rates and A- grades by delaying publication of the statistics until after students had collected their results.

Sources confirmed over the weekend, however, that the results will show a 16th successive increase in the proportion of subject entries awarded an A-grade. It is expected to hit 23 per cent, or nearly one in four. The pass rate is also predicted to show an increase on last year's 96 per cent.
The practice of "dumbing down" an exam to insure more politically acceptable results is hardly new in public education. It has been common practice in American public schools for the last three decades.
The report by Reform looks at attempts by academics to determine whether the A-level standard has been maintained over the years. It concludes that evidence clearly suggests that the exam has become easier, even when the content has remained similar.

It compares the A-level pass rate, which has gone up from 81 per cent in l993 to 96 per cent last year, with that of the International Baccalaureate, which has hovered between 81 and 84 per cent.

"Students' abilities have improved but by far less than that implied by the official statistics," the report concludes. It traces the start of the decline in standards to 1988 when the Department for Education took over responsibility for regulating exams.

"In addition, since the early 1990s the department has taken responsibility for increasing the number of students passing public examinations. The result is a clear conflict of interest and a structure in which the department has a clear incentive to allow standards to fall," it says.

Among the studies it cites are monitoring reports from the Curriculum Evaluation and Management Centre of Durham University, which found that pupils of the same ability achieved between one and a half and three grades higher in 2004 than they would have done in l988. "A student achieving a grade E in mathematics in l988 would achieve a grade B now," said the Reform study.
Naturally, the British government denies the allegations in the Reform report, and maliciously attributes sinister motives to the think tank.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "What the evidence shows is that standards are being maintained. Indeed, it's not the grades that have been dumbed down, but the arguments of those who want to hold children back."
The only people "holding children back" are those public officials who have consistently lowered educational standards in order to disguise the lousy quality of modern public education, and cover their own lazy posteriors. No child's interest is advanced by being rewarded with a grade he or she didn't earn. No child profits by emerging from school less educated than his or her parents were when they graduated. And certainly the British nation as a whole gains no reward from having its educational standards lowered to comply with politically correct ideas as to how students should fare, as opposed to rigorous standards regarding how they actually perform. Modern public education, left in the hands of politicians and appointed bureaucrats, has eschewed unpleasant realities for more appealing delusions. But reality can't be ignored for very long. The consequences of "dumbing down" education will manifest themselves as today's school children enter the workforce and assume positions of power in the nation. Then, Britain will discover the true value of all those phony A-standard grades. Of course, by then the people responsible for the mess will be safely retired or dead.