Friday, July 14, 2006

See Washington Lie...

Earlier this year, the US Senate, perhaps embarassed that the full impact of its disastrous Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA) - otherwise known as the Hagel-Martinez Amnesty - had been exposed in the press, pretended to "move closer" to supporting border enforcement by approving a measure to construct fences along portions of the US-Mexico border. But the Senate never intended to actually see those fences built. It was simply a PR stunt, as demonstrated today when the Senate essentially nullified its earlier vote.

Less than two months after voting overwhelmingly to build 370 miles of new fencing along the border with Mexico, the Senate yesterday voted against providing funds to build it.

"We do a lot of talking. We do a lot of legislating," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican whose amendment to fund the fence was killed on a 71-29 vote. "The things we do often sound very good, but we never quite get there."

Mr. Sessions offered his amendment to authorize $1.8 billion to pay for the fencing that the Senate voted 83-16 to build along high-traffic areas of the border with Mexico. In the same vote on May 17, the Senate also directed 500 miles of vehicle barriers to be built along the border.

But the May vote simply authorized the fencing and vehicle barriers, which on Capitol Hill is a different matter from approving the federal expenditures needed to build it.

"If we never appropriate the money needed to construct these miles of fencing and vehicle barriers, those miles of fencing and vehicle barriers will never actually be constructed," Mr. Sessions told his colleagues yesterday before the vote.

Virtually all Democrats were joined by the chamber's lone independent and 28 Republicans in opposing Mr. Session's amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Only two Democrats -- Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Thomas R. Carper of Delaware -- supported funding the fence.

All told, 34 senators -- including most of the Republican leadership -- voted in May to build the fence but yesterday opposed funding it.

Of course, not, Mr. Sessions. But the Senate leadership never intended to actually build the fences in the first place. They simply hoped to generate a headline that would make them look good and advance the chances of their CIRA reaching a compromise with the House. Mr. Sessions committed a faux pas by exposing the reality behind the ruse.

The meaning of this is clear: the Senate has no intention of building fences, no intention of reducing illegal immigration at all. The Senate wants open borders and an amnesty for illegals living here. In short, the Senate continues to support the White House's position, while trying to deceive the public into believing that American immigration laws and US sovereignty will be enforced.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The President Has a One Track Mind

Unfortunately, that track runs in the opposite direction of the national good (Wall Street Journal, July 8).

President Bush renewed his call for immigration reform that includes a guest-worker program, a sign that despite resistance from the heart of his own party he isn't throwing in the towel on his troubled initiative in this election year.

On a political swing in the Midwest -- where voters are unusually worried about immigration, according to some polls -- Mr. Bush offered a strong defense of his stalled proposals to overhaul the broken U.S. system. 'The system we've got today isn't working, and it needs to be changed and reformed,' Mr. Bush said at a news conference Friday at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

Aides said later that the president had heard at length from local business leaders at dinner Thursday night about the need for reform, and decided to use his remarks Friday to tamp down speculation that he's backing away from his comprehensive overhaul proposal, which includes a guest-worker program for new immigrants and a path to citizenship for current illegal workers.

Both those items are controversial, especially among Republican conservatives on Capitol Hill, many of whom prefer tougher enforcement, including expulsion of those in the U.S. illegally. But the White House and many other Republicans believe that approach is unworkable, and doesn't command broad support even among Republican voters.

President Bush is trying to obfuscate his unwavering support for the Mexican invasion of the US by promising greater emphasis on border enforcement...

Friday, Mr. Bush promised stronger enforcement, both through increased manpower and new technologies such as tamper-proof identification cards. But, he added, 'in order to enforce this border, we've got to have a rational way that recognizes there are people sneaking across to do work Americans aren't doing.'

...but with his track record on the border, who - outside of the editors at the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Page - would take him seriously?

Meanwhile, those actually patrolling the border are sensing ominous shifts in the type of illegal immigrants now pouring into the country from Mexico.

Most of the people who sneak across the border are no longer good people in search of honest work, the sheriff of a border county in Texas told a House subcommittee yesterday, but rather criminals who belong to gangs and drug cartels.

'For years we have seen individuals enter the country illegally,' said Sigifredo Gonzalez Jr., sheriff of Zapata County. 'However, recently we feel that many of these persons are no longer entering the country to look for legitimate employment. We are now seeing that many of these persons are members of ruthless and violent gangs.'

Sheriff Gonzalez's testimony before the House International Relations subcommittee was part of a series of 'field hearings' held across the country to gauge voter opinion on reforming the nation's immigration laws. Yesterday's hearing was held in Laredo, in Zapata County.

'Some areas can accurately be described as a war zone,' panel Chairman Ed Royce, California Republican, told The Washington Times after touring the border near Laredo.

But it gets even worse...

Sheriff Gonzalez told members of the subcommittee that the number of illegal aliens from places other than Mexico -- including countries on terrorist watch lists -- caught crossing the border has more than quintupled in the past four years. Increasingly, he said, they try blending in to look like Mexicans crossing the border in search of honest work.

With more than 165,000 illegal aliens caught in fiscal 2005, Sheriff Gonzalez said, he can only imagine how many succeed in getting across.

'I dare to say that at any given time, daytime or nighttime, one can get on a boat and traverse back and forth between Texas and Mexico and not get caught,' he said. 'If smugglers can bring in tons of marijuana and cocaine at one time and can smuggle 20-30 persons at one time, one can just imagine how easy it would be to bring in two to three terrorists or their weapons of mass destruction across the river and not be detected.'

Perhaps President Bush and his "open-borders" cronies could put these people on the "path to earned citizenship" as well. That would do the national a whole lot of good. President Bush seems to forget that he is the President of the United States, not the President of the Free Trade Zone of the Americas. If his policies continue, the US may come to look a lot like Mexico and Central America. Economically as well as demographically. But that may well be the point of this exercise.