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Posted on 05/23/2006 7:00:09 PM PDT by dennisw
The Silent Invasion: The Subversion of Sovereignty by Illegal Immigration (1986)
by William F. Jasper
(First published in The New American, June 2, (1986)
From the southern rim of the Otay Mesa, the land slopes gently down for three-quarters of a mile to a dry creek bed that forms several miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. The eight-foot-high chain-link fence that once helped delineate that borderline has long since been trampled to the ground; along much of this stretch, whole quarter-mile sections are missing entirely. On the other side of the creek bed, the ground slopes up for three-quarters of a mile to the sprawling overcrowded shanty town that makes up Tijuana's rough East side.
Each day, several thousand Mexicans and nationals from dozens of other countries head north across this narrow, grassy valley, attempting illegal entry into the United States. Most of them will make it. Atop the mesa, ten to fifteen agents of the U.S. Border Patrol's Chula Vista Station valiantly try to hold back the tide. "We're so outnumbered that it's impossible for us to patrol the actual borderline, the fence line, so we have to drop back to the high points where we have greater visibility, and then try to apprehend as many as we can as they come across the mesa," explains Border Patrol Agent Ron Zimmerman.
Those illegals who make it across the narrow mesa (one to two miles) and down the other side into town are usually "home free." Once they reach Chula Vista or San Ysidro, they quickly melt into the Mexican-American populace and are soon in the illegal alien "pipeline" headed north to San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the San Joaquin Valley, the Pacific Northwest, and all points in between.
On a warm April afternoon, as we look south over Tijuana from the edge of the mesa, we can see about a thousand soon-to-be illegal aliens gathered below the Tijuana airport on the hillside clearing that Border Patrol agents refer to as the "soccer field." A week earlier, on a bleak day of cold, drizzling rain, the "soccer field" had been similarly packed. So it is every day, rain or shine. No one seems to know the origin of the appellation "soccer field." No soccer games ever take place there -- just the daily warm-up ritual for the "game" of tag or hide and seek with "La migra," the Border Patrol.
The "players" begin gathering on the field in small groups in the early afternoon. They are mostly males in their teens, twenties and thirties; but a sizable number of young women and children, as well as older men, are also present. They sit casually on the ground eating lunches they have packed or food they have purchased from the nearby Tijuana vendors who have cropped up to service this steadily growing clientele. Some sip beer or tequila, while a few can be seen sniffing glue or smoking marijuana.
As the afternoon wears on, the numbers swell. About an hour before dusk, groups ranging from ten to thirty begin to head down from the "soccer field" into the valley and filter into the many small canyons and arroyos that lead up onto the mesa. Most of them are headed off to our left, to the eastern edge of the mesa where they will wait for the cover of darkness among the scrub trees and jojoba bushes below the mesa rim.
Fifty yards below us, about 150 illegal aliens in small, scattered groups are working their way up the slope through a maze of well-worn paths. The border runners eye this observer and his journalist companion, and then, apparently satisfied that we are not with "La migra," they continue on up to our vista point. Most are wary and cover their faces, but a few stop to converse with us.
Fernando says he is 26, single and from Michoacán province in central Mexico. He has a cousin in Los Angeles who can get him a good job in "la fábrica" (the factory) making metal pipe fittings. Jorge is 30, married and a construction worker in Santa Ana, California, where he, his wife and five children have lived for the past five years. He is returning to Santa Aria after a weekend visit with friends and relatives in Mexico.
As darkness falls, we move our pickup truck up on the mesa, near one of the ranch houses that straddle this busy border crossing. During the hour that we wait there along the fence line, some 250 to 300 illegals file by, just a few feet to a few yards on either side of our truck. It is an incredibly eerie feeling -- even after many such trips to the border -- to witness this silent invasion. We drive back and forth across the five-mile stretch of hilly mesa country for another hour, spotting a couple of hundred more illegals, including several women with infants and a dozen or so preschool-aged children, but we have yet to see a Border Patrol vehicle.
As we pull up on the northern edge of the mesa, we come alongside a Border Patrol Dodge Ram Charger. The agent has several illegals in the back of his vehicle and is radioing the station to send another transport van to pick them up. For the past several minutes, he has been driving back and forth across a narrow 50-yard strip shining his searchlight into the brush at the mesa's edge where several dozen illegals have retreated. They had just started to dash across a hundred-yard opening when he came upon, them. Now he is hoping he can hold them at bay until help arrives. They are really short-handed tonight, he explains. The four-man horse patrol and the two-man ATC (all-terrain cycle) patrol are off in other sectors, leaving only four or five agents in Ram Chargers to cover the mesa.
Back at the Chula Vista station a few miles away, a steady stream of transport vehicles pulls up to disgorge its cargo of illegal aliens into the holding tanks. Senior Agent Buck William voices what we have heard from many other patrolmen: "It's ridiculous out there, and it's going from bad to worse. Every day the numbers [of illegals] increase, and the politicians refuse to do anything about it. It's a game for most of these aliens. They know they've got better than 50-50 odds of getting through; and if we do catch them, they know that they'll just be released at the border in a few hours, and they can try again."
When the holding tanks fill up with five or six hundred detainees, a caravan of large buses is brought in to transport them the several miles down to the San Ysidro-Tijuana port of entry, where they are sent back through the gate into Mexico. But before each alien leaves the Border Patrol station for "voluntary departure" to Mexico, he must be "processed," which means a Border Patrol agent must spend several minutes asking him questions about his identity, family, residence, etc., and filling out the required federal forms. If the alien turns out to be an OTM (other than Mexican) -- which is an increasing likelihood these days -- the processing time can increase to a half hour or even to several hours per case.
The Chula Vista station is the busiest station in the San Diego sector, which, in turn, is the busiest Border Patrol sector in the nation. Along this stretch of border, from the Pacific beaches on the west to the eastern end of the Otay Mesa -- roughly fifteen miles -- the Border Patrol apprehends over 2,000 illegals per day. With the further deterioration of the Mexican economy in the past year, the pressure on our southern border has increased dramatically.
At a news conference on February 20th, Alan C. Nelson, the commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), stated that "our intelligence sources report that 1,500 persons a day are arriving by train at Mexicali, Mexico, from the interior, with most continuing by bus on to Tijuana on the border. This is more than double the normal complement of arrivals." Nearly thirty buses a day, he said, arrive in Tijuana from Mexicali, and nearly all are filled to capacity. Nelson added: "Mexican airlines also tell us they are seeing more poor people arriving at Tijuana on the fourteen daily flights from the interior .... The conclusion drawn from this heavy flow of traffic into the border area is that many, if not most, will try to enter the United States illegally."
In fiscal year 1985, over 1.2 million illegal aliens were apprehended along our 2,000-mile border with Mexico. During the first four months of fiscal year 1986, apprehensions ran 43 percent ahead of last year's record. As the border "traffic" continued to escalate, the INS in February was forced to raise its estimated projection of apprehensions for this year from 1.6 million to 1.8 million -- a full 50 percent increase over last year.
"Please keep in mind," Duke Austin, the Border Patrol's press officer in Washington, DC, told THE NEW AMERICAN, "that this enormous number of arrests is carried out by a law enforcement agency that is only about the size of the Baltimore Police Department, yet is expected to police over 2,000 miles of territory." The Border Patrol, a division of the INS, has about 2,700 men and women in uniform. But when you divide them among three work shifts, factor in vacation and sick leave, and then subtract supervisors and support personnel not actually in the field, you find that at any given hour there are only 400 to 500 officers patrolling our entire southern border. That's how it works out on paper anyway. In real life though, the numbers are even less.
On a typical night, for instance, a dozen agents may be assigned to work the Otay mesa. That doesn't mean, however, that twelve men will be out there guarding that sector all shift long. During one evening as we rode along, for example, our unit spent only four out of eight hours covering our assigned area. An hour into the shift, after making two dozen arrests, we responded to a call in lower San Diego. According to the radio dispatcher, 150 to 200 illegal aliens were inside a house, indicating a possible smuggling operation. But by the time we reached the address twenty minutes later, only nine illegals remained.
According to the San Diego police officers who were holding the aliens for us, neighbors reported that they had seen "Mexicans jumping over the fence and running in every direction." Inside the small, dilapidated two-bedroom house, Border Patrol Agent Ron Zimmerman turned up two notebooks listing several dozen names of "passengers," each of whom was assigned to a driver and vehicle to transport them north to Orange County or East Los Angeles.
How was this sizable operation uncovered? It was a fluke, actually. An employee from a television shop who had been sent to repossess a TV walked into the house, and then made a hasty retreat when he was confronted by a room full of Mexicans armed with knives. The repo man had not even intended to report the incident; but, as he fled down the street in his TV van, he chanced upon a squad car just two blocks from the smugglers' house. How many similar operations are running in the San Diego area is anyone's guess.
In order to transport the nine captives back to the station, another unit had to be called away from the border for the better part of an hour, during which time perhaps a hundred additional illegals slipped through the weakened patrol line. Following this minor episode, we received another radio dispatch; this time we were directed to go to the county jail in downtown San Diego to pick up two illegals who had been arrested in connection with a burglary. An hour and a half later, we left the jail -- without the two alleged burglars -- but with a Mexican teenager to return to the border. Later, back on the beat, we responded to another radio call. A citizen reported that illegal aliens were being loaded into a car in front of her home in a Chula Vista neighborhood just a few minutes from us. As we pulled onto her street, a sedan matching the smuggler-vehicle description flashed by us in the opposite direction and headed onto the freeway ramp of northbound Interstate 5. The highspeed pursuit lasted for only about a mile. As the suspect vehicle came to a stop on the freeway shoulder, all four doors flew open, and seven people made a dash for the freeway fence.
Agent Zimmerman nabbed the last two coming out of the back seat, but the other five, including the driver, quickly scaled the fence and disappeared into a nearby apartment complex before our backup units arrived. In the trunk of the smuggler's car were two more aliens.
The four captives were from Nicaragua and were carrying Nicaraguan passports. But before they could be loaded into the patrol car, disaster struck. A taxi driver cruising the surface street beside the freeway had been paying too much attention to our operation and didn't see two pedestrians in the street until it was too late. One was critically injured in the head and lower body; the other suffered a leg injury. We were the first on the scene and directed traffic and administered first aid until the ambulance and police took over. The chase and accident kept three Border Patrol units away from their stations for 45 minutes. Such incidents are not uncommon and add further strain to the thin green line that guards our borders.
Tucson Border Patrol Chief J.D. Jondall told THE NEW AMERICAN: "On most nights I have no more than fourteen agents patrolling 280 miles of Arizona-Mexico border." But when you factor in all of the contingencies that come up every day, he said, "actually, we're working much of the time with considerably fewer than fourteen men."
The manpower shortage is the same everywhere along the border from San Diego to Brownsville on the Texas gulf. Residents of Chandler Heights, a small rural town near Phoenix, have been pleading with the INS for the past year to do something about the estimated 300 illegal aliens living in orange groves throughout the community. The Chandler Heights natives complain angrily about the trespassing, vandalism, arson and burglary, and about the loitering, littering and sanitation problems caused by the illegals. But they reserve their keenest anger for the politicians and authorities who have done nothing.
In January, INS Officer Bill Buckham told a crowd of Chandler Heights residents that his agency was simply unable to help them. The INS, he explained, has only ten Arizona investigators, and these are already swamped with 3,000 Complaints from Phoenix alone. "Actually, it is much worse than that," Ruth Anne Myers, INS district director for Arizona and Nevada, told THE NEW AMERICAN. For her two-state district, she explained, there are only nineteen investigators, and three of those are supervisors. It's a case, pure and simple, of system overload.
In 1983, President Reagan declared: "This country has lost control of its own borders, and no country can sustain that kind of position." Yet, our "position" has continued to deteriorate. Most Border Patrolmen readily concede that for every illegal alien that they apprehend there are another two or three (some say five) who make it into the United States. This means that we can expect to end fiscal year 1986 with a net increase of at least two to four million illegals. For the past several years, the federal government has estimated the total number of illegal aliens nationwide at three to six million, but most immigration authorities say that figure is ridiculously low. Earlier this year, Maurice C. Inman Jr., general counsel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, called the count a "massive understatement" and said that a more realistic figure would be twelve to fifteen million.
Even using a conservative figure of one million illegals per year coming across our southern border for the past dozen years, Inman's estimate seems to be a much more believable count. And although the U.S.-Mexico border is the area of greatest concern, it is by no means the only point of illegal entry. Each year, tens of thousands of illegals sneak across the U.S.-Canadian border. Thousands more enter the United States on student or tourist visas and stay here permanently. In fiscal year 1984, the State Department issued 9.5 million visitor visas, mostly to tourists, visitors here on business, and students. But the Immigration and Naturalization Service cannot adequately monitor and enforce these visas. The INS does not have the resources even to handle effectively the three-quarters of a million legal immigrants who enter this country each year. Then there is the additional administrative nightmare of 100,000 refugees and asylum cases annually.
The immigration court system is another disaster area. INS spokesman Duke Austin explains that "there are only sixty immigration judges nation-wide, and they are backlogged thousands of cases." Then there are the radical groups, he says, that are trying to get illegal aliens to "demand a hearing and inundate the system" rather than accept voluntary deportation. A 34-page pamphlet entitled The Other Side -- A Guide for the Undocumented (that's the English translation), which explains the "legal rights" of illegal aliens, has circulated widely in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico. Co-authored by Tom Barry and Deb Preusch of the left-wing Resource Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the booklet advises aliens not to cooperate with immigration authorities and tells them how to contact legal counseling services to help them fight deportation. For the past several years, radical groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Lawyers Guild (cited as "the foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party" by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, 1950) have been holding immigration seminars and workshops to train lawyers, paralegals, and local activists in the legal procedures for effective obstruction of immigration enforcement. And the "sanctuary movement" has made hundreds of churches participants in these activities as well. Tom Barry, coauthor of the above-mentioned guidebook, says that nearly half of the funding for the project came from the Presbyterian Church.
If the immigration situation sounds alarming now, we can expect it to soon get much worse -- unless the President and Congress take serious action to address the issue. In Mexico and the Central American countries alone, there are more than 100 million people; and, as the political and economic structures of those nations continue to deteriorate (due to socialist policies), a sizable percentage of that population can be expected to arrive at our doorstep. South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe will contribute legions more. Last year on our southern flank, the Border Patrol apprehended tens of thousands of nationals from more than seventy countries attempting illegal entry. There were Chinese, Koreans, Hungarians, Yugoslavians, Romanians, Indians, Iranians, Filipinos, Nigerians, Libyans, Nicaraguans, El Salvadorans, Lebanese, Haitians -- you name it, almost every country was represented. They arrive in Mexico daily from all corners of the globe. They come by boat or plane -- or by foot from Central America. Once there, it is not difficult to find a "coyote" who, for the appropriate fee, will guide them across the border.
The problems and dangers inherent in allowing this invasion to continue should be obvious. The economic, political, social, public health, and national security ramifications are enormous. Virtually every poll has shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans are seriously concerned about illegal immigration and favor increased efforts to halt the flow. In December 1984, Dr. George Gallup released poll findings showing that "the American public takes a hard line toward illegal aliens." Surveys by the Roper Poll, ABC News, the Associated Press, and other organizations show similar results. Pollster Burns Roper commented, "It is rare on any poll question to find such a lopsided result." Still, Congress has resisted and delayed every legitimate effort at immigration reform.
Congressional leaders have followed the lead of radical Hispanic organizations, "civil rights" groups, and business interests that favor a continuation of the status quo. Groups such as the Mexican-American Political Association and the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund gain political clout from the Mexican influx.
Shortsighted businessmen in labor-intensive enterprises benefit from cheap labor. And they now cite studies produced by the Heritage Foundation and the Rand Corporation as "proof" that illegal aliens are an economic asset to the United States and are in no way a significant factor in our unemployment, housing, social service, and welfare problems. Heritage Foundation policy analyst Stephen Moore, in a recent syndicated column, claimed that his survey of America's "top" economists, "from the Keynesian John Kenneth Galbraith to the champion of the free market, Milton Friedman," yielded an almost universal repudiation of the notion that illegal aliens are an economic burden.
Many economists, however, believe otherwise. Economics Professor Donald L. Huddle of Rice University conducted a major study for the American Immigration Control Foundation on the employment patterns of illegal aliens. His conclusion: "We estimate that for every 100 illegals employed, 65 U.S. workers are displaced or kept out of the job markets." He also discards as popular myth the oft-heard remark that aliens "just take jobs that Americans won't take." His studies show large numbers of illegals in construction and other industries making $10 to $16 per hour.
Dr. Huddle estimates that 3.5 million Americans are unemployed because of illegal aliens. According to a study by the Congressional Budget Office, every one million unemployed Americans cost the taxpayers $7 billion per year in unemployment and other benefits. Cornell University economist Vernon Briggs, a leading researcher on the illegal-alien, labor-market issue, states that "anyone seriously concerned with the working poor of the nation must include an end to illegal immigration as part of any national program of improved economic opportunities."
Across the country, the federal government's failure to protect our borders is costing state, county, and local governments dearly. A 1985 study conducted by the chief administrative office of Los Angeles County calculated that school children of illegal aliens will cost county taxpayers $511 million in fiscal year 1986. The study further concludes that illegal aliens will also cost the county $114 million in free medical care, $83 million in increased law enforcement costs, and $3.3 million in Aid to Families with Dependent Children. In some of the county's hospitals, children of illegal aliens account for 70 percent of births.
The economic aspects of illegal immigration are important, but they pale next to national security considerations, particularly in light of the rising wave of global terrorism. If a Couple of million uneducated Mexican peasants can walk across our porous border each year, it is ridiculous to assume that trained, highly motivated, well-informed terrorist organizations with extensive support networks in this country would not avail themselves of the same opportunity.
Edouard Sablier, a French journalist with 25 years at Le Monde, stated in his book The Red Thread, published in 1984, that Haitians trained in Cuba were being infiltrated into the United States in large numbers. He quoted Manuel Pineiro Losada, chief of Cuba's subversive Departamento de America, as boasting at Caracas, Venezuela, in August 1980: "The revolutionaries of Central America should know that we have deployed agents in the United States who will be able, at any time, to promote propaganda, terrorism, and racial conflict." Fidel Castro himself, at a secret conference at Monimbo, Nicaragua in 1980, boasted that his agents in America were so numerous and so well-placed that he could instigate, at any moment of his choosing, urban chaos and race warfare that would make the riots in Miami earlier that year "look like a sun-shower." Mario Estebes Gonzalez, a Cuban agent arrested in 1981 for smuggling drugs into the United States, testified in federal hearings that some 3,000 of Castro's agents entered this country among the 125,000 Mariel refugees in the spring of 1980.
How many Communist agents have come to America among the hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian and Soviet refugees? Undoubtedly, several thousand, at the very least. The current espionage trial involving KGB agents Nikolay and Svetlana Ogorodnikov and FBI agent Richard Miller gives a small illustration of the potential for harm such agents represent. The Ogorodnikovs entered this country in 1973 as Soviet Jewish refugees. In 1980, the FBI disclosed that KGB Colonel Rudolph Hermann had entered this country through Canada with his wife and a son a dozen years earlier and had thereafter posed as a freelance photographer in New York City. A report on terrorism published by the State Department in August of last year states that "the Sandinista government has issued Nicaraguan passports to radicals and terrorists of other nationalities, including radicals from the Middle East, Latin America and Europe, thus enabling them to travel in Western countries without their true identities being known." This and much more evidence on the penetration of our borders by agents of hostile powers have been presented to Congress; yet, Congress has chosen to ignore this clear and present danger.
Another important dimension of illegal immigration that has failed to stir the interest of Congress concerns the potential massive danger to public health. U.S. immigration law specifically excludes all aliens afflicted with mental illness, "dangerous infectious diseases" -- such as active tuberculosis, infectious leprosy, and venereal diseases -- or any defect or disability that may affect their ability to earn a living. Unfortunately, according to a study by the General Accounting Office, the health exams are woefully inadequate, often involving only cursory visual inspections and lacking appropriate blood tests. Authors Palmer Stacey and Wayne Lutton state in their new book, The Immigration Time Bomb, that "the Canadian Department of Health and Welfare requires a more comprehensive examination, including a medical history, information concerning psychiatric problems and mental retardation, blood pressure reading, stethoscope examination, and in addition to the chest X-ray and blood test for syphilis, stool and urine examinations." According to Stacey and Lutton, "Canadian officials report that some refugees rejected or delayed by Canada's process for admitting aliens immediately file for admission to the United States."
Illegal aliens, of course, have no medical inspection at all. Due to this influx of unscreened immigrants, diseases that were unheard of or were on the decline in America now pose a new danger. The New York Times, reporting on Haitian refugees in October 1981, stated that "parasite and exotic diseases such as malaria, yaws, and dengue fever are rife among the refugees, and tuberculosis is a serious threat." Dr. Shirley Fannin, associate director of Communicable Disease Programs for Los Angeles County, told THE NEW AMERICAN that the recent reversal of the steady national decline in tuberculosis cases could be attributed almost entirely to the recent flood of immigrants. "All of these immigrant and refugee areas -- Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia -- are high endemic TB areas; so they literally bring the disease with them," she said.
That ancient dread disease, leprosy, has increased more than 1,300 percent in Los Angeles County during the past two decades. According to a Los Angeles Times article of October 14, 1983, this dramatic increase "is entirely due to immigration, said Dr. Thomas Rea, chief of dermatology at County-USC Medical Center."
There is another seldom-mentioned but potent and growing element of our immigration problem: "Aztlán." It can be seen scrawled in the graffiti in the barrios of every major city. It is the focus of radical "Chicano studies" programs on many campuses. "Aztlán" is an Aztecan word referring to the "lost land," the American Southwest -- Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California -- that was "stolen" from Mexico and will one day be restored. Although it is not an idea or cause embraced by most Americans of Mexican descent, it does find a significant following among the newer arrivals. As their numbers grow, political agitation for a separatist "Chicano nation of Aztlán" can be expected to increase.
The lack of adequate border enforcement has also greatly exacerbated our illegal narcotics problem. In the past two years, much of the former Miami-based drug trade has relocated to the Southwest. Border Patrol Chief J.D. Jondall says that in 1985 the Tucson sector experienced a 24 percent increase in narcotics seizures over the previous year. "In 1984," the Los Angeles Times reports, "Drug Enforcement Administration agents in California were seizing an average of 22 kilograms of cocaine per month. That figure jumped to 125 kilograms per month in 1985." Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block says: "It's staggering. There's so much of it (narcotics) around .... We are losing the war in spite of stepped up enforcement."
Immigration reform legislation is desperately needed -- and needed NOW! But Congress continues to dally. Last September, the Senate passed S. 1200, sponsored by Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY). In the House, the Rodino bill, H.R. 3810, has been reported to the full Judiciary Committee and could possibly reach the House floor soon. The legislation (both bills) is then expected to die in the House-Senate Conference Committee. Of the dozen or so House and Senate staffers with whom we talked recently, all opined that immigration reform legislation has little or no chance of passage during this election year. But if the politicians conclude that the overwhelming public support for immigration reform, as expressed in the opinion polls, will be reflected at election time, they will be forced to act. The crucial question is whether or not that public support will be mobilized soon enough and vocalized strongly enough to send Congress the message.
The Simpson and Rodino bills are quite similar on most major issues: increased INS funding, amnesty, employer sanctions and verifications, increased penalties for document fraud, and temporary worker provisions. Amnesty, or "legalization," will prove once again to be the major drawback to both bills. The Simpson bill provides temporary legal resident status to illegal aliens who entered the United States prior to January 1, 1980, or to Cubans and Haitians who entered prior to January 1, 1981. After two and one-half years, this can be adjusted to permanent resident status, then citizenship. The Rodino amnesty proposal is even more liberal. Temporary resident status is granted to illegal aliens and Cubans and Haitians residing here since January 1, 1982. The status can be upgraded to permanent residency after only one year.
Amnesty -- whether the Simpson or Rodino version, or some compromise between the two -- would be disastrous to immigration reform and would undo any positive features of the legislation. Palmer Stacey, director of the American Immigration. Control Foundation in Monterey, Virginia, states that "amnesty would be a formal admission that our nation's leaders lack the will to enforce our immigration laws," and would be seen by millions worldwide as an invitation to come to America. The mere consideration of amnesty by Congress over the past couple of years has stimulated increased migration to our borders where "amnesty kits," complete with forged documentation -- rent receipts, utility bills, Social Security cards, etc. -- can be bought for as low as $40 to $50.
Based on past experience, each "legalized" alien then could be expected to bring an average of three immediate family members into the country. According to Mr. Stacey: "If, say, the number of adult aliens legalized in an amnesty was a conservative four million, then the potential multiplier migration would be in the twelve million range." In turn, many of these new entrants would petition to bring in additional relatives. Even with manpower and budget doubled, the INS would be overwhelmed with an impossible verification and enforcement situation.
Amnesty is also wrong because it rewards the lawbreaker and will encourage continued lawbreaking by setting a precedent and creating an anticipation and expectation of future amnesties. It is wrong. In principle and in practice it would prove calamitous.
Employer sanctions are another major controversial item and have drawn considerable opposition from many business lobbyists. There is room forgive and take on this issue. Business should not be expected to do the government's job of apprehending and investigating illegal aliens, but neither should businessmen object to cooperating in the enforcement of our laws. Requiring an employer merely to make a good-faith effort to ask for some commonly acceptable identification and to call a toll-free INS verification number (to help screen out the millions of foreign students and tourists not legally eligible for work) should not be considered unreasonable. It is much the same, in principle, as our laws which require businesses to check identification for age requirements on the sale of liquor, tobacco, explicit materials, etc. The law should be directed at those who are knowingly hiring illegals. Many employers who now hire hundreds of aliens fresh from the border would change their practices if they were faced With civil and criminal penalties. Most immigration authorities agree that jobs are the main magnet that draws illegals across the border, and that sanctions of some sort are necessary to dry up the job pool that is attracting them here.
Immigration reform is most often cast as an impossibly difficult undertaking and one that will probably never really succeed because there are too many disparate, powerful interest groups at odds ever to reach an agreement. That is nonsense. If we do not very soon gain control of our borders, we will not survive as a nation. The enforcement of our immigration laws and the policing of our national boundaries are among the few legitimate functions of the federal government. As usual, the government has abdicated this critical responsibility while involving itself in numerous other areas in which it has no legitimate interest. As a nation, we have all of the resources and manpower necessary to do the job. There is no question of that. As with every crucial issue, it is only a matter of whether we have the will to do what must be done. The American public must raise its voice and demand that Congress and the President establish sound immigration policy and then provide whatever resources are necessary to enforce that policy and secure our borders.
Bordering On Insanity: Our Policy for Handling Illegal Immigration Is Suicidal (1987)
by William F. Jasper
(First published in The New American, June 8, 1987.)
In a few years many Americans may look upon May 5, 1987 as one of the most pivotal, and perhaps one of the darkest, dates in American history. On May 5th, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) opened 107 "legalization centers" nationwide and began carrying out one of the key provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 -- the granting of amnesty for several million illegal aliens.
This one act may result in an unprecedented "chain reaction" of new immigrants, eventually totalling in the tens of millions, as illegal aliens are at first legalized and then go on to become citizens with the right to bring additional family members into the country. Immigration on this large a scale over so short a period of time would affect profoundly not just the American Southwest but the social, political, economic, linguistic, and cultural foundations of the United States as a whole.
In addition to being the day the "legalization" program went into effect, May 5th is also Cinco de Mayo, Mexico's "Independence Day" and its most prominent holiday. Cinco de Mayo has already displaced our 4th of July celebration of Independence Day in many communities in Texas, California, and other South-western states, and this will increasingly become the case as Mexicans become the predominant nationality in more and more U.S. communities.
The new law was passed by Congress on October 17, 1986 and signed by President Ronald Reagan on November 6th of that year, thus ending a decade and a half of congressional wrangling over U.S. immigration policy. The then-existing immigration law, the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, was amended in 1965 and 1976 to adjust the national-origins quotas, and again in 1980 to set an additional quota for refugees, but Congress repeatedly balked at taking the steps necessary to alleviate the growing border crisis. Illegal entry along our Southern border amounted to a relatively small trickle in the 1950s and early 1960s, but grew to a steady stream in the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, and eventually became the veritable flood that it is today. The border patrol and the INS have literally been overwhelmed, lacking sufficient personnel to handle the crisis. In fact, we had "lost control of our borders" years before President Reagan made that announcement to the nation in 1983.
Background to Crisis
In 1977, Jimmy Carter became the first president to recommend redefining the illegal alien program out of existence. Under Mr. Carter's amnesty plan, most illegal aliens already in the United States would have been legalized. Presto! No more "illegal" aliens! And to discourage additional aliens from entering illegally, he asked Congress to prohibit the hiring of undocumented aliens.
These proposals represented a radical departure from traditional policy, under which the federal government accepted responsibility for enforcing immigration laws and maintaining the integrity of U.S. borders. Under the Carter proposals, this responsibility would, in effect, be shifted from the U.S. government to employers in the private sector. Congress rejected Carter's plan; nevertheless, as if to emphasize his commitment to decontrolled borders, he drastically reduced INS manpower and terminated many of its investigative operations.
In October 1978, Congress established an independent Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. The committee was headed by the Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, then-president of Notre Dame University, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. In February 1981, the Hesburgh panel issued its long-awaited report. Not surprisingly, its two major recommendations echoed Jimmy Carter's -- amnesty and employer sanctions. And, in an apparent attempt to win broad-based support for their proposals as a whole, the commission also recommended stepped-up border enforcement. These three elements -- amnesty, sanctions, and stepped-up border enforcement -- were supported by the Reagan Administration and were the key elements of the immigration bill introduced in March 1982 by Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Representative Romano Mazzoli (D-KY). With the Administration's blessing, the Simpson-Mazzoli bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Senate in 1982 and 1983, but both times it was killed in the House by Democratic leaders who sought to liberalize it even further to satisfy the demands of powerful Hispanic organizations.
The bill squeaked through the House in 1984, but died when a conference committee was unable to reconcile the Senate- and House-passed versions of the bill. In 1986, the bill appeared dead on September 26th, the day the House rejected a rule for consideration of the bill. Nevertheless, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the upcoming elections, the bill was resurrected following backroom brokering. The House passed its version of the bill by a vote of 230-166, and subsequently passed the final version by a vote of 238 to 173. The Senate passed the final version by a vote of 63 to 24.
From Jimmy Carter onward, amnesty was perennially the most controversial and most hotly debated of all the immigration reform proposals. Most Congressmen conceded that their constituent mail registered overwhelming opposition to the idea. The fact that it was part of every major immigration package that was offered is a testimonial to the combined influences of the radical Hispanic lobby, the liberal element in the Catholic Church, and the major media's pro-amnesty bias.
In a last ditch attempt to prevent amnesty from becoming law, Representative Bill McCollum (R-FL) offered an amendment to delete legalization from the bill. During the House floor debate on October 9th, he told his colleagues that, by granting amnesty to illegal aliens, we would be "slapping in the face the thousands and thousands of immigrants ... waiting in line, who have waited for years to come to this country legally." The Congressman warned: "If we leave amnesty in this bill, we are going to take in millions and millions of immigrants the next 10 years beyond the capacity of our institutions to absorb and assimilate .... In ten years, we may have as many as 90 million eligible to come into the country."
Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) also rose in support of the McCollum Amendment. "If you add 6 million people [a median estimate of the number of illegal aliens] and you have three children and a spouse," he explained, "you are talking about 24 million people, one third of the population of Mexico, eligible to come into this country." The ramifications of an influx of this magnitude are frightening to consider. So Congress simply ignored these considerations, and amnesty advocates wrapped themselves in the cloak of humanitarian righteousness. For instance, Representative Bill Richardson (D-NM) argued: "Legalization is just, humane and necessary. In the traditions of this country, it will eliminate the underclass that exists right now. It will allow 5, 7, 9, 3 million people to come out of bondage...."
The McCollum amendment was defeated 199-192. (A switch of only four votes could have struck amnesty from the legislation. The votes of all members of the House on the McCollum amendment were included in "The Conservative Index," Vote Number 20, in the January 5, 1987 issue of THE NEW AMERICAN.)
Under the amnesty provision of the new law, aliens who can show that they have resided here illegally and continuously since January 1, 1982, have one year -- until May 5, 1988 -- to apply for legal status as temporary residents. Eighteen months after temporary resident status is granted, they can be upgraded to permanent resident status, and five years after that they can apply for citizenship.
No one knows how many millions will register for amnesty. After preparing for the possibility of an overwhelming number of applications to process, INS legalization centers instead were underwhelmed by the bare trickle of aliens who submitted applications during the first week of the program -- less than five thousand nationwide. But the pace is expected to pick up very soon, as the 600 private "designated entities" across the country -- mostly churches and immigration organizations that are permitted to pre-register aliens -- begin turning in their applications to the INS.
The Immigration and Citizenship Office of the Los Angeles Catholic archdiocese is operating the largest private program, with 136 pre-registration sites. Spokeswoman Linnea Dahlstrom told THE NEW AMERICAN on May 8th that the archdiocese had already "pre-registered well over 300,000" illegals and that they had really just begun their effort.
In addition to the general legalization program, the new law also contains a Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) amnesty program. Under this provision, authored by Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY), illegals who "performed seasonal agricultural services in the United States for at least 90 man-days during the 12-month period ending on May 1, 1986" may also be eligible for legalization. June 1st marks the beginning of an 18-month period during which illegal aliens may apply for amnesty under the SAW program. The law also permits the Secretaries of Labor and Agriculture to allow still more alien farm workers into the country between 1990 and 1993 and to offer them SAW amnesty as well.
Employer sanctions also go into effect on June 1st. Under the new law, "it is unlawful for a person or other entity to hire or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States ... an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien...." Employers must maintain on file a separate federal I-9 form for each employee hired after November 6, 1986. (A small snag has developed here, in that the INS may not have its final version of the I-9 ready and available for employers by June 1st.) On the form, employers must attest, under penalty of perjury, that they have made a good faith effort to verify one or more documents submitted by a worker establishing his or her identity and authorization to work in the United States. The law applies to all employers -- regardless of how few employees the employer may have, and regardless of whether or not the newly hired workers are members of an employer's family or are known by the employer to be native-born U.S. citizens.
To allow time for employers to acquaint themselves with the new regulations, no fines were assessed during the first six-month period. For the next year of enforcement, first-time offenders will be issued warning citations. Subsequent violations may result in fines ranging from $250 to $10,000 for each illegal alien hired, or $100 to $1,000 for each case of failure to produce the proper paperwork at the request of INS inspectors. Repeat offenders may also face criminal penalties that include prison time.
"I think the main thing that is going to cause a lot of problems," says Don Tungate of the California Association of Employers, "is that so many employers still believe that the law does not apply to them. We hear this repeatedly from our members and the businesses we deal with." Another problem, he says, is the confusion engendered by the government's continuous revision of the regulations and forms. "Policy changes have been announced so frequently, that there is a great deal of uncertainty [among employers] over what is required."
To complicate matters further, the law also provides penalties for employers whose hiring practices "discriminate" against aliens who are authorized for employment, or against certain U.S. citizens merely because of their "national origin." Thus, employers must not only screen out unauthorized aliens from their work forces but must take care that their hiring and firing practices do not leave them open to charges of discrimination from disgruntled job applicants and former employees.
Stepped-up protection of our Southern border is supposed to be the third leg of the immigration reform package's "strategic triad." The reality, however, is that this leg, which should be the most critical element of immigration control, has never been treated as a priority issue by United States lawmakers. Neither Congress nor the Reagan Administration has given any indication of serious intent to provide the INS and the Border Patrol with the manpower and resources necessary to regain control of our national boundaries.
Title I, Section III of the Immigration Reform and Control Act expresses "the sense of Congress" that the Border Patrol and the INS receive an increase in personnel "at least 50 percent higher than such level for fiscal year 1986." Toward that end, the bill authorized an additional $422 million for enforcement in fiscal year 1987 and another $419 million in fiscal year 1988, which is more than a fifty percent increase over the 1986 budget of $600 million.
That may seem like a sufficient budget increase -- until one considers the enormity of the crisis and the fact that the INS has been pitifully understaffed and underfunded for years. The Border Patrol, the front-line defense force of the INS, has only 3,200 men to secure America's entire borderline. The bulk of them are assigned to the 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexican boundary, where most of the 1.8 million illegal aliens arrested last year were apprehended.
Immigration Watch, published by Americans for Immigration Control, points out: "The total enforcement staff of the INS, including the Border Patrol, numbered 7,599 in 1985, less than a third the number of officers in the New York City Police Department. There are fewer Border Patrol Officers to guard the entire country than there are federal protective officers guarding buildings in Washington, D.C." At any given hour there are no more than 400 to 500 officers patrolling our entire southern perimeter. As a consequence, in most areas the border is wide open. A personnel increase of 400-500 percent, not 50 percent, would be needed to correct this deficiency.
However, over the more than six months since the law was passed, the INS and Border Patrol have yet to see any relief. The bill's $400 million dollar enforcement augmentations, as stated above, were authorizations, not appropriations. By contrast, the legislation did appropriate funds for the amnesty programs. This was another case of congressional liberals making sure that all of their demands would be met, while the conservatives accepted lip service and empty promises. In actual practice, the law has stretched the already undermanned INS even thinner by giving them the enormous additional hassles of amnesty and employer sanctions, without providing them with the much needed staff increases. Yet, this year, the Reagan Administration requested INS budget increases that are even smaller than those authorized by Congress in the legislation!
There is another way in which the new law will adversely affect enforcement. Title I, Section 116 requires that INS officers obtain a search warrant before going into open fields after illegal aliens. Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who helped to lead the opposition to the search warrant requirement, offered this practical observation: "If the Immigration and Naturalization Service suspected that there were illegal aliens working in the field, they would have to find out who the owner or the leasees of the field were. That would require a title search, and in States where leases are not recorded, it would be practically impossible."
But even if they did carry through with this procedure, reasoned Sensenbrenner, "when the Immigration Service people show up, the illegal aliens could simply scamper across the fields to the next adjoining plot of land, which was not covered by the warrant, and then the INS would be thwarted...."
Administering this section of the law, warned Sensenbrenner, "would be a nightmare .... The Border Patrol doesn't have the manpower or resources to spend the time necessary to track owners or agents to obtain a warrant. With fewer Border patrol agents than Capitol Hill Police, why are we doing everything in our power to make their jobs more difficult?" Why indeed?
Last year was the fourth year in a row that apprehensions of illegal aliens topped the one million mark. That is an incredible amount of "traffic," as the border officers call it. Most Border Patrolmen will readily admit, however, that for every illegal alien caught, two to three, and sometimes as many as eight to ten, successfully slip across the border. Not all of these will stay in the United States, of course. Many of them return to Mexico each year after several weeks or months of work. But there is no denying that increasing numbers of these illegal entrants are taking up permanent residency here.
No one knows with Certainty how many illegal aliens are in the United States today. For the last several years, the federal government has used the "conservative" figure of three to six million. The Hesburgh Commission put the figure closer to eight million. Maurice C. Inman, general counsel for the INS, believes that 12 to 15 million is a more realistic figure. The Environmental Fund claims that the number is closer to 20 million. If only the lower estimates are correct, we could be swamped with a chain migration of incredible proportions. But if the higher estimates are instead correct --
"Open-border" advocates often argue that illegal aliens are an economic asset to the United States, but there is an abundance of data that indicates that the alien population has become a very significant burden on the American taxpayer. Sponsors of the Immigration Reform and Control Act were aware of this economic burden, and they recognized that, in order to quell opposition from state and local governments, they would have to assist these entities in providing welfare social services to aliens. The bill earmarks $1 billion per year over four years for this purpose, but no one believes that this will offset the increased burden.
"There is no way $1 billion can cover the huge costs," claims San Diego County supervisor Susan Golding, whose county is in the main point of entry for Mexican nationals. Los Angeles County alone is expected to spend around $700 million on health, welfare, and educational services to aliens. Meaning, just one county could soak up 70 percent of the allocated federal funds. Children of illegal aliens have caused an overcrowding problem in many Los Angeles schools and account for 75 to 85 percent of the babies born in Los Angeles County hospitals.
In recent years the illegal alien population has harbored an ever larger criminal element. INS Deputy Assistant Regional Commissioner in Los Angeles, Donna Coultice, rattles off some sobering crime statistics: "Illegal aliens are involved in one third of the rapes and murders and one fourth of the burglaries in San Diego County. In Orange County they account for over half of the homicides .... Aliens are responsible for about 90 percent of the narcotics trafficking in Santa Ana (CA) and 80 percent of that in Fullerton (CA) .... Four hundred illegal aliens a month are added to the California prison system for various crimes. The cost to California taxpayers for incarceration of illegal aliens is $136 million annually."
Open Door for Terrorists
The failure of the federal government to reverse the deteriorating illegal immigration crisis has seriously compromised our national security, It would be foolish in the extreme to believe that terrorist organizations and Communist governments would not take, and have not already taken, advantage of the porous U.S. borders to infiltrate saboteurs and terrorists into our midst.
Intelligence experts believe that Fidel Castro planted several thousand agents among the Mariel refugees who reached our shores from Cuba in 1980. Castro himself brazenly boasted of this coup at a secret terrorist conference in Minimbo, Nicaragua later that year.
Mexico plays host to virtually every international terrorist organization, and the Soviet embassy in Mexico City has long been known as the center of KGB terrorist and espionage operations for North America. In the summer of 1986, a Texas county sheriff drew some national attention when he went public with information that his department had gathered on terrorist training operations in Mexico.
At a July 18th press conference, Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter displayed a map of Mexico with markers designating the locations of a least five terrorist bases that had been verified with hard evidence. The evidence had come from Mexican nationals with whom the sheriffs office had previously cooperated to obtain information on drug smuggling and other criminal activities. '"these were proven, reliable sources," Sheriff Painter claimed, "and the authenticity of the documents was corroborated independently by other reliable informants."
According to the Mexican sources, the camps were financed with drug money from Colombia and were used to train Libyans, Cubans, Colombians, and others for terrorist operations. According to the informants' map, base sites were located in Mexico near Hermosillo, Jalapa, Oaxaca, Monterrey, Ciudad Obregon, and several other cities. The sheriff was frustrated, however, by the total lack of interest shown by federal officials, when, in June 1986, he traveled to Washington to present them with this information. Painter met with a representative of Vice President George Bush, an aide to Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), and officials of the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Customs. An official in the State Department's anti-terrorist division told him that the information was "most accurate and up-to-date," but that was about the extent of interest shown.
Sheriff Painter recently told THE NEW AMERICAN that, in the year since his Washington trip, he had not been contacted by any of the federal officials. "It just seems incredible to me that none of these folks were interested enough to even look at our information and check out our sources when it involves such serious matters of national security."
What Must Be Done
In order to stanch the flow across our border, two objectives must be met: first, adequate border enforcement to stop the flow of new illegal immigrants. Second, legislation to head off the grave threat of legal chain migration. The first of these objectives can be accomplished by drastically increasing the personnel and resources of the INS and the Border Patrol, by deploying U.S. Armed Forces along the U.S.-Mexican border, or by a combination of both methods.
In an editorial that expressed the view of a growing number of Americans, The Dan Gabriel [CA] Valley Tribune stated: "President Reagan should order the military to help the INS and Border Patrol stop the startling surge of humanity and narcotics across our border. Our present force of agents is simply outnumbered."
Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) has also endorsed this approach: "I believe that we've got enough military personnel that we could pull out from some of these other places around the world where people are not satisfactorily doing their share in their own national defense," and use them to fortify our own border, he said. With no end in sight to the flood of illegal aliens, and with every indication that the turmoil in Central America will result in an escalation of immigration northward, deployment of adequate forces to secure our borders is one of the most urgent issues before the United States today.
The objective of heading off legal chain migration may not be as immediate a threat, but it is a serious threat nevertheless. It poses a danger unlike any other that America has faced in the past. It is a "ticking time bomb," says Palmer Stacey, executive director of Americans for Immigration Control (AIC). "Under the law, most of the amnestied aliens will be allowed to apply for citizenship in 1993 .... Once these lawbreakers get citizenship they can send for their families. Millions and millions of aliens will legally pour into the U.S. -- unless we change the law." AIC proposes that the current law be changed so that immediate family members of naturalized U.S. citizens will no longer be exempt from our immigration quotas. Presently, there is no limit to the number of family members who may be admitted over and above our annual immigration cap of 270,000.
Stacey is confident that this change can be made. "There is a growing anger and backlash to this betrayal by the politicians," he says. "This issue is not going to go away. In fact it is going to grow and grow. Very soon the politicians are going to be beseiged by outraged constituents demanding a stop to this invasion, and even the most liberal politicians will be forced to listen if they want to stay in office."
I'm usually pretty good at acronyms; but I read and read in these pieces and couldn't get at what the JBS in the headline was referring to. What am I missing?
John Birch Society
Thanks! Hey, howya been?
So ... Reagan bad, Birchers good? Sorry, where this is going I won't follow.
KAL 007. September 1, 1983.
Larry McDonald was on KAL 007, which was shot down in Soviet air space in 1983. Yes, he was a member of the John Birch Society.
Thanks, I'm not trying to missinform, I just have the memory of a crack baby. At least I can hide my own Easter Eggs.
"Birchers are extremely hard core Constitutionalists and Anti communist."
They're a few other things too. I don't particularly want to get into a flamewar but I tell ya, if the 'hardcore' position on immigration is against Reagan and with the Birchers, I'll side with Reagan. His anti-communism policy worked, and I trust the optimism of Reagan over the dour pessimism of some others.
The Birchers are whatever they make themselves out to be.
They couldn't do anything before and they can do less now even though they have a few right ideas. Theirs is a stance of convenience.
Interestingly enough, whenever I take a "political opinion" poll, I track out as a Constitutional libertarian, but I can't talk to most of the Libertarians on FR because they remind me too much of Bobby Boucher's mother. "George Bush is the Debil!"
Bircher: Someone who is conservative, but has the social acceptance of an Amway rep.
An article from 1986 about the need for immigration reform with the same political rhetoric we're hearing today. Some dislike the John Birch Society, but they were spot on.
The Simpson and Rodino bills are quite similar on most major issues: increased INS funding, amnesty, employer sanctions and verifications, increased penalties for document fraud, and temporary worker provisions.
It's amazing how similar the rhetoric was back then. That's exactly why I posted it. I could give a hoot if it's from a Bircher publication.
Birchers were the ones who used to put up billboards:
"Get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the USA"
Got anything intelligent to say about these 20 year old immigration amnesty articles?
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