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Tags: Illegal Immigration

George Will: ‘The idea That We Can’t Assimilate These Eight-year-old Criminals with Their Teddy Bears Is Preposterous’



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Columnist George Will Sunday downplayed concerns about chaos at the border over the surge in underage illegal immigrants without adult guardians.

“We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America. You’re going to go to school, get a job, and become Americans,’” Will said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

Will dismissed objections that the country can’t assimilate the 57,000 unaccompanied children from Central America who have been appearing at the U.S. border with Mexico.

“We have 3,141 counties in this country,” he said. “That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can’t assimilate these eight-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous.”

Calling the North American Free Trade Agreement “Bill Clinton’s greatest act . . . which put the Mexican economy on the road to prosperity,” Will suggested something similar for Honduras and Nicaragua, and said American needs to curtail consumption of drugs illegally imported from these countries.

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Mexico , George Will , Free Trade , Sunday Shows July 27 2014

‘We’re All Becoming Border States Now.’



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From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

‘We’re All Becoming Border States Now.’

Hundreds of illegal immigrant children reach . . . Massachusetts?

DARTMOUTH, Mass. Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson said Monday that he’s dealing with a problem in Dartmouth that shouldn’t be his responsibility.

It’s not a new theme for him. He’s sounded the alarm about illegal immigrants before, but now he says it’s getting closer and closer to home.

Illegal immigrants come across the border in the American Southwest. When they are detained, the wave of humanity has overwhelmed local capacity. The illegal immigrants are being sent all over the country, including Massachusetts.

“We’re all becoming border states now. We want to know, what are the trends? What’s happening? What can we expect? We know there are going to be more coming here from Texas. We’ve already got two groups coming off the planes here,” Hodgson said.

It’s not just Bristol County; north of Boston in Essex County:

Lynn is a municipality on the brink. Key department officials say a recent influx of illegal immigrant children and families in the city is stressing almost every service from trash collection to healthcare.

“We have been aware of the unaccompanied children issue for quite a while, and we were able to absorb a lot of these children early on,” said Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy. “But now it’s gotten to the point where the school system is overwhelmed, our health department is overwhelmed, the city’s budget is being sustainably altered in order of accommodate all of these admissions in the school department.”

Flanagan Kennedy says the first contact for immigrant arrivals in the city is the school system.

The amount of new foreign born student admissions has nearly doubled in the last two years. This school year alone saw more than 600 new admissions. Among those students, 248 were from Guatemala. Flanagan Kennedy says of those 248 children, 126 were illegal, undocumented minors.

And apparently not all of them are actually under 18:

“Some of them have had gray hair and they’re telling you that they’re 17 years old and they have no documentation,” Jamie Cerulli, the Lynn mayor’s chief of staff, tells NRO. “If my children went to the public schools, I’d be very uncomfortable with all of these unaccompanied minors [that] are placed in the ninth grade.”

We have a lawless administration that is ignoring state governments:

Nebraskans are anxious to learn what Gov. Dave Heineman finds out about the approximately 200 children from Central America illegally being housed in the state.

Heineman tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KFAB in Omaha that this issue came as a surprise to him. Heineman says he immediately started making calls and learned that once the children leave the Department of Homeland Security they are handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Heineman says he spoke with a key policy advisor with that department and asked who they were, where they were staying and who is paying their bill. He was told they have no intention of sharing any information with him.

“I can’t believe in America that we have a federal government who is essentially secretly transporting them to Nebraska, they are illegal immigrants, and they won’t tell us who they are,” Heineman tells KFAB.

Look, citizens of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. We thought our president would send this message to you, but apparently he’s too busy with his fundraisers, issuing statements on LeBron James signing with the Cavaliers, golfing with sportswriter Michael Wilbon Saturday, and looking forward to his Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

So somebody has to say this: You have to take care of your own kids. You may have heard us complaining that our federal government is becoming a nanny state, but we didn’t mean that our government is actually running a nanny service.

We understand that gang violence, drug cartels, and other criminals are making your countries terrible places to live. We’re really sorry to hear that. We’ve also given your government quite a bit of money to make life better down there. Honduras, we gave you $83 million in foreign aid in 2013. El Salvador, $46.8 million. Guatemala, $106 million. If the money wasn’t spent well, take it up with your government. Some of you might say that’s not enough, but we’re not obligated to give you anything. There are a hell of a lot of Americans who think that money could be better spent back here.

You have to fight to make your country a better place to live so that your fellow countrymen will want to stay there. We can’t fight your battles for you. In fact, this is a particularly bad time to ask. You may have heard, twice in the past 13 years we went into far-off countries with unstable governments and warlords and drugs, determined to give the oppressed locals a better future, we spent way too much in blood and treasure, the populace turned out to be a bunch of ingrates, and the local leadership ran the place into the ground.

Alternately, we can try the Semisonic “Closing Time” approach: You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. There are 202,000 square miles in Central America.

Tags: Immigration , Illegal Immigration , Barack Obama

‘How Do You Defend Inaction in the Face of a Crisis?’ You Don’t, Sir.



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Also in today’s Jolt . . . 

Congressional Democrat Assesses Obama on Border Crisis: ‘How Do You Defend Inaction in the Face of a Crisis?’

Oh, good. The Democratic party is suddenly awakening to the fact that just maybe Americans aren’t comfortable with an unsecure border and mass illegal immigration.

Until now, the politics of immigration have been seen as a no-lose proposition for President Obama and the Democrats. If they could get a comprehensive overhaul passed, they would win. And if Republicans blocked it, the GOP would further alienate crucial Hispanic and moderate voters.

But with the current crisis on the Southwest border, where authorities have apprehended tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children since October, that calculus may be shifting.

The president’s own party is deeply divided over what must be done now — particularly on the sensitive question of deporting children who have traveled thousands of miles and turned themselves in to U.S. authorities to escape from the desperate situations they faced in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The emergency has also renewed questions about the administration’s competence, reminiscent of those raised during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, last year’s botched rollout of the health-care law and more recent revelations of mismanagement that jeopardized care of patients at veterans hospitals.

I believe the technical term used by political scientists that best expresses the moment of revelation within this phenomenon is “DUH!”

Elsewhere in that article, we see congressional Democrats tearing into the president in a way that would have been unthinkable in his first term. Welcome to the life of a lame duck, Mr. President.

“The numbers have spiked recently, but this is not a new development,” said Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.). “It seems to me that the administration just wasn’t paying close attention and could have acted sooner.”

But Rep. Pete Gallego, a Texas Democrat whose district includes more than 40 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border, said he was less concerned about Obama skipping a Rio Grande Valley photo opportunity than he is about a lack of engagement in Washington.

“Rather than going to the border, I’d rather he invite some people over and start a conversation about how we are going forward,” Gallego said in an interview. “How do you defend inaction in the face of crisis? How is that defensible for anybody?”

Oh, and NBC’s Ron Allen checked in with an immigration court to see how it’s handling children who cross the border. The results will not surprise you:

Based on a day spent observing an immigration court in New York City, most of them can breathe a little easier: No one appears to be ordered out of the country any time soon . . . 

On this morning, most appearances lasted only a matter of minutes. After some brief judicial banter, and official business, Schoppert instructed just about every defendant to try to find a lawyer, and report back to court in February. He essentially put the “removal process,” on hold, and allowed these young migrants to get on with their new lives in America.

Diego’s attorney Merrill Clark was optimistic about his future. “He’s going to be legalized,” Clark insisted. “I haven’t lost a case like this one yet.”

If you can enter the country illegally and stay as long as you like without consequence, we don’t have an immigration system.

Tags: Immigration , Illegal Immigration , Barack Obama , Congressional Democrats

Human Traffickers Are Asking HHS for Immigrant Children



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Individuals associated with human trafficking organizations are asking Health and Human Services officials to hand over the children who have immigrated to the United States during the recent border surge, according to a congressman who toured a facility where the children are being housed.

HHS is trying to release the children to sponsors in the United States, but those sponsors aren’t always parents. “There have been cases of people who have attempted to be sponsors actually being identified as associated with trafficking organizations,” Representative Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla) told National Review Online after visiting a housing facility at Fort Sill.  

“And they kept saying ‘we’ll have to get more information on that because we don’t have the numbers,’” Bridenstine said during a Saturday afternoon phone interview. ”But, it has happened. Again, I’m talking to a lower-level individual at one facility in Oklahoma, so it’s hard for me to say definitively that this is a large-scale problem, but it was very clear that it has happened.”

Bridenstine said that the traffickers exploit the children they’re bringing into the country, especially if the parents who are supposed to pay for the trafficking fail to come up with the money.

“If you can’t pay your coyote or your criminal organization, they will force you into slave labor or they will force you into prostitution,” the congressman said. And of the children who did make it to American custody, “a significant percentage of the children in these facilities have been abused, in one way or another, coming to the United States,” according to Bridenstine.

Many others didn’t survive the trek. “There have been cases where the parents couldn’t pay, or somebody in the United States couldn’t pay, and large groups of these children have been, no kidding, massacred,” Bridenstine told NRO. ”And there are recent gravesites in Northern Mexico with a number of dead bodies.”

Bridenstine said that the children need to be sent back to their home countries so that parents in Central American stop sending their kids on such dangerous trips.

“We have a belief down in Central America that if you get here you can stay and that creates this demand to come north,” Bridenstine told NRO. ”I think we have to quell the demand signal from Central America that is causing these people to come into our country. I think what needs to happen is that the children need to be reunited with their families back in their home countries. That’s what needs to happen. It’s the only way we’re going to stop this massive inflow of unaccompanied alien children into our country.”

Tags: Immigration , Illegal Immigration

Ellis Island Did Not Accept Unattended Children



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Many Americans have powerful beliefs about our previous eras of immigration . . . and those beliefs are not necessarily accurate.

A short while ago, I tweeted out:

That is just flat false, as the Ellis Island website reveals:

If immigrants had any of the diseases proscribed by the immigration laws, or were too ill or feeble-minded to earn a living, they would be deported. Sick children age 12 or older were sent back to Europe alone and were released in the port from which they had come. Children younger than 12 had to be accompanied by a parent. There were many tearful scenes as families with a sick child decided who would go and who would stay.

UPDATE: Two other laws from the Ellis Island era of mass legal immigration that demonstrate the United States never intended to be the destination for unattended children:

1891 Immigration Act:

Any person who could become a public charge on society was also not allowed to enter. The immigrants who came to the United States carrying a contagious disease were also not permitted entry. Anyone who had been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or any other crime such as any activity deemed contrary to the beliefs and standards of society such as polygamy were not granted citizenship. Any person whose ticket was paid for by another was not allowed to enter into the country as well. The United States wanted only those who could care for themselves with out the assistance of others.

The 1907 Immigration Act prohibited “all children under sixteen years of age, unaccompanied by one or both of their parents.”

Tags: Immigration , Illegal Immigration

The United States Never Volunteered to Be the World’s Orphanage



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From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

Glenn Beck’s Charity is the Best of America. It’s Also No Substitute for a Coherent National Immigration Policy, nor a Secure Border.

Glenn Beck is a big-hearted man:

Glenn Beck on Tuesday announced that he will be bringing tractor-trailers full of food, water, teddy bears and soccer balls to McAllen, Texas on July 19 as a way to help care for some of the roughly 60,000 underage refugees who have crossed into America illegally in 2014.

[Note from Jim: Notice the use of the term "refugee." Is that term really accurate for all of these children? Aren’t refugees usually fleeing a war, anarchy, or a natural disaster? Do you get refugee status if you’re leaving an area with a high crime rate?]

Beck said he will be joined by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), and a number of pastors and rabbis.

“Through no fault of their own, they are caught in political crossfire,” Beck said of the children. “And while we continue to put pressure on Washington and change its course of lawlessness, we must also help. It is not either, or. It is both. We have to be active in the political game, and we must open our hearts.”

“Everybody is telling me I’m seeing subscriptions down; I’m seeing Mercury One donations down,” Beck said, growing emotional. “I’m getting violent emails from people who say I’ve ‘betrayed the Republic.’ Whatever. I’ve never taken a position more deadly to my career than this — and I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this.”

“We sure could use your help,” Beck continued. “I would like to ask you to donate to MercuryOne.org. If you don’t want to be involved in this, you don’t have to be. You can donate and earmark your money to be for preserving American history; we have a museum to build. . . . You could do it to help education. . . . We’re building hospitals. . . . But all the things that we do, they’re not about politics, because politics is turning us ugly. Politics is the vehicle that is driving us to the fundamental transformation of America.”

We’re fools if we criticize Glenn for his massive act of charity . . . but I also think we as Americans need to loudly proclaim that we are not set up to be, nor have we volunteered to be, the orphanage for the rest of the world. We may help out these kids because we’re kind-hearted souls; some will say it’s the Christian thing to do. But we’re not obligated to do this. This isn’t our responsibility and this isn’t our fault. The parents of those kids are the ones who should be taking care of them — feeding them, clothing them, sheltering them and educating them. And I don’t think it’s cold-hearted to ask whether our immediate effort to take care of these kids — because they so desperately need care — is setting us up to be their long-term caretaker.

We, the citizenry, did not make the choices that led us to this point.

Okay, a few of us did. Businesses, big and small, made the decision to employ illegal immigrants in violation of the law. A generation of Washington politicians made the decision to under-react to a largely open border with Mexico, even after 9/11. That same generation of politicians, running a government infrastructure capable of reading all of our e-mails and vacuuming up the metadata from all of our cellular phones, also shrugged as millions of visitors overstayed their visas and disappeared from the system. Local governments that will nail you for an expired parking meter announced they were “sanctuary cities” that would not cooperate with efforts to deport those here illegally.

Most of us had nothing to do with all of that. We lived our lives, periodically expressing the view that our immigration laws ought to be enforced, our borders ought to be secure, and legalizing an illegal immigrant is unfair to those who were willing to go through the (too-long, too-complicated, too-bureaucratic) process of naturalization — the ones who should be welcomed with open arms. For this view, we were called racist, hateful, and xenophobic.

And now we’re stuck with a humanitarian crisis on our border, one driven in part by the perception in some Central American countries that the United States is offering “permisos” for children who cross the border illegally — a rumor that picked up steam after President Obama announced he would not deport children who had come into the country illegally with their parents.

Some of the folks labeled “restrictionists” — I’ll let you decide whether that’s the fairest or most accurate description of that side of the debate — argued that just publicly discussing an amnesty creates new waves of illegal immigration, as foreign citizens rush to get over here to be in place to enjoy the amnesty. Give them credit for their ability to foresee the consequences of policy options.

President Obama could have mitigated, if not resolved this issue early on with a clear statement from the Oval Office declaring, “There are no ‘permisos.’ There will not be an amnesty. You have been lied to, or misinformed, by smugglers who want to take advantage of you. U.S. immigration law is still in effect. You will not be allowed to stay. Turn around and return to your homes. If you wish to live in America, begin the process of applying for a green card and be prepared to be patient.”

President Obama will never say things that simply because he wants to enact an amnesty — or at least a “comprehensive immigration reform” with “a path to citizenship” for those who entered the country illegally.

Last night’s presidential statement was sort-of, kind-of in the neighborhood when he said that the children were “unlikely” to be allowed to stay. But are poor families in Central America going to hear that? Or do they perceive that as “there’s a chance your children will be allowed to stay?”

So give those kids soccer balls and teddy bears, hot meals and fresh water, real cots, real blankets, and real clothes. And then give them a plane ticket back to their own country.

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration , Border Security , Glenn Beck , Barack Obama

Let’s Show Some Compassion at the Border . . . for American Citizens, Too!



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From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

Let’s Show Some Compassion at the Border . . . for American Citizens, Too!

Of course:

President Obama is holding off for now on seeking new legal authority to send unaccompanied migrant kids back home faster from the Southern border, following criticism that the administration’s planned changes were too harsh.

The Acela Corridor Establishment’s conventional wisdom is that “comprehensive immigration reform” ought to legalize the 11 million or so in the country illegally. The same crowd now insists any proposal involving sending the kids back to their home countries is insufficiently compassionate.

How about some compassion for the communities currently trying to deal with the tsunami of unattended children? Here’s how the AP describes one stretch of our border in Mission, Texas:

The influx of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has grown so large that it now requires its own transportation system: government buses that spend each night idling on a Texas roadside, awaiting the latest arrivals . . . 

Just since October, the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector has made more than 194,000 arrests, nearly triple that of any other sector. In the first week of June alone, agents in this area south of Mission arrested more than 2,800 people, most from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, making it the highest-volume arrest zone on the entire U.S. border. More than 60 percent were children . . . 

Across the river is a garbage dump and a Reynosa slum that reaches nearly to the bank. Smoke from burning garbage sometimes drifts across the river so thick it’s difficult to see. At the river’s edge, discarded pieces of clothing, orange life vests and deflated inner tubes litter the sand.

A few days earlier, as a reporter in a kayak approached a hairpin bend in the river, a cartel sentry on a bluff 20 feet above the river slammed a magazine into his assault rifle. He asked where the paddler had come from and who gave him permission to be there. A radio squawked at his waist. The cartel controls what crosses the river.

That’s part of why Napoleon Garza doesn’t bring his kids here to fish like he did as a child. Garza recently drove through one of the many gaps in the border wall to cut a tree stump from property owned by his uncle.

“When they built the border wall, everything ended because they left a big old gap right here that so happened to be where our land is,” said Garza, 38, who sells firewood for a living.

How about some compassion for the U.S. Border Patrol personnel trying to humanely deal with a problem they were never trained to address? Suddenly they have to do the job of the Centers for Disease Control as well:

Approximately 40 immigrants in detention at one center in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego Sector have active cases of scabies, a source tells National Review Online, and they could soon be spreading it to the general public.

A Border Patrol agent who helped process illegal immigrants at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station on Sunday tells NRO that the 40 immigrants infected with scabies arrived on a plane that landed July 4, carrying about 140 immigrants total.

The agent says the people at FEMA who are responsible for doing the medical screening of the immigrants before they’re transferred to California should be fired. “Management’s more concerned about processing and getting rid of them as quickly as possible than looking at decontamination,” the agent says. “And [the released illegal immigrants] go out in the community, get on the public transportation, go where they need to go, and it could result in another infestation of scabies being spread everywhere.”

But the San Diego Sector was already dealing with a scabies outbreak when the latest batch of illegal immigrants arrived. Two agents at the Brown Field Border Patrol Station developed rashes on July 3 after processing illegal immigrants from Texas, according to a letter obtained by NRO written by Ron Zermeno, health and safety director of National Border Patrol Council Local 1613. Zermeno confirmed the veracity of the letter and the facts contained therein to NRO.

How about a proposal that anybody who wants these kids to stay in the United States has to open their home to them? The loudest Acela Corridor advocates of “comprehensive immigration reform” live their lives far from sustained contact with any actual illegal immigrants. Perhaps there’s an outside chance that they employ some illegal immigrants as gardeners or housekeepers. Perhaps they bus or wait the tables at their favorite restaurants. But they live very far from the problems that mass illegal immigration brings. They certainly don’t face downward pressure on wages from illegal immigrants getting paid under the table. They don’t encounter gangs. They live far from the violence and their only encounter with a drug cartel is a secretive encounter with their smuggled product.

Here’s another proposal: If Obama gets the $2 billion he wants to build the infrastructure to process these illegal immigrants, the holding facilities have to be built in places like Hyde Park in Chicago, the Upper West Side in Manhattan, Billionaire’s Row in San Francisco and Marin County in California, Burlington, Vermont . . . 

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Texas , Border Security , Barack Obama

Rick Perry Doesn’t Believe Obama ‘Particularly Cares Whether Border Is Secure’



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Texas governor Rick Perry said on Sunday that Obama-administration immigration authorities are “either inept or don’t care” about the crisis of unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants.

In a combative exchange with host Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week, Perry said border guards are stretched too thin in the Lone Star State, and he cited the administration’s “catch-and-release policies” for driving a nearly threefold increase in the number of Central American children arriving at the border without adult guardians.

“What has to be addressed is the security of the border,” Perry said. “You know that; I know that; the president of the United States knows that. I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure. And that’s the reason there’s been this lack of effort, this lack of focus, this lack of resources.”

Raddatz argued that President Obama is “telling people not to come,” and she blamed a 2008 law signed by former president George W. Bush for the skyrocketing rate of illegal immigration by Central American minors in the last two years. That law governs treatment of illegal arrivals from non-contiguous countries.

“The president has sent powerful messages, time after time, by his policies, by nuances, that it is okay to come to the United States, and you can come across and you will be accepted in open arms,” Perry, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate and potential 2016 hopeful, responded.

Raddatz then accused Perry of positing a “conspiracy” to bring illegals into the United States, but Perry stood his ground, pointing out that he has been warning the administration since 2010 about the potential for a surge and sent Obama a letter about the specific issue of unaccompanied minors in May 2012 — to which the administration never responded.

“I have to believe, that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept or you have some ulterior motive that you’re functioning from,” Perry said.

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Texas , Rick Perry , Sunday Shows July 6 2014

Candy Crowley: ‘Oh My Goodness, the Poor Children.’



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CNN’s Candy Crowley slammed a small-town mayor Sunday for not taking a harder line against American citizens who are protesting a flood of illegal immigrants into his town.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Murrieta, Calif., mayor Alan Long pointed out that federal authorities, not his office, made the decision Tuesday to divert three busloads of undocumented immigrants from a detention center in the Riverside County city of 107,000.

Crowley repeatedly chastised Long, however, for not clearing the streets of protesters.

“As you look at these protests, the overwhelming concern did not seem to be, ‘Oh my goodness, the poor children,’” Crowley said, “The overwhelming concern seemed to be, ‘Go away. Not here.’ If this is an American concern, are you at all rethinking the idea that a town can turn away busloads of children without documents who are on their way to a federal processing center?”

Long responded that local police had intervened for the safety of the buses, which were reportedly carrying unaccompanied minors to be processed at the federal immigration jail.

“But you could have cleared the streets, right?” Crowley shot back.

According to Long, however, the decision to divert the buses was made by federal authorities. Crowley continued pestering Long to keep immigration protesters off the streets of Murrieta, but the mayor turned the question around later in the interview, saying the massive increase in unaccompanied minors from Central America was a product of bad federal policy.

“We object to inhumane facilities,” Long said of the detention center that the federal authorities were intending to use to house children. “If you look at the facilities, those are jail cells.”

Tags: Illegal Immigration , CNN , Sunday Shows July 6 2014

T.W. Shannon Hits James Lankford on Young Illegal Immigrant Influx



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Tulsa, Okla. – President Obama designated Fort Sill, Okla., as one of the military installations that would house the surge of young illegal immigrants coming to the United States, and the decision could be a factor in the homestretch of another Republican primary, just two weeks after immigration helped sink House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R., Va.).

Former House Speaker T.W. Shannon has primarily faulted Representative James Lankford for voting to raise the debt-ceiling, but the recent spate of border crossings by minors has given him another weapon to use against his campaign to replace retiring Senator Tom Coburn.

“[Lankford] said that he supports a pathway to citizenship; he said it for juveniles,” Shannon told National Review Online after talking to patrons of Steak Stuffs, a local sandwich shop. “Well, when you compare the crisis that’s happening five miles from my house in Lawton at Fort Sill with the illegals that have come across our border and are now being housed there, I think part of the reason is is because we’ve sent a message from Washington D.C. is that we welcome illegal immigrants who are children when you talk about a  pathway to citizenship. So, I think that’s a distinction between us.”

For his part, Shannon supported a bill that made it a felony for someone to transport illegal immigrants in the state while knowing of their immigration status, according to Vote SmartThe bill also had provisions to discourage businesses from hiring illegal immigrants, among other things. Shannon made the comment after an appearance at the Broken Arrow Rotary Club, where a man took the opportunity to remind an aide to Representative Jim Bridenstine that he opposes amnesty.

“Immigration is definitely an issue [in Tulsa] because we’re sitting at the crossroads of I-35 and I-40,” Jenni White, an activist with ties among conservatives around the state due to her time leading the successful fight to repeal Common Core in the state, explained to NRO. “We have human trafficking here badly [and] drug smuggling and immigrants coming through all the time.”

Lankford criticized Obama when the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to send some of the young illegal immigrants to Fort Sill. “The recent, single-year influx of unaccompanied minors from foreign countries into the United States is a direct result of President Obama’s policies of encouraging amnesty and failing to enforce existing immigration laws,” the congressman said.

Shannon argues that Lankford’s willingness to consider citizenship for young people – ”I separate a 2-year-old who was brought over with a parent from a parent who violated the law,” Lankford said a year ago — also creates the problem.

“Particularly as this deal has heated up in Lawton, people are saying ‘how did we get here? Why has Washington D.C. failed us once again?’” he said. ”And it’s clear that because we have not secured our border, and because we have not reformed our welfare system in Washington D.C., it’s clear that we created an atmosphere that encourages this type of behavior from many governments that are encouraging their citizens to come into our country illegally.”

Although his immigration stance might endear him to the kinds of Tea Party voters who helped Dave Brat defeat Cantor, Shannon also emphasized that he has the support of several recent state Chamber of Commerce presidents because they understand that he was a “pro-business” House speaker.

“Most of us in Oklahoma were Tea Party long before it became cool, and will continue to be. And so, this idea that there are two Republican parties — I reject that notion,” Shannon said. “For me, as a conservative, I don’t think that that means being anti-business, which I think is usually what boils down when you talk about what has been created as kind of this rift between the conservative party, grassroots versus kind of business interests. I don’t accept that. I’ve never been comfortable with the title that you have to be one or the other.”

Brat struck a different note during his campaign. “Big business gets the cheap labor and the American people pay the tab,” he said of current immigration overhauls. The national Chamber of Commerce supports the immigration bill championed by Senator Lindsay Graham and others.

Shannon said there’s no tension between his pro-business views and opposition to amnesty. “Most businesspeople I know still respect the rule of law,” he told NRO. ”I think most people I know still believe that having a secure border is a national security issue. And so, I don’t buy into this idea that we have to somehow disregard the rule of law to keep business happy. That’s not what I hear from the business community.”

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Oklahoma

Obama: ‘Our Future Rests’ On The Success Of DREAM Kids



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President Obama reminded Democratic donors that “our future rests” on the success of people brought to the United States illegally as children, who would qualify for citizenship if Congress had passed the DREAM Act.

“About 30 to 40 percent of the kids in this school, by the way, are DREAM kids,” Obama said Wednesday evening. “You wouldn’t know it looking at them, because they are as American as apple pie.  But every single one of these kids, you might not be able to tell the difference, but a whole bunch of them — they’re worried about whether or not they’re going to be able to finance their college education of their immigrant status.  They’re worried about whether, in fact, this country that they love so deeply loves them back and understands that our future rests on their success.  Why wouldn’t we want to give them that certainty that you are part of the fabric of this nation, we’re counting on you, and we’re going to make sure you succeed?  Why wouldn’t we want to do that?”

Obama made the comments at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in Massachusetts, in reference to students at Worcester Tech. “So these young people are graduating, ready to go to college, but also certified nurses, EMT folks.  Many of them are choosing to join the military and will contribute to our country in this way,” he said.  “And looking out as I was speaking to them and then shaking their hands, and giving them hugs and high-fives and all the things that kids do on a graduation, I thought to myself: How could we not want to invest in these kids?”

Vice President Joe Biden also said Wednesday that increasing immigration would boost the economy, though he extended the argument beyond the DREAM Act kids.

“We need it badly from a purely — purely economic point of view,” Biden said Tuesday, per The Hill. It’s an argument that corporations tend to support, but the White House push comes as Congress is still coming to terms with the shock of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) losing his primary to Dave Brat, a political novice supported by local Tea Party activists who faulted Cantor for being out of touch with the district.

Cantor’s support for DREAM Act-style legislation, which he announced a few months after the 2012 election, inspired conservative radio host Laura Ingraham to rally grassroots voters against him.

“Now, Ingraham is setting her sights on 2016: In particular, she wants to ensure that the Republican nominee is not cut from Cantor’s cloth,” National Review Online’s Eliana Johnson reported. “Brat’s victory, she says, is a step in the right direction: ‘Everybody that’s hoping and praying for a Jeb Bush run, they should spend a lot of time focusing on what just happened in Virginia.’”

Obama’s team is pushing back against the idea that immigration sank Cantor. “Cantor’s problem wasn’t his position on immigration reform, it was his lack of a position,” Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer tweeted on election night, citing the success of Senator Lindsay Graham (R., S.C.).  “Graham wrote and passed a bill and is winning big.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Eric Cantor , Joe Biden , Illegal Immigration , Immigration

Hey, Jeb, How About an ‘Act of Love’ for the Grassroots?



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Hey, Jeb, How About an ‘Act of Love’ for Those Who Disagree With You?

The advantages of a Jeb Bush presidential bid are obvious: “As a presidential candidate, Bush would bring a lot to the table, starting with two terms as a popular, tax-cutting governor, a reputation as a national leader on education reform and school choice, and his family’s extensive and deep-pocketed fundraising network.”

But there are these nagging indicators that he’s either not in touch with the mood of the conservative grassroots, or he’s willfully at odds with the conservative grassroots, and confident he can dissuade the grassroots of their opinion. (See his increasingly fervent defense of Common Core, which infuriates parents on the Right more than any other topic besides Obamacare.) And now we’re on to illegal immigration:

“I’m going to say this and it will be on tape and so be it,” Bush said in an interview with Fox News host Shannon Bream in an event at the Texas presidential library of his father, George H. W. Bush.

“The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally . . . and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work, to be able to provide for their family, yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony.

“It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family.”

Bush, 61, added: “I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime. There should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”

What he’s saying is true in some cases . . . and not true in other cases. Sure, some illegal immigrants come here, hoping to make money to provide for their families. But some don’t. I had to hunt to find a decent survey of illegal immigrants, asking why they came to the United States. A not-reassuring conclusion:

Ryo found that while cost-benefit calculations such as perceptions of job availability in Mexico and dangers of crossing the border do play a significant role in Mexicans’ decisions about whether to enter the US illegally, non-economic factors matter as well.

“For example, perceptions about the legitimacy of US legal authority, the morality of violating US immigration laws, and social norms on illegal border crossings are significantly related to people’s intentions to migrate illegally,” she says . . . 

She also found that the odds of intending to migrate illegally were more than doubled for individuals who believed that Mexicans have a right to be in the United States without the US government’s permission.

Interestingly, the vast majority — 78 percent — of people says it is not okay to disobey the law when one disagreed with it. However, 55 percent says that disobeying the law is sometimes justified.

In short, a significant number of Mexicans do not believe that the United States has the moral or legal authority to keep them out. Their concept of the border is fundamentally different from how it is defined under our laws.

Back to Jeb’s “act of love” comment — you know what that sounds like? Flash back about two and a half years, to another governor who was considered a strong contender for the Republican presidential nomination: “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”

Jeb’s going to have to be very careful on this, because Perry’s comment was one of the first major missteps of a doomed campaign. A Republican front-runner cannot echo the narrative of the Democrat-Media Complex, suggesting that opposition to illegal immigration is driven by callous, selfish, xenophobic white hicks who are afraid of excessively spicy salsa.

“It’s an act of love”? Okay. Judges and juries are allowed to consider motive when a person is accused of a crime and, once convicted, allowed to consider motive when sentencing. But a noble motive doesn’t invalidate the crime. If you shoplift and say you’re just trying to provide for your family, the store may still press charges. If you rob a bank and say you wanted to give some of the money to charity, you don’t get off the hook.

I’m among those who conclude that a safer, better America does not necessarily require the deportation of every single Manuel the Busboy who entered the country illegally. Obviously, everyone who’s entered the country and committed additional crimes needs to get tossed out ASAP; anyone who wants to stay has to pay some sort of significant penalty — fines, national service, etc.

For what it’s worth, the U.S. Senate has a different idea of what constitutes “additional crimes”:

The Senate immigration bill as it currently stands will allow an illegal alien with two convictions “for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated” to be granted legal status in this country.

But it’s far from a nutty perspective to think, and contend, everybody who entered illegally should be deported — i.e., this country should enforce its laws as they’re written.

I understand why Democrats and progressives would insist that every immigration restrictionist and anti-amnesty type is driven by racism and xenophobia; they’re trying to discourage anyone from ever expressing that viewpoint in public. But why would a Rick Perry or Jeb Bush make comments that concur with that demonization of their opponents?

Tags: Jeb Bush , Illegal Immigration , Rick Perry

Backers of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Suddenly Quite Nervous



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Backers Suddenly Quite Nervous

Hey, remember when passage of immigration reform was a certainty, and lawmakers skeptical of the whole legislative contraption could either get on the fast-moving train or get run over by it? Apparently not anymore:

The White House and its immigration reform allies are banking on the August recess as their next — and possibly last — major opportunity to compel House Republicans to act.

With the issue stalled in the House, the monthlong congressional break is the linchpin of a campaign that President Barack Obama, Senate immigration leaders and a broad coalition of groups now expect they’ll have to wage through the end of the year. They realize they must make progress in the next month to stand any chance of keeping the issue alive into the fall.

“We’re not winning this fight,” Sen. John McCain, a Gang of Eight leader, told POLITICO Wednesday. “They are mounting a better campaign than we are — the opposition is.”

The problem with launching a public pressure campaign on lawmakers during the August recess is that the country as a whole is generally off on vacation.

The Washington Post offers a new poll on the topic this morning, and while there’s majority support for a path to citizenship . . . 

2013-07-17 Immig graphic

 . . . when you consider how the issue is covered — how a path to citizenship is usually treated as humane and natural and just and with few or no drawbacks, and opponents are usually described as xenophobic or racist, and how even the term “illegal immigrant” has been declared too controversial for the AP — doesn’t a 55–41 split actually seem a bit low?

On those last two questions . . . did 11 percent think that 20,000 border agents and 700 miles of fence along the border with Mexico would be cheap?

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , John McCain

Meet Napolitano’s ‘Low Risk’ Released Illegal Immigrant



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This morning, Homeland Security Janet Napolitano says that the several hundred illegal immigrants who were released from detention centers last week were, “very low-level, low-risk detainees.”

Boy, we better hope so.

The first illegal immigrant profiled by New York Times in its coverage of the releases… stretches the definition of “very low risk”:

Among those released in the past week was Anthony Orlando Williams, 52, a Jamaican immigrant who spent nearly three years in a detention center in Georgia.

“I’m good, man,” he said. “I’m free.”Mr. Williams, in a telephone interview from Stone Mountain, Ga., said he became an illegal immigrant when he overstayed a visa in 1991. He was detained in 2010 by a sheriff’s deputy in Gwinnett County, Ga., when it was discovered that he had violated probation for a conviction in 2005 of simple assault, simple battery and child abuse, charges that sprung from a domestic dispute with his wife at the time. He was transferred to ICE custody and has been fighting a deportation order with the help of Families for Freedom, an immigrant support group in New York.

Mr. Williams was released last Friday. “That was a long, long, long run,” he said of his detention, adding that he has an appointment this Friday at an immigration office in Atlanta at which he expects to receive the terms of his supervised release — “a list of things I have to abide by.”

If convictions for “simple assault, simple battery and child abuse” make you “low-risk,” what do you have to do for Janet Napolitano to consider you “high-risk”?

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Janet Napolitano , Sequestration

Release the Illegals, But Keep the Zombie Simulations & Steven Seagal



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The very first dollars the federal government stopped spending in the face of sequestration were the $16,400 to $164,000 per day it spends detaining “several hundred” illegal immigrants.

I suppose you could say not informing local and state law enforcement was a cost-saving measure, too. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery tells Arizona reporters that “we don’t know what the criteria was to determine who was safe to release… we don’t know why they were detained in the first place, or the crimes they may have committed.”

The editors of the Arizona Republic reassuringly inform us, “These may all be non-violent offenders, but no one knows. We simply have no way to measure how much, if at all, our communities have been made less safe.”

The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is part of the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Janet Napolitano. Say, how have they been spending their money lately?

Columbus, Ohio recently purchased an “underwater robot” using a $98,000 UASI grant. Known also as a “remotely operated underwater vehicle,” the robot is mounted with a video camera providing full-color display to a vehicle on shore. Officials on the Columbus City Council went so far as to declare the purchase an “emergency,” not because of security needs, but because of “federal grant deadlines.”

If the money was not spent quickly, it would have been lost. The Columbus dive team, however, is responsible only for underwater search and recovery missions – not for rescue missions that may happen during a terror attack.

One of the team’s higher profile missions in recent years was the recovery of a $2 million “sunken treasure” in the Scioto River.

Apparently the only requirement to justify a purchase of an underwater robot with federal taxpayer funds is… a body of water.

In Keene, New Hampshire residents revolted against the town’s plan to acquire a BearCat, developing their own motto – “thanks, but no tanks.” Residents viewed the vehicle as an unnecessary purchase even though it is being paid for though a DHS grant worth $285,933. Although the town has had just two murders in the past 15 years, Keene Police Captain Brian Costa argued that “when this grant opportunity came up, it made a whole bunch of geographic sense,” since none of the five armored vehicles already in the state are not located in southwestern New Hampshire where Keene is located. He further stated that the vehicle would have been useful during the 2005 floods where the police department lost a cruiser.

The grant application for the BearCat cited the 2004 Pumpkin Festival and the 2007 Red Sox Riots, when the Red Sox won the World Series as examples of incidents when the BearCat could be used. The Pumpkin Festival is an annual event with 70,000 visitors, many who come to Keene in hopes of breaking the world record of lighting the most Jack’o’Lanterns.

And we all know how unruly and dangerous the Keene Pumpkin Festival can get.

One notable training-related event that was deemed an allowable expense by DHS was the HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit 2012. Held at the Paradise Point Resort & Spa on an island outside San Diego, the 5-day summit was deemed an allowable expense by DHS, permitting first responders to use grant funds for the $1,000 entrance fee. Event organizers described the location for the training event as an island paradise: “the exotic beauty and lush grandeur of this unique island setting that creates a perfect backdrop for the HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit. This luxury resort features over 460 guestrooms, five pools, three fantastic restaurants overlooking the bay, a world-class spa and state-of-the-art fitness center. Paradise awaits…”

The marquee event over the summit, however, was its highly-promoted “zombie apocalypse” demonstration. Strategic Operations, a tactical training firm, was hired to put on a “zombie-driven show” designed to simulate a real-life terrorism event. The firm performed two shows on Halloween, which featured 40 actors dressed as zombies getting gunned down by a military tactical unit. Conference attendees were invited to watch the shows as part of their education in emergency response training. Barker explained that, “the idea is to challenge authorities as they respond to extreme medical situations where people become crazed and violent, creating widespread fear and disorder.”

Finally, some wise research on the part of the federal government. So, can bullets stop a zombie or not?

A review of Arizona’s UASI grant awards shows that several police departments and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office used UASI grants to purchase armored vehicles.

In 2011, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office used two armored vehicles and a SWAT team to conduct a raid of the residence of a man suspected to be involved in cockfighting. The actor Steven Seagal, who was then filming his television show ‘Lawman,” participated in the raid and rode in one of the armored vehicles.

Simulated zombie attacks and Steven Seagal. Your tax dollars at work!

Tags: ICE , Illegal Immigration , Janet Napolitano , Pork , Sequestration

The White House Sent Out ‘More than a Few’ ‘You’ll Regret’ Warnings



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The Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt features Arne Duncan getting caught lying, what the Right should expect from Chris Christie, and then these dramatic developments:

Will the White House Regret Telling Woodward & Others They’ll Regret Public Disagreement?

This will be a story worth watching: The White House vs. Bob Woodward. I’ll let David Jackson of USA Today summarize:

It’s Bob Woodward versus the White House.

The bestselling author and Washington Post reporter is protesting White House pushback over his criticism of how President Obama and aides are handling the sequester issue.

“It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this,” Woodward told CNN, citing an e-mail he received from “a senior person” at the White House.

“I mean, it makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, you’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,” Woodward said.

In a statement, the White House said that “of course no threat was intended. As Mr. Woodward noted, the email from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation he made regarding the sequester because that observation was inaccurate, nothing more. And Mr. Woodward responded to this aide’s email in a friendly manner.”

All we can say is: We know more than a few reporters have received similar e-mails from White House officials. Yelling has also been known to happen.

“More than a few reporters have received similar e-mails from White House officials.” So Obama staffers regularly tell reporters “they’ll regret” writing stories detrimental to the president, and we’re only hearing of this now?

Apparently the Easiest Government Program to Cut: Jailing Illegal Immigrants

Well, dang:

The Associated Press has learned that the Homeland Security Department official in charge of the agency’s immigration enforcement and removal operations has resigned after hundreds of illegal immigrants were released from jails because of government spending cuts.

In an email obtained Wednesday by the AP, Gary Mead told coworkers that he was leaving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the end of April. Mead is the head of enforcement and removal operations at ICE.

Mead had told co-workers of his resignation in the email sent Tuesday, hours after U.S. officials had confirmed that a few hundred illegal immigrants facing deportation had been released from immigration jails due to budget cuts.

For what it’s worth, an ICE spokesperson is insisting this is perfectly normal; he “announced several weeks ago to ICE senior leadership that he planned to retire after 40 years.” Uh-huh.

Permit me to quote the suddenly not-linkable Allahpundit of… SeveralDegreesAboveWarmAir.com:

So, even though releasing the detainees very conveniently served Obama’s goal of increasing the pants-wetting over sequester cuts while also very conveniently making the amnesty fans in his base happy, this was just Gary Mead going rogue without any direction from the White House. And Obama’s so mad about it that Mead has to clear out his desk immediately two months from now. Let me gently suggest that in the unlikely event Mead really did order this on his own, perhaps he was just acting in the spirit of his boss, who not so subtly suggested a few days ago that if a deal wasn’t reached on cuts ASAP then border security might have to go bye-bye for awhile.

Dana Perino isn’t buying this story, either: “Strains credulity to think that ice releases thousands of illegals and no one there ran it up the food chain. Not even a ‘heads up’? Hmmm.”

In case you had missed it, the very first place the federal government has decided to save money was the $164 per day it spends on jailing illegal immigrants. Our government’s priorities in action, my fellow citizens!

 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released “several hundred” immigrants from deportation centers across the country, saying the move is an effort to cut costs ahead of budget cuts due to hit later this week.  Announcing the news Tuesday, ICE officials said that the immigrants were released under supervision and continue to face deportation. After reviewing hundreds of cases, those released were considered low-risk and “noncriminal,” officials said. The releases took place over the last week and were an effort “to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget,” said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christiansen, citing uncertainty caused by a budget standoff in Washington. “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety,” she said.

Of course, you may have noticed… sequestration hasn’t taken effect yet.  Apparently government policies have prequels now.

If you’re calling ‘horsepuckey’ – or, you know, some other variation of that term – on this decision, you’re not alone:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she’s appalled to hear that the Department of Homeland Security has begun releasing hundreds of illegal immigrants from custody.

It’s the first of potentially thousands of immigrants to soon be freed before mandatory federal budget cuts go into effect.

The Obama administration has been issuing dire warnings about the impact of the sequestration.

Brewer is a Republican. She calls the releases granted before Friday’s deadline for sequestration cuts “pure political posturing.”

Brewer says “this represents a return to exactly the kind of catch-and-release procedures that have long made a mockery of our country’s immigration system.”

‘Hey, don’t look at us, we just work here,’ insists the White House.

The White House said Wednesday that it played no part in the decision to release hundreds of undocumented immigrants from detention centers, but a Texas Republican congressman is demanding answers.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the decision was made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement “without any input from the White House.”

He said ICE made the decision “as a result of fiscal uncertainty” over automatic spending cuts that are to take effect March 1 if Congress and President Obama do not reach a deal on a federal budget. Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthy as part of the deal; Republicans are opposed.

On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul sent a letter to ICE Director John Morton demanding the total number of people released, where they were released from and the specific reason why each of them was deemed releasable.

“This decision reflects the lack of resource prioritization within the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is indicative of the department’s weak stance on national security,” McCaul wrote in his letter.

Hey, look at the bright side, we’ve just cut spending by at least $16,400!

Tags: Barack Obama , Bob Woodward , Illegal Immigration , Sequestration

Senator Rubio Makes His Immigration-Reform Sales Pitch



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Senator Marco Rubio’s press office is distributing this video of him discussing the bipartisan immigration-reform proposal on Sean Hannity’s program last night:

By Rubio’s description, it all sounds pretty appealing, and there’s no doubt he genuinely believes this would improve the situation. But there are a few hitches. For starters, Rubio describes the process:

When you’re undocumented, you have to come forward and you have to identify yourself. You’re going to be fingerprinted. You’re going to have a background check done. You’re going to have to pay taxes and fines. And what you get is a non-immigrant visa. That is not a green card. A non-immigrant visa means you have a work permit to stay in the country.

First, does the illegal immigrant pay taxes and fines before the non-immigrant visa is issued? How big are those taxes and fines? And how many illegal immigrants will be able to pay those taxes and fines? If they can’t, are they deported? Or do they have a portion of their future wages garnished?

Whatever system is implemented, how long will it be before that system of taxes and fines is declared a draconian and cruel hardship by the pro-rapid-legalization crowd, and there’s pressure to reduce it or waive it entirely? Remember, in the effort to pass immigration reform last time, a Bush White House spokesman said “Determining the past tax liability [for illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship] would have been very difficult and costly and extremely time consuming” . . . so the requirement was dropped during negotiations. As Mickey Kaus said, “Try that ‘difficult and time consuming’ excuse out on the IRS if you’re a U.S. citizen and see how far it gets you.”

How many illegal immigrants come to the U.S. looking for work but aren’t interested in U.S. citizenship? For those folks, would they even bother getting anything beyond the “non-immigrant visa”? Once they can work and send back money to their family, and not fear being arrested . . . isn’t that all that a certain portion of the 11 million want?

Because I thought a big reason people are wary of a “path to citizenship”/”path to legalization”/”path to green cards”/what have you is the fear of illegal immigrants as economic competitors for low-skilled work, driving down wages. Once you allow those currently in the country illegally to work legally . . . you’re expanding the labor pool, aren’t you? There are currently 22 million Americans who are unemployed or under-employed (working part-time, can’t find full-time work). Is putting 11 million people on the path to becoming legal going to help those folks, or hurt them by creating more competition for available jobs?

If Marco Rubio were in charge of implementing and enforcing this whole system, it would be easier to believe that the enforcement parts of this legislation would live up to their billing, and that those who weren’t willing to “play by the rules” would be deported. But he isn’t, so there’s a lot of wariness out there that this legislation will have to overcome.

Transcript below the fold . . .

#more#

Senator Marco Rubio: “First of all, thanks for having me on to talk about this important topic. I think it is a good moment to remind people and the country that the vast majority of conservatives favor legal immigration, and we don’t have a legal immigration system that works right now. And our problem with illegal immigration is that it undermines legal immigration.

“So, we have 11 million people that are undocumented. We understand that we have to deal with this issue because we have 11 million people that, by all accounts, are going to be here the rest of their lives with or without documents. Our objection has been in the past that we can’t do anything to deal with 11 million people that number one, is unfair to the people who have done it the right way. Or number two, that would encourage illegal immigration in the future. And that’s why your point is so important.

“One of the things that I’ve made a key part of my own personal principles, and am glad they found their way into these principles, and must be a part of any final bill, and that is this: that before we can move toward a path for green cards — because citizenship comes after that — before we move to a path toward green cards, there have to be enforcement mechanisms that are verified and in place. And it’s not just the border, Sean. It’s workplace enforcement because that’s the magnet for illegal immigration. And it’s tracking the entry and exit visas. Forty percent of our illegal immigration, of our undocumented people in this country, entered legally and they overstayed their visas. We don’t track when people leave, so we don’t even know who they are or where they are.

“All of these things must happen before there is a path to a green card. I think that is a critical part of any component that we do here.”

FOX News’ Sean Hannity: “I read the framework that was put out today. Senator, it said simultaneously, so I wondered if people were playing games. Already playing politics?”

Rubio: “No, let me explain that. Here’s what happens. When you’re undocumented, you have to come forward and you have to identify yourself. You’re going to be fingerprinted. You’re going to have a background check done. You’re going to have to pay taxes and fines. And what you get is a non-immigrant visa. That is not a green card. A non-immigrant visa means you have a work permit to stay in the country. You don’t qualify for any federal benefits under that. You don’t get federal benefits. During the same time — and they’re going to have to stay in this process for a significant period of time — and while they’re in that process, is when all of this security stuff needs to happen.

“And after a number of years have gone by and the security enforcement stuff is in place, then the second phase begins, which is that we give people the opportunity to apply for a green card, the same way everybody else does. Not a special way. The same way. Which means that you have to stand in line. You have to wait your turn behind everyone who applied before you legally. And when your turn comes up, you have to qualify for the visa that you’re applying for.

“In essence, we are giving people the opportunity to earn the chance to do this the way they should have done it to begin with. That’s why it said simultaneous, because while you’re in that probationary period, that’s when the enforcement stuff is happening.”

Hannity: “So how long will this process ultimately take? For example, you said no federal benefits, you have to prove that you have a job, you have to go through a background check. I mean, is it really going to be that stringent for people?”

Rubio: “That’s why the details are so important of how you write it. You’re absolutely right. This is a town where they write things that are called something, but that’s not what it is. So it has to be important. Look, you said something in your outline that is very important. I don’t want to ever have to do this again. But that’s what is going to happen if all we do is the legalization part and we don’t do the enforcement part. And the only way that I know to incentivize the enforcement part is to say that the green-card stuff doesn’t even begin to happen until the enforcement happens first. That trigger is critically important, otherwise it will never happen. That’s why we are where we are today. Because when they did this in 1986, they did not do the enforcement, and that led to 11 million people. We will be right back here again in ten years or less if we don’t do the enforcement.”

Hannity: “Can I characterize that, if you don’t get enforcement first, or securing the borders first, is that a deal killer for you?”

Rubio: “Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Because we will be right back here again. I want to deal with this permanently. And by the way, I think the vast majority of people in both parties would agree with me on that point. No one ever wants to have to do this again. I mean, no one is happy about the fact that we have 11 million people here who are undocumented. This is something that should never ever happen again. But the decisions that were made that led to this happened when I was in ninth grade. That was a long time ago. And now we have to deal with it so that it never happens again.”

Hannity: “How do you respond to those people? I read the framework and when you first explained it to me last week, and I spoke to you, I said that this was the most interesting proposal that I had ever heard. Because it seemed like you were really sincere in putting this to bed once and for all. And also it seemed like a very, very difficult process with a lot of penalties involved for people who did not respect out laws and sovereignty. What do you say to people who say, ‘Well, ultimately in the end if people can get a green card, they can stay. That it’s a back door form of amnesty.’ What’s your response to that?”

Rubio: “Well, first of all, the bottom line is that it would have been cheaper and easier for them to have done it the legal way than the way they are going to get it now. In essence, we are not creating an incentive and we are not rewarding it. Because, quite frankly, for many of these people, they would have been better off doing it the right way. This is going to cost them penalties. This is going to cost them taxes. This is going to cost them a significant wait. And then, after they do all of that, the only thing they are going to have access to is the opportunity to apply for a green card. You still have to qualify for the visa you are applying for. So, they would have been better off doing it the right way from the beginning.

“Amnesty. [It's] different from the proposal in 2007 that created a brand new thing called a Z visa, which basically was a blanket and you had to do very little to qualify for it. So, we are not trying to punish anybody here. This is not that we are angry at immigrants. This is about the fact that we don’t want this to ever happen again. And we don’t want to be unfair to the people that have done it the right way. Sean, I have hundreds of people a month come to our offices to talk about the fact that they have family members that are waiting in line to come here the right way. Our message to them cannot be, ‘Come illegally because it’s cheaper and quicker.’

“On the other hand, this is the reality. We have 11 million human beings in this country that are going to be here for the rest of their lives. We have to solve that problem in a way that takes care of it forever.”

Hannity: “And they go to the back of the line, that will be part of the legislation. Correct?”

Rubio: “Yes. And not only do they go to the back of the line and wait behind everybody who applied before them, the right way. But when their turn comes up, they have to qualify for the visa they are applying for. Not a special pathway.”

Hannity: “And there is going to be a lot of penalties and security checks and a lot of other. I will say this, Senator.”

Rubio: “At the front end. Yeah.”

Hannity: “It’s the most thoughtful proposal that I have heard and you’ve explained it better than anybody. But the devil will be in the details.”

Rubio: “Always is.”

Hannity: “And to me I agree with you that, if they don’t secure the border first, there is no point because we are going to be back to debating it in five years.”

Rubio: “That’s right. That’s correct.”

Hannity: “All right, Senator, thanks so much for clarification. I appreciate it. I wish you best of luck on this process as you move forward.”

Rubio: “Thank you, Sean.”

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Marco Rubio

Bloggers Eager to Deport Immigration-Reform Proposal



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From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Righty Bloggers Wish to Deport Latest Bipartisan Immigration Reform Proposal

So, what are the early reviews for that immigration-reform package introduced by eight senators?

Mark Krikorian:

I can at least respect the Democrat members of this cabal — Schumer, Durbin, Menendez, and Bennet — because the Left has never hidden its disdain for America’s sovereignty. But the Republicans — McCain, Graham, Flake, and Rubio — want to achieve the Left’s objectives while appearing tough.

His debating partner from the weekend, Hugh Hewitt, wants to see details:

Unfortunately the “framework” isn’t legislative language and it was the language about “Z Visas” that sank the last attempt to deal with the issue. At first glance is there up-to-date-information about the border fence or its proposed extensions, no specifics on how many years — 10, 15, 20? — a regularized resident would have to wait until becoming eligible for benefits and voting and whether that regularized resident would have to return home to wait for citizenship in line with other would-be immigrants as opposed to staying here as a permanent resident but without voting rights, and no details on how the broken visa system or the not-yet-mandatory E-Verify programs would work.

It is a speech outline, and a not very good one at that. What is needed is a bill. An actual honest-to-goodness bill that free people can read and debate. Will the sharpies inside the Beltway ever figure out that those of us who can read don’t have the highest opinions of their drafting ability or a great deal of trust that that which they say they will do they will do.

Thoroughly opposed, Michelle Malkin:

Hey, did someone set the clock back six years in Washington? Because today looks a hell of a lot like the dawn of the Bush-Kennedy-McCain 2007 illegal alien amnesty. Deja vu all over again.

Starring in the role of John McCain this time around? Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio . . .

Don’t believe the hype from Rubio supporters that this warmed-over shamnesty proposal — another recipe for more illegal immigration, a bigger welfare state, and undermined sovereignty — is somehow new, improved and more enlightened.

Neo-Neocon expresses what will be the core of the opposition to the path to citizenship:

There’s a principle here, among other things, which is that coming here illegally should not be further rewarded. I write “further” because it already is rewarded.

Rick Moran also wonders how much of what’s written in the law would ultimately get enforced:

It also remains to be seen what kind of enhanced border security measures would be passed. We have seen immigration bureaucrats undermine or even ignore measures that have passed Congress (like the virtual fence).

It remains to be seen whether any immigration reform proposal can get through the GOP House. It might come down to how many Republican House members tie immigration reform to the improvement in relations with Hispanics.

For the pro-open borders perspective, there’s Nick Gillespie over at Reason:

The government doesn’t want to admit it, but except in totalitarian countries, they don’t run the border. People come and go based on large-scale dynamics that simply overwhelm most nations’ ability to control in-flows and out-flows of people. E-verify systems are a nightmare filled either with error rates that will harass thousands of innocent people and businesses or else be so porous all they will do is add a drag on hiring legally. If the senators start really working the Sunday shows and their constituents about how immigration benefits our economy and is the right thing to do from a historical and moral perspective, that will be the sign that they’re meaning to take this across the finish line.

The thing is, I don’t think a bunch of senators going on Sunday shows talking about the joys of immigration will actually change people’s minds about this issue.

The discussion about illegal immigrants is allegedly talking about the same 11 million people, but the two sides describe them in diametrically opposite terms. On one side, we have a bunch of lawbreakers, who have come here and taken our jobs, driven down our wages, and worsened the crime problem, sucking away at our public benefits, being treated in our emergency rooms, driving recklessly and traveling ten to a van and facilitating the creation of a permanent underclass and black-market economy; gangs and the drug trade have flourished in their impoverished, lawless shadow communities. The other side says we’re dealing with aspiring Americans just like the ancestors of most of us, hardworking dreamers who are valedictorians and volunteers and folks who would come to epitomize the greatness of America, just like the Ellis Island-era immigrants, if we would just give them the chance; they point out that they’re around us without us noticing, as we enjoy the services of the busboys, waiters, cooks, construction workers and nannies around us.

In our guts, most of us know that some of the 11 million are as bad as the critics say, and some are as good as their defenders say . . . and that our government has proven an absolute failure at sorting out the good ones from the bad ones.

By the way, what does it say about Obama’s well-proven ability to louse up bipartisan negotiations that this occurs?

Some senior Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus used a private White House meeting Friday to urge President Obama not to unveil his own immigration legislation, for fear of blowing up delicate bipartisan talks, Democratic sources tell CNN…

Sources familiar with the bipartisan Senate framework announced Monday tell CNN one of the main reasons they chose to unveil their framework one day before the president’s planned Tuesday speech on the subject, was to start the national dialogue on their bipartisan terrain. Politically, CNN is told the senators felt it was crucial for it to be known that there has been a real bipartisan process ongoing that is independent from the president.

“It would be a sabotage of the process,” said one immigration reform advocate familiar with internal discussions but not able to speak freely on the record.

“Everybody is fine with him announcing principles, using bully pulpit, etc. But what nobody who actually wants to see this passed wants, is an ‘Obama White House’ branded bill getting introduced,” said the source.

Well, there’s the secret words there — “nobody who actually wants to see this passed” wants to see Obama grabbing the glory and having his staff determine the details of the legislation . . . but it’s not so clear that the president actually wants to see this passed, when he thinks he could get another bite at the apple after the 2014 midterms. Demagoguing the Republicans as racist, xenophobic and viscerally anti-immigrant has been a key part of their messaging . . . why would they want a bipartisan immigration reform bill to louse up that convenient narrative?

Tags: Barack Obama , Illegal Immigration , Immigration Reform , Marco Rubio , Senate

Why Is a Secure Border Politically Controversial?



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From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Arizona Can Check if Criminals Are Here Illegally… But Then What?

The debate about illegal immigration in this country is particularly infuriating.

Is it terribly controversial to say, in an ideal world, the government of the United States would be able to control who comes in and goes out? That that sort of ideal circumstance would prevent terrorists, gang members, drug smugglers, people smugglers, etc. from coming in and creating problems ranging from the minor to the catastrophic? I realize the government will never have 100 percent control over our borders. I realize we live in an imperfect world, but shouldn’t we aim for as much control over the border as possible?

Okay, good. Now, I’m glad we have more boots on the ground than we used to have on our southern border. I’m glad that we have improvements for Janet Napolitano to brag about, but as PolitiFact noted:

The data DHS gave us is not enough to prove definitively that Napolitano’s claim that the agency has “seized more currency, more drugs, more outbound arms in the past year than any year in our country’s history.” We can say that seizures increased recently under the Obama administration, but they were so low in the past that the bump is not a major accomplishment. Also, the seized contraband is likely such a small percentage of what crosses the border that the increase’s impact on the illegal drug trade is slight.

A safer border is not necessarily a safe border.

Back in 2010, the federal government felt the need to post signs in Arizona that “warn travelers that they are entering an ‘active drug and human smuggling area’ and they may encounter ‘armed criminals and smuggling vehicles traveling at high rates of speed.’ Beginning less than 50 miles south of Phoenix, the signs encourage travelers to “use public lands north of Interstate 8” and to call 911 if they “see suspicious activity.” (The signs then got modified,  “Visitor Information Update- active federal law enforcement patrol area, clean-up and restoration crews at work, contact BLM rangers for current area status.”)

Once the public perceives that law and order has been restored to the border, the entire discussion about illegal immigration will change. Whatever option is decided for those currently living in the country illegally – an amnesty, deportation, a guest worker program, a DREAM Act – the country will at least feel secure that the situation isn’t going to get worse, that thousands or tens of thousands will not attempt to cross the border to get included in an amnesty.

Anyway, this is just to point out that the state of Arizona got into the immigration-enforcement business out of a widespread sense that the federal government refused to do its duties in immigration enforcement – and that there was some perverse cruelty in the federal government that had so thoroughly failed to mitigate the problems of an unsecure border and widespread illegal immigration going to court to prevent states from trying to do their job.

And now, thanks to five Supreme Court justices, Arizona is largely out of the immigration law enforcement business, with one exception.

Over at Bench Memos, Ed Whelan declares :

For anyone who entertains the hope that the majority’s ruling on section 2(B) makes the case some sort of significant victory for Arizona, I invite you to have your illusion dispelled by reading Justice Scalia’s dissent. As Scalia puts it in his final two paragraphs:

Arizona bears the brunt of the country’s illegal immigration problem. Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so. Thousands of Arizona’s estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants—including not just children but men and women under 30—are now assured immunity from enforcement, and will be able to compete openly with Arizona citizens for employment.

Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty—not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it. The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.

Donald Douglas isn’t so glum: “Progressives will highlight that 3 of 4 of the law’s provisions were struck down. But the thing to emphasis is that it’s really the key provision that was upheld by the court — the authority for local law enforcement to determine the legal residency status of suspects in a lawful stop. That’s what’s been called “racial profiling” for these past few years. It’s what progressives targeted for defeat at the Court. In that sense, no matter what the left says, this is a huge defeat for the open borders extremists in the Democrat Party and the radical netroots fever swamps.”

William Jacobson sums up, “The net-net?  The federal government did better than many expected, particularly on section 6.  I don’t think many people thought state criminal sanctions and other state requirements would survive. Section 2(B) remains in effect for now, which politically is a lot more palatable, because the immigration status check only takes place after a lawful detention.  But there will be more litigation once the law is put into effect and applied.”

Tags: Arizona , Barack Obama , Illegal Immigration , Supreme Court

CIS: Immigrants, Legal and Illegal, Working in 81% of Texas’ New Jobs



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Mark Krikorian’s Center for Immigration Studies unveils a new report that is almost tailor-made for a debate question tonight:

A new report by the Center for Immigration Studies examines job growth in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry has pointed to increased employment in Texas during the current economic downturn as one of his main accomplishments. Analysis of the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by the Census Bureau shows immigrants (legal and illegal) have been the primary beneficiaries of this growth since 2007, and not native-born workers. This is true even though the native-born accounted for the vast majority of growth in the working-age population (age 16 to 65) in Texas. The report is online here.

The report’s biggest finding is that among the jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived foreign workers (legal and illegal). Because that’s a pretty important distinction in the minds of most Americans — CIS and Mark envision an America with greatly reduced legal immigration – the more eye-opening numbers are from this figure:

Of newly arrived immigrants who took jobs in Texas since 2007, we estimated that 50 percent (113,000) were illegal immigrants. Thus about 40 percent of all the job growth in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived illegal immigrants and 40 percent went to newly arrived legal immigrants.

More:

In terms of numbers, between the second quarter of 2007, right before the recession began, and the second quarter of 2011, total employment in Texas increased by 279,000. Of this, 225,000 jobs went to immigrants (legal and illegal) who arrived in the United States in 2007 or later. Of newly arrived immigrants who took a job in Texas, 93 percent were not U.S. citizens. Thus government data shows that more than three-fourths of job growth in Texas went to newly arrived non-citizens (legal and illegal).

The large share of job growth that went to immigrants is surprising because the native-born accounted for 69 percent of the growth in Texas’ working age population (16 to 65). Thus even though natives made up most of the growth in potential workers, most of the job growth went to immigrants. The share of the working-age natives holding a job in Texas declined significantly from 71 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2011. This decline is very similar to the decline for natives in the United States as a whole and is an indication that the situation for native-born workers in Texas is very similar to the overall situation in the country despite the state’s job growth. 

The presence of a large number of illegal immigrants is not terribly surprising, considering Texas’s long border with Mexico. But if the CIS estimate is correct, should Rick Perry be bragging about a job creation record if 40 percent went to illegal immigrants?

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Legal Immigration , Rick Perry , Tezas

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