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President Bush and the Illegal Alien Crisis

Monday, 09 May 2005 12:00 AM

At his April 28 news conference, not a single reporter – not one – asked the president about the issue of protecting our borders, even though it is a major concern for millions of Americans, right up there with gas prices. This is a classic example of the great divide between the elites and the general public.

Two different planets are at work here. On the one hand, journalists, academia, entertainment, many Washington politicians and a good slice of the business community ignore the problem as if it doesn't even exist. Meanwhile, on the real-world planet, the citizen-driven Minutemen (many with law enforcement or military backgrounds) monitored the border to help the woefully understaffed Border Patrol to do the job that most of us think the government should be doing.

For their patriotic volunteer service, President Bush called them "vigilantes" and liberal TV commentator Juan Williams compared them to the Ku Klux Klan.

That latter slur, of course, gets back to the disingenuous effort to blur the lines between legal and illegal immigration. We're not talking about legal immigrants. As is often said, we're "a nation of immigrants." In fact, it is the legal immigrants who play by the rules and get the shaft when law-breakers cut in line and participate in what columnist/author Michelle Malkin calls an "invasion."

It's not as if we have not been warned. Mr. Bush's own secretary of state has sounded the alarm. Secretary Condoleezza Rice on March 10 warned that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are making every effort to get into the United States through Mexico and Canada. Similar warnings have recently come from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Hello? Anybody home? What does it take?

What's more, Secretary Rice visited Mexican President Vicente Fox and told him straight to his face that the Mexican border is a problem. Al-Qaida, she said, is trying "to get into this country and into other countries by any means they possibly can [the Mexican border included]. That's how they managed to do it [before 9/11] and they will do everything they can to cross the borders."

Propaganda has created widely repeated myths about the alleged advantages of illegal immigration. Here are some samples (space constraints prevent a full review).

Oh, really? I guess that's why West Coast author, columnist, NewsMax contributor and talk show host Kathleen Antrim told me that the porous Mexico-California border is "drowning our state's economy, to the tune of about $10.5 billion a year." Sixty-five emergency rooms in Southern California had to shut down, "hung out to dry on millions and millions of unpaid medical bills."

She adds that we should be caring for these people, but "we need to send the bill to Vicente Fox." (Antrim, by the way, was one of a group of talk show hosts and others who converged on Washington in late April to urge policy-makers to fix the broken immigration enforcement system.)

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates the entire nation's annual tab for illegal immigration at up to $70 billion. If that's good for the economy, God forbid we ever have to learn the hard way what's bad for it.

First, Antrim says, "There are no jobs that Americans won't work for," adding, "There are jobs Americans won't do only when the wages are artificially suppressed." The idea that we need cheap labor from over the border is "an elitist attitude," she says. Further, "we are exploiting these people. A civilized society doesn't treat people this way. It makes me outraged when I hear these elitist statements, which I think border on racism."

Mark Krikorian, author and executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), adds that even if such treatment could be morally justified (which it can't), it is not at all good for the economy.

Speaking recently at a luncheon of Accuracy in Media (AIM) here in Washington, Krikorian said if employers hired Americans for those jobs, they would be paying more money, better benefits, better retirement plans.

Some of them would be able to cut their costs with machines that would take up much of the slack. More jobs, in turn, would go into the industries providing the mechanization. Funny thing about the free market: It may not always be neat and orderly, but in the end it pays for itself. In fact, such advances would have been implemented long ago but for the fact that cheap labor from Mexico is available, so why bother?

In Japan, where such cheap foreign labor is not readily available, according to Krikorian, "vending machines dispense everything from meat to panty-hose." U.S. employers, in many cases, are faced with the choice: "Mechanize or Mexicanize," he stated. "Employers [in this country] will regret going the low-tech route," he believes, because it will disadvantage us with our trading partners, resulting in failing businesses and, of course, the concurrent loss of jobs.

Krikorian has done the math on that, too. He says considering our (essentially flat) birthrate, even if we were to import 5 to 15 times as many illiterate illegal immigrants, it wouldn't beef up Social Security for anything more than perhaps "a couple of months."

Wrong again. Consistent enforcement of the immigration laws starting now could reduce the problem to a manageable nuisance within seven to eight years, according to CIS.

Not really. That assumes we have the bureaucratic capacity to do a background check on over 10 million people. There are hundreds of thousands of asylum applicants.

Even the slightest hint that our government is making more than a weak effort to enforce the immigration laws is worthy of the horse laugh.

As I write this, a rally is planned at a location about three or four miles from here in the Washington area. A coalition of pro-illegal alien groups (I refuse to call them "undocumented") is demanding that illegal aliens continue to be issued driver's licenses. About 5,000 immigrants, including some of questionable legal status, were expected to attend. One coalition leader claims that denying border crashers the "right" to gain driver's licenses "will make millions of people that live in our nation hide even more."

(Right. And I guess you can say that if we insist on enforcing those nasty laws against bank robbery, bank robbers will want to "hide even more." Give me a break.)

Michael Graham, a local radio talk show host (on Washington's WMAL) has spotlighted such "immigrant rights" rallies in the area and has challenged the authorities from law enforcement and immigration control to show up, make some arrests and (gasp!) actually enforce the law. As of this writing, he's had no takers.

In fact, Graham showed up at the rally at the taxpayer-subsidized high school and was told he could not enter because the event was "by invitation only." Despite his media ID, he was told he lacked "proper ID."

Talk about irony of ironies. A rally is held to uphold the right of law-breakers to enter this country without "proper ID" (i.e., a genuine passport), and an American citizen is barred from entering and in the process is roughed up by thugs who are later joined by the cops. The cops uphold the right of the thugs to prevent a citizen from entering a rally that advocates giving driver's licenses to people who do, in fact, lack "proper ID" to be here. I know that's crazy, but you have to live in the People's Republic of Montgomery County, Maryland (as I do) to understand it.

This is not trivial. Driver's licenses can lead to obtaining passes that will get you into some rather dicey security areas. That ID also makes it easier to open new bank accounts, which can facilitate money-laundering in support of terrorist activities. No one who has no right to be here in the first place has a "right" to a driver's license.

Now back to our original point. The lax security at our borders means we are playing Russian roulette with American lives. And President Bush should be worried about that. Here's why: Does anyone think that poor, illiterate Mexicans, escaping the economic consequences of the decades-old Marxism and corruption in their own country, are the only people crossing our borders without the authority of a legal passport?

At the Institute of World Politics' annual Pearl Harbor Day dinner last December 7, I asked the much-decorated hero General John Singlaub to address the argument made by some that virtually unfettered illegal immigration is a benefit to the economy.

"We have got to do something to defend ourselves against people who want to kill us," he responded. "The economy can go to hell as far as I'm concerned," the general declared, adding that if you're dead, a healthy economy can't do you much good.

Congressman Tom Tancredo, a Republican from Colorado and a voice in the wilderness on the dangers of our lax immigration policy, cited the bottom line in a Fox News interview. Host Bill O'Reilly said to him, "And you know, if it comes down to the fact that a radiological device or a chemical or biological device is put in here by al-Qaida, and it's traced back to Monterrey, Mexico, or Mexico City, it will be impeachment.

TANCREDO: It should be.

O'REILLY: That's the belief.

TANCREDO: It should be, Bill. I absolutely agree with you. If something like that happens, I believe it is an impeachable offense. And believe me, I have no qualms about introducing such a measure. But who wants to win this thing?

O'REILLY: Nobody wants that to happen.

I asked Krikorian what he thought would happen if another 9/11 occurred and it could be traced back to lack of adequate border enforcement.

"I think he [the president] would be in real danger of being impeached" was his response, though he, too, didn't think anyone at this point would be interested in seeing that happen. Many of us who like this president wish he would focus on this problem.

But alas, the Social Security Administration is getting paperwork from workplaces all over the country for new employees with numbers that don't match anyone on record – which likely means they are fake – and "they [the authorities] do nothing about it."

If you think Vicente Fox is an arrogant, tough cookie to deal with, wait until he steps down at the end of 2006. Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the current presidential font-runner, is of the "Yanks are oppressing us" strain of thought.

Krikorian fears President Bush doesn't even view Mexico as another country. He posits a time [perhaps decades hence] when the California governor will have to check with the Mexican consulate in Sacramento before signing legislation that has any impact on our relations with Mexico.

"Mexifornia" (or MexAmerica), here we come ... unless you let Congress and the White House know you're watching them. Most politicians think you don't care.

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At his April 28 news conference, not a single reporter -not one -asked the president about the issue of protecting our borders, even though it is a major concern for millions of Americans, right up there with gas prices. This is a classic example of the great divide between...
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Monday, 09 May 2005 12:00 AM
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