Saturday, April 24, 2010

Illegal Immigration 101: Things I Didn't Know, and Why I changed My Mind While Writing This Blog Post

About that law Arizona just passed (full text here), which mostly echos current National Immigration Law (INA Sec 264.(e)[8 USC 1304]), which requires every alien over 18 of any status to carry their papers at all times, and Federal Enforcement programs, and is supported by the state's largest police groups and by people who actually live in the state.

About some of the outrageous claims and statements being made about it by people who know better.

Here's some middle ground, and a few things you might not have known. One of those situations where truth really is stranger than fiction.

I bet it is the same in Arizona as it is in Texas: we don't judge people by the color of their skin, illegal immigration isn't limited to people from any one country, and people from Mexico come in as many colors as people from the US. Anyone who thinks otherwise has led too sheltered a life, or is playing some kind of game.

Our law enforcement people (who themselves represent our all-kinds-of-people population) are experienced, expert professionals who follow the law and do not use race or ethnicity or color as a means of determining suspicion about any crime, relying instead on an array of other, more nuanced and more accurate indicators. In fact, the Phoenix AZ Police Department's Public Safety Manager received the IACP Civil Rights Certificate of Recognition in 2009 for his work to promote policing " without focusing on specific demographics" to accomplish equal justice for the whole community.

My heavens, this isn't television. This is real life in border states that have always reflected de Colores in a nation that operates under the Rule of Law.

Enforcing the law of the United States in the 21st Century is never "misguided", never "undermines fairness", and especially never "destroys trust between the police and their communities". For goodness sake, if our police were not enforcing the law THAT is what would undermine trust. The Arizona law, in fact, gives citizens the right to sue cities that they believe are deliberately NOT enforcing the law. No wonder so-called "sanctuary cities" oppose this - they fear their own state's citizens might also demand that they uphold the fair and equal enforcement of our laws.

Arizona isn't alone. Did you know 48 out of 50 states passed immigration laws this past year?
Did you know that a majority of the American people, including minorities, want the government to enforce the immigration laws when aliens trespass into the country against the law.

Illegal aliens in the United States come from countries all over the world - including Canada. Estimates indicate that 43% or more are from countries other than Mexico: including at least 9% from Asia. As Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce said "Illegal is not a race, it's a crime." Since we have to rely only on estimates of people who are actively trying to remain hidden,
it is likely there's a much higher percentage of illegal trespass from those other countries than it appears. Aliens who are in the US illegally outnumber the law-abiding immigrants.

People with ugly motives and criminal intent, who are not representative of the ordinary freedom-seeking immigrant, are coming across our borders and through our seaports at will and disappearing into our country.

Modern slave traders engaged in human trafficking are transporting men, women and children against their will or under false pretense, holding them captive, forcing them into prostitution, and kidnapping for ransom.

40% of the illegal alien population are from all over the world who come in on tourist visas, which require little to no background checks, and hunker down after those expire. The federal government deliberately ignores them.

Voting Fraud is rampant
, and attempts to prevent, investigate or punish it are aggressively thwarted. 8 of the 19 September 11 highjackers were registered to vote. Fraudulent voting by non-citizens can make the difference in election outcomes. A Voter Registration Card is the easiest piece of identification an illegal alien can get. All he or she has to do is check the little box that asks if you are eligible to vote. Except in Arizona - since passing a law in 2005 requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, they have rejected over 40,000 applications that could not provide verification.

The Federal government has failed, repeatedly, and repeatedly, to carry out plans to control illegal entry. There as little attempt by the Federal government, the INS, Homeland Security, the FBI, or any other agency to perform any enforcement or tracking of illegal aliens once they are in the country, or to share information, even with police or Attorneys General (go here and scroll down to "Failure to Cooperate"). Discovery is left to local law enforcement and the states by default. When such criminals are discovered, when they are arrested, even after they are convicted of crimes such as theft, robbery, assault, drugs and serving prison time, as many as 90% are frequently released without being deported.

Now, here's the part I didn't know, and why my earlier thoughts - to gain control of the border to stop the criminals, and to find ways to reduce the suffering and exploitation of people trying to come here outside of legal channels, and to increase understanding that the border issues are not about immigration but about the duty of government to enforce the law - those thoughts and attitudes are no longer applicable. Because the situation has changed, and even though all those things are still true, they can never be addressed without first putting a stop to the new policies of foreign governments that destroy the rule of law in the United States and effect greater influence on our laws and media than the best interests of the American citizenry.

Like other smuggling crimes, the economic incentive is not just to the smuggler, but often even more for the native country. "Remittances" is the term used for money sent back "to the old country" by foreign workers - in the case of legal immigrants, an honorable action. Foreign-born in the US (including lawful immigrants and trespassing aliens) send as much as $200 Billion in remittances home annually, $23 Billion to China, $26 Billion to India, $24 Billion to Mexico. These amounts may exceed official Foreign Aid and make up a substantial portion of some countries' incomes. The value is so lucrative - to the point of serving as collateral for sovereign debt - that countries push their people over our borders any way they can, ignoring our laws and their citizens' best interests.

In order to protect and grow this source of income, Mexico, for instance (following the lead of other countries), created its own government programs to encourage its citizens to move here, including guidebooks to assist aliens and inform them of their rights when they are caught. It has adopted a strategy to hold the loyalty of its citizens who live in the US, providing for dual citizenship, voting rights, and special outreach programs.

The Mexican government continually lobbies against US immigration controls, border restrictions, service limits to migrants legal or illegal, and against use of the word "illegal". Under the admirable guise of providing education programs for Mexican citizens, it has established agencies in dozens of US cities that it uses to actively lobby and influence politicians, law enforcement, and the media. The large demonstrations in US cities in 2006 against stiffer punishments for illegal immigration were not spontaneous - they were organized by Mexico's government.

Foreign governments like Mexico have a vested interest in supporting amnesty , guest worker programs, and lax enforcement, and in opposing legislation that serves America's interests, because the longer aliens remain in the US, the more valuable their remittances are to their home government. Official remittance and diaspora programs are supported by globalization & financial interests such as the World Bank, Bank of America and Citigroup, and by our own government's USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development). Given the fortunes involved, it is easy to see how business investment interests as well as foreign governments would be incented to apply strong pressure and convince the US government to quietly abet the continuance of the lucrative status quo. As we have seen with the recent financial crisis, in a situation of competing interests, our own government tends to choose short term finance for the few over long range security of the many.

We are not the only country facing these issues, although our challenges are the largest. Central Asian countries now dependent on remittances responded to the monetary crisis by increasing their emigration rates, flooding Russia with millions of illegal workers. Turkey's economy remains dependent on remittances from its large expatriot worker population in Germany. So many nations rely of remittances that the G8 conference dealt with the issue of creating streamlined systems for the transfer of these monies.

These complications increase concerns about mass amnesty programs and unrestricted immigration. Just who are the people from other countries who are here without our government's knowledge, and how many have criminal intent? How many are here as agents of countries who do not support US interests and culture? How much are foreign governments driving the push for amnesty and the push against US states enforcing our own laws?

Unless the people who stand in our place in Washington and in our State legislatures confront, out loud, and soberly, the hidden motivations for non-enforcement, just how likely is it that any Federal Immigration Reform bill will actually stop people from getting in or be enforced with any greater will or competence than our current laws?

So, when we talk about illegal immigration, don't slip on those red herrings the progressives and the media and the president and others with hidden agendas are throwing out. It's classic misdirection: distracting us from looking at something important.

Force them to talk about the part that somebody would like to hide.


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