Thursday, July 5, 2007

Homeland Insecurity

I came across a transcript from a Fox News interview between Chris Wallace and Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security.

Now, Chertoff has been up on the Hill pushing immigration reform for President Bush for the last several weeks. He has told Congress that his job is impossible without comprehensive reform, including the legalization of 12 million aliens.

So I shouldn’t be surprised to hear more of the same from him last Sunday. But it still bothers me when the man in charge of protecting us from foreigners tells us he’s done all the enforcement he can.

Chertoff said it is really hard to build a fence. He said of the 700 miles in the bill last fall, we’ll finish 140-150 miles this year and have a total of about 370 by the end of 2008. I can only hope they are putting it in strategic places.

He also says that the fence is overrated; that the real way to stop illegals is to go after the employers. Is this the same guy who told NPR on June 8th that we need these workers so the economy won’t fall apart? Yes he is.

He then goes on to say that Homeland Security has done all they can already with the tools they have. “Tools” is code for money, I think. He told Wallace that Congress has failed to give them an enforcement bill and failed to give them a comprehensive bill, so he is doing the best he can with the money he has been given.

For Chertoff, the employee verification process is inadequate. He wants a tamper-proof card. But he doesn’t talk about the employers he’s sent to jail because there aren’t any. Those are Bush supporters and for the most part they have been safe. And this is the same Chertoff that was telling us how effective the current verification program is.

It is a laugh to go to the Homeland Security website and snoop around the press releases over the past couple of years. Chertoff talks about the wonderful US VISIT technology that combines fingerprint matching to passports. But that program doesn’t work.

And it doesn’t speak well of the enforcement of existing laws. We need to be able to prosecute employers and ID thieves with the existing laws. We need the cooperation between Immigration, the IRS, and Social Security so they will share data and go after the criminals.

Chertoff cannot truthfully say he is doing all he can when hundreds of illegal aliens are in custody in local jails for serious offenses and they are let go because Immigration won’t pick them up. Surely he knows that 12 people a day are murdered at the hands of illegals and another dozen die daily in DUI traffic accidents.

If Chertoff really believes his own words it would be a good time to be vocal about his needs and force the Congress and the administration to fund and execute enforcement. If Chertoff had been as visible and vocal about HB4437 maybe the Senate would have taken it seriously.

You can’t have it both ways, Mike. The truth is that Chertoff has said whatever Bush wanted him to say. Chertoff paints the “victim” picture well when he says he’ll enforce the law but he’s gonna have to deport some parents along the way and leave behind crying children.

So, maybe if we want strong deterrence, Chertoff is not our man. Neither is Bush. Tom Ridge felt the same way about illegals. Like I said in my blog yesterday, this administration is withholding enforcement as a bargaining chip for legalization.

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