Monday, May 12, 2008

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confesses

There was an article in our paper Friday about victims of illegal aliens. The reporter went to Immigration for a comment and here’s what they said:

“Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs, said the federal government already has stepped up efforts to track and remove immigrants who commit crimes.

“In 2007, ICE tagged 160,000 criminal immigrants for deportation -- 100,000 more than the previous year, Montenegro said.

“The agency's 2008 budget includes $240 million to expand efforts to identify and remove criminal immigrants, Montenegro said, and the agency expects to identify another 200,000 criminal immigrants for deportation this year.” (Daily Herald 5/9/08)

So, according to the ICE spokesman, there were approximately 60,000 criminals deported in 2006, 160, 000 in 2007, and more money on the way to do even more.

Hidden in that recap is a confession. The Bush administration spent six years ignoring enforcement, only to be forced to demonstrate to the public that they could control the problem.

More agents, more detention beds, a better database, more worksite raids, more arrests of those who defied deportation orders…all in the past year. Now, why are they doing it?

Bush sent Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff over to the Senate last May with a message. It went something like this: The President wants his legalization program and a more generous guest worker quota. If we don’t get it, we won’t be able to supply the labor needed to keep America running.

We all know how comprehensive immigration reform turned out – it failed. And part of the reason it failed was because Americans don’t trust government. We have seen examples over the years of serious unintended consequences.

Even as it relates to this issue, we had amnesty for 2.7 million people back in 1986. And we never fixed the underlying problem. 9/11 didn’t teach us anything. The issues are still the same as they were in 1981.

We need a border that works. We need to be able to control expired visas. We need to deport people, starting with the criminals. We need to penalize employers. We need a reliable work document process.

So, everyone is asking the obvious question. If we legalize 12 million people, what’s to stop another wave from coming in? So ICE has some work to do. They got busy showing us they can keep out the illegals. They are displaying a show of force so we know they can enforce the laws in the interior.

But our main question is this: Where have you been for the past six years? And the answer is that they were hoping we wouldn’t notice since Bush wants them to stay. Immigration enforcement has always been a low priority of this administration.

Hidden in Gail Montenegro’s statement is the confession that the Bush administration let things go. The question is whether GWB is heartless or foolish. We know he is politically stubborn but he must have known his open borders were hurting us. The problem doubled since he came to office.

And at this point it is hard to believe some of the figures coming out of Washington. Surely they can’t expect us to believe them? Those days are gone.

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