I will focus this commentary on the most recent GOP Presidential debate and an issue that has been all but ignored for decades and just about never raised in previous Presidential campaigns, that of immigration.
What is becoming readily apparent is that the majority of Americans understand that immigration is an important issue and the debates have each, thus far, included at least one question about immigration.
What is emerging as the debates are staged, is that with each debate, the veneer of the glib response is giving way to a window into the thinking of the candidates where many of the issues are concerned with immigration emerging as the real key issue.
Governor Perry has focused on his ability to create jobs, as have many of the other candidates. He has garnered much of the attention of the media and his political competitors because he has been viewed as the front runner. However, as the debates have continued, Governor Perry has been forced to flesh out his position on the the important issues of border security and the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws. It would certainly seem that he has taken a position that is not popular with the folks in attendance at the most recent debate- but what must be understood is that contrary to what most of the reporters have been claiming, the immigration issue is not simply an issue of concern for the Tea Party and the extreme conservatives but is, in reality, an issue of great concern for all Americans.
I hope that as the debates and the discussions about immigration continue, more and more Americans of all political perspectives will come to understand just how critical border security and the way that the immigration laws are enforced and administered throughout the United States is to them an our nation.
In listening the Governor Perry I was struck by his repeated assertion that is it is not practical or feasible to build a fence across the border. Consider his quote:
The first time I heard the governor of Texas make this statement (at the second debate) I thought that perhaps I had misunderstood what he said or he managed to mangle the sentence. Now he has said it again- a fence would require people to go around the fence to get to Tijuana! It is the sort of false argument that calls into question his candor and his willingness to really be honest with the American people on this extremely important issue.
If our nation was to finally construct a fence across the border to impede the human tsunami of illegal aliens, smugglers and all sorts of contraband including narcotics and potentially weapons of mass destruction, the fence would not block existing ports of entry. The purpose of the fence would be to block the flow of illegal aliens and contraband between ports of entry! No one would have to travel 800 miles to get to Tijuana unless they were coming from 800 miles away from Tijuana in the first place!
Stop and re-run that statement in your mind.
A fence would cause those who wish to travel to Tijuana would have to go 800 miles?
Could there be a more disingenuous argument against the construction of a fence or other barrier to help stop or at least impede the flow of illegal aliens into the United States to assist the Border Patrol in gaining control over the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico!
This false argument posed by Governor Perry reminds me of those who advocate for providing pathways to United States citizenship to unknown millions of illegal aliens whose true identities, backgrounds and possible affiliations with criminal and/or terrorist organizations is unknown and unknowable. They will say that it is not possible to arrest the millions of illegal aliens in our country so we should provide them with lawful status and ultimately United States citizenship. That sort of either / or “solution” is no solution at all!
Only a very small percentage of motorists who speed or otherwise violate various laws and regulations under the various states’ motor vehicle laws, however, I have never heard anyone say that if you cannot enforce the laws where all motorists are concerned, you should not enforce the laws where any errant motorists are concerned!
However, where our nation’s immigration laws are concerned, those who oppose enforcing our immigration laws blithely propose blatantly fatuous arguments and feign horror when these arguments are not accepted by the majority of the American people. They then resort to “Plan B” making false and scurrilous accusations!
Let me make an important point- a fence on the border would certainly not represent the all encompassing solution to the immigration crisis our nation faces and while the immigration question often seems to revolve around the fence, we must put that barrier into proper perspective.
I have come to compare a fence on the border with a wing on an airplane. An airplane without that wing will certainly go nowhere, but a wing by itself certainly does not constitute a viable means of transportation. A wing is, a vital component of an airplane but an airplane requires many more components before it can hurtle down the runway and lift off into the “wild blue yonder!”
If our nation is to effectively address the immigration crisis we not only need a fence and more Border Patrol agents but we also need many more enforcement personnel for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The agents of ICE are not only needed to locate and arrest illegal aliens, they also need to have adequate detention facilities to house illegal aliens taken into custody and increased numbers of Immigration Judges and District Counsels (the administrative equivalent of prosecutors).
Additionally, ICE agents are needed to conduct fraud investigations- there is virtually no integrity to the immigration benefits program under which aliens are granted lawful immigrant status and United States citizenship as well as authorizing aliens to attend schools in the United States. ICE agents need to make certain that when aliens are granted temporary work visas that they actually report to those jobs and faithfully work at those jobs for which they were admitted. For example, the agriculture industries and their lobbyists are always complaining that they don’t have enough agricultural workers. In my experience, many aliens admitted to work on farms never show up or quickly leave those jobs and no one at ICE attempts to track them down and arrest them.
Immigration fraud was identified as being utilized by terrorists. In fact, the 9/11 Commission noted that of 94 terrorists who were identified as operating in our country in the decade before the attacks of 9/11 some 59 of those terrorists utilized visa fraud and immigration fraud as a means of entering the United States and embedding themselves in communities across our nation.
It has been estimated that there are at least 5 million visa violators in the United States and yet ICE has only assigned fewer than 300 special agents to seek to locate and apprehend those visa violators and with the current policy of this administration, I sincerely doubt that any ICE agent is now even attempting to locate these illegal aliens who either overstayed their authorized period in the United States or otherwise violated the terms of their admission.
On May 11, 2006 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International Relations on the topic:
On May 10, 2010 I was interviewed by Daniel Gonzalez, a reporter with the Arizona Republic for an news report titled, “U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas.” Here is the link to the news report in which I was quoted:
In case you think that these reports are a bit dated, in July of this year I wrote a commentary about the continuing threat that visa violators pose to national security and posted an article on my website. Here is the link to that extensive article that was entitled, “Visas reviewed to find those who overstayed- Aim is to find any would-be terrorists”
The GAO reported that from 2005 until 2010 more than 98 million alien visitors were admitted into the United States under the auspices of the Visa Waiver Program which currently enables aliens from 36 countries to seek to enter the United States without first applying for and receiving visas. Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber” who just weeks after the attacks of 9/11 attempted to destroy a US bound airliner over the Atlantic Ocean by detonating explosives in his shoes. He is the reason all air travelers must now remove their shoes before boarding airliners and have them x-rayed. Our government apparently has learned that explosives can be concealed in shoes. However, inasmuch as he was a citizen of Great Britain (a Visa Waiver country) he did not need to apply for a visa- a visa he would likely never have been granted.
Today Mr. Reid would still not need to secure a visa before boarding an airliner heading to the United States! In fact the number of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program have been increased over the past several years while, in fact, this program should have been completely terminated after the attacks of 9/11.
What has been, for so many years, so frustrating where the debate about immigration and border security are concerned is that the open borders crowd, folks I now refer to as “Immigration Anarchists” have resorted to the use of deceptive language, name calling and other such tactics to push their agenda.
I am not accusing Texas Governor Rick Perry of being an open border advocate, but his arguments, frankly, are extremely worrying.
In discussing the tactics used by open borders advocates let’s consider the use of the term “Alien” was declared verboten by the Carter administration although the term alien is simply defined as being any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. That is the legal definition of that term as noted in the Immigration and Nationality Act. There is no insult in that definition. This is not “hate speech!” It is the simple truth that when a person who is not a citizen of a country enters into that country he is defined as being an alien- a non-citizen. Every country on planet Earth has a comparable term and no other country would have a problem using that term. There is, however, a problem with the term alien- it provides clarity to the debate. The folks who want to push the open borders agenda understand that clarity in this debate represents a huge handicap for them. With clarity they know that they cannot win. So they refer to illegal aliens as immigrants- after all, we are continually reminded that, “We are a nation of immigrants.” Rather than admit that these aliens are illegally present we have been told that they are “undocumented.”
In numerous debates I have raised the issue that undocumented should give us all “cause for pause.” Undocumented means that there is no reliable way of knowing the true identities of these foreign nationals who are present in our country in violation of law. If they are truly “undocumented” they ran our border and evaded the inspections process that is supposed to prevent the entry of aliens into our country whose presence would be harmful or potentially dangerous. (Check out Title 8, United States Code, Section 212) to see the extensive list of aliens whose presence could do us serious harm.)
Furthermore aliens who evade the inspections process create no record of their entry into our country. In this particularly perilous era where the threat of a terrorist attack hangs as a Sword of Damocles over our nation.
Lately the open borders advocates have apparently paid attention to the argument about the inherent dangers to be associated with the presence of undocumented aliens living among us and so now the new term du jour is “Unauthorized!”
I am, frankly, disgusted with the sort of deceptive practices used by those who put their agenda ahead of the safety and security of our nation and our citizens.
The 800 mile journey that Governor Perry claims would be required if a fence was constructed is, to me, another one of those baseless arguments!
I am further disturbed that he would accuse anyone who opposes providing tens of thousands of dollars in tuition breaks to illegal aliens is also missing another point- a prudent family does not give generously to charity when his (her) own children are going to bed hungry at night- and indeed, many American children are going to bed hungry at night!
Recently ABC News posted a very upsetting news report about how pervasive hunger is today, here in America, among American children. This important piece of journalism was entitled:
“Shocking Need: American Kids Go Hungry”
Here is a link to the video of this heart-breaking report that every American must see:
Among the facts noted in this report was the fact that one in six American adults and one in four American children is “food insecure.” Food insecure means that when they wake
Sometimes, in the real world, we have to make choices- tough choices! A nation’s first obligation must be to prioritize the needs of its citizens. We also must not provide incentives and encouragement for those who violate our laws. I sincerely doubt that Governor Perry would be willing to provide American students from other states who would want to attend colleges in Texas with instate tuition rates. So does that mean that he does not have a heart?
While we are on the topic of creating incentives for aliens to violate our nation’s borders and immigration laws, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) the all inclusive body of laws that govern the enforcement and administration of our nation’s immigration laws, deems it a felony to encourage, induce, aid or abet aliens to enter our country in violation of law or to remain illegally in the United States in violation of law.
Here is an excerpt from the relating statute:
Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) defines several distinct offenses related to aliens. Subsection 1324(a)(1)(i)-(v) prohibits alien smuggling, domestic transportation of unauthorized aliens, concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts. Subsection 1324(a)(2) prohibits bringing or attempting to bring unauthorized aliens to the United States in any manner whatsoever, even at a designated port of entry. Subsection 1324(a)(3).
Encouraging/Inducing — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who — encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.
Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.
Here is the linkto this section of law in its entirety.
The need to address the needs of Americans is not a “Conservative Issue” nor is it a “Liberal Issue.”
This is about commonsense, to provide opportunities for the citizens of our nation- for the American workers who are unemployed or underemployed, for the American families who are losing their homes through no fault of their own but simply because they cannot find work and for the American students who are finding it difficult if not impossible to attend universities to improve their careers prospects as they come of age and join the workforce and may even now question that even if they graduate with advanced degrees may not get the jobs they want because of outsourcing of jobs overseas and the importation of foreign workers who will work for significantly lower wages, and few, if any benefits.
Perhaps the issue is not if those of us who are concerned about the plight of Americans don’t have a heart but if anyone who would not appreciate these concerns have a brain!
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!
our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!
We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.
My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.
The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.
If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”
The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.
The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!
The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to get involved!
I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!
If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!
All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!
We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.
This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!
You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!
ORLANDO, Fla. — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pressed his attack Friday on conservative concerns over presidential rival Rick Perry’s support of favorable tuition rates for some children of illegal immigrants, hitting the three-term Texas governor’s claim that critics of the law are simply heartless.
“I think if you are opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart,” the former Massachusetts told a gathering here for a Conservative Political Action Conference. “It means that you have a heart and a brain.”
Mr. Romney again called for a fence along the southern border with Mexico to staunch the flow of illegal immigrants, additional troops and law enforcement personnel along the border, and for ending the “magnet” that draws illegal immigrants here — the employers who hire illegal immigrants and the states, such as Texas, that offer taxpayer-funded benefits for people who are here illegally.
“One of the things I still can’t get over is the idea that a state would give a $100,000 discount to illegals to go to school in their state,” he said, suggesting the subsidy carries an annual price of $22,000 per student. “It is simply wrong to create that kind of magnet. It cannot be sustained.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (left) makes a statement as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens during a Republican presidential candidate debate on Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (Associated Press)
The attack came just hours after the third Republican debate in as many weeks, where nine candidates squared off. Mr. Perry, who leads the GOP polls nationally and here in Florida, again found himself the main object of attack onstage, coming under repeated fire from his rivals, particularly over the Texas policy that allows illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.
“If you say that we should not educate children that have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought here by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” he said, eliciting some boos from the thousands of party faithful in attendence “We need to be educating these children because they will become a drag on our society.”
He also refused to endorse building fence along the southern border.
“The idea that you are going to build a wall, a fence for 1,200 miles and then go 800 miles to Tijuana does not make sense,” he said, calling for additional enforcement boots on the ground.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann kicked off the morning speeches at the CPAC event Friday by casting herself as the candidate who best embodies the national security, fiscal and social strains of the conservative movement.
She also took a swipe at Mr. Perry’s immigration law.
“As president of the United States, I will build a fence on our southern border against illegal immigration and we will not have taxpayer subsidies benefits for illegal immigrants or their children,” she said.