7/27/2005

A terrorist's best option to kill

Despite the downside of massive sustained illegal immigration, the government has systematically abandoned the enforcement of the nation's immigration laws. This began under President Clinton when he stopped enforcing employer sanctions, penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, and by reducing border management to nothing more than an expensive, dishonest, and demoralizing display of empty ritual.

The Clinton administration did not act alone. Some members of the very Congress that passed the laws in the first place pressured enforcement agencies not to enforce the law at the behest of business interests that profit from an unchecked flow of tractable labor. The Bush administration completed the process by ending what remained of interior enforcement and by continuing the charade of border controls.

The Livermore Sector of the Border Patrol in the San Francisco Bay Area was, according to one former senior Border Patrol official, "man for man the most productive in the country." It was shut down in 2004.

The 9/11 Commission recommended an increase in the manpower of the Border Patrol, and in 2005, following those recommendations Congress authorized the hiring of 2,000 more Border Patrol agents. But the president's budget allocated only enough money for 210 agents, not even enough to cover attrition. When asked about the paltry sum, outgoing Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge said that money for such purposes is "fool's gold."

Since June 2004 the Border Patrol has been restricted to the border itself and to stationary points, thus ending one of its traditional missions -- sweeping interior regions for illegal aliens. One frustrated agent says this unprecedented policy is the equivalent of putting a ten-yard limit on bank robbery: if the robber gets beyond that point he can keep the money.

Joe Dessaro, a recently retired Border Patrol agent and union chief, wrote in his farewell letter to the union that the Border Patrol is "one of the most inefficient and misleading agencies in the history of government." Echoing this sentiment another agent hundreds of miles away observes that "the whole thing is the biggest bunco job in history, spending millions not to do the job."
None of this is lost on those who would cross the border illegally. They know that once across the line they are home free, and that if caught at the border they will be returned to try again until they make it. One agent says he caught the same man three times in one shift at the same place on the fence. Border crossers also know the routine. When they are picked up and put in vans, some ask, "Where are my juice and crackers?"

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