Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Border enforcement = bypassing laws, waiving legality?

A grand total of three companies were fined for employing illegal immigrants in 2004. A couple of years later came a well-publicized busting of IFCO for doing the same, followed by other companies notorious for using taxpayer-subsidized cheap labor like Swift & Company being spotlighted.

The next year, ICE head Julia Myers claimed it would cost $8,000 per illegal immigrant deported if the estimated 12 million were forcibly removed by the agency. As seven or eight will leave on their own for each deportation, the estimate was silly, in addition to being dubious (for example, it assumed somewhere in the area of 450,000 additional ICE agents would have to be hired over a two-year period to get the job done--currently, ICE has fewer than half that many total employees). This came on the heels of Michael Chertoff publicly complaining that immigration enforcement was upsetting (really).

This January, Myers' announced that ICE would be deporting some 200,000 illegal, criminal (redundant, I know) immigrants currently being incarcerated within the US. The following month came news that a year-and-a-half after Congress voted to authorize 700 miles of multi-layered fencing along the US-Mexico border, DHS had failed to complete a "virtual fence" along a whopping 28-mile stretch and had no system set up to monitor the invisible fence's successfulness even had it been up and running. And it wouldn't be coming soon. Not for at least another 36 months.

The capriciousness continues:
The Bush administration will use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday.

Invoking the two legal waivers — which Congress authorized — will cut through bureaucratic red tape and sidestep environmental laws that currently stand in the way of the Homeland Security Department building 267 miles of fencing in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to officials familiar with the plan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly about it.

The move is the biggest use of legal waivers since the administration started building the fence, and it will cover a total of 470 miles along the Southwest border, the department said. Previously, the department has used its waiver authority for two portions of fence in Arizona and one portion in San Diego.

"Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement. "These waivers will enable important security projects to keep moving forward."

To call it flip-flopping insinuates some kind of net neutrality, as though alternating between staying soft and sounding tough amounts to just treading water from the perspective of both the open borders and the restrictionist sides of the debate. In actuality, the dithering favors the open borders side. The US Census estimates that given current birthing and migration trends, by mid-century there will be 130 million Hispanics in the US, comprising nearly one-third of the total population. Time favors the Reconquista.

The Bush administration is reluctant to do anything of substance to quell unfettered immigration of an expanding Hispanic underclass. Even though immigration enforcement is clearly a duty of the federal government (Art. 4, Sec. 4), the several states--from Arizona to New Jersey--are not passively suffering its dereliction of duty. Close to home, Missouri will be voting on immigration legislation this week and Kansas will be tackling it during this legislative session.

Chertoff's latest announcement hearteningly shows that public pressure remains strong against the Big Establishment--big business, big religion, big government, big media, etc.

As the excerpt from the USA Today article above demonstrates, however, big media isn't enthusiastically reporting as much. I quoted from the article's opening on through the first four paragraphs. Recall (bolded above) that more than 30 laws and regulations will be bypassed! Legal waivers will be invoked! This is as if to suggest what DHS says it's going to do skirts legality, shrouded in a grey fog.

It doesn't and it isn't. The Real ID Act, passed in '05, expanded on a '96 bill commanding what was at the time INS, in conjunction with the Attorney General, to "take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical barriers and roads (including the removal of obstacles to detection of illegal entrants) in the vicinity of the United States border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States." Real ID gives that power specifically to the Secretary of Homeland Security (Chertoff) and supercedes previously existing laws that conflict with those commands. It is challengeable only on the grounds of perceived unconstitutionality.

That's how the legislative process works. Newer laws constantly negate previously existing ones. Thus, DHS isn't doing anything furtive. It is doing (or at least finally saying that it is going to do) what it is explicitly authorized to do by legislation that passed 368-58 in the House and unanimously in the Senate.


John Savage said...

Audacious Epigone,

Have you ever written about the 287 (g) program for local enforcement? Apparently it was quite successful in Charlotte, and now the Charlotte mayor is running for governor. Whether it can really make a serious dent in the immigrant population is more doubtful, though. But at least we could get rid of the worst-behaved immigrants.

Audacious Epigone said...


I haven't, although I remember Kris Kobach (he ran for a GOP House spot in my district in '04 but lost to our long-time Democratic rep and has since led the charge against in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in Kansas, among other states I believe) mentioning it.

A list of enforcement/corrections agencies that have acquired the "memorandum of agreement" to 'invoke' the law is here.

al fin said...

Most horrendous. As bad as the civil service has become due to nepotism and incompetent practice, the train wreck of out of control colliding legislation makes bureaucracy and regulatory agencies insufferable.

Of such caprice is revolution born.