Friday, March 28, 2008

The battle over illegal immigration continues

From The New York Times:

At least 304,000 immigrant criminals eligible for deportation are behind bars nationwide, a top federal immigration official said Thursday.

That is the first official estimate of the total number of such convicts in federal, state and local prisons and jails.

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie L. Myers, said the annual number of deportable immigrant inmates was expected to vary from 300,000 to 455,000, or 10 percent of the overall inmate population, for the next few years.

Ms. Myers estimated that it would cost at least $2 billion a year to find all those immigrants and deport them.

How much is it costing us to keep them in jail and how much do their crimes cost society at large? I once saw a study which proved that when you compare the dollar cost of a criminal behind bars to the dollar cost of the same criminal running around free committing crimes that jail was a bargain. If this is true then that two billion dollars is only a small percentage of what the illegal alien criminals who haven't been caught and convicted yet are costing us.

This week, Ms. Myers presented a plan to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security intended to speed the deportation of immigrants convicted of the most serious crimes by linking state prisons and county jails into federal databases that combine F.B.I. fingerprint files with immigration, border and antiterrorism records of the Homeland Security Department.

In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Myers said the plan would bring “a fundamental change” by streamlining deportations of foreign-born criminals.

Representative David E. Price, Democrat of North Carolina and chairman of the subcommittee, wrote a five-page letter on Thursday saying that the agency’s plan did “not meet the legal requirements” of the 2008 appropriation that gave the agency $200 million to deport criminals.

Mr. Price said the plan failed to focus mainly on illegal immigrants who committed crimes, did not provide for any coordination with immigration courts and justice officials and included huge unexplained cost increases.

Based on the schedule in the plan, Mr. Price said, he did not see evidence that the agency “shares my sense of urgency about removing criminals from our country before they victimize Americans again.”

Since the ICE plan focuses on "inmates" it is hard to see how it "failed to focus on illegal immigrants who committed crimes" since one becomes an "inmate" by being convicted of committing a crime and sent to jail. As for the price tag, I could certainly get along nicely for the rest of my life on 200 million dollars, but the government can't scratch its ass for less than a billion so who are we kidding.

[. . .]

Immigration lawyers warned that unless local law enforcement officers were trained in immigration law, the ICE plan could focus on many immigrants who committed minor violations that did not make them deportable.

“Immigration law is confusing and convoluted and not user friendly,” said David Leopold, a vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “To turn that over to local law enforcement without training is asking for trouble.”

How about this. If you are here illegally that alone is enough of a crime to merit deportation.

Illegal immigration is the single most important issue facing our nation today. It is more important than Iraq, or the war on terror in general. It is more important than extending the Bush tax cuts or the credit crisis or even what we do about the global warming hoax.

In 2000 the presidential election would have turned out differently if even one red state had gone for Gore and more than one red state would have turned blue with a shift of less than 100 thousand votes. In 2004 Bush won the popular vote by a margin of around 3 million votes. Even in 1980 Reagan's 49 state electoral landslide was won with a margin of only around 8 million votes.

The government says that there are 12 million illegal aliens in the US. Private groups which take an interest in the illegal immigration question say there are more likely 22 million and some estimates go as high as 30 million. Even if we take the median estimate of 20 million it is plain to see that any program which legalizes their status and creates a path to citizenship for them potentially adds up to 12 million voters to the Democrat party's rolls and only 8 million (at the most) to Republican rolls. That assumes that the Republican party is able to keep the unusually high percentage of Hispanic votes (40%) that is was able to get in the 2004 election. Historically that has not been the case.

The Democrat party offers nothing to this nation other than the loss of power and influence on the international stage. Economic stagnation and rising unemployment at home and the continued slide toward European-style socialism amid the unchecked deterioration of our moral values. Democrats would chain the US economy to useless global warming regulations which would cause massive increases in the price of energy, food, manufactured goods and nearly everything else (what product do you buy which doesn't require energy to make and transport?).

The Democrat party offers nothing but retreat and surrender in the global war against resurgent Islam and would do little or nothing to stop the proliferation of nuclear arms among the world's rogue states like North Korea and Iran.

In other words the policies and attitudes of the Democrat party are simply not conducive to the survival of the United States as a free and prosperous, much less powerful, nation.

There is nothing that terrorists can do to the United States which will force us to cripple our economy with Kyoto-style greenhouse gas controls. There is nothing terrorists can do to us to force us to turn our health care system over to government control. There is nothing terrorists can do to us to force us to raise taxes to the point where it is no longer profitable for large numbers of businesses to remain in the United States.

The list of things that terrorists cannot do to us but that our own elected leaders can do to us stretches on and on. It is clear that granting the Democrat party a windfall of millions of voters would literally doom the USA.

The question Republicans must ask themselves is how to best fight amnesty during the next four years. Is it better to have a Democrat in the White House who will support amnesty/open borders or a Republican doing the same thing?

George W Bush, as far as we know, did not play true hard-ball with Senate Republicans over the immigration issue. He did not have the RNC threaten holdout Republicans with loss of money for their election campaigns. Nor did he threaten to have the RNC recruit more "moderate" Republicans to run against them in the Republican primaries. He also did hot threaten to go to their states and campaign against them if they didn't toe his line.

What do we know about the character of John McCain and how he responds to opposition from within his own party? McCain gets up into fellow Republicans faces and screams the F-word at them while accusing them of being corrupt and dishonorable. He refuses to shake the hand of an FEC official with whom he has a disagreement over a point of campaign finance law, again calling the gentleman "corrupt and dishonorable".

Does anyone out there with an IQ in the double-digits believe that McCain will not use every weapon in his arsenal to get what he wants from congressional Republicans? Does anyone out there not think that "moderate" Republicans who can usually be persuaded to do the right thing on party-line votes will not take advantage of the cover being offered by the fact that the Republican president supports amnesty to jump ship. After all they will just be "supporting our own president".

It took a massive citizen revolt to stop amnesty when it was being pushed by a mild mannered Republican president. Will that be enough to stop it when it is being pushed by a Republican president who is willing to get down in the sewer and wage a knife fight, as long as his enemy is only other Republicans?

Will the citizenry be able to mount the same kind of campaign to stop amnesty again and again every year that McCain is in the White House because we know that he will not give up. If we elect "Mr. Amnesty" John McCain to the White House what message will that send to politicians of both parties?

Amnesty becomes law and America (at least as the Founders left it to us) dies. Osama bin Laden at his most powerful cannot kill the United States of America but amnesty can.