WASHINGTON, D.C. -- This week, when federal authorities arrested
workers at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports for unlawfully possessing
security badges, "open borders" advocates were outraged because several of
those apprehended were illegal immigrants. Apparently the "rights" of those
who break America's laws by entering our country illegally outweigh the
safety of law-abiding American citizens. It's nothing new. But it's getting
Two weeks ago in Atlanta, federal agents caught employees of the
Social Security Administration doubling as street vendors, selling Social
Security numbers to illegal aliens. And last month in Charlotte, N.C., the
feds busted a fraud ring selling bogus immigration papers to aliens from
Hong Kong, Malaysia and communist China.
In Texas, hospitals located near the Mexican border are
reporting losses of up to $200 million annually attributable to illegal
immigrants who cross the border to obtain emergency medical care, which U.S.
hospitals are obligated to provide. Hospitals located on the border in
California and Arizona face the same problem.
In Arizona, the frustration with lax borders has gotten so bad
that several armed "citizen-militia" groups help police the border.
Meanwhile, in Washington, the politicians are fiddling while the borders
burn. Neither party seems to be interested in stopping the tidal wave of
The Democrats designed "motor voter" -- the process of
registering to vote simultaneously when applying for or renewing a driver's
license. And in 1996, William "The Zipper" Clinton and his pal Al benefited
by naturalizing 1.3 million immigrants (four times the average number),
despite the fact that 60,000 of them turned out to have criminal records.
The GOP doesn't do much better. Most Republicans seem to believe
that immigration control has replaced Social Security reform as the new
"third-rail" of American politics. They believe this, despite the fact that
California Gov. Pete Wilson cruised to re-election in 1994 by advancing the
sensible view that illegal aliens are not "entitled" to the same welfare
benefits and public services that resident aliens and citizens in the United
States enjoy. Wilson was later blamed for the plummeting level of Hispanic
support for the Republican Party.
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a longtime proponent for protecting
our borders, is the latest Republican to feel the lash. When he contested a
Denver Post feature on how illegal alien Jesus Apodaca feels persecuted
because he's not allowed to pay discounted, in-state college tuition rates,
he -- rather than Apodaca -- was pummeled in the press and by members of his
own party. He's not alone. Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, a
Republican, is being battered for suggesting that public colleges and
universities in the commonwealth should deny enrollment to illegal
immigrants and report those illegals on campus to federal authorities.
Unfortunately, Tancredo and Kilgore are nearly alone in their
efforts to deal with the problem. American businesses, the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, powerful members of their own party and liberal activists are all
allied against them. So are our "neighbors." They don't want their own
people back -- they have unemployment problems of their own.
Canada has objected to any measures that would impede traffic
across our northern border. Mexico is now issuing special identity cards to
its illegal aliens in America through Mexican consulates. Available for a
$29.00 fee, the identity card is accepted as a legal proof of identification
at airports, government buildings, state motor vehicle departments, banks
and police departments in 13 states and more than 80 cities. And the
government of El Salvador, with one fourth of its population now resident in
the United States, is urging those who left to take advantage of their
Temporary Protected Status and stay here.
Since the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001, the immigration
debate has been influenced by the ease with which Arab terrorists entered
the United States. As part of the Department of Homeland Security
legislation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service will have its two
principal, and often conflicting, functions -- enforcing border controls and
supervising the citizenship formation of legal immigrants -- partitioned
into separate agencies. This long overdue measure is supposed to reinforce
the necessary distinction between legal immigrants, who have followed the
law and patiently waited their turn to emigrate to the United States, and
those who have illegally jumped border fences, waded the Rio Grande or
trekked through desert crossings.
The ink was hardly dry on the president's signature on the
homeland security bill before "open borders" and Hispanic "rights" advocates
were lobbying Congress to ignore the illegal alien problem. They note that
illegals, particularly from Mexico, perform work that others in the United
States will not do. They also point out that terrorists like Mohamed Atta
were in the United States legally and ask what security threats are posed by
illegal, undocumented workers inside the United States.
The case of accused "Beltway Sniper" Lee Malvo springs to mind.
Malvo, an illegal alien, was detained last December in Washington -- and
then released by the INS. The Malvo case may be exceptional in its violence,
but all illegal immigrants, by definition, break the law when they
surreptitiously enter the country. That's reason enough to detain and deport
them. As the United States readies for renewed conflict against Iraq, it's
high time to think about securing our own borders before we commit to
protecting Kuwait's and Saudi Arabia's.