Pretending immigration isn't an issue

Posted: Aug 20, 2002 12:00 AM
The Republican National Committee's mail-order fund-raisers often contain a comprehensive multiple-choice survey so that prospective donors can give their opinions on topics of national importance. One issue, however, is conspicuously missing from the list: immigration. The omission isn't an oversight; it's a deliberate policy. The National Republican Congressional Committee has been advising its candidates not to mention this issue in their speeches or campaign literature. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., gave Republicans the opportunity to seize this issue when he addressed a radical left-wing Hispanic group, The National Council of La Raza, in Miami on July 22. He announced a Democratic Party plan to introduce legislation to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Nothing is more unpopular with voters than amnesty (which Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.V., called "sheer lunacy"). If the powers that be in the Republican Party don't realize this, they are out-of-touch with the grass roots. The shyness of the Republican Party and the Bush administration about immigration explains why they manifest a deafening silence about Rep. George Gekas's bill called Securing America's Future through Enforcement Reform. The Pennsylvania Republican's bill is completely in accord with public opinion polls, showing that the majority of the American people want government to reduce the number of legal immigrants, to stop the irresponsible issuance of visas, to deport illegal aliens and to use U.S. troops to guard our borders (instead of the borders of Eastern Europe). Title I, called Securing the Border, would increase the number of INS investigators and enforcement personnel, lengthen criminal sentences for alien smuggling, beef up the Border Patrol and use U.S. military troops until the Border Patrol reaches full strength. It would stop granting visas in countries that refuse to cooperate in combating alien smuggling. Title II, called Screening Aliens Seeking Admission, would tighten the visa program to reduce the risk of aliens using fraudulent passports, require in-person interviews before issuing all visas, and bar any alien who is a member of a terrorist group or supports terrorism. Most people don't understand why this isn't already the law. Title III, called Tracking Aliens Present in the United States, would establish a comprehensive entry-exit control system with registration and fingerprinting (which the INS has promised for years but never implemented). At least 40 percent of illegal aliens are visa overstayers. Several of the 9/11 hijackers had overstayed their visas. Title IV, called Removing Alien Terrorists, Criminals, and Human Rights Violators, would authorize the INS to deport any alien who was inadmissible in the first place or is suspected of being a terrorist. This title would reverse several court decisions that accord unreasonable "rights" to terrorists claiming asylum, and would prevent the courts from releasing criminal aliens into the community. Title V, called Enhancing Enforcement of the Immigration and Nationality Act in the Interior, would protect Social Security cards against counterfeiting and fraudulent use. This title would increase the number of INS investigators, as repeatedly requested by the INS, and double the number of INS detention beds. Title VI would eliminate excessive review and dilatory, abusive tactics by aliens in deportation proceedings. It would also exclude aliens who knowingly make a false asylum application. Title VII would clean up the problem of voting by illegal aliens. It would require verification of citizenship for voters and applicants. Title VIII, called Reforming Legal Immigration, would repeal the infamous Diversity Immigrant Program which admits 50,000 immigrants a year, mostly from the Third World, including countries that sponsor terrorism, and helped the Fourth of July LAX murderer win U.S. residency. It would reform the abuses in the refugee program and in the extended-family visa program, and reduce the number of legal immigrants by 20 percent. This would still leave immigration nearly double the traditional level. The INS is unable to cope with its current backlog of 5 million applications. Gekas, chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, will start hearings on his bill next month. He should then add one more section requiring the INS to screen out aliens with diseases, such as the West Nile virus, malaria, Chagas disease, intestinal parasites and tuberculosis. The BBC reported that the current epidemic of the West Nile virus (a central African disease) was probably brought to America for the first time three years ago by an imported exotic bird. The Centers for Disease Control reported that 16,000 foreign birds passed unscreened for West Nile virus through JFK airport in 1999. Where are the environmentalists when we need them?