According to a Pew Hispanic Center survey conducted back in March 2006, approximately 850,000 illegal immigrants penetrate the U.S.-Mexico border each year. Today, illegal immigrants make up approximately 4% of the U.S. population, 5% of the workforce, 50% of California’s prison population, 20% of the general prison population, and 17% of the federal prison population. In the next 24 hours, an additional 2,400 illegal immigrants will have successfully crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. And that's not even the worst of it.
When it comes to border security, President Bush has not only failed the American people, but he has actually placed us in harm’s way. The U.S.-Mexico border is quite possibly the most easily penetrated border in the entire world. Meanwhile, America remains the loftiest of targets for terrorist activity. President Bush’s negligence is criminal.
When Congress created the Department of Homeland Security back in 2002, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was broken up into two separate departments: Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Aside from creating more bureaucracy, the replacement of the INS with two departments has accomplished little. Indeed, the corruption with which the INS was plagued is equally prevalent in the institution’s replacements.
America’s largely unpatrolled borders poses a significant threat to our national security. While the vast majority of illegal entries into the United States arrive from Mexico, our border with Canada cannot be overlooked. Anybody who crosses either border without detection must be recognized and treated as a security risk. In fact, from the moment a person steps foot on American soil without proper documentation, he or she has already committed a federal offense:
U.S. Code, Title 8, Section 1325: Improper entry by alien
Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
More importantly, the ease with which illegals are crossing our borders on a daily basis sends a clear signal to the entire world that America remains vulnerable to attack.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a troubling report, detailing the extent to which America’s security is at risk. Kenneth Timmerman of NewsMax writes:
[The] DHS Office of Inspector General revealed that 45,008 aliens from countries on the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terror (SST) or from countries that protected terrorist organizations and their members were released into the general public between 2001 and 2005, even though immigration officers couldn't confirm their identities.
Even worse, the report states: "it is not known exactly how many of these…aliens were ultimately issued final orders of removal and actually removed, since such data is not tracked" by the Detention and Removal Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The type of aliens to which the report is referring are known as OTMs, or "other than Mexicans." Under current U.S. immigration laws, OTMs are subject to a "catch and release" policy. Basically, illegal immigrants from countries outside of Mexico are immediately released and allowed to live in the United States while awaiting a deportation hearing.
According to the DHS report, approximately 85 percent of the 45,008 OTMs (40,804) "will abscond" even if deportation orders are issued. Of course, the "45,008" figure provided by the report says nothing about the OTMs that successfully eluded detection.
Timmerman’s article continues:
"The release of these OTMs [other than Mexicans] poses particular risks," the Inspector General report said. The report cited a recent U.S. intelligence assessment indicating that "terrorist organizations… believe illegal entry into the U.S. is more advantageous than legal entry for operations reasons."
Since 2001, the number of "OTMs" arrested for illegally entering this country has jumped by 27 percent to more than 145,000 per year.
From 2001 through the first half of 2005, 605,210 "OTM" aliens were arrested for violating U.S. immigration laws. But a lack of beds at detention facilities and other factors compelled the government to release 51 percent of them into the general population, while awaiting an immigration hearing on their final status.
The threat posed by illegal immigration is exacerbated by the "culture of corruption" under which immigration officials operate. Michael J. Maxwell, the former chief of the CIS Office of Security and Investigation, claims:
"Internal corruption at CIS is so pervasive that hostile foreign governments have penetrated the agency…Terrorists and organized crime are gaming the immigration system with impunity. Taken together, these three elements form the perfect storm."
Maxwell was forced to resign his post at CIS earlier this year.
CIS has documented an illegal immigration route through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that is easily exploited by terrorists and foreign intelligence agents. According to an internal CIS report, smugglers are "using the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John for ‘staging landings’ of illegal immigrants, and that ‘smuggling ventures within the Caribbean meet with little to no resistance.’" According to Maxwell, corrupt immigration officers have facilitated the practice. He adds:
"The smugglers know that only one flight per day is inspected, so they put these folks on other flights."
[C]orrupt U.S. immigration officials helped smugglers obtain false identity documents, so the illegals could "hit the beach with dry clothes and immigration documents waiting for them . . ."
Maxwell reiterated his concern in April 2006, under "sworn testimony before House International Relations subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation." According to his testimony, Maxwell’s office received numerous complaints of "USCIS employees providing material support to known terrorists or being influenced by foreign intelligence services."
[Maxwell testified that] one USCIS employee, "co-opted by a foreign intelligence entity," had "the ability to grant the immigration of their choosing to the person or persons of their choosing."
Government and the Media
While the corruption that Maxwell speaks of is directed at CIS and ICE, it would be a terrible mistake to overlook the corruption of government officials and the media who have failed to alert us to these and other concerns. In fact, the issue of border security has been spun so effectively, that it has been reduced to a pro- or anti-immigration debate. (We have gone from illegal immigrants, to illegals, to undocumented workers, to undocumented citizens, to just plain immigrants.)
Government officials have been pandering to a community of illegal immigrants that can't even vote. Meanwhile, conscientious Americans who are concerned for their safety, and the safety of their country, have been completely marginalized in the process.
The media, on the other hand, has been bought and paid for by organizations like La Raza, whose message is quite simple: you either support citizenship for all illegal immigrants, or you’re a racist. An organization called "The Race" is accusing Americans of being racist; now, that’s ironic.
In recent years, journalistic integrity has been replaced by ideological dispositions. Among the worst offenders is the Associated Press, which is engaged in a journalistic jihad against the West. Unfortunately, the only recourse that Americans have to is to bring attention to the bias that pervades the media in general.
The government, on the other hand, is far more vulnerable to the average American. While mass impeachment of elected officials is an unfeasible course of action, voting out incumbents is not. Midterm elections are right around the corner and Americans should prepare themselves to vote across party lines. If a Democrat is willing to take on the real issue of border security, then a Democrat deserves our vote and likewise for a Republican.
Our government has enjoyed a free ride for far too long and the time has come for Americans to fight back. The people who are currently charged with governing our country are the last people that deserve such power. Once we face that simple truth, change will inevitably follow. After all, with a single ballot, we can change the entire system.