August 10, 2004

Securing the Border
Posted by Dale Franks

Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, the nation's border and transportation security czar, is worried. Is he worried about the possibility of terrorists infiltrating through the Mexican Border? Is he worried that he doesn't have manpower or money to provide adequate border security?

No, he's worried about something else. He's worried that illegal immigrants aren't sleeping well, telling congress,

Undocumented aliens will tell you they often have trouble sleeping at night, and leaving for work each day, not knowing if they will make it home at the end of the day.

In fact, it's weighing on his mind so heavily that, in a written message to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he's unveiled previously unknown details of the president's amnesty guest worker program.

In the written response, Mr. Hutchinson said the Bush plan would:
  • Allow illegal aliens working in the United States to create tax-deferred savings accounts that could be withdrawn on return to their home countries. He said this would encourage savings and even capitalization in businesses, houses or land in the aliens' home countries.
  • Give the aliens access to bilateral agreements the United States has with 20 countries, allowing them to combine earned Social Security credits and receive benefits in their home country. He said the administration would work with its international partners to encourage recognition of the aliens' contributions in both countries.
  • Give the aliens access to travel, knowing they can "go and return freely to the country of origin for celebrations, funerals or vacations." He said cards would be given to the aliens allowing them to travel back and forth between their home countries and the United States "without fear of being denied re-entry."
Mr. Hutchinson said the president believes provisions should be made for the aliens' families to remain in this country or travel to the United States with the temporary workers, if they can demonstrate an ability to financially support their families and if the family members are not criminal or security risks.

So, let me see if I got this right. There are 12 million illegals in the country, with hundreds of thousands on the way every year, and the Homeland Security border chief thinks the best approach to solving that problem is to let them stay for renewable three year terms, give them a 401(k), let them cross freely back and forth across the border, and bring their families back with them.

But it's not an amnesty. It's very important you understand that. because amnesty would be, you know, wrong.

Meanwhile, in other border news:

Investigators said Kamran Shaikh, 35, also known as Kamran Akhtar, is officially charged with being in the U.S. illegally and lying to federal authorities after his arrest last month. But sources say what sparked his arrest may be a much bigger story.

Shaikh was found with video of the new Canal Street streetcar line. In addition, footage of downtown New Orleans buildings was found on videos shot in cities throughout the South.

Shaikh was arrested July 20 after police in Charlotte, N.C., noticed him filming buildings in downtown Charlotte. Police said he acted suspiciously when questioned.

Shaikh entered the US illegally from Mexico.

Then, of course, there's this story:

Farida Goolam Mahamed Ahmed made her way to this city on the U.S. border without being asked any questions about who she was or whether her South African passport was authentic.

She flew into Mexico City on a British Airways flight from London on July 14, and passed easily through checkpoints because South Africans don't need visas to travel in those countries.

Four days later, she was stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol at the McAllen-Miller International Airport in South Texas as she tried to board a plane for New York. She carried a pair of muddy, wet pants in her baggage, $7,300 in various currencies and a passport with three double-sided pages missing.

Ahmed, 48, now is in federal custody on three immigration violation charges as authorities investigate whether she has ties to terrorists.

But, don't worry about the border. Homeland Security is on the case. Secretary Ridge is having the Border Patrol grilled even as you read this.

With the nation on high alert for al-Qaida terrorists, the Department of Homeland Security is putting its border officers through "etiquette" classes to soften their image and make them less threatening to arriving foreign immigrants...

A month ago, DHS directed officers to get tough on suspicious Pakistani travelers who may be sent to America by Osama bin Laden to join sleeper cells and carry out another attack...

Now they have new marching orders: Greet foreign passengers with "a smile" and say, "Welcome to the United States." And don't be so quick to detain suspicious foreigners, DHS advises. After all, they are "our customers."

Our customers. How nice.

And you know what the most frightening thing is? That the Bush Administration is serious about fighting terrorism. God only knows what a kerry amnesty guest worker program would be like.

Both conservatives and liberals are completely unwilling to secure the border. Republicans are the tools of big business interests that like the cheap labor. Democrats are giddy the the prospect of an influx of new minority--and presumably left-leaning--voters.

Apparently, the loss of those constituencies are more threatening to politicians than any prospect of terrorists sneaking across the border. So, evidently nothing at all will be done to close off the border to illegal immigration. At least not until the al-Qaida boys do it, and blow up a chemical weapon or dirty nuke in LA.

Then politicians will do something. Thy're always good for closing the barn door right after the horse gets out.



Let me help ... is he FREAKIN' NUTS?!

Posted by: McQ at August 10, 2004 08:59 PM

"Our customers"???? what, are they paying the border guards? I'm the taxpayer, so I'm the customer here.

Posted by: Wacky Hermit at August 11, 2004 08:56 AM

You do realize that these workers would be documented, right? And that kind of makes the linkage to terrorists sneaking in here sort of tenuous, doesn't it?

If you didn't need to sneak people in and out of the country to work, we could afford to vigorously patrol the borders for bad actors who are not here to work. There wouldn't be a lot of boo-hooing about the conditions of illegals swimming to and fro because they'd be walking through checkpoints just like you and me. You know, like cattle. Civilized.

I could GAS about cheap labor and I'm not a bleeding heart. But these people will make great Americans and they're coming and going anyway. Let's get real here--document them so we can focus on the real illegals.

Posted by: spongeworthy at August 11, 2004 12:37 PM

I have a better idea. Find them, deport them,and concentrate on not allowing them back in illegally.

Posted by: Dale Franks at August 11, 2004 02:06 PM