President George Bush is touring Latin America and he continues to send a message that is, at best, one of ambivalence where immigration is concerned. He says that he is a person who believes in arresting people who violate the laws and then,virtually with his next breath, he winds up fielding questions from reporters at a news conference that deal with his proposal to provide illegal aliens, people who violated the immigration laws of the United States, with a guest worker amnesty program. [Washington Times]
It would seem that perhaps these two positions are not really as contradictory as they may, at first blush, appear. If the President and politicians such as Senator Kennedy have their way, the millions of illegal aliens in the United States would no longer be illegally present in our country and then they would no longer be subject to arrest. That would be the result if a guest worker amnesty program was created.
These aliens would then become eligible to file applications to bring their families to the United States even though they themselves came to the United States illegally!
The use of obfuscating language further clouded the issues when a reporter complained that Guatemalan immigrants were not being treated with respect. The individuals who were arrested, who the reporter referred to – were Guatemalan citizens who were illegal aliens in the United States. They were not immigrants.
I have made this point before and I will repeat it again: the difference between an illegal alien and an immigrant is the equivalent as the difference between a burglar and a houseguest. I do not believe that anyone would accuse the police of showing disrespect for a burglar by arresting him. The same principle applies to an alien who entered our country by running our nation’s border or by violating the terms of admission once he entered the United States.
Interestingly, according to the article, Senator Kennedy wrote a letter to Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security demanding that the illegal aliens who were arrested for working illegally in the United States at the Michael Bianco, Ltd., leather goods factory in New Bedford, Mass. be released pending the outcome of their deportation hearings.
This raises a couple of very interesting questions. First of all, I find it interesting that Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean did not receive similar demands from Senator Kennedy when they were ordered to surrender even while their appeals are pending.
Bail and custody decisions are based on a couple of significant issues. Danger to the community and likelihood of flight are the two biggest areas of concern. While I am not aware that any of the illegal aliens in question are alleged to be involved in violent crimes, the issue of likelihood of flight is of particular concern.
A number of these illegal aliens are potentially facing serious charges. They used false and/or stolen identities. Such violations constitute felonies that, upon conviction, should they be prosecuted, be subject to years of incarceration and a significant fine. The fact that they used false names means that it is entirely possible that their true identities remain unknown and unknowable. The use of false identities raises the issue that they may have used other false identities and would therefore be very difficult to locate should they decide to abscond.
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) lacks the resources to attempt to search for illegal aliens who fail to appear for deportation hearings or who fail to surrender when they are ordered deported. It is currently estimated that some 85% of aliens who are not remanded ultimately fail to appear as required and add to the rapidly growing population of illegal alien absconders.
It is interesting that Senator Kennedy refers to the “insensitivity of ICE agents who, by arresting illegal aliens who violated our nation’s borders, immigration laws and other laws concerning the use of stolen and/or identities including Social Security Numbers, a crime commonly referred to as identity theft, separated these alleged felons from their children.
Every day of the week, law enforcement officers throughout the United States, indeed, throughout the world, arrest suspected criminals for their violations of law. Would Mr. Kennedy change our criminal statutes to prohibit suspected criminals for being arrested by law enforcement officers if they claim to have children?
Our prisons are loaded with parents who commit crimes. Would Mr. Kennedy spring them all from jail?
While we talk about children being separated from their parents, I can think of a couple of fathers whose children and wives are devastated by being separated from them while they sit in jail cells as they await the outcome of their respective appeals of their convictions.
These men are Ramos and Compean, formerly of the United States Border Patrol. I suspect that Mr. Kennedy is happy that these valiant Border Patrol agents have been imprisoned because they took an oath to uphold laws he clearly does not like, the immigration laws of the United States.
Mr. Kennedy, your hypocrisy is showing!
Lead, follow or get out of the way!
All concerned US citizens should contact your elected officials perhaps referring to this commentary and news article to say that you don’t want any quest-worker program / amnesty / legalization / path to citizenship, or any other double talk that rewards people who have illegally entered, remained, worked in our country and whose identity is unknown and unknowable because this puts us at a national security risk.
Michael W. Cutler is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to the 911 Families for a Secure America.