Saturday, August 05, 2006

Perhaps I’m Less Angry About Immigration

One of the key issues in this fall’s Congressional election will be centered on what has been done to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. As things stand now, there is tremendous frustration over the lack of any meaningful progress on this issue and over the seeming lack of concern on the part of most Democrats, RINO Republican senators and President Bush.

Perhaps, though, President Bush has somewhat gotten the message and responded to it (something no Democrat president would do). Secretary Chertoff made the following announcement the other day:

Washington Times 7/28/06

The Bush administration said yesterday it has nearly ended catch-and-release on the southern border in the past few weeks, has almost tripled the number of criminal arrests this year of employers who hire illegal aliens, and will gain operational control of the border by 2008, two years earlier than expected.

"With respect to every population, except for one, we have achieved essentially 100 percent catch-and-remove," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a House appropriations panel yesterday.

The policy of releasing non-Mexican illegal aliens and hoping they return to be deported, known as "catch-and-release," had become a symbol of how dysfunctional the immigration-enforcement system is. About 85 percent of non-Mexican illegal aliens used to be released, and few ever showed up for deportation.

But Mr. Chertoff said a recent infusion of money, President Bush's decision to have the National Guard aid the U.S. Border Patrol and a commitment to better turnaround times for deporting illegal aliens has allowed the department to detain almost all non-Mexican illegal aliens they catch. He also said it has deterred some illegal aliens from trying to cross. Catch-and-release doesn't apply to Mexican aliens, who are routinely sent back across the border. Washington Times

This announcement of policy changes is helpful and hopeful, but it falls far short of what we need to do in this area. Nowhere does it mention the actual number of illegals that are still swamping our border patrol and disappearing into the countryside. Nevertheless, I am still far more concerned that a Democratic House majority in November will lead to two years of chaos as they try to impeach Bush, and I have sent off a good-sized check to the Republican National Committee. I am unhappy about illegal immigration, but not crazy. Not supporting Republican candidates would be biting off my nose to spite my face. We turned our backs on Bush41, and we got Clinton!

Yesterday, in another hopeful sign, there was an announcement that the Senate, after first killing funding for a fence, has now approved $2.6 billion for a border fence. As of this writing, the House-Senate Conference Committee still has to meet to work out differences.

Billions for Mexico border fence
August 03, 2006 08:46am
Article from: Agence France-Presse

THE US Senate has approved $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) in emergency spending for the construction of a fence along the US southwest border with Mexico.
The funds were approved as an amendment to a $US435 billion defence spending bill being debated this week.

"The Senate acted today to fund a border fence, fulfilling its commitment made in the comprehensive immigration reform bill that authorised the funding," Senate Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist said.

Senator Frist described the vote as "another step forward in securing our borders".
"With the current National Guard deployment dramatically driving down illegal border crossings by 45 per cent, we need to continue to improve our work to protect the border," the Senate's top Republican said.

"Getting border security right, including building fences, is a key component to securing our homeland, which also helps open the door to comprehensive immigration reform," Frist said.

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