An article that appears in this week’s Washington Times makes it clear that the advocates for massive amnesty and a pathway to United States citizenship for unknown numbers of illegal aliens are once again revving up their efforts to make their goals a reality.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform constitutes one of the most serious threats to the security of our nation and the safety of our citizens. Over 20 years ago, our government enacted a sweeping amnesty program under the auspices of the “Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.” This legislative nightmare was sold to the American citizens and members of Congress as a “one time” opportunity for about one million illegal aliens to come out of the “shadows” so that the system could finally be set straight. The estimated number of illegal aliens who would avail themselves of the opportunity to legalize their immigration status ranged from 1 million to 1.5 million.
We were also told that for the first time, this bill would provide a powerful tool to turn off the “magnet” that draws illegal aliens into our country – the prospect of getting jobs, by making it a crime to knowingly hire illegal aliens.
The problem was that they never hired additional special agents for the INS so very few employers were ever investigated for knowingly hiring illegal aliens, let alone punished. It was all a charade to create the illusion that the system would finally work. Then and now, there is no real system.
Back then, we were also told that the illegal aliens were doing the jobs Americans would not do.
I had a front row seat to this legalization process because, at the time, I was a special agent of the INS in New York. Here is what actually happened:
Approximately 4 million illegal aliens emerged from the “shadows” and were placed on a pathway to United States citizenship. The huge discrepancy in the predicted number of aliens who would become legalized vs. the actual number is believed to have been the result of two factors – the estimates were wrong and many illegal aliens actually entered the United States long after the cutoff date and managed to game the immigration system. With so many applications and so few investigators and resources, the agency (INS) was unable to conduct field investigations into the statements made on legalization applications. If an alien who is “undocumented” walks into an immigration office without a shred of official documentation – that is why they are “undocumented” – there is no way of knowing who they really are. I spent 30 years with the INS and I can tell you that there is no way on this planet that you can sit across the table from a person and determine that person’s identity or nationality without official documentation – and even on some occasions, it has been found that official documentation can be purchased from certain corrupt government officials from many countries around the world.
Further exacerbating this issue was the fact that the law prohibited INS from providing any of the information contained in the applications for amnesty to any other law enforcement agency. This all but amounted to an open invitation to commit fraud.
If the system had no integrity then, when the number of illegal aliens was estimated at a top number of 1.5 million, what happens when today’s estimate is12 million – a number the advocates for amnesty and open borders claims is the magnitude of the illegal alien population? If, as in 1986 four times as many aliens emerge to participate in the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” program, we could have 50 million aliens standing in line for their green cards and, ultimately, their citizenship certificates. Under current law, once these aliens become citizens, they can apply for their extended families to legally immigrate to the United States. This means their parents and their siblings, along with those spouses and minor children. If a newly minted citizen has eight brothers and sisters who are married and have an average of six children each, you can see how the number of new immigrants that would be lining up to enter our country would quickly become astronomical.
Meanwhile, each and every day, more and more illegal aliens would continue to run our nation’s borders. Additionally, it is estimated that 40 percent of the illegal aliens in our country did not run our nation’s borders but actually entered the United States through ports of entry and then, in one way or another, violated the terms of their admission.
Time and again, the open borders advocates claim that the illegal aliens do the work that Americans won’t do. Yet how many Americans are unemployed or underemployed- taking jobs for substandard wages out of desperation? Each and every day Americans trudge off to work in coal mines, construction sites, steel foundries and other dangerous, filthy and backbreaking jobs. It is not that Americans won’t do the jobs the illegal aliens do; it is that Americans expect to be paid a living wage.
But here is the fly in the ointment: If you provide an illegal alien who has being accepting substandard wages to work under substandard and often illegally dangerous conditions with lawful status, he will no longer accept those substandard wages or illegal conditions.
This is not conjecture. This is precisely what happened when 4 million illegal aliens were legalized as a result of the amnesty of 1986. Back then, unscrupulous employers did not generally appreciate the chutzpah of their workers demanding they be paid fair wages and decent working conditions. They simply fired these workers and hired the next wave of illegal aliens who are now among those demanding a pathway to United States citizenship.
Today, there are additional factors that were not of particular concern to our leaders in 1986. These factors relate to two issues – the terrorist attacks of 1993 and of 2001 and the economic catastrophe that recently hammered our nation.
We have heard a number of politicians talk about the issuance of “tamper proof” identity documents to illegal aliens and the fact that every alien who would participate in “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” would undergo a “Security Check.” First of all, no identity document is truly tamper proof. The bigger issue is not whether or not a document can be altered or counterfeited but rather, the most basic question is what name should be put on that document in the first place?
This goes back to the issue of the application process and the so-called “security check.” A security check has no similarity to a background investigation. When a background investigation is conducted, an investigator heads out from his office and actually knocks on doors and interviews an applicant’s neighbors, fellow worker, friends and family members. The investigator seeks to determine if the applicant he is investigating has used other names and is able to verify when and where the person he is investigating lived and worked. Inconsistencies that are discovered are then also investigated.
A security check simply involved running the name on the application and the fingerprints the applicant provides through a computer to determine if the prints or name sets off any alarms. If an individual has been careful to never be arrested and thus fingerprinted, and if the individual provides a false name, then the system will give that person a “clean bill of health” when he might even be on the terror watch list.
Today, we are being told that we are fighting them (the terrorists) “over there” so that we will not have to fight them “over here.” Meanwhile, the terrorists who attacked our nation in 1993 at the CIA in January of that year and a month later when the first bombing of the World Trade Center was carried out, it happened “over here.” On September 11, 2001 the attacks were carried out “over here.” The terrorist attack at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and 30 wounded was carried out “over here” on November 5, 2009. A number of high profile arrests conducted before attacks could be carried out on the New York City subway system, at Fort Dix in New Jersey, at a mall in Ohio and at a number of other venues “over here.”
Citizens of the United States as well as others are carefully and intrusively searched along with their belongings before they are permitted to board domestic airline flights within the United States, “over here” to make certain that no weapons are brought on board airliners.
In general, our expectations of freedom and privacy are being whittled away on a continual basis – all in the name of national security – but many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to help protect our nation and our citizens from terrorist attacks have not been implemented. While it was determined that of the 94 terrorists identified as operating in our country in the decade leading up to the attacks of 9/11 – immigration fraud and visa fraud was utilized by 59 of those terrorists to either enter our country and/or embed themselves in our country – the government is gearing up to provide unknown millions, perhaps tens of millions, of illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents even though we do not have a chance of knowing their true names, potential affiliations with criminal or terrorist organizations.
My dad used to say that in life there are no mistakes- only lessons- if we learn from what goes wrong and make certain to not repeat those mistakes. For him, and for me, it is inexcusable and unforgivable to repeat the same mistakes. Our government must live up to its obligation of protecting its own citizens and, indeed, all who are present in our country from the criminals and terrorists who would threaten our lives and the survival of our nation and our way of life.