Eyes Wide Shut: Linda Chavez Leads Open-Borders Counter-Attack
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If the United States were attacked by foreign terrorists who had managed to sneak into the country legally under our current immigration laws, what's the first and most obvious thing for the U.S. government to do in response? Aside from retaliation itself, most people would say stop legal immigration, at least until we can figure out how to prevent other terrorists from coming here. To date, it has occurred to no one in the federal government to do so.

Instead we have waged a full-scale and largely successful war halfway around the world against a country that had little or nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks, announced various bizarre internal security measures of dubious legality, nabbed hundreds of suspicious-looking Middle Easterners, almost none of whom may be terrorists and some of whom may not even be Middle Easterners, and forbidden passengers on airplanes to carry toenail clippers. I for one would feel a good deal safer if, in place of this wave of draconian repression, we really did close the borders.

But not only has it occurred to no one to do so, instead the stalwarts of the Open Borders lobby are now, on the eve of victory in Afghanistan, trying to make sure absolutely nothing is done to limit, reduce or control the massive immigration that made the Sept. 11 attacks possible. Last week in the Wall Street Journal, where the Open Borders lobby regularly unbosoms its fatwas, the lobby's high priestess, Linda Chavez, implored the nation, "Don't Seal the Borders."

Miss Chavez, who presumably wants the borders to remain unsealed for reasons other than the cheapness with which she pays her personal domestic help, is willing to crack down on certain categories of immigrants and the countless ways by which they invite themselves into this country. But, she assures us, "Americans won't be any safer from terrorist attacks by drastically limiting the number of Indian engineering students or Mexican poultry workers." I wouldn't necessarily bet we wouldn't, but of course there are many other reasons why such immigrants shouldn't be admitted besides obvious concerns about Middle Eastern terrorism.

Miss Chavez says, more or less correctly, that "the best way to stem the flow of illegal aliens altogether would be to create a flexible guest worker program." Actually, the best way would be to put U.S. troops on the border to stop the invasion taking place there, but failing that, a real guest worker program would be helpful. Miss Chavez also says that such a program cannot just now be implemented, in part due to fear of foreign-born terrorists. That's true also, but what the administration seems to have in mind is not a real guest worker program so much as an amnesty disguised as a guest worker program.

In all the palaver about the guest worker program, hardly anyone has raised the issue of what would happen to the children of foreign guest workers who happen to be born on U.S. soil. Under current law, every one of the children would be a U.S. citizen, and he or she would eventually be able to import relatives as legal immigrants. If a guest worker program is going to be implemented, that little detail needs to be changed.

You also have to figure out how the Immigration and Naturalization Service would enforce the program—that is, how we would keep track of all the aliens who come here under the program and how we'd make them go home when the time came. If you imagine that there is virtually no way for the INS to do so under current laws and rules, you're probably right. That's one reason almost any guest worker program today is really an amnesty for illegal aliens—at least for those who overstay their visas.

As for protecting the nation against terrorism, that's not what the administration is now talking about. Instead, we're hearing about a plan, proposed originally by U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci, for a "security perimeter" around Canada, Mexico and the United States, to be enforced mainly by—guess who? Canada, to its immense credit, is said to be concerned about the implications of the plan for "surrendering Canadian sovereignty." So should Americans and, for that matter, Mexicans.

What the "security perimeter" protecting three huge countries, two of which are foreign nations, has to do with protecting this nation against foreign terrorists is unclear, but then, as suggested above, so is most of what the U.S. government has done since Sept. 11, not to speak of the phony "guest worker program" that Open Borders eggheads like Miss Chavez are pushing. Wouldn't we all be a lot safer if the government had simply done what should have been obvious and halted immigration? 


November 29, 2001

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