[VDARE.COM note to Arizonans: John Slagle, a resident of Three Points AZ, addresses the South East Arizona Republican Club in Sierra Vista, AZ, on Thursday, February 19.]
For the Bush Administration and fellow travelers at the Wall Street Journal and the CATO Institute, "facing reality" in immigration policy means passing an unprecedented open-ended foreign worker importation act granting legal status to millions of illegal aliens already in the U.S.
But it is these amnesty cheerleaders and the whole Treason Lobby that is out of step with reality.
They conveniently ignore what happened on the border the last time the federal government granted legal status to millions of illegal aliens—in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
So what really happened when the last amnesty became law?
Illegal aliens rushed the southern border like never before!
And it just so happens that retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent John W. Slagle, whose book Illegal Entries I recently reviewed, has the pictures [click here] to prove it.
Slagle spent his career facing reality. He saw the truth about the 1986 amnesty on the border before, during, and after the fact—all from a front-row seat as a special agent in the Border Patrol's anti-smuggling unit.
Though an invitation to testify before Congress has not been forthcoming, Slagle has dedicated his retirement years to telling the truth.
I've corresponded with Slagle since reviewing his recent book. Here's a sampling:
"The failed Amnesty of 1986, to most people is just numbers without faces, just poor people seeking work. Those of us actually trying to enforce the laws—which were largely unenforceable due to manpower restraints and politics—saw first hand the criminal events and impacts on society.
"Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, Juan, especially when it comes to human trafficking, narcotics or the vast amount of money involved. [I have] photos [click here] of an illegal alien cartel courier with over 2.2 million dollars in cash concealed in the false bed of a pick-up—[that's] a job most Americans would not do.
"I have ancient photos spanning thirty-two years on the border including the arrests of massive groups of illegal aliens in 1986, 1987, 1988 . . . and also the indentured servitude labor camps created by politics as well as agricultural businesses…as well as significant human trafficking cases that made millions of dollars importing illegal aliens. In my career, I always had a small camera at hand.
"[T]hose photos portrayed an era that senior active duty officers are prevented from discussing now with the amnesty proposal. [VDARE.COM emphasis].
"Juan, as you have stressed many times, and law enforcement agents know factually, the immigration crisis in the United States could have been resolved long ago with the first IRCA.
"The Border Patrol tried to enforce labor sanctions laws, but were soon over-run by a secondary invasion from the borders by illegals.
"A Task Force should have been established soon after the failed policy became known. Thousands of additional Special Agents should have been made available throughout the U.S. with no other purpose than enforcing labor sanctions and establishing large fines for companies that continually violated the laws by hiring illegal aliens. Strict enforcement would have prevented millions from entering without inspection. If all U.S. companies had feared massive fines for hiring cheap laborers, there would have been no financial advantage to displace citizen and legal resident workers.
"One or two assigned Investigators to work IRCA frauds per state is hardly a force of any consequence—other than for more fraudulent admissions.
"But despite reports and requests from the field, the politicians failed to take action.
"Deportation of illegal aliens, criminal or otherwise was also a joke, an exercise in frustration that was ridiculous by law enforcement standards.
"There was always the Board of Immigration Appeals, and later the Executive Office for Immigration Review. I always thought of the EOIR as the Ninth Circuit Court of Illegal Importation, not deportation.
"Every measure by law enforcement to control the borders of the United States or to enforce compliance of immigration laws was hamstrung and rendered ineffective by litigation. 'Political' policies from the INS on anti-smuggling investigations were also truly amazing.
"It's equally amazing that we were able to accomplish many major cases in the late 80's and 90's without guidance from the [Washington] D.C. desk-jockeys.
"In the field, an undercover operation is far removed from a plush, protected office building with security. But in the world we knew, [we respond differently when] a partner is killed by gunfire from a human trafficker—or to an amnesty proposal by politicians who have forgotten their oath of office.
It's high time that Congress, the Bush Administration and Secretario Ridge got a dose of border reality—not Beltway think-tank reality.
The collapse of our borders is the great scandal of our times—far exceeding Watergate or the Clinton capers.
When the inevitable investigations begin, John Slagle will be a star witness.
Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of DeportAliens.com.