Asking the sobering question
"Three Years After 9/11: Is The Tragedy Just Beginning?" Peter
Brimelow analyzed the current state of the two possible
answers to terror that he
identified after 9/11:
- immigration reform at
contrast to the enormous national effort expended on the
war abroad, there has been absolutely no statutory and
essentially no executive branch action on immigration
reform at home. And incredibly, President Bush's
Homeland Security Undersecretary
Asa Hutchinson has just celebrated the 9/11
anniversary by telling reporters that it is 'not
realistic' to reduce the 8-12 million illegal aliens now
in the U.S. and that it is 'probably accurate' that no
law enforcement officers are looking for them.
up all illegals 'not realistic,'" by Jerry Seper,
Washington Times, September 10, 2004.]
I'm not quite so pessimistic. Like
scouring a forest for footprints and broken twigs, there
are some signs out there of improved executive
branch immigration enforcement—if you know where to
I'd give the executive branch a
solid five (5) out of a possible 100.
And that's progress.
Of course the legislative branch
does get zero (0) out of a possible 100—and Congress'
potential influence on immigration policy is infinitely
larger than that of the executive branch.
But, eventually, reality will reach
So into the woods we go!
By progress, I'm not talking about
the massive Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
reorganization, which was largely cosmetic. And it's
obvious that Asa Hutchinson is cut from the same mold as
the Bush Administration's first (and last) Immigration
and Naturalization Service Commissioner, James Ziglar.
Just by opening their mouths,
Ziglar, and DHS Secretario
Tom Ridge (the similarity in their statements is
uncanny) have all served notice on society that they are
unable and unwilling to enforce the immigration laws of
the United States.
But the executive branch action
hero for immigration law enforcement since 9/11 is
John Ashcroft in the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Here's what has been done since
- In November 2001, Attorney General
designated aliens arriving "at
sea" as falling under the most glorious and
wonderful expedited removal provisions of Immigration
Section 235(b). For those with a flair for the
dramatic, you could make a case that Ashcroft
effectively stopped a
Camp of the Saints-style sea invasion in its
tracks with the stroke of a pen. Maybe someone up there
first suggestion on VDARE.com?
- On the land border front, the DHS announced a
teeny-weeny expansion of Section 235(b) in August,
2004. Though Congress
already authorized the expedited removal of all
illegal aliens found anywhere in the U.S. within two
years of their entry, the DHS only just recently
authorized this authority—and only for illegal
aliens found within 100 miles of a land border within
two weeks of entry. The
Treason Lobby howled anyhow. This is only the second
such implementation in eight years. But it's undeniably
a step in the right direction. The DHS supertanker could
slowly be starting to turn.
- In February, 2002, in a much needed
crack-down on renegade DOJ attorneys-in-robes
issuing decisions contrary to law, Attorney General
cut the size of the bloated Board of Immigration
Appeals (BIA) within the Executive Office for
Immigration Review (EOIR), from 23 to 11 members.
Anytime even just one pro-alien darling of the Treason
Lobby gets kicked out of a decision-making position is
cause for celebration. But twelve in one shot?? . . .
Three cheers (well, at least two) for the Attorney
- In December, 2003, just before the DHS
reorganization that moved immigration law enforcement
officers outside of the DOJ, the Attorney General
immigration arrest authority for the
G-Men at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As far
as I'm concerned, any bad news for immigration violators
who are terrorism suspects is good news for America.
Just think: You overstayed that visa? Maybe the FBI is
- During 2002, the DOJ's
Office of Immigration Litigation and
Office of the Solicitor General pursued appeals of
several horrible circuit court decisions that created
new "rights" that meant the non-detention of
criminal aliens. The DOJ's efforts paid off in April,
2003, when the Supreme Court actually issued a coherent
decision [PDF] in
Demore v. Kim. The Supreme Court stopped the
Treason Lobby's lawyers in their tracks, ruling that
when Congress provided for mandatory detention of
criminal aliens in Section 236(c) of the Immigration
meant just that—MANDATORY DETENTION!
- The final 9/11 Commission report was
completely devoid of real immigration law
enforcement . . . but at least they looked at the issue
of identity documents for illegal aliens. Well, sort of.
- The Attorney General ordered the Chief
Immigration of the Executive Office of Immigration
Review, Michael J. Creppy to issue the now famous
"Creppy Memo" shortly after 9/11. Citing national
directive closed Immigration Court proceedings to
the public for all designated "special interest" cases
i.e. aliens involved in terrorism investigations. EOIR
Immigration Court proceedings are conducted within the
executive branch, under the authority of the Attorney
General, so Ashcroft was entirely within his authority
to make this move. The Treason Lobby, including its
outpost at the American Bar Association, promptly [PDF]
denounced the "secret hearings"—a good sign!
- The NSEERS (National
Security Entry/Exit Registration System) required
foreign nationals from the usual laundry list of
terrorism-supporting countries to report to immigration
authorities and prove their legal immigration status in
the U.S.—or else! The Treason Lobby howled, of course.
Unfortunately, NSEERS was
subsequently suspended by the DHS. There's still a long
way to go.
But, from an immigration
enforcement standpoint, America is better off having
John Ashcroft in the Attorney General's office than
in a U.S. Senate seat representing Missouri.
Juan Mann [send him
email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of