The once-great real immigration reform provisions of H.R. 10, newly hatched as The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, are now mostly gone. But the immigration patriots' resistance in Congress forced the Bush Administration to spend so much political capital that independent observers now question its ability to pass its mad amnesty/ guestworker proposal.
And there are still scraps to be salvaged from the wreck.
The bad news: Gone are the prohibitions on illegal alien driver's licenses. Gone also are the desperately needed summary removal provisions of a full-strength Section 235(b) of the Immigration Act—my personal favorite. There is talk they'll be reintroduced next year. But for now, the 9/11 bill does nothing to actually deport aliens.
That's important, because our immigration problem is not simply "securing the border." The problem is the federal immigration bureaucracy itself. As I've written extensively, all roads for real immigration reform lead to the litigation morass of the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) which permits endless immigration litigation in the federal courts.
In order to set up a system that actually deports lawbreakers, the federal government must:
1) give immigration officers the power to do their jobs, that is, remove illegal aliens who have no damn business being in the United States anyway, and
2) not make a federal case out of it.
The good news?
The legislation still retains some good stuff (i.e. — immigration scraps) covered in its Title V – "Border Protection, Immigration, and Visa Matters." For example:
Will cameras and sensors make America safer?
Not by themselves. As T.J. Bonner, President of the National Border Patrol Council recently opined on the Terry Anderson radio show (November 14, 2004):
"[T]hese eyes and ears [cameras and sensors] are great, don't get me wrong Terry, but they don't catch a single soul. I've never seen one of those cameras jump down off the pole and catch an illegal alien."
But they'll help.
Using Consular Officers for the job is a good thing, according to Joel Mowbray:
"One provision opposed by the State Department, though, was requiring that all nonimmigrant visa applications—meaning those for temporary travel to the United States — must be 'reviewed and adjudicated by a consular officer.'"
"What now happens in many consulates and embassies is that although the visa may be physically stamped by a consular officer, most of the legwork is done by Foreign Service Nationals, local residents who work at the post. These workers pose grave security risks, particularly since their fraud is often punished by mere slaps on the wrist — if at all." ["Security Lost and Found," by Joel Mowbray, The Washington Times, December 10, 2004].
In lieu of midnight basketball, Section 5401 of the bill also includes this curious "Outreach Program" –
"The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, as appropriate, shall develop and implement an outreach program to educate the public in the United States and abroad [my italics] about the penalties for bringing in and harboring aliens in violation of this section."
Brace yourself for taxpayer-funded Spanish billboards south of the border. Maybe Vicente Fox has a buddy in the advertising business.
Really? To save the Comptroller General some legwork, I humbly suggest reviewing the Juan Mann Archive right here on VDARE.com for my past articles on known terrorists, the EOIR Immigration Court and the phony credible fear review process.
You heard it here first!
All this is OK. But only OK.
Three years after September 11th, with one commission, two wars abroad, and one gigantic new bureaucracy… and the U.S. government still won't bolt the door.