Immigration Scraps Salvageable From 9/11 Act
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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:

  • Sections 5101-5:  A "pilot program to test various advanced technologies that will improve border security between ports of entry along the northern border of the U.S." including "sensors, video, and unmanned aerial vehicles" with a report to Congress of what happened after one year.

  • Sec. 5201: A "comprehensive plan for the systematic surveillance of the southwest border of the U.S. by remotely piloted aircraft" . . . but only after the DHS actually comes up with the plan in six months, and after Congress and the President review the plan it will be implemented "as a pilot program as soon as sufficient funds are appropriated."

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.

  • Section 5203: Another 4,000 new ICE agents over five years—800 new DHS immigration investigators [probably for ICE, but it doesn't specify] who will investigate "violations of immigration law" each year from 2006 to 2010.

  • Section 5204: Another 40,000 immigration detention beds over five years—8,000 increase in "the number of beds available for immigration detention and removal operations of the DHS" each year from 2006 to 2010.  But the catch: the DHS Secretary (definitely not Bernard Kerik) will give detention priority for these new beds to Immigration Act Section 237(a)(4) cases—defined as aliens removable for national security, terrorism, foreign policy dangers, espionage, genocide, and membership in the former Nazi government of Germany (but, curiously, no Communist government).  Foreign policy trumps immigration policy.

  • Section 5301:  In person interviews of visa applicants by State Department consular officers abroad.

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].

  • Section 5304:  The State Department can revoke visas at any time, and aliens can't sue in federal court to get them back.  The bill does it by amending the authority under Immigration Act Section 221(i) by adding the following language:     "There shall be no means of judicial review (… or any other habeas corpus provisions) of a revocation under this subsection, except in the context of a removal proceeding [that's the EOIR Immigration Court system again] if such revocation provides the sole ground for removal under Immigration Act Section 237(a)(1)(B) (alien present in the U.S. without inspection)."  The bill also creates a new ground of removability: aliens with revoked visas.

  • Section 5401:  Increased penalties for alien smuggling, transporting aliens in groups of 10 or more, endangering the aliens' lives, or if "the aliens presented a life-threatening health risk to people in the U.S."

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.

  • Section 5402: A new ground of deportation—aliens who have received military-type training from terrorist organizations.

  • Section 5403:  A study and report by the Comptroller General within 270 days on terrorists in the asylum system, including "the extent to which weaknesses in the U.S. asylum system [State Department, DHS and EOIR] and withholding of removal system [that's the EOIR Immigration Court again!] have been or could be exploited by aliens connected to, charged, in connection with, or tied to terrorist activity."

Really? To save the Comptroller General some legwork, I humbly suggest reviewing the Juan Mann Archive right here on 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.

Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of

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