Here we go again!
"Shortly after 9 a.m., all rose.
"The black-robed judge took his seat under the Justice Department seal and in front of the federal prosecutor. People whispering in various languages spilled out of the cramped courtroom into the hallway of the federal immigration court in Arlington County, waiting for their chance to fight to stay in the United States, agree to leave or be deported.
Salvadoran Roxana Velasco sat alone in the waiting room. Like several other people listed on that morning`s 37-case docket, she had no attorney.
"`The judge said I have to have a lawyer or I have to represent myself,` said Velasco, 30, recalling her first hearing in October. `How am I going to do that?`
"In immigration courts, there are judges and prosecutors, evidence and witnesses. The consequences can be great: banishment, separation from family, perhaps persecution at home. But unlike in criminal courts, the government does not provide free lawyers for the poor. And in what court officials deem a great concern, a growing number of people in immigration court have no legal counsel: Of more than 314,000 people whose cases ran their course in fiscal 2005, two-thirds went through on their own, or pro se."
We, good, fair minded American citizens, know that everyone is entitled to his or her day in court. Of course we all pay taxes to sustain an expensive court system. So what has poor Velasco done to be in this terrible pickle? As the Post article says,
"Velasco, who was caught by federal border police after slipping across the Rio Grande a year ago, said she immigrated illegally to be with her husband, who lives in the District. She said she called three lawyers, but two wanted $10,000 and one said she could not help. So on a recent morning, Velasco took Metro to a Ballston building, pressed the elevator button marked "PH" for penthouse and ascended to the immigration court, a suite of six small courtrooms."
How did Velasco not get sent back when she first crossed? I naively thought illegal aliens were caught and sent back. The Post fails to ask that question. This article also does not tell us of the status of her husband in DC. Is he a citizen? Is he here legally or illegally?
"`Did you find an attorney to represent you?`
"`Not yet,` she said through an interpreter.
"`I`m not aware of any basis that you have for remaining in the United States,` Malphrus told her. `The only thing I can do is grant you voluntary departure from the United States in four months.`
"`Okay,` Velasco said, with a nod."
So she slips into the US, gets a free four months and, with no one to follow her, will likely never appear before an immigration court again.
Do we need a bunch more lawyers to help these illegal aliens further abuse our court system? At least the Post gives a small paragraph to another view. "I`m not aware of any evidence that says the system would work better if people just had access to more lawyers", said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which seeks a reduction in immigration. He added: "Any good immigration lawyer at this point says that every illegal alien is just basically a potential legal one if . . . you find some loophole or make the process long enough".
So here we go, again. Defending the right of illegal aliens to use our court system to get entry to the US, so they can participate in using the tax-supported services paid for by US citizens. This wave of slave labor keeps coming here and Bush Administration really does nothing to stop them—except advocate "comprehensive immigration reform", which means another huge amnesty, legalizing many millions–there are at least 12 million illegal aliens here now–and sending the clear and pleasant (for Mexico and all the other people-exporting countries) message that the US borders are open to anyone who wants to arrive illegally.
Democratic leaders Pelosi and Reid have strongly hinted that this Congress will soon be sending a big amnesty bill to Bush, so he can at least have one legislative accomplishment to cite in his final two years. But the speech Pelosi gave when she accepted the gavel as Speaker did not cite immigration. As a Democrat, it`s obvious to me that bringing in massive amounts of cheap labor won`t help the Middle Class or our working poor citizens.
Where are we going in this country? If we decide to keep this open border policy going, the costs of everything will keep rising and the strain on our tax supported services will be totally destructive of our own citizens. Communities all across America are finding this out and trying to combat the effect, while our Federal Government steadfastly refuses to address the cause of this woe.
Folks, as numerous studies show, among the many public services impinged by this non enforcement policy, your children and grandchildren`s public school systems are truly on the line and seriously at risk. Sob stories such as this Post front pager ignore the real tragedy: what mass immigration is doing to Americans.
Over 80% of all Americans have been demanding real immigration reform for years. If the new Congress doesn`t get the message, it should be ousted along with our lame duck President in 2008.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.