McCain, Obama—Who Cares? The Real Question: Who Replaces Chertoff?
October 31, 2008, 04:00 AM
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Since John McCain and Barack Obama are two peas in a pod on amnesty (they want it), border security (token interest indicated) and non-immigrant visas (America always needs more workers!) I'm indifferent to Tuesday's presidential election outcome.

But, if elected, Obama, should he be so bold as to promote amnesty, would face heavy Republican resistance.

McCain, on the other hand, is emotionally committed to amnesty and illegal immigration. Unlike Obama, McCain has a long and ugly track record favoring Open Borders.

Count on McCain to push harder than Obama—who may, in fact, only be paying lip service to amnesty in front of select ethnocentric audiences. And McCain would automatically have the Republican support that the party would deny Obama.

Most importantly, you should take comfort in what I have repeatedly written: it doesn't matter what immigration policy either candidate wants or has promised. Amnesty has to work its way through Congress. Label George W. Bush and his eight-years of amnesty futility as Exhibit "A".

There's no way in this economic environment that Congress is going to debate on how to reward illegal aliens when Americans are desperately clinging to their jobs and their savings.

The much more interesting question than who will replace Bush is who will take over for Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff?

On October 13, I wrote that Chertoff has done a good job, at least lately, in enforcing immigration law. Workplace raids, arrests and deportations are all up over previous years and are as high as any time since the Eisenhower era.

Doubting VDARE.COM readers quickly condemned me.

In an avalanche of mail, I was derided as naïve and foolish to buy into what most considered a cruel hoax perpetrated by a Bush flunky.

Others observed, correctly, that the numbers of aliens deported represent an infinitesimal percentage of the 20 million total eligible, if that's the right word, for return.

In our Saturday Forum, I posted a selection of these letters (here, here and here). But I stuck to my guns. Although I have no doubt that Chertoff, in his heart of hearts, favors "comprehensive immigration reform," he is in the meantime enforcing the law. That's all we should care about.

As skeptical as we immigration reform patriots may be about Chertoff's motives, we look foolish when we've lobbied for enforcement as long as we have but then complain about the person responsible for taking us where we want to go.

However, since I value our enlightened readers' opinions, I decided to go back to review Chertoff to see whether I overestimated or if our audience underestimated him.

The news out of DHS—and about Chertoff's dedication to enforcement—continues very positive, even more so than before.

In the three weeks that have passed since my column, ICE has arrested: 

  • Nineteen aliens in Minnesota.
     
  • 384 fugitive aliens and immigration violators in a multi- state area that includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
     
  • 99 aliens in Texas, 22 with previous criminal convictions.
     
  • Sholom Rubashkin, former Postville Agriprocessors manager, on charges of conspiracy to harbor undocumented immigrants for financial gain, aiding and abetting document fraud and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.[Feds Arrest Former Postville Manager, Associated Press, October 30, 2008]

In separate actions, ICE

  • Renewed its efforts to prosecute 140,000 other illegal alien employers. [Renewed Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants, by Spencer Hsu, Washington Post, October 22, 2008]
     
  • Is pursuing its case against House of Raeford Farms executives in South Carolina for knowingly hiring aliens. The investigation has already resulted in criminal charges against nine company supervisors, four plant employees and one human resources manager.[More Arrests at House of Raeford, by Franco Ordoñez and Kerry Hall, Charlotte Observer, October 28, 2008]
     
  • Announced that it has started a new program to identify illegal aliens already incarcerated in city and county jails for the purpose of deporting them. According to Congress Daily, local law enforcement agencies will be able to automatically compare the fingerprints of their prisoners against FBI criminal databases and Homeland Security immigration databases.
     
  • Has identified, through Chertoff's comments, the Chamber of Commerce as a major obstacle saying: "it would hurt them if they had to carry out the [no match] rule. In my experience, making money is not a sufficient justification for violating the rule since most people break the rule in order to make money."[ New Efforts to Tighten Rules on Immigrants' Employers, Associated Press, October 23, 2008]

ICE efforts have been so successful that even the Wall Street Journal has written favorably about them—from our perspective, that is.

In her story October 17th story, Miriam Jordan (e-mail her) wrote that ICE:

"…Is the federal agency responsible for finding and deporting undocumented immigrants. A crackdown on illegal immigration has led to a spike in deportations and the creation of a de facto airline to send the deportees home."

And the next time some one in Mexico accuses the US of human rights abuses, remember the fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 aircraft, known jokingly as ICE Air, that delivers the aliens home has "leather seats, ample leg room and free food."

Bonus perk: a nurse is onboard every flight.[Now Boarding: Illegal Immigrants on One-Way Ticket Home, by Miriam Jordan, Wall Street Journal, October 17th, 2008]

Our reader/skeptics should also know that for his considerable success in immigration law enforcement, Chertoff has been named by the American Civil Liberties Union in numerous cases.

On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Chertoff said:

"I will tell you that with each step I have taken… my agency has taken to continue to enhance and increase enforcement of the law, we have had unbelievable obstacles thrown in our face. There are probably 100 cases entitled the ACLU v. Chertoff."

I remain unshakeable.  If Chertoff is the target of  100 or more ACLU cases because of his immigration enforcement actions, he's all right in my book.

To the doubters, my advice is to enjoy Chertoff while you can.

During the early months of an Obama presidency, even Chertoff's most severe critics among the immigration reform community will look back with fondness at the good old days.

When Obama—who I project will win with nearly 400 electoral votes—appoints a new DHS secretary who is less disposed to enforcement than Chertoff, then it will be up to the Republicans to block his nomination.

But since incoming presidents are normally given a free hand in their new cabinet appointments, and because lesser-informed voters don't particularly care who gets picked for what, Republicans may let it slide.

We'll see how you feel about Chertoff after he's gone.

You're going to miss him more than you think.

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.