The good news is that there probably won't be any amnesty for illegal aliens in the near future—at least not one under that name and covering all illegals.
That's more or less the implication of what Secretary of State Colin Powell told the press last week after talks with his Mexican counterpart on the immigration issue. Mexico wants an amnesty for the millions of Mexicans who have invaded this country, but the Administration has enough problems these days without pushing for one.
"I don't expect that in the very near future we will see some omnibus solution to every element of the immigration problem," Mr. Powell said.
This brings us to the bad news.
The bad news is that it doesn't really matter what Mr. Powell says or what the administration does about amnesty for illegals.
It doesn't matter because amnesty is already taking place—not by government fiat or congressional legislation but by osmosis, if you will. This week a detailed report in the Washington Times explained how. [Special Report: Changes in the cards, by Mary Shaffrey, The Washington Times, September 7, 2003]
Gradually in several different states immigrants in this country illegally are obtaining documents from state governments or recognized by them that essentially legalize their presence inside the United States.
Once in possession of these documents, the aliens can take part in business and government transactions they are not supposed to be able to conduct.
The documents, in other words, constitute de facto amnesty, or as various commentators have called it, stealth amnesty.
Let us count the ways in which they do this.
The cards are supposed to entitle the Mexicans holding them to gain the help of Mexican consuls, but these days they have other applications.
Citing testimony from the Center for Immigration Studies, the Times article reports that "The matricula card is accepted as a valid form of identification by police departments, banks and 12 states for driver's license applications." Once you have one in these states, for all practical purposes, you have amnesty.
You also are in a position to transfer money back home to Mexico, which Mexican illegals here did to the tune of some $10 billion just last year, "bolstering the Mexican economy at the expense of the U.S. economy," as the Times noted. You also may be in a position to commit crimes and terrorism against Americans more efficiently.
"FBI officials recently told a Senate committee the matricula cards pose a criminal and terrorist threat, and are easy to obtain through fraud and a lack of adequate security measures by the Mexican government. Most U.S. agencies that accept the matricula do not perform criminal background checks on their subjects."
Its purpose is to allow foreign citizens who do business here to pay income taxes, but there are some 6 million ITINs in circulation, and as Rep. Tom Tancredo says, "The IRS, unfortunately, hands these cards out like candy. There are not 6 million foreign businesses here, so what's the purpose of these numbers?"
Marti Dinerstein of the CIS told a congressional subcommittee in June, "It is assumed that individuals who receive an ITIN and do not file taxes are using it as official U.S. government identification to obtain bank accounts, government services and, ominously, driver's licenses." [Read her testimony here, or the whole report here in PDF. Warning: 3.8 Megabytes!] The IRS, after giving away millions of these cards, is now in the process of revising its methods of distribution. Hooray.
The license of course enables you to get lots of other things that without identification you can't get.
Nine more states are considering granting the same privilege to illegals. Not only does this allow illegals to gain public education at Americans' expense but also helps normalize their presence within the country, which is what amnesty is all about.
This list doesn't even begin to count the other ways in which illegals are being normalized and granted de facto amnesty, let alone the simple art of making or acquiring fraudulent documents.
The point is, neither Mexico nor the Administration has to do to anything to grant amnesty to illegals.
It's already being granted, with neither the consent nor the knowledge nor the desire of the vast majority of Americans.
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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control. Click here for Sam Francis' website.]