Upcoming debate on illegal
by Tom Shuford
January 06, 2005
The stakes are high in the
coming immigration debate. An informed public will improve
the odds of a good outcome. Anyone who can find Google
and put quotation marks around two or three words can find the
reports below. These offer rich insight on the impact of
the President's immigration policies on America's families, communities,
1) The Center for Immigration Studies reports that 9/11 and an
economic slowdown did not slow illegal immigration. From
2000 to 2004, 2 million more illegal aliens took residence in
the U. S. bringing the total to ten million. ("Immigration
enforcement grows weaker," Washington Times, Nov. 25).
A financial investigation by Bear Stearns Asset Management, however,
puts the illegal alien count at 18-20 million ("20 Million
Illegal Aliens?" Michelle Malkin, Jan. 3)
2) What is the impact of persistent high rates of illegal immigration
on county budgets? A budget analyst for Santa Barbara County,
now retired, gives an insider look. ("Immigration
Moments That Changed a California Budget Analyst's Mind,"
Vdare.com, Dec. 16).
3) How do President Bush and Congress keep cheap, illegal labor
pouring over the border? Nonexistent enforcement of employer
sanctions. The San Diego Union-Tribune provides stats and
analysis. ("On the Payroll: Illegal Immigrants,"
San Diego Union-Tribune, Nov. 7).
4) Would President Bush's proposed "temporary" guest-workers
return to Mexico? Yes, to bring their families. Quoting
from "The Mirage of Mexican Guest Workers," Foreign
Affairs magazine (November/December, 2001):
"In many countries, under many types of government, and
across many time periods, experiences with guest worker programs
have led to an overwhelming and simple consensus among those
who have studied the issue: there is nothing more permanent than
The "Mirage of Mexican Guest Workers" is a concise
history of how a vast illegal workforce, paid wages far below
U. S. standards, became an entrenched feature of American life.
5) What does surging illegal immigration mean for schools?
A veteran Los Angeles teacher describes her classroom.
("Immigration and Schools, Part 2," EducationNews.org)
What is the impact on middle-class American families with children?
("Bad Schools, Immigration, And The Great Middle-Class Massacre,"
Vdare.com, Sept. 28, 2003)
6) Are there security risks from heavy alien traffic?
See Time Magazine's "Bordering On Nukes? New accounts from
al-Qaeda to attack the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction"
(Nov. 14). Also, the San Francisco Chronicle's "Unthinkable?
An attack on an American city by terrorists armed with a small
nuclear device is an even bet within a decade, some experts say"
"Who Left the Door Open?" Time Magazine's Sept. 12
classic portrait of our chaotic southern border by two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning
duo Donald Barlett and James Steele, can still be found online.
The latest test of the President's and Congress' will to rein
in illegal immigration was the intelligence reform bill. House
Republicans passed provisions barring states from issuing driver's
licenses to illegal aliens. The Senate, with the President's
blessing, deleted those provisions. The House will reintroduce
them in January. See "House to see new bill on immigration
security" (Washington Times, December 9)
Tom Shuford, retired teacher
Lenoir, NC - USA
Most of the reports above are,
in their own way, stunning. But perhaps the best short
explanation of the immigration phenomenon is "On the payroll:
illegal immigrants." I've provided summary notes below:
On the payroll: illegal immigrants [Notes & Link]
Enforcement is focused on border, not business
By Leslie Berestein
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
November 7, 2004
THE IMPORTANCE OF A WORD: "KNOWINGLY": "The Immigration
Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted amnesty to more than 3
million undocumented immigrants already in the country. It also
made it illegal to knowingly hire undocumented workers, establishing
penalties that include fines of as much as $10,000 per worker
and six months in prison for violators. But the operative word
is knowingly. While job applicants must present identification
proving their eligibility to work in the United States, employers
are not required to verify its authenticity."
Philip Martin, a University of California Davis expert on immigration
and labor issues: "In 1986, we basically said that you are
off the hook if you get documents, which can easily be forged.
We didn't quite say that, but it came close."
SUBCONTRACTORS: LAYERED PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYERS: THE CLEANING
INDUSTRY EXAMPLE: "The cleaning industry is rife with subcontractors
who provide a layer of immunity for their clients. After immigration
authorities found more than 250 contracted janitors working illegally
in Wal-Mart stores last year, Wal-Mart officials denied knowledge
of any wrongdoing, even though several of the company's cleaning
contractors had admitted to hiring undocumented workers in the
99% DECLINE IN FINES IMPOSED ON EMPLOYERS FOR BREAKING IMMIGRATION
LAWS SINCE 1992: "Nationwide, work-site enforcement has
declined significantly since the early 1990s, according to Department
of Homeland Security statistics. Fines imposed on employers for
breaking the law dwindled from 1,063 orders in 1992 to only 13
in 2002. Work-site arrests, warnings issued to employers and
cases completed also dropped off sharply during this time."
TOOTHLESS EMPLOYER SANCTIONS: THE ONLY KIND CONGRESS WILL ACCEPT:
"Some immigration experts say enforcement is weak because
lawmakers find it more politically acceptable to reinforce the
border than to crack down on businesses."
Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration
Studies at the University of California San Diego: "Congress
was committed to passing a toothless employer sanctions law.
It was the only way they could get it through. . . . There was
a lot of pressure from business lobbies, from agribusiness, restaurants,
IN RARE INSTANCES WHEN SANCTIONS ARE IMPOSED, POLITICIANS INTERVENE:
"Over the years, politicians have intervened on behalf of
a number of employers caught hiring undocumented immigrants.
Some employers who have come under fire are generous political
contributors, such as Wal-Mart, which has criminal and civil
PRESIDENT'S PRIORITIES ARE REFLECTED IN MISERLY BUDGET FOR ENFORCEMENT
OF EMPLOYER SANCTIONS: "Last month, President Bush signed
a Homeland Security budget for fiscal year 2005 that granted
$74 million for additional Border Patrol technology, including
$10 million for unmanned aerial drones. Only $5 million was granted
to strengthen work-site enforcement, a fraction of the $23 million
enhancement initially requested."
PART OF THE SOLUTION: MANDATORY DOCUMENT VERIFICATION ON A FEDERAL
DATABASE: "Congress did vote last year to extend a pilot
Homeland Security program that allows employers to verify workers'
documents on a federal database at no cost. The program, used
in California and five other states, is expected to be available
nationwide beginning Dec. 1. But participation is strictly voluntary.
This is perhaps why only 127 employers in San Diego County use
it despite the fact that the program has existed in California
since the late 1990s."
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