Wednesday, December 2, 2009

OBAMA FIGHTS TERRORISM? Millions Of Foreign Visitors Stay Undetected




Millions Of Foreign Visitors Stay In U.S. Undetected
Last Updated: Tue, 10/13/2009 - 11:49am
Nearly a decade after Middle Eastern terrorists overstayed their visas to plot the deadliest attack in U.S. history the government has failed miserably to implement a crucial security program that assures foreign visitors leave the country when they’re supposed to.
Congressional investigators disclosed the inexcusable negligence in a lengthy report last year and a recent example—a Jordanian who tried to blow up a Texas high rise—proves little progress has been made to protect the nation from violent foreigners. The Jordanian (Hosam Maher Husein Smadi) who vowed jihad against Americans and tried to blow up a Dallas skyscraper last month, had overstayed his tourist visa as did several of the September 11 hijackers.
To prevent these sorts of infiltrations, the government created a costly but highly inadequate system (U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology or US VISIT) to track the arrival and departure of foreign visitors. Billions of dollars later, the program is riddled with major flaws that allow possibly millions of foreigners to annually remain in the country when their visa expires.
Last year nearly 3 million visitors on temporary visas checked into the U.S. but never checked out, according to a news report that quotes immigration authorities. Although officials openly admit they aren’t certain how many actually left, they estimate that about 200,000 probably stayed unbeknownst to the government, like Smadi and some of the September 11 terrorists.
Smadi, an Osama bin Laden loyal who came to the U.S. to wage jihad (holy war), was also aided by local governments that protect illegal aliens. He got an official identification card in the renowned sanctuary state of California and lived and worked in a little Texas town called Italy, located in Ellis county about 45 miles south of Dallas. The county sheriff had previously arrested Smadi but the department has a don’t-ask-don’t-tell immigration policy so he just paid a small fine and continued plotting his terrorist attack.
With a notoriously flawed system like US Visit there’s no telling how many Samdis are currently living in the country plotting jihad against Americans. After all, it seems that little has changed security-wise since the 9/11 hijackers pulled it off.

How Many ILLEGALS Walk Over Our Borders?

ECONOMIC SCENE: How recession has changed the immigration debate
Politics, economics, demographics all come into play.
By David R. Francis | Staff Writer/ June 25, 2009 edition
The deep US recession has had one effect that polls say would please most Americans: Illegal immigration is falling.
More illegal immigrants are leaving. Fewer people are sneaking in – perhaps 200,000 a year instead of 500,000 in recent years, estimates Steven Camarota, an economist at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington. Thus, America’s illegal population has fallen from about 12 million in February 2007 to almost 11 million this February, he calculates.
So when immigration becomes a hot topic again – as it will, inevitably – will the recession have shifted the terms of the debate?
In some ways, yes. The US slump proves that immigration is sensitive to economic conditions. It also weakens the argument of pro-immigration forces that there are some jobs Americans won’t do. Mr. Camarota finds that claim “absurd on its face.”
He points to a newly available sampling of 4.7 million workers in 465 occupations, a massive survey that asks respondents whether they were born in the US. The US-born already hold a clear majority of jobs people often regard as being left to immigrants, such as housekeeping and grounds-maintenance workers. Only in picking fresh produce do immigrants hold a small majority.
Of course, economics is just one component of the immigration debate. Politics plays a huge role.
For example: some 1 million immigrants become US citizens every year. About 300,000 more of them become Democrats than Republicans.
That advantage could be one reason that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, has blocked several immigration-control bills from coming to the floor, says Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, a nonprofit advocate for cutting immigration.
Similarly, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada has been “aggressively pushing amnesty” for illegal immigrants, says Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, another Washington group urging limits on immigration.
Critics sometimes call various forms of amnesty “a Democratic registration program.”
The third component of the debate – the demographics – is vital in the long run. In the 1990s, the US had its biggest 10-year jump in population in its history – 32.7 million – and the fastest growth rate since the 1960s. The growth rate has slowed this decade, but the US is still on track to add some 28 million residents.
That’s the elephant in the room, Mr. Beck says. If President Obama really wants to reach his goals of energy independence and lower carbon emissions, he will have to restrain immigration, he argues. (US-born Americans have a birthrate slightly below the replacement level.) Otherwise, the projected population rise from 307 million today to 439 million in 2050 will swamp his intentions – and heighten other challenges, such as congestion and education.
So far, though, Mr. Obama has shown no enthusiasm for braking that growth, Beck and Mr. Stein say. Obama has said he would like to get illegal immigrants “out of the shadows and on a pathway to citizenship.” The one big change he’s made from the last years of the Bush administration is that instead of raiding plants to round up illegal immigrants, he wants to focus pressure on their employers.
The president plans to hold a key meeting with congressional leaders on immigration reform on June 17. The session is expected to clarify (at least a little) the White House’s position.
Meanwhile, a multimillion-dollar fundraising battle has broken out between pro-amnesty and antiamnesty groups.
It will, warns Stein, be “vitriolic, vicious.”