By Edwin Mora
"The federal government has sole control over the nation's borders. The states do not," said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state's finance department. "The incarceration costs associated are borne disproportionally by states like California."
But in 2009, the county received $15.4 million in federal money, officials said. That is a fraction of the $100 million it spends on average to jail illegal immigrants.
"The federal government reimburses us literally pennies on the dollar what it costs us," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Mark McCorkle said
The state -- which houses 19,000 illegal immigrants in its prisons and jails -- receives the federal money through the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, or SCAAP. Obama's proposed budget plan sets aside $330 million for the incarceration program, down from $400 million last year.
But with California struggling to balance its budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is continuing to fight for additional funding, Palmer said.
Last year, Sheriff Lee Baca wrote a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging an increase in funding for the program.
"Because SCAAP reimburses previously incurred undocumented criminal alien incarceration costs, every dollar of incarceration costs not reimbursed by SCAAP adds a dollar to state and local budget shortfalls that must be offset by reductions in other essential services," Baca wrote.
Although the county does not know exactly how many undocumented immigrants are in its jails, McCorkle said about 3,300 inmates identify themselves as foreign-born.
Officials from states greatly affected by illegal immigration long have argued that their taxpayers should not have to bear the burden for Washington's failure to control the border.
February 22, 2007
Illegal aliens are killing more Americans than the Iraq war, says a new report from Family Security Matters that estimates some 2,158 murders are committed every year by illegal aliens in the U.S. The group says that number is more than 15 percent of all the murders reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. and about three times the representation of illegal aliens in the general population.
Mike Cutler, a former senior special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (the former INS), is a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and an advisor to Family Security Matters (FSM). He says the high number of Americans being killed by illegal aliens is just part of the collateral damage that comes with tolerating illegal immigration.
"The military actually called for the BORTAC team, ... the elite unit of the Border Patrol, to be detailed to Iraq to help to secure the Iraqi border," Cutler notes. "Now, if our military can understand that Iraq's security depends in measure on the ability to protect its border against insurgents and terrorists, then why isn't our country similarly protecting our own borders?" he asks.
"We are now five and a half years, nearly, after 9/11, and yet our borders remain open," the Center for Immigration Studies fellow observes. "We have National Guardsmen assigned on the border, but it turns out they are unarmed," he points out. "Their rules of engagement are very simple: if armed intruders head your way, run in the other direction."
This situation would "almost be comical if it wasn't so tragic," Cutler asserts. "If our borders are wide open, this means that drugs, criminals, and terrorists are entering our country just as easily as the dishwashers," he says.
The report from FSM estimates that the 267,000 illegal aliens currently incarcerated in the nation are responsible for nearly 1,300,000 crimes, ranging from drug arrests to rape and murder. Such statistics, Cutler contends, debunk the claim that illegal immigration is a victimless crime. "Then we even have another problem," he adds, "and that's the Visa Waiver Program."
According to a recent study from the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, Hispanics involved in car crashes are two-and-a-half times more likely to be drunk than white drivers and three times more likely to be drunk than black drivers.
Why do Americans still protect the illegals??
Edgar Jimenez Lugo, who authorities said was born in San Diego, was wanted on suspicion of killing rivals — allegedly beheading some — as part of his work for a violent drug-trafficking cartel.
December 03, 2010|By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Mexico City — A 14-year-old boy who says he's been killing or working for drug cartels since he was 11 has been captured by the Mexican army after a monthlong hunt, authorities said Friday.
Edgar Jimenez Lugo, who authorities said was born in San Diego, was wanted on suspicion of killing rivals — allegedly beheading some of them — as part of his work for an especially violent drug-trafficking cartel.
Jimenez was attempting to board a flight for Tijuana with two sisters Thursday night when authorities detained him in Morelos state south of Mexico City. They were apparently planning to flee the country after the boy's alleged exploits made headlines last month.
"I've killed four people by chopping off their heads," the boy reportedly said after his capture. "I just cut off their heads; I never went and hung the bodies from bridges or anything like that."
Jimenez, alias El Ponchis, was quoted in media reports as saying he had been forced to work for a faction of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel under pain of death ever since henchmen from the group kidnapped him three years ago. He said he was usually high on drugs as he killed.
Marco Antonio Adame, the governor of Morelos, said in a news conference that Jimenez was a U.S. citizen by virtue of his San Diego birth.
The story of the boy had become something of a cause celebre here when it first emerged several weeks ago. Rumors abounded that he was a ruthless decapitator and that some of his work had been videotaped. (Initial reports erroneously put his age at 12.) Mexican media immediately dubbed him "the boy killer" and "the hit boy."
Photographs from Morelos on Friday showed a skinny Jimenez, dressed in baggy cargo pants and a black sweatshirt, standing between two well-armed soldiers in camouflage. His hands are stuck in his pockets and his head barely clears their shoulders.
The drug gang he allegedly worked for, the so-called South Pacific Cartel, has been locked in deadly battle with another Beltran Leyva faction for control of the city of Cuernavaca and other parts of Morelos — a dispute that erupted following the killing of drug boss Arturo Beltran Leyva by Mexican forces a year ago. More than 300 people have been killed in the conflict.
Jimenez reportedly ran with a group of boys and men ages 12 to 23 and represents a trend of ever younger Mexicans working for the cartels as killers, mules and enforcers and in other capacities. If judged guilty, the boy would be the youngest cartel killer known to be in prison.
His age poses a legal dilemma for Mexican authorities, who on Friday were scrambling to figure out which laws and agencies would handle a minor suspected of such egregious crimes.
Also Friday, in another setback for Mexican attempts to put away drug traffickers, a judge acquitted the nicknamed "Queen of the Pacific" of numerous drug-related charges. Sandra Avila Beltran has been in jail since her capture in 2007, accused of serving as a key link between the Sinaloa cartel and its Colombian counterparts. A rare woman in the world of reputed drug lords, Avila remained in custody because of an outstanding extradition request from the United
FROM JUDICIAL WATCH - GET ON THEIR E-NEWS!
2 Illegal Aliens Protected By Sanctuary Policies Convicted Of Murder
Illegals Committing Heinous Acts Against Children & civilians in U.S.
EXAMPLE #1 : • What sort of monster could murder three children in the most brutal manner — one child was beheaded and the two other were nearly decapitated. They also suffered a variety of injuries including blunt force trauma and asphyxiation. The victims, residents of Baltimore, (l. to r.) were siblings Alexis Quezada (10) and Lucero Quezada (9) and their cousin Ricardo Espinoza (9). The two men arrested for the crime were also relatives: Policarpio Espinoza, 22, brother of the father of the two siblings, and Espinoza's cousin Adan Espinoza Canela, 17. The accused are illegal aliens as are the parents of the murdered children. Apparently the arrests were based on DNA/blood evidence.
Illegal Immigration and Crime
By James R. Edwards, Jr.
Posted November 22, 2004
Immigrant criminality represents perhaps the worst abuse of the liberty aliens enjoy in the United States. Increasingly, the government closest to the people either finds its hands tied or cravenly abrogates its responsibility to fellow Americans within its jurisdiction. Moreover, the illegal element exacerbates the economic and other burdens caused by legal immigration.
The current high rate of sustained, mass immigration—more than one million legal immigrants plus half a million illegal aliens every year—forces many states and localities into turmoil. The illegals certainly live outside the obligations that those who live under the "consent of the governed" owe to each other: While the principles of the Declaration of Independence guarantee all human beings certain natural and unalienable rights, only parties who have consented to our government deserve the full rights of citizenship. Illegal immigrants are not part of the social contract giving legitimacy to this government. American citizens have not given their consent to higher taxes, crowded schools, jammed emergency rooms, clogged roads, unlawful turning of single-family homes into hotels or apartments into tenements, forced multicultural amenities such as bilingual education and multilingual ballots, or welfare and other services subsidizing poverty-prone immigrants. Above all, they never consented to higher crime rates.
While anyone who decries illegal immigration is required to distinguish it from legal immigration, the effects of legal immigration should first be noted. Robert Samuelson recently wrote in his Washington Post column that "Hispanics account for most of the increase in poverty" since 1990. "Compared with 1990, there were actually 700,000 fewer non-Hispanic whites in poverty last year . . . . Meanwhile, the number of poor Hispanics is up by 3 million since 1990. The health insurance story is similar. Last year 13 million Hispanics lacked insurance. They're 60 percent of the rise since 1990." And of course a growing proportion of the Hispanic population is immigrants poorer than their predecessors. Samuelson remarks that the black poverty rate in this period has actually dropped, from 32 to 24 percent.
To add to Samuelson's observations, consider the reports from the Center for Immigration Studies by its Steven Camarota and Harvard's George Borjas detailing the negative economic impact of recent immigrants on native-born wages and employment. Illegal immigrants impose an even greater burden, because they pay few taxes and they drain public services such as health care, education, and other benefits of the welfare state. While many federal programs deny assistance to illegals, many state and local programs and privileges are open to them. The National Academy of Sciences found in a 1997 landmark study that immigrantheaded households in 1994-1995 placed a net annual fiscal burden on California native-born residents of $1,178 per native household.That is, each American family in California subsidized that state's immigrant population by nearly $1,200 a year.
The NAS report also said fiscal impacts tend to benefit the federal government and drain state and local government resources. "Much like anyone else in the population, immigrants use services that are costly to provide, or that others can use less freely—so-called congestion costs. Examples include services from roads, sewers, police and fire departments, libraries, airports, and foreign embassies." Therefore, having a much larger immigrant population (29 percent of the U.S. foreign-born, a fourth of the State's population) bloats California's budget significantly.
The national government has exclusive power over immigration, and it has mandated certain public benefits for immigrants, legal or illegal, such as public education (see the 1982 Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe). States and localities then bear the costs and consequences of all immigration.And they respond differently, with differing consequences for their people.
The Florida legislature rejected a bill issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Kansas state legislators voted to give illegal aliens instate college tuition. Alabama and Florida state police work closely with federal immigration enforcers. New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have "sanctuary" policies that keep city employees, even police, from asking about immigration status. An Idaho county commissioner billed Mexico for the $2 million illegal aliens owe for county services.
The impact is seen particularly in crime: Record-high auto thefts in Arizona, drug trafficking in Salt Lake City, human smuggling rings in Los Angeles, D.C. sniper Lee Malvo, money laundering, prostitution, gang murders, and even slavery. Immigration authorities estimate that 84,000 state inmates are aliens, though state and local figures on foreign-born prisoners are hard to come by. At least three quarters of these immigrant state inmates are in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas—the top immigrant destinations.
Police officers at the local or state level are the law enforcement officials most likely to encounter illegal aliens. Local residents are the crime victims of these aliens. Local, county, or state jails house many of the foreign criminals. Local, county, or state criminal justice systems try these lawbreakers. And local, county, and state taxpayers pay the costs of law enforcement and criminal justice associated with the crimes that immigrants, legal and illegal, commit.
Figures for 1999 State Criminal Alien Assistance Program compensation show claims of $1.5 billion in documented costs incurred by state corrections and local jails for covered aliens. County governments face a special burden, a 2001 report by 24 Southwestern border counties calculated. They spent, from general funds, $894 million on law enforcement and criminal justice in fiscal year 1999. Many of the costs that criminal aliens impose on all state, county, and municipal jurisdictions are not represented in such figures. To cite just one California example, San Diego now spends $50 million a year to handle illegal criminal aliens.
The underworld network built up by millions of alien lawbreakers, who by and large have no fear of capture or of being held accountable, enabled the September 11 terrorists to operate undetected. Latino illegal aliens in Northern Virginia helpfully showed several of the terrorists the ropes on how to secure Virginia driver's licenses fraudulently.
The advancement of "political correctness" and multiculturalism has caused politicians to be less willing to challenge limitations on their authority over resources. Local and state politicians in heavy immigrant-receiving areas have instead expanded immigrant eligibility for public benefits, welfare, assistance programs, health care programs for those without private insurance, and driver's and other licenses. Some states and localities have begun to accept the Mexican matricula consular ID card, though it has been determined to pose a great risk to U.S. national security. Even before the recently reported crossing of 25 Chechens into Arizona, authorities knew that the illegal aliens pose a national security problem.
Dealing with current levels and quality of legal immigration is an immense problem by itself. But it is clear that until alien criminality of every kind is punished, swiftly and surely, Americans who must live with the consequences will continue to suffer higher taxes, lower quality of life, higher threat and fear levels, and less actual safety.
Why do Americans still protect the illegals??
In recent weeks, governors in Illinois, New York and Massachusetts sought to suspend or declined to enter into Secure Communities participation agreements. Earlier this week, the Los Angeles City Council voted nearly unanimously to support legislation allowing communities to opt out of the program.
Gov. Brown "should side with both the officers who patrol our communities and the people they protect and end Secure Communities in California," said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles).
Under the program, the fingerprints of all arrestees booked into local jails are forwarded to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for screening. It was touted as a way to target serious criminals for deportation but has generated controversy because many of those detained are either not convicted of crimes or are low-level offenders.
A California bill that seeks to modify Secure Communities and allow counties to opt out is making its way through the Legislature but whether states and counties can legally decline to participate is not clear.
In addition to Roybal-Allard, Reps. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk) and Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) signed the letter. It was organized by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).
The raids, which involved helicopters and canine units, occurred at 50 locations in the cities of Madera, Los Banos, Livingston, Merced, Atwater and Dos Palos as part of the Operation Red Zone crackdown, Harris said.
It was aimed at "ruthless" and "lethal" gang leaders associated with Nuestra Familia, which was started at Folsom State Prison in 1968 and continues to be run out of the state prison system,
Why do Americans still protect the illegals??
The Immigrant Gang Plague
Hispanic gang violence is spreading across the country, the sign of a new underclass in the making.
The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than
The MSM hides the brutal truth from the American people. Few realize that the Mexican government, for instance, hypocritically encourages its own citizens to enter our country illegally---while it treats its own illegal immigrants like subhuman creatures. This is a relatively short book of only 183 pages and an index. It is perhaps the best book available for those who desire to acquire a better understanding of this issue in a relatively short period of time. You need to especially read The Immigration Solution before voting in November.
"Demolishes open-borders myths and provides a clear, sane path toward an immigration plan that benefits America..." -- Michelle Malkin, author of Invasion
"Even if you disagree with their preferred policy changes, their suggestions are serious, provocative, and worthy of careful thought..." -- Dr. George Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the author of Heaven's Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy
"In this book, the writers from City Journal again show why that magazine is so indispensable. Having helped change conventional wisdom on the urban problems of crime and welfare, they have now taken a hard look at an issue even more suffused with sentimentality and cliché. The Immigration Solution is essential reading for anyone seeking to develop an informed opinion on this vital national issue." -- Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies
"The Immigration Solution demolishes open-borders myths and provides a clear, sane path toward an immigration plan that benefits America and adheres to the rule of law. Heather Mac Donald, Victor Davis Hanson, and Steven Malanga battle muddled amnesty advocates with impeccable logic, facts, and principle. This book is not just a must-read. It's a must-do. -- Michelle Malkin, author of Invasion
"The Immigration Solution is a cogent analysis of our illegal immigration crisis and the public policy choices facing America. This book is a critically important read for our elected officials and the citizens they should be representing." -- Lou Dobbs
"The Immigration Solution is essential reading for anyone seeking to develop an informed opinion on this vital national issue." -- Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies
"The Immigration Solution is not just another book about the catastrophe cause by millions of illegal aliens flooding our country; it is a call to arms combined with an outline for a sensible immigration policy. If every member of Congress would read this book, we might be able to beginning the process of securing our borders and reducing the number of illegal immigrants within them." -- Thomas Tancredo, United States Congressman from Colorado
"The Immigration Solution" is an excellent new book that discusses illegal immigration without the political rhetoric, spin, demagoguery, and unsubstantiated claims that have become all too common in the media and among politicians.
"The divisive debate over immigration is going to continue for some time to come. MacDonald, Malanga, and Hanson lucidly present their concerns over the current direction of immigration policy and offer more than a few suggestions for change. Even if you disagree with their preferred policy changes, their suggestions are serious, provocative, and worthy of careful thought-and, regardless of your ideological background, you might actually find yourself nodding more than a few times as you read through the book." -- Dr. George Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the author of Heaven's Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy
"A comprehensive and enjoyable history of the machinations behind and history of DreamWorks and the personalities involved. ... A valuable resource to discover some of the inner workings of the DreamWorks story." --Thomas Jackson, American Renaissance, August 2008
Why do Americans still protect the illegals??
Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime these aliens commit is highest, the police cannot use the most obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration status. In Los Angeles, for example, dozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking. Police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPD’s rule against enforcing immigration law.
policies” generally prohibit city employees, including the cops, from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities.
Such laws testify to the sheer political power of immigrant lobbies, a power so irresistible that police officials shrink from even mentioning the illegal-alien crime wave. “We can’t even talk
about it,” says a frustrated LAPD captain. “People are afraid of a backlash from Hispanics.” Another LAPD commander in a predominantly Hispanic, gang-infested district sighs: “I would get a firestorm of criticism if I talked about [enforcing the immigration law against illegals].” Neither captain would speak for attribution.
But however pernicious in themselves, sanctuary rules are a symptom of a much broader disease: the nation’s near-total loss of control over immigration policy. Fifty years ago, immigration policy might have driven immigration numbers, but today the numbers drive policy. The nonstop increase of immigration is reshaping the language and the law to dissolve any distinction between legal and illegal aliens and, ultimately, the very idea of national borders.
It is a measure of how topsy-turvy the immigration environment has become that to ask police officials about the illegal-alien crime problem feels like a gross faux pas, not done in polite company. And a police official asked to violate this powerful taboo will give a strangled response—or, as in the case of a New York deputy commissioner, break off communication altogether. Meanwhile, millions of illegal aliens work, shop, travel, and commit crimes in plain view, utterly secure in their de facto immunity from the immigration law.
I asked the Miami Police Department’s spokesman, Detective Delrish Moss, about his employer’s policy on lawbreaking illegals. In September, the force arrested a Honduran visa violator for seven vicious rapes. The previous year, Miami cops had had the suspect in
custody for lewd and lascivious molestation, without checking his immigration status. Had they done so, they would have discovered his visa overstay, a deportable offense, and so could have forestalled the rapes. “We have shied away from unnecessary involvement dealing with immigration issues,” explains Moss, choosing his words carefully, “because of our large immigrant population.”
Police commanders may not want to discuss, much less respond to, the illegal-alien crisis, but its magnitude for law enforcement is startling. Some examples:
• In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.
• A confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California is illegal; police officers say the proportion is actually much greater. The bloody gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia,
the dominant force in California prisons, on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County. The gang
has grown dramatically over the last two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.
• The leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002, says former assistant U.S. attorney Luis Li. Francisco Martinez, a Mexican Mafia member and an illegal alien, controlled the gang from prison, while serving time for felonious reentry following deportation.
Good luck finding any reference to such facts in official crime analysis. The LAPD and the L.A. city attorney recently requested an injunction against drug trafficking in Hollywood, targeting the 18th Street Gang and the “non–gang members” who sell drugs in Hollywood for the gang. Those non–gang members are virtually all illegal Mexicans, smuggled into the country by a ring organized by 18th Street bigs. The Mexicans pay off their transportation debts to the gang by selling drugs; many soon realize how lucrative that line of work is and stay in the business.
Cops and prosecutors universally know the immigration status of these non-gang “Hollywood dealers,” as the city attorney calls them, but the gang injunction is assiduously silent on the matter. And if a Hollywood officer were to arrest an illegal dealer (known on the
street as a “border brother”) for his immigration status, or even notify the Immigration and Naturalization Service (since early 2003, absorbed into the new Department of Homeland Security), he would face severe discipline for violating Special Order 40, the city’s sanctuary policy.
L.A.’s sanctuary law and all others like it contradict a key 1990s policing discovery: the Great Chain of Being in criminal behavior. Pick up a law-violator for a “minor” crime, and you might well prevent a major crime: enforcing graffiti and turnstile-jumping laws nabs you murderers and robbers. Enforcing known immigration violations, such as reentry following deportation, against known felons, would be even more productive. LAPD officers recognize illegal deported gang members all the time—flashing gang signs at court hearings for rival gangbangers, hanging out on the corner, or casing a target. These illegal returnees are, simply by being in the country after deportation, committing a felony (in contrast to garden-variety illegals on their first trip to the U.S., say, who are only committing a misdemeanor). “But if I see a deportee from the Mara Salvatrucha [Salvadoran prison] gang crossing the street, I know I can’t touch him,” laments a Los Angeles gang officer. Only if the deported felon has given the officer some other reason to stop him, such as an observed narcotics sale, can the cop accost him—but not for the mmigration felony.
The stated reasons for sanctuary policies are that they encourage illegal-alien crime victims and witnesses to cooperate with cops without fear of deportation, and that they encourage illegals to take advantage of city services like health care and education (to whose maintenance few illegals have contributed a single tax dollar, of course). There has never been any empirical verification that sanctuary laws actually accomplish these goals—and no one has ever suggested not enforcing drug laws, say, for fear of intimidating drug-using crime victims. But in any case, this official rationale could be honored by limiting police use of immigration laws to some subset of immigration violators: deported felons, say, or repeat criminal offenders whose immigration status police already know.
The real reason cities prohibit their cops and other employees from immigration reporting and enforcement is, like nearly everything else in immigration policy, the numbers. The immigrant population has grown so large that public officials are terrified of alienating it, even at the expense of ignoring the law and tolerating violence. In 1996, a breathtaking Los Angeles Times exposé on the 18th Street Gang, which included descriptions of innocent bystanders being murdered by laughing cholos (gang members), revealed the rate of illegal-alien
membership in the gang. In response to the public outcry, the Los Angeles City Council ordered the police to reexamine Special Order 40. You would have thought it had suggested reconsidering Roe v. Wade. A police commander warned the council: “This is going to open
a significant, heated debate.” City Councilwoman Laura Chick put on a brave front: “We mustn’t be afraid,” she declared firmly.
But of course immigrant pandering trumped public safety. Law-abiding residents of gang-infested neighborhoods may live in terror of the tattooed gangbangers dealing drugs, spraying graffiti, and shooting up rivals outside their homes, but such anxiety can never equal a
politician’s fear of offending Hispanics. At the start of the reexamination process, LAPD deputy chief John White had argued that allowing the department to work closely with the INS would give cops another tool for getting gang members off the streets. Trying to build a homicide case, say, against an illegal gang member is often futile, he explained, since witnesses fear deadly retaliation if they cooperate with the police. Enforcing an immigration violation would allow the cops to lock up the murderer right now, without putting a witness’s life at risk.
But six months later, Deputy Chief White had changed his tune: “Any broadening of the policy gets us into the immigration business,” he asserted. “It’s a federal law-enforcement issue, not a local law-enforcement issue.” Interim police chief Bayan Lewis told the L.A. Police ommission: “It is not the time. It is not the day to look at Special Order 40.”
Nor will it ever be, as long as immigration numbers continue to grow. After their brief moment of truth in 1996, Los Angeles politicians have only grown more adamant in defense of Special Order 40. After learning that cops in the scandal-plagued Rampart Division had cooperated with the INS to try to uproot murderous gang members from the community, local politicians threw a fit, criticizing district commanders for even allowing INS agents into their station houses. In
turn, the LAPD strictly disciplined the offending officers. By now, big-city police chiefs are unfortunately just as determined to defend sanctuary policies as the politicians who appoint them; not so the rank and file, however, who see daily the benefit that an immigration tool would bring. But even were immigrant-saturated cities to discard their sanctuary policies and start enforcing immigration violations where public safety demands it, the resource-starved immigration authorities couldn’t handle the overwhelming additional workload.
The chronic shortage of manpower to oversee, and detention space to house, aliens as they await their deportation hearings (or, following an order of removal from a federal judge, their actual deportation) has forced immigration officials to practice a constant triage. Long ago, the feds stopped trying to find and deport aliens who had “merely” entered the country illegally through stealth or fraudulent documents. Currently, the only types of illegal aliens who run any risk of catching federal attention are those who have been convicted of an “aggravated felony” (a particularly egregious crime) or who have been deported following conviction for an
aggravated felony and who have reentered (an offense punishable with 20 years in jail).
That triage has been going on for a long time, as former INS investigator Mike Cutler, who worked with the NYPD catching Brooklyn drug dealers in the 1970s, explains. “If you arrested someone you wanted to detain, you’d go to your boss and start a bidding war,” Cutler recalls. “You’d say: 'My guy ran three blocks, threw a couple of punches, and had six pieces of ID.' The boss would turn to another agent: 'Next! Whaddid your guy do?' 'He ran 18 blocks, pushed
over an old lady, and had a gun.' ” But such one-upmanship was usually fruitless. “Without the jail space,” explains Cutler, “it was like the Fish and Wildlife Service; you’d tag their ear
and let them go.”
But even when immigration officials actually arrest someone, and even if a judge issues a final deportation order (usually after years of litigation and appeals), they rarely have the manpower to put the alien on a bus or plane and take him across the border. Second alternative: detain him pending removal. Again, inadequate space and staff. In the early 1990s, for example, 15 INS officers were in charge of the deportation of approximately 85,000 aliens (not all of them criminals) in New York City. The agency’s actual response to final orders of removal was what is known as a “run letter”—a notice asking the deportable alien kindly to show up in a month or
two to be deported, when the agency might be able to process him. Results: in 2001, 87 percent of deportable aliens who received run letters disappeared, a number that was even higher—94 percent—if they were from terror-sponsoring countries.
To other law-enforcement agencies, the feds’ triage often looks like complete indifference to immigration violations. Testifying to Congress about the Queens rape by illegal Mexicans, New York’s criminal justice coordinator defended the city’s failure to notify the INS after the rapists’ previous arrests on the ground that the agency wouldn’t have responded anyway. “We have time and time again been unable to reach INS on the phone,” John Feinblatt said last February. “When we reach them on the phone, they require that we write a letter. When we write a letter, they quire that it be by a superior.”
Criminal aliens also interpret the triage as indifference. John Mullaly a former NYPD homicide detective, estimates that 70 percent of the drug dealers and other criminals in Manhattan’s Washington Heights were illegal. Were Mullaly to threaten an illegal-alien thug in custody that his next stop would be El Salvador unless he cooperated, the criminal would just laugh, knowing that the INS would never show up. The message could not be clearer: this is a culture
that can’t enforce its most basic law of entry. If policing’s broken-windows theory is correct, the failure to enforce one set of rules breeds overall contempt for the law.
The sheer number of criminal aliens overwhelmed an innovative program that would allow immigration officials to complete deportation hearings while a criminal was still in state or federal prison, so that upon his release he could be immediately ejected without taking
up precious INS detention space. But the process, begun in 1988, immediately bogged down due to the numbers—in 2000, for example, nearly 30 percent of federal prisoners were foreign-born. The agency couldn’t find enough pro bono attorneys to represent such an army of criminal aliens (who have extensive due-process rights in contesting deportation) and so would have to request delay after delay. Or enough immigration judges would not be available. In 1997, the INS simply had no record of a whopping 36 percent of foreign-born inmates who had been released from federal and four state prisons without any review of their deportability. They included 1,198
aggravated felons, 80 of whom were soon re-arrested for new crimes.
Resource starvation is not the only reason for federal inaction. The INS was a creature of immigration politics, and INS district directors came under great pressure from local politicians to divert scarce resources into distribution of such “benefits” as permanent residency, citizenship, and work permits, and away from criminal or other investigations. In the late 1980s, for example, the INS refused to join an FBI task force against Haitian drug trafficking in Miami, fearing criticism for “Haitian-bashing.” In 1997, after Hispanic activists protested a much-publicized raid that netted nearly two dozen illegals, the Border Patrol said that it would no longer join Simi Valley, California, probation officers on home searches of illegal-alien-dominated gangs.
The disastrous Citizenship USA project of 1996 was a luminous case of politics driving the INS to sacrifice enforcement to “benefits.” When, in the early 1990s, the prospect of welfare reform drove immigrants to apply for citizenship in record numbers to preserve their welfare eligibility, the Clinton administration, seeing a political bonanza in hundreds of thousands of new welfare-dependent citizens, ordered the naturalization process radically expedited. Thanks to relentless administration pressure, processing errors in 1996 were 99 percent in New York and 90 percent in Los Angeles, and tens of thousands of aliens with criminal records, including for murder and armed robbery, were naturalized.
Another powerful political force, the immigration bar association, has won from Congress an elaborate set of due-process rights for criminal aliens that can keep them in the country ndefinitely. Federal probation officers in Brooklyn are supervising two illegals—a Jordanian and an Egyptian with Saudi citizenship—who look “ready to blow up the Statue of Liberty,” according to a probation official, but the officers can’t get rid of them. The Jordanian had been caught fencing stolen Social Security and tax-refund checks; now he sells phone cards, which he uses himself to make untraceable calls. The Saudi’s offense: using a fraudulent Social Security number to get employment—a puzzlingly unnecessary scam, since he receives large sums from the Middle East, including from millionaire relatives. But intelligence links him to terrorism,
so presumably he worked in order not to draw attention to himself. Currently, he changes his cell phone every month. Ordinarily such a minor offense would not be prosecuted, but the government, fearing that he had terrorist intentions, used whatever it had to put him in prison.
Now, probation officers desperately want to see the duo out of the country, but the two ex-cons have hired lawyers, who are relentlessly fighting their deportation. “Due process allows you to stay for years without an adjudication,” says a probation officer in frustration. “A regular immigration attorney can keep you in the country for three years, a high-priced one for ten.” In the meantime, Brooklyn probation officials are watching the bridges.
Even where immigration officials successfully nab and deport criminal aliens, the reality, says a former federal gang prosecutor, is that “they all come back. They can’t make it in Mexico.” The tens of thousands of illegal farmworkers and dishwashers who overpower U.S. border controls every year carry in their wake thousands of brutal assailants and terrorists who use the same smuggling industry and who benefit from the same irresistible odds: there are so many more of
them than the Border Patrol.
For, of course, the government’s inability to keep out criminal aliens is part and parcel of its inability to patrol the border, period. For decades, the INS had as much effect on the migration of
millions of illegals as a can tied to the tail of a tiger. And the immigrants themselves, despite the press cliché of hapless aliens living fearfully in the shadows, seemed to regard immigration
authorities with all the concern of an elephant for a flea.
Certainly fear of immigration officers is not in evidence among the hundreds of illegal day laborers who hang out on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, New York, in front of money wire services, travel agencies, immigration-attorney offices, and phone arcades, all catering to the
local Hispanic population (as well as to drug dealers and terrorists). “There is no chance of getting caught,” cheerfully explains Rafael, an Ecuadoran. Like the dozen Ecuadorans and Mexicans on his particular corner, Rafael is hoping that an SUV seeking carpenters for $100 a day will show up soon. “We don’t worry, because we’re not doing anything wrong. I know it’s illegal; I need the papers, but here, nobody asks you for papers.”
Even the newly fortified Mexican border, the one spot where the government really tries to prevent illegal immigration, looms as only a minor inconvenience to the day laborers. The odds, they realize, are overwhelmingly in their favor. Miguel, a reserved young carpenter, crossed the border at Tijuana three years ago with 15 others. Border Patrol spotted them, but with six officers to 16 illegals, only five got caught. In illegal border crossings, you get what you pay for, Miguel says. If you try to shave on the fee, the coyotes will abandon you at the first problem. Miguel’s wife was flying into New York from Los Angeles that very day; it had cost him $2,200 to get her
across the border. “Because I pay, I don’t worry,” he says complacently.
The only way to dampen illegal immigration and its attendant train of criminals and terrorists—short of an economic revolution in the sending countries or an impregnably militarized border—is to remove the jobs magnet. As long as migrants know they can easily get work, they will find ways to evade border controls. But enforcing laws against illegal labor is among government’s lowest priorities. In 2001, only 124 agents nationwide were trying to find and prosecute the hundreds of thousands of employers and millions of illegal aliens who violate the employment laws, the Associated Press reports.
Even were immigration officials to devote adequate resources to worksite investigations, not much would change, because their legal weapons are so weak. That’s no accident: though it is a crime to hire illegal aliens, a coalition of libertarians, business lobbies, and left-wing advocates has consistently blocked the fraud-proof form of work authorization necessary to enforce that ban. Libertarians have erupted in hysteria at such proposals as a toll-free number to the Social Security Administration for employers to confirm Social Security numbers. Hispanics warn just as stridently that helping employers verify work eligibility would result in discrimination
against Hispanics—implicitly conceding that vast numbers of Hispanics work illegally.
The result: hiring practices in illegal-immigrant-saturated industries are a charade. Millions of illegal workers pretend to present valid documents, and thousands of employers pretend to
believe them. The law doesn’t require the employer to verify that a worker is actually qualified to work, and as long as the proffered documents are not patently phony—scrawled with red crayon on a matchbook, say—the employer will nearly always be exempt from liability merely by having eyeballed them. To find an employer guilty of violating the ban on hiring illegal aliens, immigration authorities must prove that he knew he was getting fake papers—an almost
insurmountable burden. Meanwhile, the market for counterfeit documents has exploded: in one month alone in 1998, immigration authorities seized nearly 2 million of them in Los Angeles, destined for immigrant workers, welfare seekers, criminals, and terrorists.
For illegal workers and employers, there is no downside to the employment charade. If immigration officials ever do try to conduct an industry-wide investigation—which will at least net the illegal employees, if not the employers—local congressmen will almost certainly head it off. An INS inquiry into the Vidalia-onion industry in Georgia was not only aborted by Georgia’s congressional delegation; it actually resulted in a local amnesty for the growers’ illegal workforce. The downside to complying with the spirit of the employment law, on the other hand, is considerable. Ethnic advocacy groups are ready to picket employers who dismiss illegal workers, and employers understandably fear being undercut by less scrupulous competitors.
Of the incalculable changes in American politics, demographics, and culture that the continuing surge of migrants is causing, one of the most profound is the breakdown of the distinction between legal and illegal entry. Everywhere, illegal aliens receive free public education and free medical care at taxpayer expense; 13 states offer them driver’s licenses. States everywhere have been pushed to grant illegal aliens college scholarships and reduced in-state tuition. One hundred banks, over 800 law-enforcement agencies, and dozens of cities accept an identification card created by Mexico to credentialize illegal Mexican aliens in the U.S. The Bush administration has given its blessing to this matricula consular card, over the strong protest of the FBI, which warns that the gaping security loopholes that the card creates make it boon to money launderers, immigrant smugglers, and terrorists. Border authorities have already caught an Iranian man sneaking across the border this year, Mexican matricula card in hand.
Hispanic advocates have helped blur the distinction between a legal and an illegal resident by asserting that differentiating the two is an act of irrational bigotry. Arrests of illegal aliens inside the
border now inevitably spark protests, often led by the Mexican government, that feature signs calling for “no más racismo.” Immigrant advocates use the language of “human rights” to appeal
to an authority higher than such trivia as citizenship laws. They attack the term “amnesty” for implicitly acknowledging the validity of borders. Indeed, grouses Illinois congressman Luis
Gutierrez, “There’s an implication that somehow you did something wrong and you need to be forgiven.”
Illegal aliens and their advocates speak loudly about what they think the U.S. owes them, not vice versa. “I believe they have a right . . . to work, to drive their kids to school,” said California
assemblywoman Sarah Reyes. An immigration agent says that people he stops “get in your face about their rights, because our failure to enforce the law emboldens them.” Taking this idea to its extreme, Joaquín Avila, a UCLA Chicano studies professor and law lecturer, argues that to deny non-citizens the vote, especially in the many California cities where they constitute the majority, is a form of apartheid.
Yet no poll has ever shown that Americans want more open borders. Quite the reverse. By a huge majority—at least 60 percent—they want to rein in immigration, and they endorse an observation that Senator Alan Simpson made 20 years ago: Americans “are fed up with
efforts to make them feel that [they] do not have that fundamental right of any people—to decide who will join them and help form the future country in which they and their posterity will live.” But if the elites’ and the advocates’ idea of giving voting rights to non-citizen majorities catches on—and don’t be surprised if it does—Americans could be faced with the ultimate absurdity of people outside the social compact making rules for those inside it.
However the nation ultimately decides to rationalize its chaotic and incoherent immigration system, surely all can agree that, at a minimum, authorities should expel illegal-alien criminals swiftly. Even on the grounds of protecting non-criminal illegal immigrants, we should start by junking sanctuary policies. By stripping cops of what may be their only immediate tool to remove felons from the community, these policies leave law-abiding immigrants prey to crime.
But the non-enforcement of immigration laws in general has an even more destructive effect. In many immigrant communities, assimilation into gangs seems to be outstripping assimilation into civic culture. Toddlers are learning to flash gang signals and hate the police, reports the Los Angeles Times. In New York City, “every high school has its Mexican gang,” and most 12- to 14-year-olds have already joined, claims Ernesto Vega, an illegal 11-year-old Mexican. Such
pathologies only worsen when the first lesson that immigrants learn about U.S. law is that Americans don’t bother to enforce it. “Institutionalizing illegal immigration creates a mindset in people that anything goes in the U.S.,” observes Patrick Ortega, the news and public-affairs director of Radio Nueva Vida in southern California. “It creates a new subculture, with a sequela of social ills.” It is broken windows writ large.
For the sake of immigrants and native-born Americans alike, it’s time to decide what our immigration policy is—and enforce it.