Mixed Messages From DHS
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) words and actions appear to contradict one another. Here is a case in point:
In a speech delivered at the Port of Miami on January 30th, Secretary Ridge
said "America has a very proud heritage. We have long been a nation of
immigrants, with good-hearted, law abiding, productive individual citizens
originating everywhere from Beijing to Belgrade, from Nairobi to New Delhi.
It is the President's intention, and that of the Department's, and
certainly mine, that this founding principle must and will always endure.
To do so, we must improve and protect immigration practices. Through a
newly created Office of Citizenship and Immigration, we will focus on doing
things right for our country's own protection, but also to ensure that
America remains a welcoming nation for people who want a better way of
life, for people who want to make a contribution here. We will continue to
screen visa and green card applications. That is our duty, that is our
task, and frankly, a lot of the people coming in will be part of this
country's hope. But at the same time, we must also reduce the present INS
backlog, decrease processing time and protect the rights and civil
liberties of both naturalized and prospective citizens."
These are inspiring words, and offer the immigration law community
reassurance. But if one looks beyond the words to the Department's actions, a different
On the same day that Secretary Ridge delivered the above remarks, DHS
issued to the Press a "Border Reorganization Fact Sheet." Here are some
facts in this sheet:
"[The] new Bureau [of Customs and Border Protection] will bring together
approximately 30,000 employees including 17,000 inspectors in the
Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program, INS inspection services, Border
Patrol and the Customs Service, including canine enforcement officers ...
[The] Bureau [of Immigration and Customs Enforcement] will bring together
the enforcement and investigation arms of the Customs Service, the
investigative and enforcement functions of Immigration and Naturalization
Service and the Federal Protective Services. The reorganization involves
approximately 14,000 employees, including 5,500 criminal investigators,
4,000 employees for immigration and deportation services and 1,500 Federal
Protective Service personnel that will focus on the mission of enforcing
the full range of immigration and customs laws within the interior of the
United States in addition to protecting specified federal buildings. The
air and marine enforcement functions of the Customs Service will also be a
part of this bureau."
If our reading of this is accurate, here is what it appears to say:
The Border Patrol is mostly absorbed into the Bureau of Customs and Border
Protection. However, the Bureau of Customs and Immigration Enforcement will
have 14,000 enforcers, only 5,500 of which will focus on criminal
investigations. 4,000 enforcers will have as their full-time function the
deportation of the undocumented, which likely presages major efforts at DHS
targeted on the undocumented population.
Before embarking on this endeavor, DHS may want to consider that the reason
that the undocumented are undocumented is that our current immigration law
is out of sync with the laws of economics and reality. At a minimum, a
large-scale legalization program must precede or accompany the kind of
enhanced enforcement that DHS appears to be gearing up for.
It could also be that our fears are misplaced. Maybe what the country
needs to go forward with a large-scale legalization program is precisely
the kind of massive enforcement that seems to be coming. Perhaps America
needs to learn the hard way that tearing up families and businesses across
the country will hurt Americans too, without doing a scintilla to enhance
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Immigration Law News
OIG Releases Follow-Up Audit Report Of INS's Airport Inspection Facilities
The Office of the Inspector General, Department of Justice, released its follow-up audit report of INS's airport inspection facilities and concluded that, "although construction and renovation projects have improved some facilities, we found repeat and new deficiencies at all 12 airports reviewed." Click here for INS's response to the audit report.
DHS On Immigration Function Reorganization
The Department of Homeland Security released a border reorganization fact sheet detailing the structure of the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security and how the various agencies from other departments will be integrated into DHS. For Secretary Ridge's remarks on the border reorganization, including the immigration services function, click here.
INS Announces Data
Management Improvement Act Task Force Meeting In DC
The Data Management Improvement Act (DMIA) Task Force will gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss issues related to facilitating the flow of traffic at US ports-of-entry. The meeting is open to the public.
Prague Foreign Service Officer Pleads Guilty To Visa Fraud
The Department of State announced that a career Foreign Service officer pled guilty to one count of visa fraud for issuing visas illegally while serving as a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Prague from August 1999 to July 2002.
President Bush Nominates Immigration Services Czar
President Bush announced his intention to nominate Eduardo Aguierre, Jr. of Texas, to be Acting Director of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service at the DHS.
Sentence Affirmed Where District Court Did Not Clearly Err In Finding Defendant Competent
In US v. Estrada-Gatica, No. 02-2179 (8th Cir. Feb. 7, 2003), the court said that the Defendant, who was found guilty of illegal reentry after deportation, failed to move for departure based on diminshed mental capacity and received the sentence he requested.
Religious Visa Program Fraud
Concerning fraud in Religious Worker Visas, Newsday (Long Island, New York)
reports "Prosecutors said Khalil, the mosque director since 1993, charged
fees up to $8,000 to sponsor more than 200 applicants seeking work visas
through the INS program, alleging they were religious workers who taught
the Quran, Islamic history and the Arabic language."
Japanese Interment Was Justified Says Rep. Coble
CNN.COM reports "Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., who heads the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said on a radio
call-in program Tuesday that he agreed with the internment of
Japanese-Americans during World War II. "
Immigrants Running Convience Stores Are Terrorists, Implies Rep. Myrick
Fox News reports Rep. Myrick (R-NC) said "You know, and this can be
misconstrued, but honest to goodness (husband) Ed and I for years, for 20
years, have been saying,`You know, look at who runs all the convenience
stores across the country.' Every little town you go into, you know?"
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Letters to the Editor
Ali Alexander keeps harping on this literacy thing. Even if true, this is completely irrelevant to the debate on immigration. Each generation attempts to better themselves. I am the direct descendent of an African slave. My grandmother grew up illiterate on a sharecropping farm in Arkansas. My father got his associates degree. I finished law school. So what if some people who come here canít read or write English or donít speak "educated" Spanish( Whatever that means). Their children will be able to do both. Aliís arguments are against people not against immigration. The Irish and Italians who came here in the 40ís were not a highly educated bunch but no one argues that we should send them packing. Even our president doesnít speak "educated" English but he still got the job.
Dieter Maschewsky in his letter said, "illegal aliens are illegal aliens. Making them legal, semi-legal, semi-heroes or an absolute necessary part of the US economy is an attempt of taking the issue into the emotional field of inadmissible evidence. Other countries do very well without any immigrants, not to speak about illegal once."
I'll take Alan Greenspan's word on the value of illegal workers; I think Mr. Greenspan has a better grip on what drives America's economy.
But I was puzzled over which countries Mr. Maschewsky would list as doing well without any immigrants, possibly Ireland who has natives returning? Perhaps he'll write and list a few.
Mr. Alexanderís assertion, "There is no such thing as a "labor shortage", only a shortage of workers at a price an employer is willing to pay" needs careful examination before we start hiring out-of-work engineers to cut chicken and work for landscape companies. Somehow, in the real world, that dog won't hunt.
In response to Justin's letter, I'm well aware of our history with regard to immigration, and the fact that most of our previous immigrants groups did not speak English as a native language. My grandparents certainly didn't, but they learned. Nor were they educated or literate. But then, Justin, most people even until the 1950s here, didn't need even a high school education to make a decent living. Try that today. As for learning English--my grandparents and other immigrants learned English because they wanted to and had to. There was no accommodation for nonEnglish speakers as we have now, even to the point of providing ballots for US elections in the native languages of people who should be able to handle basic English.
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