Rosemary Jenks's Picture

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  by  Rosemary Jenks

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano (aka, J-No) in December 2009 assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Obama Administration had already made great strides in securing our borders, thus moving us one step closer to “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

“Our efforts are achieving their desired results at the border. . . . In short, the security of our southwest border has been transformed.”

--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009

As proof of this outrageously optimistic assertion, Secretary J-No pointed to a decline in the number of illegal aliens apprehended along the border.

“[A]pprehensions of illegal aliens at the border have dropped to their lowest levels in decades, signaling reduced traffic flows and fewer attempts to illegally enter the United States.”

--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009

Apprehensions have, in fact, dropped from 723,840 in FY 2008 to around 556,000 in FY 2009, and the FY 2009 figure is the lowest since the early 1970s. It is also likely that some of this decline reflects the fact that fewer illegal aliens are attempting to enter the United States, especially considering our double-digit unemployment. However, even DHS’s own inflated estimates acknowledge that the Border Patrol has “effective control” over only 939 of the 6,000 miles of land borders.

Moreover, when I visited with Border Patrol Agents in the Tucson Sector in mid-October of 2009 and asked if they believe the official DHS line that three illegal aliens successfully enter the United States for every one who is apprehended, they laughed. The reality, they said, is that 10 or more get through for every one who is caught. That was two months before Secretary J-No shared her rosy view with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If the Border Patrol agents’ estimate is correct, that would mean that illegal aliens successfully penetrated our borders more than 5.5 million times in FY 2009. That doesn’t sound much like a “transformation” to me. In Secretary J-No’s world, however, this transformation explains why she has asked Congress for $11.6 million less in funding for “border security between ports of entry” and for $225.8 million less in funding for “border fencing, infrastructure, and technology” for FY 2011.

I also have to wonder if the marked increase in the number of armed illegal aliens and the astronomical increase in the number of reported incidents of violence against border agents are part of the “desired results” that Secretary J-No touted during the Senate hearing. The number of assaults against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along the Southwest border increased by 176% in FY 2008. While official data for FY 2009 have not yet been released, anecdotal evidence suggests that violence directed at CBP officers has continued to grow. It seems safe to say that this is not a desired result—at least not for CBP officers, in any case.

Speaking of armed illegal aliens entering the United States undeterred, the accompanying video was captured by “game cameras” (i.e., cameras with motion sensors to activate them) set up by concerned citizens in the Arizona desert in December 2009—the very same month that Secretary J-No was assuring the Senate that the Obama Administration has “transformed” the southwest border. The video you see here is actually three separate video clips caught when the game cameras were triggered on three different days in December. All three are from cameras set up in the Sonoran Desert National Monument, which is comprised of almost 500,000 acres southwest of Phoenix and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has only a small handful of law enforcement rangers to patrol and protect this vast area.

The first two video clips were captured at the same location at two different times. The first clip shows two illegal aliens armed with rifles with scopes. The second clip shows a group of illegal alien drug mules (also called “backpackers” for obvious reasons) carrying bundles of marijuana on their backs. Each of the bundles weighs 40-50 pounds. The black jugs all these individuals are carrying are water jugs made specially for the Mexican drug cartels from black plastic, since regular plastic jugs reflect moonlight and so are easily visible at night. As I saw during my border visit in October, large parts of the desert are littered (no pun intended) with these black jugs.

When these backpackers reach a pre-designated place along a road or highway, they will stash the drugs near the road, but out of sight. The drugs will then be picked up by armed men in a vehicle with U.S. registration and driven to a stash house. The illegal-alien backpackers will either head back to Mexico for the next load or they will continue on into the U.S. city of their choice to join the existing illegal population, depending on whether they are employed by the cartels or were just working off part of their smuggling fee by carrying the drugs.

The third clip shows one illegal alien, followed shortly by a second illegal alien with a MAC-10 machine gun strapped over his chest.

Note that all three clips were captured in broad daylight.

I think we can probably all agree that the Southwest border has been “transformed.” I doubt, however, that most of us would associate this transformation with security or see it as a desired result.

Nevertheless, in Secretary J-No’s world this transformation (combined with double-digit unemployment) means it is time to concede the seven million American jobs currently held by illegal aliens and make sure those illegal aliens can keep those jobs permanently.

“We must seize this moment to build a truly effective immigration system that deters illegal immigration, provides effective and enduring enforcement tools, protects workers from exploitation and retaliation, and creates a tough but fair path to legalization for the millions of illegal immigrants already here.”

--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009

Note that Secretary J-No uses the oxymoronic term “illegal immigrant” here, but she uses the correct term, “illegal alien,” when she’s bragging about securing the border. (By definition, an “immigrant” is an alien who has been granted lawful permanent residence, and so cannot be illegal.) Hmmm.

Since taking office, Secretary J-No has dismantled many of our most effective enforcement tools. She has:

  • Ended worksite raids;
  • Prohibited state and local police from turning over regular illegal aliens (i.e., those who have not committed any crimes except illegal entry or other crimes associated with being in the United States illegally) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE);
  • Rescinded the so-called “No-Match Rule” which told employers to fire known illegal-alien workers; and
  • Worked to repeal the REAL ID Act, which prevents illegal aliens from obtaining state driver’s licenses, among other things.

I have to agree that now is the time for “effective and enduring enforcement tools.” The problem is figuring out what this statement means in Secretary J-No’s world.

On the other hand, Secretary J-No makes no bones about what comprises the non-enforcement aspects of “reform” in her world.

“Immigration reform must consist of a "three-legged stool" that includes a commitment to serious and effective enforcement, improved legal flows for families and workers, and a firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here.”

--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009

You may remember the phrase “three-legged stool” from the last administration. President George W. Bush was particularly fond of that phrase. For him, it meant:

1. Enforcement;
2. Increased legal immigration; and
3. Amnesty (aka, matching willing workers with willing employers).

As it turns out, it means the same thing in Secretary J-No’s world. Surprise!

And what constitutes amnesty in Secretary J-No’s world?

“We need legislation that creates the foundation for requiring illegal immigrants already in this country to register, supply biometric data, pass a criminal background check, pay requisite penalties, pay their taxes, and learn English in order to legalize their status.”

--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009

Sound familiar? It should, since this is the same amnesty plan that Senators Kennedy and McCain—with assistance from President Bush, of course—tried to ram down our throats in 2007. The only difference now is that millions more Americans are out of work and in desperate need of jobs.

As with Senators Kennedy and McCain, though, general amnesty for the 12 to 20 million illegal aliens living here is not enough in Secretary J-No’s world.

“DHS supports including certain students with long-standing roots in our country who attended our nation's schools within the coverage of comprehensive immigration reform.”

--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009

Yep, you guessed it. Secretary J-No wants the DREAM Act included in her massive amnesty. I would note, by the way, that when she says “DHS supports” the DREAM Act, she clearly is not including the majority of law enforcement officers within DHS who actually believe in the rule of law.

So, why, at a time of double-digit unemployment, would Secretary J-No tell the Senate that, since she’s secured the border, now it’s time to move on to amnesty?

“In my meetings with leaders in agriculture, service industries and other fields, they have told me that current visa policies are hindering the growth of businesses looking to expand. . . . Businesses must be able find the workers they need here in America, rather than having to move overseas.”

--Testimony of Secretary Napolitano before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, December 9, 2009

Seriously?

There is only one conclusion to be drawn from all this: Secretary J-No’s world bears no resemblance to the world we’re living (and trying to find work) in.

ROSEMARY JENKS is the Director, Government Relations for NumbersUSA

Tags:  
Illegal Immigration
border control
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