American Elephants

The Border is Not Secure, and The Senate’s Bill is Not Going to Fix It. by The Elephant's Child

Back in February, Bloomberg Businessweek had a headline that proclaimed “While Nobody Was Looking, The Border Got Secured.” Reporter Elizabeth Dworkin said “Obama has poured money and resources into border security. In his first term, he spent $73 billion on immigration enforcement. That’s more than the budgets of all other federal law enforcement agencies.” Well, yes. In his first term Obama squandered money right and left. Dworkin depended on falling numbers of illegals apprehended, but doesn’t count the ones who got away.  President Obama has also tried to claim that the border is “secure.”

Janet Napolitano visited the border south of San Diego and announced “I believe the border’s a safe border. That’s not to say everything is 100 percent.” Well, yes, it’s not 100%, that’s why ICE agents are suing Secretary Napolitano and Homeland Security and the Obama administration for not letting them do their jobs.

The Heritage Foundation noted:

Last week, government watchdog Judicial Watch issued a report that shows the Department of Homeland Security  (DHS) was abandoning ordinary background checks due to a surge in amnesty applications as a result of President Obama’s executive action last year.

If DHS cannot manage a few hundred thousand temporary amnesty applications, it is scary to think about how it will handle 10 million or more amnesty applications that would occur as a result of the Senate’s immigration reform bill.

Under the Senate’s immigration bill, the majority of the estimated 11.5 million unlawful immigrants would get provisional immigrant status after passing a background check. Not going to happen if DHS can’t keep up with the sudden surge. ICE admitted in March that it has released more than 2,000 unlawful immigrants, including serious offenders. ,Since those released are no longer confined in immigration jails, who knows if they will turn up for their court hearings.

The U.S Judicial Conference, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary has issued a scathing letter on the enormous costs and problems the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill would create for the court system involving enforcement, legalization, immigration courts and E-Verify.

The talking points about the “path to citizenship,” offer many barriers that illegal immigrants must pass to receive “earned legalization,” but the barriers have no teeth, the path is phony, and the record of adherence to the rules— by the administration— is bleak.

  • They must pass background checks. DHS does not have the ability to handle present amnesty applications, a surge of 11 million is impossible.
  • They must learn English. The 1986 law required this, but in practice attendance at a  handful of classes was sufficient, INS weakened the requirement after the law was passed, last time, and exempted many.
  • They must pay back taxes. Those who have been working off the books have no history with the IRS about back taxes. The requirement is that illegals must come clean with the IRS, but if there’s no record? So the idea is sign up and we’ll send the IRS after you? That’s sure to work.
  • They must pay a fee and a fine. Mr. Obama called it a ‘penalty’, but a fee is meant to cover the cost of administering amnesty. How much? To be decided by DHS. The fine or penalty was $500, then another $500 six years later, and if a person wants to switch from provisional status to green card status, there’s another $1,000. Lots of exceptions and waivers. If you came in under age 16, you don’t have to pay, or if you’re under 21, or on welfare. The original bill grants non-profits $150 million to help illegals apply for amnesty.
  • They must go to the back of the line.  Those approved for provisional legal status immediately get a work permit, Social Security account, travel documents, drivers licenses, many public benefits, and state level benefits. Those who receive amnesty are better off compared to those overseas who have applied to come to the U.S. legally. Amnesty, thus, is a powerful incentive to encourage illegal immigration. Why wait around to do it legally? We would be sending the message illegal entry is a legitimate path to US citizenship, The Border Patrol chief recently testified to Congress that even the discussion of amnesty has increased illegal immigration.

What has changed in the hastily rewritten Hoeven-Corker version, I don’t know, but you can be sure that it is all window dressing. The administration has just spent almost 5 years demonstrating that an administration does not have to abide by the rules if they don’t want to.

The Congressional Budget Office foresees a net increase of 10,4 million legal immigrants through 2023 on top of the 10 million expected under current law.  Add another 4.8 million new illegals and we could be looking at more than 25 million new immigrants in the next ten years. We have never had immigration on that scale. Never. If millions of Americans cannot find work, what are all the new people going to be doing? Lowering wages and increasing unemployment? The CBO also finds that even with stronger economic growth the bill would decrease the wages of working Americans, especially the least well off.

Here’s another interesting factoid. Sharia Law allows adherents to take the Oath of Allegiance which begins “I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty to which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen… ” and lie about it. Sharia trumps American oaths, and one is free to lie to unbelievers.

Truly promising, isn’t it?

Am Immigration Plan in the National Interest? Nah! by The Elephant's Child

The latest message from the compliant media is that the Gang of Eight Immigration bill is a ‘done deal,’ it’s all over, the Hoeven-Corker amendment has changed it into something that will make it acceptable to cautious Republicans and Democrats, because we said so, no need to try to read this 1,200 page mess. “We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it— again.” Harry Reid wants to pass it on Monday.

Hopefully, the House of Representatives will reject it, chew it up distastefully, and spit it out. It is a complete fraud.  I started to write about immigration yesterday, but realized that I didn’t begin to know enough to write about it knowledgeably, so I started reading.  I went to the Center for Immigration Studies, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization, founded in 1985.

The data collected by the Center during the past quarter-century has led many of our researchers to conclude that current, high levels of immigration are making it harder to achieve such important national objectives as better public schools, a cleaner environment, homeland security, and a living wage for every native-born and immigrant worker. These data may support criticism of US immigration policies, but they do not justify ill feelings toward our immigrant community. In fact, many of us at the Center are animated by a “low-immigration, pro-immigrant” vision of an America that admits fewer immigrants but affords a warmer welcome for those who are admitted.

It’s a terrific source with reams of information. Obviously the Gang of Eight is completely unaware of any of it, or more likely, is unconcerned.  The standard estimate is that we have around 11 million illegal immigrants in the country at any one time. Mexicans are thought to represent about 55-60% of the illegal population, which is why discussion seems to revolve around Mexicans and the Southern border. The standard refrain is “You can’t deport 11 million people.”

The immigration bill is driven by the single dominating goal of the Democratic Party — winning the next election. They believe that amnesty will bring them more Democrat voters. They would prefer open borders, but will settle for a pretense of securing the borders that will never happen. Every border security effort proposed  has been part of previous bills, but never enforced, or funded, and the present bill is just more of the same, with security that will never happen. The illegal population is usually thought of in the full stadium model — as a big bunch of people, but it is instead — a constantly shifting population.

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Democrats want more Democrat voters. The Tech industry wants H1-B low pay/high tech workers. Everybody seems OK with EB-5 Immigrant Investors — you invest $500,000, bring in your whole family and get green cards in 2 years. E1 and E2 —non-immigrant visas, are easily renewed, for those funding and operating businesses in the US with a value over $50,000.

If it is true that 60% of our illegal immigrant population is from Mexico, what does that indicate? Per the Democrats, perhaps we should just annex the country and be done with it. A recent Gallup survey found that 5 million Mexicans want to move here. In 2005, 22 million Mexicans told a Pew survey that they would come as guest workers. Employment prospects in Mexico and employment prospects in the United States change and affect the movement of populations, as do changes in administrations.

15% of our construction workers are unemployed. Inviting more low pay workers across the border will devastate high paying jobs. It has already happened, even with the slowed pace of the construction industry. The rush to satisfy employers’ appetite for cheaper foreign workers will be devastating for young Americans. The statistics that CIS has on STEM graduates suggests that employers’ claims that they can’t find well-trained graduates may not be entirely accurate.

Claims that there has been a big drop in numbers crossing the border illegally may not be true. There have been big surges in the Rio Grande valley, but the Border Patrol is not allowed to stop them, the surge began in the summer of 2012. 98% of the 550,000 individuals on the terrorist watch list are foreign born. 10,000-20,000 of those reside in the United States. The 13 most notorious terrorism arrests since 2009 involved naturalized U.S. citizens.

So  how about immigration reform in the national interest? One New York Times headline read “Labor and Business Reach Deal on Immigration Issue.”Business wanted 400,000 new low-skill workers visas, but settled for a number that could reach a 200,000 ceiling.”

The number one concern of the American people is jobs. There seems to be a disconnect here.

From Out of the Memory Hole: A Reminder. by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama, 2009. That was before he discovered just how inconvenient “transparency” could be, and dumped it under the proverbial bus. It seemed like a good idea, but that meant those disagreeable Republicans could find out what he was doing, and that is and was — inconvenient. No longer transparent but more like a stonewall, with carefully placed occasional small windows to view chosen elements that portray the work of the administration in a favorable light. Barack Obama morphs into Barack O’Blameless.

Obama’s Regulations Add $14,768 to Your Family Budget! by The Elephant's Child

For twenty years, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has tracked the growth of new regulations. In the 20th anniversary edition this week, the latest annual Index of Federal Rules shows that — Team Obama is now the red tape record holder. Are you surprised?

The pages in the Code of Federal Regulation hit an all-time high of 174,545 pages in 2012, an increase of more than 21% in the last decade. Mr Crews estimates that in 2012 the cost of  federal rules exceeded $1.8 trillion, roughly equal to the GDP of Canada. This is what American business has to cope with. The costs are embedded in nearly everything Americans buy. Mr. Crews calculates the costs to add up to about $14,768 per household. After housing, red tape costs are the second largest item in the family budget.

It’s not just the cost of the regulatory burden, there are that many regulations that must be obeyed, or the over-regulation will lead to over-criminalization. You won’t know what rule you broke until the swat-team comes to get you.

Every so often some member of Congress will gather up a selection of silly regulations and make speeches, or perhaps even write a bill. But there is no regular avenue for disposing of unnecessary regulation. If you remember, there was a fuss raised a while back, over business’s protests about excessive regulation. President Obama said he’d assign all his cabinet officers to find regulations that they could get rid of to save money. Mr. Obama got considerable mileage out of the farm rule that treated spilled milk as a hazardous oil spill (butterfat, I guess).  Since he used that one example several times, I assume that there really weren’t any others removed from the Federal Register.

Last year, 4,062 regulations were at various stages of implementation in the nation’s capitol. The government completed work on 1,172, an increase of 16% over the previous year, which was a 40% increase in the year before that. President Obama ‘s record 78,961 pages churned out in 2012 mean that he has posted three of the four greatest paperwork years on record.

“Economically significant” rules are those that will cost at least $100 million each. The current administration is in a class by itself. The bureaucracy finished up 57 such rules in 2012 and another 167 are in the pipeline.  They come from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and the EPA’s effort to use regulation to impose an anti-carbon-fuels agenda that Congress would not pass.

It’s the pure totalitarian impulse, of course. Nothing so frightens the Left as individual freedom. Give the people an inch and there’s no telling what they might do. Control is the goal. How can they enforce equality, social justice and make sure that” everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules,” if they don’t carefully spell out just what the rules are.

What we need is a mechanism to get rid of useless rules, outdated rules, unneeded rules, and intrusive, damaging rules. Much-needed housekeeping. The underlying problem is that Congress likes to dispose of problems with massive bills that include all sorts of unrelated amendments, things that couldn’t have been passed alone, and the old ‘nobody’s read the whole thing’ problem. They say that this agency will and that department shall, but they don’t actually make laws themselves — they distribute it to the bureaucracy who will make the rules that fill up the Federal Register. It’s how we get Big Government and why it keeps getting Bigger.

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