Jewish World Review July 19, 2004 / 1 Menachem-Av, 5764
Immigration crisis must be taken seriously
The United States is facing an extraordinary immigration crisis, but our solutions have done nothing to alleviate the situation. The overburdened Border Patrol and local law enforcement, particularly in the Southwest, are apprehending thousands of illegal aliens on immigration violations every day. Yet surprisingly, many of those arrested are freed shortly after their detainment.
Many illegal aliens are no longer held in jails to await deportation or processing. Rather, they are simply handed a notice to appear in court and released into the country. As you'd probably expect, somewhere between 70 percent and 90 percent never show up for their court dates. Even Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, admits that nearly half a million people were arrested, released and failed to show up for court.
Local law enforcement and Border Patrol agents say the issue is one of resources, that federal agencies have limited funds for detention and deportation. Instead, their focus has primarily shifted to illegal aliens who have committed or are wanted for crimes. But even so, 85,000 of those released into the United States are known criminals. So much for the plan to target criminal aliens for deportation.
But Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, blames the lack of enforcement on political issues rather than practical ones.
"The problem with immigration has always been the same: It's very heavily penetrated by very powerful interest groups, and that makes it very hard to enforce the law," Camarota said. "The ethnic advocacy groups provide the moral outrage and racial politics, while the business community provides the political influence, the big guns and the big money to prevent law enforcement."
It's a problem that needs a real solution, whether it be practical or political. There are as many as 12 million illegal aliens currently residing the United States, about half of them emigrating from Mexico. The direct net cost of illegal immigration to our economy, including social services, is now roughly $45 billion annually, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Those costs to the American taxpayer have more than doubled since Dr. Donald Huddle's original study in 1996. And they will continue to grow unless we reform our approach to illegal immigration.
There is one new tactic from the U.S. government, but it'll be a while until we see real results. The government has launched a controversial new program to fly some illegal aliens deep into Mexico instead of merely dropping them off at the border. Homeland Security officials say the program is designed to save lives and break the smuggling cycle. The United States has approved about $12 million for this voluntary repatriation program to run through September, with each chartered flight costing American taxpayers almost $30,000.
This is a step in the right direction, but still, there's no guarantee this program will work at all. While this may deter some, a few of those interviewed following this week's maiden voyage said that they'll just try to get back into the United States as soon as they can.
Camarota believes the new program might be effective, seeing as how part of our immigration problems starts south of the border.
"Mexico has no incentive, no interest and no capacity to in any way prevent illegal immigration into the United States," he said. "Given that reality, it's always a question of how is it you prevent people from coming back. You don't want a situation where you just dump them over the border and they just try again."
No, we certainly do not want a situation like that. But what we want couldn't be simpler: We want the current administration and both political parties to take this problem seriously, to enforce the laws already on the books, and to create a national immigration policy that will secure both our borders and a healthy future for our country.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Lou Dobbs is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Moneyline." Comment by clicking here.
07/13/04: Terminating American jobs
07/06/04: The Road to True Sovereignty
06/22/04: Losing our advantage
06/14/04: Mexican trucking issue underscores flaws of NAFTA
06/07/04: Patriot games
06/01/04: Our first line of defense still needs attention
05/17/04: Wasting minds
05/11/04: Outsourcing of jobs leads to information leaks
05/04/04: Labor issues getting some much-needed attention
04/27/04: Outsourcing the jobs debate
04/20/04: Revisiting the final frontier
04/11/04: The source of terror
03/22/04: Our new consumer economy
03/15/04: Finding a balance between free trade and protecting our national interest
03/09/04: Choice between Bush and Kerry isn't much of a choice
03/02/04: Election stakes are getting higher
02/24/04: Help wanted: Free trade policies hurt working Americans
02/17/04: All the news that's fit
02/04/04: American jobs must be protected
01/03/04: Dangerously dependent
01/27/04: Who's working for working Americans?
01/20/04: U.S. selling itself short with "free" trade
01/12/04: Bush on the wrong track with immigration idea
01/05/04: Business leaders should resolve to lead by example in 2004
12/29/03: Immigration needs stricter, not looser, controls
12/11/03: Trade deficit with China a big problem
12/09/03: Let our children be children
12/01/03: Broken borders pose a serious health risk
11/25/03: Free trade costs plenty
11/18/03: European Union is playing a dangerous game
11/10/03: This time, it's not the economy
11/04/03: Overseas outsourcing is an alarming trend
10/28/03: Spending so much time 'making a living', we don't live
10/21/03: As population soars, U.S. faces tough choices
10/14/03: Schools need to re-emphasize math and science
10/07/03: It's lonely at the top
09/30/03: Is America over-medicating?
09/23/03: Corporate execs need to stop selling out U.S. workers
09/16/03: The scandals just keep on coming
09/09/03: Let's get real on energy
09/02/03: Is free enterprise the answer to education woes?
08/26/03: Building the road to recovery
08/12/03: War on drugs is still a war worth fighting
08/06/03: An attack on progressive thought
07/29/03: Prosperity begins at home
07/22/03: Real earnings, or really creative earnings?
07/15/03: Flirting with disaster
07/08/03: It's good to be the king
07/01/03: Border disorder
06/24/03: Prairie dogs and mosquito bogs
06/17/03: Bullish on America
06/10/03: Retirement realities: we need new solutions soon
06/03/03: Curing what ails us
05/27/03: America's export problem
05/21/03: Wall Street's new imperative: Integrity
/13/03: Losing sight of the dangers in creating further fiscal stimulus
05/06/03: Optimism is unfashionable, but here's some anyway
04/29/03: Nuclear nightmare
04/22/03: Naysayers ignore signs of economic recovery
04/15/03: Game over--but for whom?
04/08/03: No more fool's games
03/31/03: United States must seriously review foreign economic and political relationships
03/24/03: Delusional Chirac may be a thorn in coalition's side, but new alliances are forming in response to 21st-Century threats without him and UN
03/18/03: Bush critics offer little more than hyperbole
03/11/03: Geopolitical visibility
03/04/03: Freedom: Our best export
02/27/03: Guns, butter and greasing the way
02/18/03: Looking for a silver lining
02/10/03: Space program remains a valuable investment
02/04/03: Hi pal, come back
01/28/03: Bush address a chance to bolster confidence
01/22/03: Here we go again!
01/14/03: Bush's bold bid
01/07/03: The only thing certain is uncertainty
12/30/02: No need to be so negative as new year approaches
12/23/02: NY's AG deserves credit for settlement
12/18/02: Critics of Bush nominees should tone down rhetoric
12/09/02: A lot rides on prez's Treasury pick
12/04/02: A fast fix for corporate credibility?
11/26/02: Urge to merge is hard to resist
11/19/02: Are we really so bad off?
11/12/02: Bush's lucky week bodes well for recovery
11/05/02: Wall Street firms treat investors as fools
10/29/02: Earnings estimates offer some hope
10/22/02: Economy's strength tied to national security
10/17/02: Harvey Pitt, get real!
10/08/02:Are we experiencing the fall before the rise?
10/01/02: Concerns about earnings are justified
09/24/02: Business leaders must abandon stall tactics
09/17/02: Wall Street's reality check
There's no better time for leaders to show resolve
© 2003, TMS