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Borderline madness.

ITEM: In his syndicated column appearing in the Decatur (Indiana) Daily Democrat for April 11, Morton Kondracke commented that President Bush "has been gratifyingly and even eloquently pro-immigration in his public statements." The executive editor of the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call and a host on Fox News, Kondracke continued: "Part of the equation, too, is a loud claque of radio and TV talk show hosts who rail against an 'invasion' of foreigners flooding across 'porous' U.S. borders in flagrant violation of the law. The agitation is accompanied by extensive publicity for the Arizona 'Minuteman' movement, which was launched to block immigrants from Mexico. Bush has denounced such 'vigilante' activity."

ITEM: Newsweek International, in its April 4 issue, reported that immigration was discussed at a meeting of the leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. "Yet while U.S. President George W. Bush vowed to redouble efforts to secure congressional approval of a guest-worker program he unveiled more than a year ago, he hedged his bets about its passage. 'I will continue to push our Congress to come up with rational, commonsense immigration policy,' Bush said in remarks addressed to Mexican President Vicente Fox...."

Inaction, however, may no longer be an option, said the magazine. "Businesses throughout the United States have grown thoroughly dependent on--and accustomed to--hiring Mexican laborers."

CORRECTION: The Minuteman Project is not a group of vigilantes who take the law into their own hands. Its announced intent is to help federal authorities enforce existing laws, and its approach of reporting illegal activity to authorities is more akin to neighborhood watches, though there is the danger that agents provocateurs could attempt acts of violence for the purpose of discrediting the group.

Yet, many in the media have perpetuated this vigilante notion, as well as the myths that nothing can be done about illegal immigration and that alien lawbreakers are only taking jobs that would never be filled by Americans. While denouncing law-abiding Americans, President Bush embraced the head of the Mexican government. That same government is issuing literature instructing Mexicans how to break U.S. laws by giving advice about how to cross into the United States illegally.

President Vicente Fox has also threatened to take international judicial action if the Minutemen break the law--actions he presumably believes should only be undertaken by Mexicans. Comments an angry Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.): "The President of Mexico is threatening to sue any member of the Minutemen who has contact with a Mexican national, threatening to take the United States into the International Court of Justice at the Hague over the passage of Prop 200 in Arizona, and is providing transportation to Mexican nationals trying to sneak into the U.S. One could say that he is acting in the best interest of his nation. Isn't it unfortunate we cannot say the same about President Bush?"

The number of illegals jumped by 23 percent over the past four years, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center. Getting caught is often just a small inconvenience. There are one million illegal aliens involved in some phase of immigration proceedings who have been released into the general U.S. population--including some 465,000 fugitives who have already been ordered deported--according to Senate testimony in April by Victor Cerda, the acting director of detention and removal operations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Those who hire illegals are also violating federal law. How well is that law being enforced? Froma Harrop answers in the Providence Journal: "There are an estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. Only 124 employers were fined in 2003 for hiring them. That number comes from the Department of Homeland Security and there are no missing zeros."

Aliens use phony documents, pretending to be legal, and employers pretend to believe them. Don't think terrorists haven't noticed. The September 11 hijackers, for instance, had collected more than 60 U.S. drivers' licenses.

Meanwhile, the pool of aliens drives down wages for law-abiding citizens. As Professor Victor Davis Hanson, author of Mexifornia, told World magazine: "If there were not a perennial supply of cheap labor, wages would rise, and would draw back workers to now despised seasonal jobs; something is terribly wrong when central California counties experience 15 percent unemployment and yet insist that without thousands of illegal aliens from Oaxaca crops won't be picked and houses not built. At some point, some genius is going to make the connection that illegal immigration may actually explain high unemployment by ensuring employers cheap labor that will not organize, can be paid in cash, and often requires little government deductions and expense."

All of this costs the United States on several fronts--some not immediately obvious. For instance, as just one small example of many, the U.S. Marine Corp Air Station in Yuma, Arizona, has been shut more than 500 times since July of 2004 because illegal aliens were seen on the bombing range. That represents a loss of more than 1,100 training hours, base commander Col. James Cooney told the Boston Globe.

An analysis of census data by the Federation for American Immigration Reform found that the cost of illegal immigration in Texas alone is $11.7 billion per year, for medical care, incarceration, and education, which is readily believable considering that almost 12 percent of K-12 Texas public school students are the children of illegals.

Illegal immigrant labor is certainly costly to the country at large. Richard Lamm, co-director of the Institute for Public Policy Studies and a professor at the University of Denver, wrote in the Denver Post that illegal labor may seem cheap "to those who pay the wages, but for the rest of us it is clearly subsidized labor, as we taxpayers pick up the costs of education, health care and other municipal costs imposed by this workforce." The average education cost per student in U.S. public schools is in the neighborhood of $7,000 a year, and the average illegal has two to four school-age children, notes the former Colorado governor.

The president says he is for a "common-sense" immigration policy. He could prove that easily, just by enforcing existing laws.
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Title Annotation:immigration
Author:Hoar, William P.
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 16, 2005
Previous Article:Just desserts.
Next Article:Not fond of Hanoi Jane.

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