The Tar Pit

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Bush: Amnesty push, Border Patrol punt

Departing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Undersecretary Asa Hutchison have confirmed that President intends to shortchange Border Patrol hiring for 2000 new agents by almost 90%:

The Bush administration's decision not to hire 2,000 new Border Patrol agents for fiscal year 2006 will seriously hamper efforts to control illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border, said current and retired officials.

President Bush is expected to seek an increase of only about 200 agents for the new fiscal year, according to law-enforcement authorities and others, significantly short of the 2,000 per year authorized for each of the next five years in the recently passed intelligence overhaul bill.

Passed by Congress and signed into law by Mr. Bush in December, the bill authorized 10,000 new Border Patrol agents as part of Congress' response to the September 11 commission's findings. The panel revealed deep institutional failings and missed opportunities by U.S. authorities in stopping the al Qaeda terrorists who crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing about 3,000 people.

The proposed influx of new agents would nearly double the size of the Border Patrol in the next five years as concern increased over new terrorist threats and a significant rise in the number of assaults against agents assigned along the border. Fears were heightened particularly in Arizona, where agents captured more than 40 percent of the 1.15 million aliens caught last year trying to sneak into the country.

Agents on a 260-mile stretch of Arizona-Mexico border, known as the Tucson sector, are being assaulted at a rate of once every two days, according to Border Patrol statistics.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, who heads border and transportation security, confirmed separately that Mr. Bush will not seek funding for the extra agents this year. His fiscal 2006 budget request is due in February.

Mr. Ridge, who has resigned and will leave office tomorrow, referred to the intelligence bill authorization of 10,000 agents as "fool's gold," saying it would be an inefficient use of Homeland Security funds. Mr. Hutchinson, who has quit effective March 1, said funding issues within the department precluded such a large increase in manpower.

The AP and Human Events Online have similar stories. Bush just signed the bill implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations, including last December 17th.

At the time the President said: said: "We have strengthened the security of our nation's borders and ports of entry and transportation systems."

Apparently swearing an oath on the Bible two weeks ago excuses President Bush from faithfully executing his duties to abide by and uphold the legislation he just signed that adds 2000 more Border Patrol agents this year..

Fewer people and fewer Republicans are buying the Open Borders Sunshine that Bush is selling. Last week Rush Limbaugh has fired a warning salvo at the Bush Amnesty.

Even John Fund of the open-borders Wall Street Journal is alarmed.

Many Republicans are steaming about what they see as White House obtuseness on immigration. Last month, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, held up passage of the bill revamping the nation's intelligence services until he got a promise that his colleagues would fast-track a bill that would make it harder for a foreigner to claim political asylum in the United States, impose strict national standards for driver licenses and strengthen border enforcement this year.

Now Mr. Sensenbrenner is furious over a USA Today story that quoted outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge as saying that a part of the intelligence reform bill that did pass doubling the size of the Border Patrol was "fool's gold" that wouldn't be included in the president's budget. "It's nice to say you're going to have 10,000 more Border Patrol agents in five years, but what other part of Homeland Security do you want to take money from?" Mr. Ridge asked.

Soon the five GOP House conferees who negotiated the intelligence bill sent a letter to President Bush demanding that he fully fund the Border Patrol provisions. Speaker Dennis Hastert's office told Human Events that he too favored inclusion of the funds in the president's budget.

One of the five signers of the letter to President Bush was Rep. David Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee. He is undergoing a swift political course correction on immigration. Last year, two radio talk show hosts in Los Angeles named John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou spent weeks urging listeners to defeat Mr. Dreier, who they claimed was only paying "lip service" to efforts to halt illegal immigration.

Mr. Dreier spent the last two weeks of the campaign promising a renewed focus on immigration, even running ads featuring his friend Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger calling him "tough as nails" on immigration. Mr. Dreier won, but his 54% showing against a woefully underfinanced Democrat was the lowest of his career. Only weeks after the election, Mr. Dreier announced he would introduce legislation to require creation of a photo-embedded Social Security card, which employers would be required to check with a national database to determine the immigration status of a job applicant.

Is that a riot? John Fund thinks we're steamed at what we "see as White House obtuseness on immigration."

No, we're steamed at White House obtuseness on immigration.

We're also less than thrilled with the obtuseness of the staff of the Wall Street Journal on illegal aliens, who aren't immigrants at all, they're trespassers and squatters.

QandO has a great commentary on Amnesty, Bush, Limbaugh, Fund, etc.

Lonewacko has a great slam on Fund and the Wall Street Journal. Dump Dick Durbin also blogs on this.

Our Border Patrol already opposes the Bush Amnesty, saying the "intention of the President sends contradictory signals to agencies tasked with securing our borders."

Throughout the 1990s we heard about the detrimental effect of President Clinton's military policy on the morale of our armed forces; how beneficial is it to the morale of the Border Patrol when President Bush will send our Border Patrol agents to help protect Iraq's border during the elections elections there, but won't support them in protecting our border with Mexico? How is BP morale boosted when the coyotes who are funded by the President's "good-hearted" illegals are becoming increasingly viloent, shooting at members of our Border Patrol, while President Bush refuses to give them the resources they need? How are borders made more secure when the Bush Administration suspends a wildly successful unmanned drone surveillance program that tracked 853,000 illegal aliens in less than six months for under $5 million with just four drones over a segment of the Arizona-Mexico border? Yet only 1,250 of those illegals were ultimately apprehended and sent back over the border.

With more drones and more agents on the ground our Border Patrol could make a big enough dent in the illegals coming over that hundreds of thousands of others would be deterred from trying to enter. With fewer attempts to cross our border America would have fewer illegal aliens and fewer of them would be dying in the desert. It's a safe, humane, legal strategy, but the President won't support it.

Instead we continue to hear things like this about Bush's wish to legalize millions of illegal aliens at the GOP's recent retreat:

Several lawmakers at the retreat said the president pledged to put forward a major tax overhaul this year, after the tax reform commission he appointed reported in July.

Before leaving for the retreat Thursday, Representative Deborah Pryce of Ohio said Republicans were not about to tell Mr. Bush that any of his proposals could not pass this year, except for his proposal for a guest-worker program in which currently illegal immigrants might be eligible. Still, the president told the Republicans at the retreat that he would continue to push for that program.

The National Border Patrol Council has called the Bush Amnesty a "slap in the face" to them. T.J. Bonner, President of the NBPC, has disputed the President's claims that America is safer than on 9/11 even as he starves the Border Patrol budget.

In another story:

Hutchinson's opponents could also call on T. J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents about 10,700 border-patrol agents. Bonner says morale on the front line has never been lower. "If you look at the border, you have to say not much has changed since 9/11. It's still incredibly easy to cross that border [illegally] -- millions of people do it successfully every year -- so if we're grading on that criteria, he gets a failing grade," Bonner said.

Indeed. Who appointed Asa Hutchinson?

The Bush Amnesty would legalize twice as many illegal aliens as the Reagan and Clinton Amnesties combined. There is no intellectually honest hair the President can split that redefines Amnesty in such a way that he isn't guilty of attempting it. The Reagan Amnesty led us to the mess we're in, and President Bush's solution is to force more of the problem upon America's unwilling soil.