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LeopardLine

Friday, February 11, 2005

Mexico repudiates U.S. bill to protect border

Greetings from our good friends, the Mexican government:

The Mexican government believes that the effort of the U.S.A., to strengthen its southern border through H.R 418 by building fences/walls and limiting the use of driver's licenses for immigrants, will not resolve the immigration problem nor guarantee a secure border for both nations.

Geronimo Gutierrez, Undersecretary for North America of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, stated Mexico's position regarding the impending approval of the bill that is being discussed in the U.S. House of Representatives. Expectations are for it to be sent to the U.S. Senate on Thursday

Gutierrez is a punk. HR 418 doesn't put any greater burden on legal foreign nationals in America than Mexico puts on those South of the border.

Once approved, according to Gutierrez the measure would go into effect in 2008. From then on federal agencies would not be able to accept state issued licenses or identification cards that do not meet the requirements established by the controversial bill. 

This would have negative implications for Mexicans, insofar as 11 states issue driver's licenses to migrants who possess matricula consular ID cards issued by Mexican consulates, ID cards that would not be acceptable if they do not meet the federal criteria.

Inconveniencing illegal aliens and terrorists is sorta the point.

Gutierrez emphasized that the Mexican government has insisted that establishment of new mechanisms for legal, safe and orderly immigration between Mexico and the U.S. guarantees the security of both countries. As such, the Mexican government believes it is indispensable for binational efforts to be intensified in order to establish these mechanisms that will allow migration with the described characteristics, he added.

Anyone want to guess how Mexican security is enhanced by exporting illegal aliens to the United States?

This bill, upon going into effect, will not affect the use of matricula consular ID cards with respect to access to the financial system and their acceptance by state officials where they have been authorized.

The matricula consular cards are next. The Bush Treasury Department and Congress allowed Mexico to create a second form of identification so that illegal aliens and anyone else with illicit incomes could launder and transfer funds across the border. This needs to be corrected.

What needs to happen is that banks that accept matricula cards should lose their FDIC coverage. The illegal alien life in America needs to be made very inconvenient, to encourage their self-deportation.



LeopardLine

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Res Ipsa Loquitur has great taste in blogs!

A big growl of gratitude goes out to Berkeley Bloggers Res Ipsa Loquitur for their very generous post today:

Introducing some new sites to which we've recently linked:

Gringo Unleashed: A bilingual blogger with reasonable views on immigration. Much facing page translation from the Spanish language press.

The Tar Pit: An excellent new blog dedicated to tracking national immigration items.

Vietnamese for Fair Immigration: Finally, an answer to that old canard: "But you're parents were immigrants, how can you support immigration restriction?" VFI does and with (literally) a vengeance.

Thanks kindly! I've got you guys in my sidebar as well. Sorta fits, as I once attended Berkeley myself.

For those who haven't checked out RIL, they're doing some great coverage of British immigration reform.

Hey, how the heck do I petition for admission to the Bear Flag League? I should be a lock, since there's room in my sidbar for another blogroll, and I'm also the State Fossil of California.



Mock gay weddings at California High School

Listen to the sound of a civilization eating it's seed corn:

Mock gay weddings at Silverado

Parents protest, but district attorney gives green light to Gay-Straight Alliance event Friday at Victorville school

By EMILY BERG/Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE — Six simulated gay weddings presented by student members of the Silverado High School Gay-Straight Alliance are scheduled for the school's two lunch periods on Friday.

Three couples — two female and one male — will say vows while another student officiates the ceremonies. The students then plan to address students about their support of gay marriage, alliance members said Wednesday.

"We're not hurting anyone by our actions," said Logan Vigdor, treasurer of the alliance. "We're not trying to promote homosexuality; we're promoting acceptance and tolerance."

Some parents, students and community leaders have already planned to protest the simulated weddings.

Alliance members say the mock weddings are intended as a political statement to raise awareness about same-sex marriages and are being held in recognition of National Freedom to Marry Day, which is Saturday.

Roxana O'Harra, the mother of three Silverado students, is organizing a protest against the simulated weddings.

O'Harra's children plan to join others who disagree with same-sex marriage to protest the ceremonies. Dissenting students plan to wear red T-shirts — the color of courage, they say — and stand with their backs to the ceremony with signs reading "I don't" — meant to oppose the "I dos" that are the traditional vows of a wedding ceremony, O'Harra said.

"The fact that the Gay-Straight Alliance Club is conducting a mock gay wedding of students on campus — an event that factually opposes the initiative passed into law by the California voters — is outrageous and demoralizing to the institution of marriage," O'Harra said.

The alliance's plan is also drawing the ire of legislators.

Senator George Runner, R-Antelope Valley, and Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Antelope Valley, both of whom represent the Victor Valley, sent a letter to the district expressing their displeasure over the "outrageous publicity stunt."

"To use taxpayer dollars to promote illegal activities is simply reprehensible," Sharon Runner said.

But administrators at Silverado and the Victor Valley Union High School District said students have a legal right to hold the simulated weddings in spite of community protest. To stop the ceremony would violate the students' free speech rights, according to the district's attorney, Cathie L. Fields of Margaret A. Chidester & Associates of Tustin.

-snip-

Fields noted in her written opinion to the district that the school holds simulated heterosexual weddings and there is no objection. She also noted that, like gay marriage, the marriage of minors is also illegal in California.

"The male-female mock wedding no more represents a 'legal' activity than does the same-sex mock wedding," Fields wrote.

Students also have a legal right to hold simulated weddings because the Equal Access Act requires that student clubs must be permitted to meet and conduct their activities on secondary school campuses regardless of the club's viewpoint, Fields wrote.

Prohibiting an event based on the real or anticipated community objections is known as a "heckler's veto," which the U.S Supreme Court has condemned, Fields wrote.

A teacher had originally planned to officiate the ceremonies, but Fields advised district employees to not participate.

Club members believe same-sex marriage should be legalized, which is why they are promoting it, said Richard Espinoza, the club's secretary.

"It doesn't hurt anyone," Espinoza, 17, said. "We just wish there was more tolerance from our school peers and our community as a whole."

Controversy over the event has caused some students to back out of participating in the event out of fear, Vigdor, 16, said. Indeed, Silverado Principal Susan Levine told the alliance that she could not guarantee members' safety, Vigdor said.

"We know it might get ugly, but we're still going to go through with it," said Ceslie Garza, the club's vice president. "We have to. Compared to other more brave students who have done amazing things to make a difference throughout history, this should be easy."

Or maybe the seed corn is out to devour the civilization.



House Passes REAL ID Act, 261 - 161

One for the good guys...

House Approves Sensenbrenner Terrorist Travel Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House today by a 261-to-161 vote approved legislation introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) aimed at disrupting terrorist travel and bolstering border security. H.R. 418, the Real ID Act, includes a number of anti-terrorism provisions the House passed last year in response to the 9/11 Commission's work, but were dropped from the law enacted in December due to Senate opposition.

Chairman Sensenbrenner stated, "This unfinished business from last year aims to prevent another 9/11-type attack by disrupting terrorist travel. The House and the Bush Administration understand the Real ID legislation passed today will address a number of vulnerabilities in our border and homeland security efforts, including states issuing drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. We must ensure that terrorists no longer can exploit these weaknesses. For instance, under the Real ID Act, no longer will a Mohammed Atta receive a 6-month visa and then attain a drivers' license good for 6 years."

The Real ID legislation is expected to be included on the first must-pass legislation this year. Yesterday, the Bush Administration announced it "strongly supports" H.R. 418 in a Statement of Administration Policy.

Highlights of Real ID:

* Strong security standards for the issuance of drivers' licenses -

- proof of lawful presence in the U.S.;

- all states must comply, to eliminate weak links in domestic identity security;

- tough physical security requirements to reduce counterfeiting;

- drivers' license expires when an alien's visa expires.

* Tighten asylum system abused by terrorists -

- allow immigration judges to determine witness credibility in asylum cases.

* Closing the 3-Mile Hole in the fortified U.S./Mexico Border Fence Near San Diego

* Inadmissability and Deportation of Terrorists -

- keep terrorists out of U.S. by ensuring all terrorism-related grounds of inadmissability are grounds for deportation.



House Homeland Security Chairman Cox: terror
suspect border crossings "will rise this year"

Remarks of Homeland Security Committee Chairman Cox During the REAL ID Act News Conference

Washington, DC (Wednesday, February 9, 2005) -- The following are excerpts from remarks delivered by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA) during today's news conference on the REAL ID Act:

"Today, we're going to be considering legislation that is going to make America safer and more secure and I'm confident that we will pass it in the U.S. House of Representatives. This is indeed unfinished business from the implementation of the 9-11 Commission recommendations. "I hope that never again, we fail to see that border security is an elemental part of homeland security.

"Since 9/11, America has waged a successful War on Terror. We have dedicated unprecedented resources to securing our homeland but there is more to do.

"The 9/11 Commission said: 'There is evidence that terrorists used human smugglers to sneak across borders,' and the report goes on to say, 'it is elemental to border security to know who is coming into the country,' today the report points out there are more than 9 million people in the United States illegally.

"The REAL ID Act does more than set a reasonable standard for ensuring the integrity of government-issued identification. It helps prevent terrorists from traveling across America's borders by closing the 3-mile hole in the border fence near San Diego.

"Border agents have reported an increased number of individuals from countries of national security interest -- countries known to harbor terrorists -- who have been smuggled recently across our borders.

-- More -- "In 2004, border patrol agents arrested over 650 suspected terrorists from countries of national security interest trying to cross the southern border, and they expect the number will rise this year.

"We will face this reality and this growing reality year after year unless we take the steps outlined in this legislation to deal with those border security gaps.

"We should complete this border security fence so that border agents can refocus their efforts in other problem areas, and save money while doing so. Not only does this make sense for our national security, but it makes sense for the nation's taxpayers.

"It would cost $32 million to complete this border security fence. Compare this to the approximately $6 billion that Congress appropriated in FY04 for customs and border protection, in FY05 we allocated $6.5 billion dollars, and the President has proposed in his budget just this week, $6.7 billion for Customs and Border Patrol. It will only cost $32 million to complete this three mile fence.

"Only in Washington will bureaucrats decide to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a fence that has a big hole in it. It's high time that we finish this job. The border security fence will close border security gaps and save taxpayer's money, allow border agents to focus on other areas of national security interests and most importantly, it will, like the rest of this legislation, make America safer and more secure."

Even the most rosy estimates are that our Border Patrol only captures one in two illegals who cross the border. My sources in BP and ICE say it's closer to 1 in 5 or worse. That means if 650 terror suspects were apprehended, 650 to 3,000 potential terrorists eluded capture, and Congressman Cox expects the number to increase this year.

Perhaps that's why Cox said the shortchanging of new Border Patrol hiring in President Bush's Budget Request for 2006 was "wholly inadequate."

It's nice that President Bush supports the REAL ID Act, but consider how many potential terrorists could be stopped with an expanded and restarted border drone program which observed over 850,000 illegal border crossings in a limited trial program in Arizona last year. Because of insufficient manpower on the ground, only 1,252 of those illegals who were observed were eventually repatriated,

So, what's the Bush Administration's excuse for failing to hire the 1,790 of the 2,000 new Border Patrol agents called for in the Intelligence Overhaul bill the President signed last December 17th?



AZ Gov Napolitano sues for illegal alien funds
after opposing Proposition 200

Get out your irony meters.

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, no staunch foe of illegal aliens, is a piker:

PHOENIX -- Gov. Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that she has billed the federal government for nearly $118 million in unreimbursed costs for imprisoning illegal immigrants who committed crimes in Arizona.

If the federal government doesn't pay, it should take custody of some 3,600 immigrant criminals now in state prisons, Napolitano said in a letter sent last week to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Napolitano released the letter -- and copies of two invoices sent with it -- one day after President Bush proposed eliminating funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. The program is supposed to reimburse state and local jurisdictions for costs involved in incarcerating immigrants convicted of a crime.

Justice Department spokesman Eric Holland had no immediate comment on Napolitano's demand...

Only $118 million?

Back in 1995, the State of Texas sued the federal government for $5 billion, seeking similar reimbursements for the costs to that Border State created by their illegal alien problem. At the time, Governor George W. Bush said:

"If the federal government cannot do its job of enforcing the borders, then it owes the states monies to pay for its failure."

Of course now President Bush is seeking to deny the illegal alien-related reimbursements to other states that he sought as Governor.

Hat tip: Lonewacko via Digger's Realm.

Toni at My View makes this point about Napolitano:

This is the same Governor who opposed AZ's Proposition 200 which requires state government workers to establish legal status prior to the state providing entitlements to applicants. This is the same Governor who appealed to the courts to stop this proposition from becoming law.

So Governor Napolitano is a hypocrite for requesting the illegal alien reimbursements after opposing Proposition 200, and President Bush is a hypocrite for denying the reimbursements now after seeking them when he was Governor. All clear?

Also blogging on this:

Three Men and a Blog
HispaniCon
Watching Washington



Paper of Record:
online archive of pre-internet newspapers

Something I found today while looking up something else: Paper of Record.

This is an ambitious project which seeks to create an archive on the world wide web for researching news stories that predate the internet era:

Paper of Record is an historical archive of full-page newspaper images that you can search for unique coverage of past events. The archive is created from newspaper collections on microfilm, preserving the original format of the paper, but saving you hours, even days, of research time. Now, you don't have to scroll manually through reel after reel of film to unfold history, page by page.

That's right, a vast microfilm archive as close as your keyboard. More than a million pages are already available, with hundreds of thousands more promised soon.



Washington Post opposes REAL ID Act,
appeases illegal aliens... and terrorists too!

The Washington Post has skipped right past the dogs to lie down with the fleas:

THE HOUSE of Representatives is to vote today on the REAL ID Act of 2005. As championed by Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), the bill's principal purpose is to establish federal security controls over driver's licenses issued by states, so that federal officials at airports and elsewhere can have confidence that they know whom they're dealing with. While some civil libertarians worry about establishing a national identification system, the basic idea seems reasonable. But the bill has serious problems; unless they are addressed, the act should not become law.

The first major flaw is that the bill does not stop at requiring that licenses have "physical security features," a digital photograph and other basic data to be valid for federal purposes. It also requires that states see proof that the applicant is legally in the United States. This is unjustified. Different states have adopted different approaches to giving licenses to illegal immigrants, and for good reason. The federal government has failed to control the problem of illegal immigration, and that creates problems that have to be managed at the state level: uninsured drivers, for example. Technically, the bill doesn't prevent a state from continuing to issue such licenses for state driving purposes, as long as they can't be used as federal identification. As a practical matter, however, the likely result would be to set a standard that cuts off policy options for managing a problem the federal government has foisted on the states.

Hey, who moved those goalposts?

The Post is arguing that because the feds haven't done enough against illegals, some states have had to compromise their drivers license policies to make life less inconvenient for illegals, so now it's unfair to those states for the federal government to address the national security concerns resulting from the lax, pro illegal alien "standards" those states have adopted.

Is your head spinning, or is it the Washington Post's editorial writer?

Never mind the September 11th terrorists who exploited the pro-illegal drivers license rackets of several states to fraudulently obtain the drivers licenses they used to board their airplanes. Here is Michelle Malkin's Senate testimony on that fatal terrorist exploit.

At the People for the American Way. President Ralph G. Neas and Director of Public Policy Marge Baker give this reason for opposing the REAL ID Act:

Despite claims by its sponsors, the REAL IDEA Act fails to improve national security. This piece of legislation would effectively require all states to restrict access to drivers' licenses by requiring them to ask applicants for proof of their lawful presence in the United States. These provisions would undermine national security by pushing people into the shadows and fueling an increase in fraudulent identification documents. Accordingly, these provisions would make us less safe and would not effectively prevent future terrorist attacks.

Indeed, these provisions would not have prevented a single 9/11 hijacker from obtaining a driver's license or boarding a plane. The 9/11 hijackers all entered the United States with legal documents that were obtained fraudulently. Their drivers' licenses were issued based on what appeared to be valid forms of identification and residency. As 9/11 demonstrates, denying undocumented immigrants drivers' licenses would not prevent future terrorists from boarding planes using passports or other valid documents.

Read more about how illegal aliens assisted the September 11 hijackers in obtaining the drivers licenses from Virginia's compromised Department of Motor Vehicles. Virginia has since reformed its system, but without the REAL ID Act there would be no reason why other states couldn't issue drivers licenses to jihadists to facilitate the mass murder of hundreds or thousands of Americans.

If there were truth in political advertising, this group would be People for the Anti-American Way.

Speaking of anti-American organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union website is experiencing technical difficulties as I post this morning, but I found this Google cache of the ACLU's opposition to REAL ID:

DMV employees would be required to identify illegal immigrants and deny them driver's licenses, regardless of any state policies to the opposite, and even though they lack training in federal immigration law. This use of state motor vehicle agencies as agents of the federal immigration service would lead to an increase in unlicensed drivers, undermining public safety and increasing insurance rates for everyone.

No, REAL ID establishes no "requirements" that DMV employees do anything, it establishes federal standards for the acceptance of state drivers' licenses for official federal purposes. These national standards would address real and reasonable security concerns. States that are unreasonable or unconcerned with security are free to continue to make life easy for illegal aliens and terorists, but they would do so at great inconvenience to their citizens and legal residents.

The frightful burden of compliance on residents and states would be that residents would have to demonstrate lawful residence.

Imagine the ACLU's melodramatics if state election officials were in the same predicament.

Finally, the jihadist sympathizers at the Council of American-Islamic Relations have their own reasons for opposing the REAL ID Act:

The bill also states: "An alien who is an officer, official, representative or spokesman of the Palestine Liberation Organization is considered, for purposes of this Act, to be engaged in a terrorist activity." If enacted, this would terminate the current high hopes that the new situation in the Palestinian Territories can lead to a just peace.

Don't you just weep for the sensitivities of the genocidal anti-Semites of the PLO?



LeopardLine

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bush Admin. "strongly supports" REAL ID Act
(Sensenbrenner drivers' licence bill)

This is outstanding. Kudos to President Bush.

From the Office of Management and Budget (transcribed from pdf):

The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 418, to strengthen the ability of the United States to protect against terrorist entry into and activities within the United States. In particular, the legislation tightens procedures for non-citizen entry into and presence in the United States, and facilitates the strengthening by States of the standards for the security and integrity of drivers' licenses.

The Administration supports the provisions in H.R. 418 to strengthen the standards for issuance of drivers' licenses. The Administration will work with Congress to clarify the definition of "official purpose" for which licenses or identification cards may be accepted by Federal Agencies.

The Administration will work with Congress to consider providing authority to the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure individuals with licenses or identification cards that do not meet the full criteria in this bill could not use these documents to access non-Federal critical infrastructure or to operate certain large vehicles. The Administration will also work with Congress to consider biometric screening of individuals who cannot otherwise demonstrate citizenship or lawful immigration status. Biometric screening, which is applied to most entering classes of aliens through the US-VISIT program, would be a valuable tool in identifying possible links to terrorism.

The Administration supports the provision in H.R. 418 regarding asylum reform, provided that Congress includes a provision to rescind asylee adjustment caps and makes other technical changes to ensure the changes do not unintentionally create new barriers to asylum. The Administration also supports provisions tightening non-citizen entry, but notes that some of these provisions would require refinement to ensure consistency with foreign policy priorities.

Does anyone know if pro-Amnesty Senators John McCain and Larry Craig got the memo from the White House?

One "official purpose" that should require secure identification that is compliant with H.R. 418 is the ability to open bank accounts. Rather than allowing the use of Mexican matricula consular ID cards for illegal aliens, the Treasury Department ought to yank FDIC coverage for any bank that accepts non-compliant identification. No more money laundering and facilitation of the international transfer of the gains of illegal employment.

Here is today's Sensenbrenner House Floor Statement on REAL ID Legislation

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) delivered the following remarks during today's House floor debate on H.R. 418, the REAL ID legislation:

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In December, the President signed into law legislation intended to respond to the recommendations of 9/11 Commission. Unfortunately, the legislation that was enacted failed to include several key provisions critical to addressing vulnerabilities found in both the 9/11 Commission report and the 9/11 staff report on terrorist travel. To that end, on January 26th of this year, I introduced H.R. 418 - the REAL ID Act. This bill, which now has 139 co-sponsors, encompasses four of the most important border and document security provisions that the House overwhelmingly approved as a part of H.R. 10 last year.

"The goal of the REAL ID Act is straightforward. It seeks to prevent another 9/11-type terrorist attack by disrupting terrorist travel. The 9/11 Commission's terrorist travel report stated that 'abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activities.' The report further states that, 'members of Al Qaida clearly valued freedom of movement as critical to their ability to plan and carry out the attacks prior to September 11th.' Finally, the report observes, 'if terrorist travel options are reduced, they may be forced to rely on means of interaction which can be more easily monitored and to resort to travel documents that are more easily detectable.'

"The REAL ID Act contains four provisions aimed at disrupting terrorist travel. First, the legislation does not try to set states' policy for those who may or may not drive a car, but it does address the use of a driver's license as a form of identification to a federal official. American citizens have the right to know who is in their country, that people are who they say they are, and that the name on the driver's license is the real holder's name, not some alias.

"Second, this legislation will tighten our asylum system, which has been abused by terrorists. The 9/11 Commission staff report on terrorist travel states that 'once the terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud.' Irresponsible judges have made the asylum laws vulnerable to fraud and abuse. We will end judge-imposed presumptions that benefit suspected terrorists in order to stop providing a safe haven to some of the worst people on Earth. The REAL ID Act will reduce the opportunity for immigration fraud so that we can protect honest asylum seekers and stop rewarding the terrorists and criminals who falsely claim persecution.

"Liberal activist judges in the 9th Circuit have been overturning clearly established precedent and are preventing immigration judges from denying bogus asylum applications by aliens who are clearly lying. If criminal juries can sentence a defendant to life imprisonment or execution based on adverse credibility determinations, certainly an immigration judge can deny an alien asylum on this basis. It is one of the foundations of our system of jurisprudence that juries and trial judges should be able to decide cases on the basis of the credibility or lack of credibility of witnesses. The bill will again allow immigration judges to deny asylum claims on the basis of credibility.

"The bill overturns an even more disturbing 9th Circuit precedent that has made it easier for terrorists to receive asylum. The Circuit has actually held that an alien can receive asylum on the basis that his or her government believes the alien is a terrorist.

"Third, the REAL ID Act will waive federal laws to the extent necessary to complete gaps in the San Diego border security fence, which is still stymied eight years after congressional authorization. Neither the public safety nor the environment are benefitting from the current stalemate.



Bush Prescription Drug entitlement
becomes a budgetary abyss

From today's Washington Post:

The White House released budget figures yesterday indicating that the new Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost more than $1.2 trillion in the coming decade, a much higher price tag than President Bush suggested when he narrowly won passage of the law in late 2003.

The projections represent the most complete picture to date of how much the program will cost after it begins next year. The expense of the new drug benefit has been a source of much controversy since the day Congress approved it, with Democrats and some Republicans complaining that the White House has consistently low-balled the expected cost to the government.

As recently as September, Medicare chief Mark B. McClellan said the new drug package would cost $534 billion over 10 years. Last night, he acknowledged that the cumulative cost of the program between 2006 and 2015 will reach $1.2 trillion, but he cited several major savings and offsets that he said will reduce the federal government's bottom-line cost to $720 billion.

Wait a minute... "reduce the federal government's bottom-line cost to $720 billion?"

Who does McClellan think he's kidding? If there is any certainty to Bush Budget numbers, it's that the Bush Administration will always wildly underestimate the bottom line expense of the President's ill-advised prescription drug expansion of the welfare state.

$1.2 trillion is $670 billion over Bush's promised $530 billion expense when the prescription drug program was passed. McClellan's $720 billion wishful thinking is "only" $190 billion over budget.

Is that fiscal responsibility?

Before you answer, let's tip-tope back through the inconvenient record:

Bush's budget will show a $530 billion cost over 10 years for the addition of a prescription drug benefit for the Medicare health program for senior citizens. That is 33 percent more than was anticipated when the Medicare overhaul was approved less than two months ago.
Bush Seeks to Soothe Republican Worries on Budget
Reuters - Sat January 31st, 2004 - Caren Bohan

Calculating back, $530 billion ÷ 1.33 = $400 billion (in round numbers).

But that $400 billion Prescription Drug price tag is up from the $300 billion estimate from 2002:

WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - Congress will seek to set aside approximately $300 billion over the next 10 years to fund a Medicare prescription drug benefit, congressional aides said Friday.

Aides to House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert (R-IL) said that he would seek to attain the $300 billion figure, an amount roughly equal to the money approved for the benefit as part of last year's budget resolution. Early negotiations last year failed to produce an agreement on prescription drugs or on overall Medicare reform.

The $300 billion is likely to exceed President Bush's budget request for prescription drugs by approximately $100 billion, said Hastert spokesman John Feehery.
Congress to Seek $300 Billion for Medicare Benefit
Reuters - January 28th, 2002 - Todd Zwillich

$1.2 trillion is almost a 300% increase over $300 billion, and we're just getting started. That $300 billion exceeded "President Bush's budget request for prescription drugs by approximately $100 billion," so we're looking at an initial projection of $200 billion.

So the new figure of $1.2 trillion represents a 500% increase over the $200 billion projection. Or to use McClellan's guess, $720 billion is only 360% over budget.

However...

Numbers -- The budget includes only $153 billion for both an unspecified drug plan and undefined Medicare reform. Last year's House Republican plan was solely for prescription drugs. It carried a ten-year price tag of $159 billion, and the price of prescription drugs has only increased. Last year's plan, which relied on an unstable and unreliable Medigap market to provide drug coverage to seniors, was deemed unworkable by the insurance industry itself.

House -- This year, when asked about the President's Medicare numbers, a top House Republican, Rep. Billy Tauzin, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said, "Everybody knows that figure is gone. It was set before CBO re-estimated last year's House bill," which he said is "already over $200 billion and climbing." (Congress Daily, page 3, 3/22/01)
Congressional Republicans Reject Budget's Medicare Prescription Drug and Reform
(Google HTML cache)

So, since early 2001, President Bush's Prescription Drug entitlement has gone from a projected $153 billion to $1.2 trillion (or $720 billion, if you still trust Bush numbers) in the first ten years. That's an increase of between 350% and 700% over the Bush Administration's initial estimates.

Of course, all of those numbers are projections for the time period prior to the retirement of most of the Baby Boomers.

Then it gets worse.



LeopardLine

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Could Bush Blink on Amnesty?

Just maybe, if there's anything to this piece from the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 - Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader, said Tuesday that conservatives might be able to compromise with President Bush on his proposal allowing illegal immigrants to work in the United States legally.

Such a compromise could entail, for example, requiring illegal immigrants to return to their native countries to apply for the program, Mr. DeLay said.

Mr. DeLay said he talked recently with the president, who has advocated a guest worker program that would be open to workers who are currently in the country illegally as well as to newcomers.

"He doesn't discount the notion, for instance, that you have to apply for it in your country of origin," Mr. DeLay said of the president. "He thought that was a great idea."

I wonder if the President knows it's Tom Tancredo's idea?


Update: A warm welcome to all of you folks who were referred here by Michelle Malkin and Res Ipsa Loquitor. Michelle has been very generous in linking to The Tar Pit on a number of occasions in the month and a half I've been blogging, and I'm very grateful for the traffic and encouragement. RIL is a great blog I've been reading more and more consistently. Check out their outstanding coverage on British Immigration Reform. Also here and there.

A clarification: Michelle wrote "Sabertooth thinks President Bush may be backing down on amnesty." I posted just before hitting the hay last night, and I only meant to observe that the remarks by Tom DeLay that appeared in the New York Times are the first indications of any possible daylight between President Bush and Amnesty by other names. I use the word "Amnesty" in the classical parlance, meaning "to legalize illegal aliens." As you're no doubt aware, President Bush gets his definition of Amnesty from the same dictionary that Bill Clinton got his defintions of "sex" and "is."

Collectiing a "one time fee" froim illegals in return for legal status is Amnesty, and up to now that's been the length and breadth of the President's notion of immigration reform.

However, like Tom Tancredo, I take the position that if illegals have returned voluntarily to their home countries then they are no longer illegal, and they then should be eligible (assuming no criminal record, etc.) for any guest worker program that might be instituted. A non-Amnesty guest worker program should be used as a positive encouragement to illegals to get themselves right with the law by self-deporting.

The devil, as they say, would be in the details, but I've long held the basic position that President Bush should back down from Amnesty and incorporate some of the principles of Tancredo's guest worker plan, while making a genuine effort at enforcement against illegals not only along the border but in the American interior as well. If the President were to do this, and those are still big ifs, then self-deportation of illegal aliens would become a reality and Bush could claim credit for a humane, profound, and realistic immigration reform that meets America's legitimate labor needs without rewarding illegals at the expense of law-abiding foreign applicants.

A side benefit that the President should consider is that such a reform would also not tear the Republican Party apart.



Study indicates male brain four per cent faster

Read about it here.

That's why we don't have to ask for directions.


Hat tip: Freeper West Coast Conservative



More Bush Budget Border Hypocrisy:
scraps SCAAP funding he demanded as Governor

The Budget Request that President Bush submitted yesterday seeks the complete elimination of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which reimburses sate governments for the costs of incarcerating illegal aliens.

From page 201 of OMB pdf file explaining the rationale for eliminating the SCAAP:

The President's Budget reduces or eliminates a number of programs that do not have a record of demonstrating results, including:

-snip-

State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) grants, which serve as a form of revenue sharing rather than assistance assigned to a particular need. A 2005 PART assessment rated SCAAP as Results Not Demonstrated. Ending this program will save $301 million a year.

Also, according to the Los Angeles Daily News:

The White House argues that SCAAP funding is no longer necessary because it's beefing up security on the nation's borders.

Oh really? The President's 2006 Budget Request shortchanges new Border Patrol hiring by 90%. According to Admiral James Loy, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security:

...it was simply recognized that the 210 for this year is a reflection of millions of dollars of additional emphasis on that particular corner, and also recognition that we need to balance those things as we go on down the road with other priorities.

It's not immediately clear whether a failure by the Bush Administration to hire all 2,000 of the promised new BP agents would be balanced by expanded funding for the very successful Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) border surveillance program, which was suspended last month, pending "evaluation."

Admiral Loy didn't mention the UAVs at all yesterday. In a separate DHS press release on the President's Budget Request, the section on "Revolutionizing the Borders" makes no mention of an increased appropriation for border drone surveillance by UAVs. In fact, the most recent DHS press release on border drones predates the trial program which began last year and ended last month.

How successful was the Border Drone program? In less than six months -- at a cost well below the program's $10 million budget for 2005 -- four drones monitored more than 850,000 illegal border crossings over a portion of the Arizona border. However, the surveillance led to only 1,252 apprehensions of illegal aliens.

Quite obviously, more drones and more Border Patrol manpower underneath those drones would lead to thousands more apprehensions of illegal aliens every year (Memo to President Bush: I just saved millions of dollars on the program's evaluation). Yet the President continues to pursue policies that leave the border open to trespass by illegal aliens, while justifying his hypocritical attempt to cut federal reimbursements to states whose prisons are filled with illegal aliens.

Yes, hypocritical, because when Bush was Governor of Texas:

In 1995, his press secretary, Karen Hughes, issued a statement regarding Bush's support of a legal appeal by Texas Attorney General Dan Morales to recover $1.34 billion spent by his state on incarceration and education of illegal immigrants.

"It's not fair to the taxpayers of Texas to stick them with the bill when the government fails to enforce immigration laws," Hughes said to reporters then.

And Karen Hughes wasn't talking out of turn:

"Said Gov. Bush in 1995 while suing Washington for $5 billion: 'If the federal government cannot do its job of enforcing the borders, then it owes the states monies to pay for its failure.'

That's right, when Bush was Governor the State of Texas sued the federal government for reimbursement of the costs of incarcerating illegal aliens, yet there are millions more illegal aliens in the United States now than when Bill Clinton was President.

Given the floods of illegal aliens that have not abated but increased in the last four years, given the President's efforts to thwart new Border Patrol hiring, and given that despite federal law, the Bush Administration refuses to deport convicted illegal alien rapists, murderers, and child molesters, would Texas Governor George W. Bush say that the Administration of President George W. Bush is failing to "do its job of enforcing the borders?"



LeopardLine

Monday, February 07, 2005

Cox calls Bush shortchange of Border Patrol "wholly inadequate"

House Homeland Security Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA) issued the following statement on the Bush administration fiscal year 2006 budget released today:

One of the greatest challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security is the integration of its 22 legacy agencies into a coherent counter-terrorism focused organization that can effectively pursue its mission. The creation of a new Office of Screening Coordination and Operations at DHS -- to consolidate US-VISIT and other border control systems with TSA's work to keep dangerous individuals off of aircraft, out of flight schools, and out from behind the wheel of trucks hauling hazardous materials -- makes sense because each of these operations shares the common goal of identifying and capturing terrorists before they gain access to places and assets that could be exploited for terrorism.

Securing our borders against illegal crossings must be another budget priority. While the President's budget proposes important support for many border security initiatives, some remain badly underfunded. Congress authorized adding 2,000 Border Patrol agents in 2006, but the $37 million in the budget would fund only 210 of these positions. This is wholly inadequate. In addition, Congress authorized hundreds of new immigration enforcement investigators, thousands of new bed spaces in detention facilities, and increases in funding to screen those traveling to the U.S. from overseas -- but the budget falls short here, too.

Meanwhile, President Bush's Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Admiral James Loy, was busy putting lipstick on the pig:

Question: Last year's intelligence bill called for 2,000 more Border Patrol in 2006 and 10,000 over five years. This has only an increase of 210 Border Patrol. Can you explain why the huge discrepancy between what the intelligence law calls for and what the administration's asking for here?

Acting Secretary Loy:Well, I think it's basically where the reality of the budget request and competing very positive initiatives intersects with goals at the other end of the day, and I can suggest that because of the requirement to recognize the legitimacy of other competing and very important priorities, and the recognition that there are 1,500 new agents already in that process over the course of the last couple of year. And actually, in the way that we have reconfigured the Department in ICE, there are now thousands of special agents available to do what is necessary to be done. So it was simply recognized that the 210 for this year is a reflection of millions of dollars of additional emphasis on that particular corner, and also recognition that we need to balance those things as we go on down the road with other priorities.

The Intelligence Overhaul bill was signed by President Bush into law on December 17th, and calls for 2,000 new Border Patrol agents to be hired not only this year, but in each of the following four years for a total of 10,000 new agents. The President has decided not to honor the legislation he just signed, instead offering a Budget Request for new Border Patrol agents that falls 90% short of the target and that Congressman Cox calls "wholly inadequate."

Get the feathers.



Bush Budget stiffs new Border Patrol hiring

President Bush submitted his Budget Request today for FY 2006 that only hires 210 of the 2,000 new Border Patrol agents required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which he signed just last December 17th.

From the Department of Homeland Security:

Border Patrol Staffing would increase along the southwest border and coastal areas, in part to replace some Border Patrol agents shifted to the northern border as required by the Patriot Act. An increase of 210 agents and $36.9 million is included in the budget for the Border Patrol. This increases the Border Patrol Agents to 10,949.

In a letter on December 6th, the President wrote:

I also believe the Conference took an important step in strengthening our immigration laws by, among other items, increasing the number of border patrol agents and detention beds.
PDF file here

Funny how things change so quickly for President Bush after he swears an oath.


Update:

From the Center for Security Policy today:

The United States urgently needs a national debate about how to address the security, as well as the economic and social, implications of a broken immigration system. It cannot, however, safely afford to wait to fix identified and readily correctible problems with identification, border and internal security until it has achieved consensus on the best approach to dealing with millions of aliens residing illegally in this country.

It is bad enough that the latter fixes were not included, as they should have been, when the Congress acted on other 9/11 Commission recommendations last year. Worse yet is the fact that some of the provisions that were adopted in response to those recommendations and as a sop to Mr. Sensenbrenner and his supporters - notably, providing for substantially more Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers - are not being fully funded in the new 2006 federal budget unveiled today.



McCain and Craig seek to thwart anti-illegal alien drivers license measure

Republican Senators John McCain (Arizona) and Larry Craig (Idaho) have threatened to introduce illegal alien Amnesty amendments against legislation by House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Winconsin) for federal standards for state drivers licenses. Sensenbrenners legislation that would require the federal government disallow the use, for federal identification purposes, of drivers licenses from states that willingly issue them to illegal aliens.

Here is an excerpt from a Human Events Online interview with Congressman Sensenbrenner about his illegal alien drivers license reform:

Human Events: Is it true that this bill, if the House passes it, will be attached to the supplemental spending bill that will have the $80 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan?

SENSENBRENNER: That's the first must-pass bill, and I believe it will.

Human Events: And there's a risk that that might cause people in the Senate to try to debate this as you guys holding money for Iraq and Afghanistan hostage to your particular driver's license/immigration concern?

SENSENBRENNER: The Senate can say what it wants to. I hope they will recognize that over 90% of the American public does not want illegal aliens to have driver's licenses, and recognize that the current immigration system has been exploited by those who wish to do us harm.

Human Events: Last week, about when you announced this bill, Sen. Larry Craig, a Republican from Idaho, said if it were attached to that supplemental bill, that bill would become fair game for immigration provisions, including so-called "guest-worker" visas, which he promotes. Sen. John McCain also said if that were the case, it would open up a possible overall debate on immigration reform. Are you worried that your proposal, even if it gets through the House, could be held hostage to some sort of negotiation to try to get the President's immigration reform/amnesty through Congress?

SENSENBRENNER: I hope that the senators will realize that it is important to have the issues of border security and immigration separated. And by attempting to attach issues like Sen. Craig's amnesty for agricultural workers provision, and Sen. McCain's broader bill, to this will mean that the entire debate on immigration will end up being confused with the border security issues.

The claim is often made by pro Amnesty politicians like McCain and Craig that we must legalize illegal aliens in the interests of security. The claim is, at best, debatable. Yet here they are seeking to maintain lax federal standards for what form of identification enables a person to board an airplane in the United States. On September 11, 2001, all of the jihadist hijackers used state drivers licenses to board their airplanes and murder thousands of Americans, even though a number of them had overstayed their visas before obtaining those licenses. Many states, fearing the illegal alien lobby, sill have not closed such loopholes for non-residents. In spite of this, McCain and Craig are willing to enable future attacks unless they are able to foist the legalization of illegal aliens on the American people.

So, how seriously should we take the commitments of McCain and Craig to America's Homeland Security?


Late update: In linking to my post here on McCain and Craig Kendo Blog offers a good round-up of Idaho polticians who aren't as pro-illegal alien as Senator Larry Craig. Check it out.



La Raza supports Bush Amnesty for illegals

The National Council of La Raza has expressed optimistic support for the guest worker Amnesty for millions of illegal aliens that President Bush wants to push through Congress this year:

"If we do this right, it should be historic," said Cecilia Munoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a large and influential Hispanic civil rights group.

"You can see the coalition that's prepared to support it," she said. "The religious community of multiple denominations, a variety of ethnic constituencies in the United States, the civil rights community, the business community and the labor community ... the only people keeping this from happening are people doing the fear-mongering.

La Raza literally means "the race," but euphmistically means an "ethnic consitutency," apparently.

Bush says the plan would improve national security by creating an orderly immigration process that identifies people working in this country and letting border enforcement agents focus on finding drug traffickers and possible terrorists.

But Tancredo and other House conservatives -- including Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee -- are staunchly opposed to any measure that would give legal status to immigrants who broke the law by sneaking into the United States.

"The minute you do that, you have created amnesty," said Tancredo. In addition, he said, Bush's plan would be unfair to millions of people who are waiting to enter the country legally.

"We shouldn't tell them they're all suckers," he said.

To borrow a pet phrase of President Bush: "suckers don't stop at the Rio Grande. "

The House members are trying to crack down on illegal immigration. A Sensenbrenner bill that would tighten asylum laws and bar states from granting drivers licenses to illegal aliens is expected to pass the House as soon as this week.

They claim popular support, citing opinion polls showing that Americans are increasingly concerned about illegal immigration and want the government to stem the flow.

And in a nod to their power, backers of Bush's bill shun the word amnesty, talking instead of "legalization" or "regularization."

Anyone who sincerely believes that legalizing millions of illegal aliens isn't Amnesty is being played for a sucker by the Bush Administration.



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