THE DAILY BLADE: The Keystone Kops Are Enforcing U.S. Immigration Laws
When it comes to enforcing immigration laws, the federal government’s right hand is in a bare-knuckles fistfight with the federal government’s left hand. And We the People are getting bloodied and bruised in the fight to stop enabling and rewarding illegal immigration.
A new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative announced last month by the Bush Administration puts teeth into the Social Security Administration's (SSA) "no-match" letter program by requiring employers to fire any worker who can not produce a valid Social Security number within 90 days, or to risk prosecution.
Every year, the SSA sends out about 100,000 no-match letters to employers who have 10 or more workers with Social Security numbers that do not exist or do not match the names in the agency’s records. No-match letters were routinely ignored, because employers could claim compliance with immigration laws if a suspect employee filled out an I-9 form and presented two forms of ID – the authenticity of which need not be verified.
But before the new program could take effect on September 14th, the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU), the AFL-CIO, several labor groups in CA filed a lawsuit contending that that "DHS is overstepping its authority to enforce immigration laws and is misusing a Social Security Administration database," reports The Washington Post. U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order against the government and scheduled a hearing for Oct. 1.
In response to the ruling, the SSA warns of "a vast bureaucratic logjam" that would significantly delay processing millions of routine retirement and disability claims, if the agency is barred from mailing out some 141,000 already-prepared no-match letters. Judge Chesney’s restraining order applies to these letters because they include a DHS notice advising employers that they risk prosecution if they do not fire employees who cannot show within 90 days that they have valid Social Security numbers. The New York Times reports:
[The] Social Security Administration had already delayed sending the letters to employers for several months this year as officials negotiated with immigration authorities over the new rules and the Senate debated an immigration bill, which failed in June.
Although Judge Chesney did not bar the agency from sending the letters if references to the new rules were removed … it would take 30 days to fix the mailing. … [A]ny delay past mid-September would cause a backlog that would spread into the first half of 2008.
It remains to be seen whether the ACLU and the other plaintiffs can prove their case. According to a report by the Social Security inspector general, 17.8 million of the agency’s 435 million records - that’s fewer than five percent – include a discrepancy that could trigger a no-match letter. A small fraction of these can be attributed to clerical errors or a name change (typically due to marriage or divorce). But the overwhelming majority of the workers flagged are illegal aliens. Thus, the no match letter program very precisely targets the very people it is meant to root out.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Small Business Administration is considering filing an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs. In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal last month, economist Pia Orrenius, a policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, explains why a federal agency would seek to undermine the no-match program:
At least eight million illegal immigrants work in the U.S. today and, perhaps surprisingly, the majority of them work on the books. … According to the SSA's Earnings Suspense File, taxed wages of persons whose names and Social Security numbers do not match reached $586 billion at the start of fiscal year 2007, up from $463 billion in 2002. This revenue could substantially decrease with the implementation of new laws.
The main effects will be to drive undocumented workers underground where they will work off the books for lower wages, under worse conditions and subject to more abuses. In recent work, Madeline Zavodny of Agnes Scott College and I found that the no-match letters and other post-9/11 enforcement measures, such as the Real ID Act, have eroded the demand for undocumented labor relative to other low-skilled workers, causing the relative wages and employment rates of undocumented workers to decline.
Faced with worse job prospects, some illegal immigrants return to their home countries, but most stay put. They are bound to this country by their U.S.-born children and, in many cases, by their pending green card applications.
As the conditions of illegals worsen, they will be more likely to default on mortgages and credit cards, problems that affect us all. … And as illegals come off the books, their earnings will go untaxed at the same time that their need for public dollars for services such as health care will likely rise, so U.S. taxpayers could be made worse off as well.
Frankly, on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks The Stiletto has little sympathy for any argument that advocates turning a blind eye to government-issued ID forgery and identity theft.
If the U.S. government had effectively policed its borders, we would not have to deal with de facto amnesty because we lack the manpower and facilities to find, detain and deport the 12 million illegals who are here already. There must be a price to pay for breaking our laws (re-entry into the US after being deported is a felony, not a civil offense – look it up, Rudy), and if that price is to be forced to live "underground" so be it.
If the banking industry had not extended credit and mortgages to illegal aliens (second item), we would not have to deal with defaults and the resulting adverse effects on housing and other sectors of the economy. There must be a price to pay for aiding and abetting lawbreaking. If the banking industry has to eat the resulting losses of loaning money to people it ought not to have been doing business with in the first place, so be it.
If immigrants who cannot prove that they have a green card application pending were ineligible to receive public services, U.S. taxpayer would not have to deal with unskilled, non-English speaking illegal aliens with poor employment prospects living on the dole. There must be a price to pay for taking jobs away from poor, unskilled Americans.
The U.S. can actually learn a thing or two from Mexico on how to handle illegal immigration. Adopt the same illegal immigration laws Mexico has – and enforce them as zealously as Mexico does - and all these problems that Orrenius wrings her hands over are resolved.
Usama For President?
Usama bin Laden must be following the U.S. presidential campaign so closely that he has begun channeling the talking points of several candidates, as evidenced by this transcript of his latest video:
UBL: "[D]espite America being the greatest economic power and possessing the most powerful and up-to-date military arsenal as well; and despite it spending on this war and is army more than the entire world spends on its armies; and despite it being the being the major state influencing the policies of the world, as if it has a monopoly on the unjust right of veto; despite all of this, 19 young men were able - by the grace of Allah, the Most High - to change the direction of its compass. … [America’s] reputation worsened, its prestige was broken globally and it was bled dry economically …"
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH): "Does anyone in the world deny that the United States military is the strongest the planet has ever seen? … [W]e spend more than the rest of the world combined we will clearly remain the world’s most powerful nation. … The fact that we can slice through any army on earth in hours has not prevented [g]rowing antipathy and distrust towards the U.S. across the globe … [s]piraling U.S. military spending … [g]rowing conflicts and tension across the world … By abandoning the arrogant "my way or the highway" attitude we can reengage the world in productive discussion on our common goals of universal peace and prosperity."***
UBL: "[A]mong the most important items contained in Bush’s speeches since the events of the 11th is that the Americans have no option but to continue the war. This tone is in fact an echoing of the words of neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Pearle, the latter having said previously that the Americans have no choice in front of them other than to continue the war or face a holocaust."
Ron Paul (R-TX): "The people who say there will be a bloodbath are the ones who said it will be a cakewalk or it will be a slam dunk, and that it will be paid for by oil. Why believe them? … They’ve been wrong on everything they’ve said. … A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservatives hijacked our foreign policy."
UBL: "Then Bush talks about his working with al-Maliki and his government to spread freedom in Iraq but he in fact is working with the leaders of one sect against another sect, in the belief that this will quickly decide the war in his favor. And thus, what is called the civil war came into being and matters worsened at his hands before getting out of his control and him becoming like the one who plows and sows the sea: he harvests nothing but failure."
Mike Gravel (D-AK): "Why do we think that we can rule that country? This is American imperialism you're hearing up here. And that hasn't worked and it will never work. … [W]e're trying to make [the Iraqis] the fall guy, not our stupid mistakes. Oh, it's the Iraqis won't stand up. I'll tell you what. Pull everybody out and turn to the Iranians, who helped us defeat the Taliban initially. It was the Iranians. So if we don't bring the Iranians to help us, or the Syrians, or Saudi Arabia, of course it's going to be a disaster."
Bill Richardson (D-NM): "Our troops … cannot win someone else's civil war. So long as American troops are in Iraq, reconciliation among Iraqi factions is postponed. Leaving forces there enables the Iraqis to delay taking the necessary steps to end the violence. … The presence of American forces in Iraq … endows the anti-American propaganda of those who portray us as occupiers plundering Iraq's oil and repressing Muslims."
UBL: "[T]he vast majority of you want [the Iraq War] stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven't made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there, which has led to the vast majority of you being afflicted with disappointment."
Kucinich: "We can talk about George Bush driving a bus into a ditch, but let's not forget there was a Democratic Senate in charge that OK'ed the war. And those senators who are up on this stage helped to authorize that war and they have to take responsibility for that. Likewise, they have to take responsibility for funding the war. You say you're opposed to it, but you keep funding it. I think the American people have to look at that and ask, What's going on? … The American people have a right to expect that we're going to take a new direction. But, frankly, you cannot expect a new direction with the same kind of thinking that took us into war in the first place."
UBL: "Those with real power and influence are those with the most capital. And since the democratic system permits major corporations to back candidates, be they presidential or congressional, there shouldn't be any cause for astonishment - and there isn't any- in the Democrats' failure to stop the war. And you're the ones who have the saying which goes, 'Money talks.'"
John Edwards (D-NC): "I don't believe you can change this country without taking on very entrenched interests in Washington, including lobbyists, that stand between us and the change America needs. And I don't believe you can do it by sitting at a table, negotiating with them and trying to bring them together. These people will never give away their power voluntarily. … Why don't we all make an absolutely clear statement that … we are not the party of Washington insiders?"
UBL: "In fact, the life of all of mankind is in danger because of the global warming resulting to a large degree from the emissions of the factories of the major corporations, yet despite that, the representative of these corporations in the White House insists on not observing the Kyoto accord … And Iraq and Afghanistan and their tragedies; and the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes; and the abject poverty and tragic hunger in Africa: all of this is but one side of the grim face of this global system."
Kucinich: "We need to understand the connection between peace and the environment. We know that life on our planet is threatened by the twin threats of global warring and global warming. They are linked, and we have to understand that as we cognize the world as being interconnected and interdependent, we know that resource wars are passe and that the focus on sustainability will create peace."
Usama sure sounds like a moonbat’s dream presidential candidate. But wait: There’s that Constitutional requirement that only a natural born citizen is eligible to hold the office of president. Whew!