The Senate Gang of Eight, Marco Rubio, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez, Chuck Schumer, and Michael Bennet, has released a comprehensive bill perpetuating the myth called Immigration Reform.
For political gamesmanship, our elected representatives never have to resolve a single issue facing the country. Rather they have to appear to be focusing the entire federal force of government on an issue, then telling their core support groups they have done their duty. Whether anything is fixed or not. Whether anything is made better or not.
The heralded late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once remarked that in a lapse of insight, the House passed a bill indexing the Income Tax rates to the Consumer Inflation Rate fixing, once and for all, bracket creep where taxpayers would find themselves rising into higher tax brackets without actually earning any more income.
All members touted their success in the next election cycle with incumbents continuing the past re-election success rate of 95%. Then the light went on. Having fixed this problem, once and for all, they could no longer use this issue in future elections. In the past, this had been a boon issue that each could go back to the electorate each cycle voicing victorious work on their behalf.
Tip claimed that type of success would never happen again. Congress would be a fool to ever permanently fix any problem.
Then what are the Gang of Eight really doing?
What we have is the same old song with new dance partners. Immigration has been fixed many times, all with the same results. Is that the definition of crazy?
Advisers to President Ronald Reagan convinced him that there was an illegal immigrant problem in the early 1980′s. A lot of migrant and low skill/low pay/hard work jobs were being done by Mexican or Latin American workers.
In those days, it was easier to cross illegally, then stand in line and pay fees at the Ports of Entry along the border, even if one had a visa. Many were granted Temporary Work visas, especially in the Agriculture trades. After each harvest season these workers were suppose to return to their home countries.
Dealing with Mexican Immigration and its required ‘mordida’ (bribes-even for legal acts) were a greater problem than US Immigration. Therefore the frugal and wise immigrant stayed longer in the U.S. In time, this became a very large group.
Reagan’s advisers told him that with a one-time amnesty these workers could be brought fully into the American society, out of the shadows and exploitation as illegals. For many good reason, this all sounded plausible.
Reagan was told that the numbers were less than a million illegals that would be covered and that these were hard working men and women who would be forever thankful to the Republican party.
Amnesty was enacted in 1986 under the Bi-partisan bill, Immigration Reform and Control Act. This was suppose to close the illegal labor draw of surreptitious immigration.
Part of the package was securing the border and increasing interior enforcement of immigration law by the expansion of the U.S. Border Patrol. I was hired under some of the funding from this reform.
Amnesty was to cover only those that could prove they had been living and working in the U.S. continuously since 1982. This was suppose to affect up to 750,000 people.
In practice this opened the floodgates. People streamed across the border and applications for amnesty reached enormous proportions. The Adjudication people were swamped. For people living off the grid, it became almost impossible to provide legitimate record of residency and work.
With many families in one residence, only one would have utility bills and these were often under fictitious names. Employers mostly paid in cash because they could avoid paying Social Security, Medicaid and Workman’s Comp (though these costs were often taken off income taxes).
Eventually, proof of residency was reduced to having several calendars from the appropriate time frame with paydays circled.
Eventually applications reached 8.5 million before amnesty was officially closed. Cases were being reviewed 8 years after the original enactment.
Illegal Immigration never let up. Every time Congress talked about reform new waves swept the border as these tried to beat what was forecasted as a cut-off date for residing in the U.S.
During the Kennedy-McCain immigration reform period illegal immigration was believed to be up to 25 million. Today, with the economy and the desire to have amnesty by the Democratic party and its supporters, illegal immigration is only projected to be 11 million.
But wait. There’s more.
The consummate researcher and author, James A. Michener in his novel, Caribbean, covered immigration fraud in one segment. In it an immigration officer deals with a fraudulent marriage claim used by an immigrant in hopes of becoming a U.S. citizen.
With my 23 years experience, I can attest that the gist of the story is true.
Michener’s character claims that for each immigrant given legal status he will be allowed to legally bring in another 31 family members, on average.
323. The agent claims the worse case of an illegal allowed to stay because of a fraudulent claim brought in 323 other family members under his status.
41. Under a marriage fraud case, the agent had uncovered eight women who had averaged 41 fake marriages.
In my career, these numbers would not be out of line with reality.
Conservatively calculating, if only 20 family members are granted legal entry for each of the estimated 11 million amnesty eligible that would make the group 231 million strong. Our current population is only 330 million. This would forever change the values of America as held by the average American.
The problem becomes even worse when the other factor of immigration failure is brought into discussion. Overstays. When an immigrant is allowed legal entry for a specified time period, then decides to fold into the fabric of American society.
He or she may be benevolent or a sleeper threat. Either way he is lost until he acts in a manner which gets him noticed by immigration or law enforcement bringing repercussions on him. This is often after the fact. After he has harmed another.
Immigration one time had a list of 35 countries which they classified as of ‘Special Interest’. Every immigrant encountered from these 35 countries were to be specially processed and considered for links that might be detrimental to the security of the nation.
This was deemed offensive by Saudi Arabia and the designation no longer officially exists. What most Americans do not know is that the Department of State adjudicates and issues visas to all foreign nationals not applying at our borders.
Of the 35 Special countries, State issues 750,000 to 1.5 million visas a year, whether for tourists, students, fiancés, whomever. State is not responsible for what these visa holders do after receiving their legal entry permit.
Inside the U.S., these visas holders mostly fall under one or more of the Department of Homeland Security’s agencies responsibilities. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) handles the criminal and terrorists connections, as applicable. CIS (Citizenship Immigration Service) handles their legal status.
State has an almost useless system of trying to track visa fraud which is only validated at the widest time cycles and of the narrowest pool. Of the 35 Special countries, the best has a 2% fraud rate and the worse 50%. Most have no rate estimated at all.
At best, a 2% fraud rate would mean that yearly State has issued visas to 15,000 applicants which may want a visa for less than ideal purposes. A side line to this. Once a person has a U.S. visa, most western nations readily grant entry visas their own countries under the belief that the U.S. has done all of the heavy lifting in validating the identity and type of person standing before them.
Immigration Reform hasn’t touched on this issue. Those responsible would probably not ever want to acknowledge it.
To fix the immigration problem, the first requirement is fixing the agencies tasked with enforcing the law. Today, most federal agencies enforce their statutes and regulations as they see fit, Congress and the public be damned.