The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO) on October 3rd offered a propsal for Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement and Reform.
In its cover sheet, NAFBPO notes that ” People from around the world want to come to this country to reside but we cannot uncritically open our borders to the masses of the world. What we must do, then, is create immigration policies that address, first, national needs and well-being, and second, honor our history as a nation of immigrants.”
NAFBPO goes on to state: “We are surrounded by a world in chaos and it is impacting the everyday lives of our citizens. A war on terrorism, rampant drug and alien smuggling, sex slave trading, criminal gangs, fraud of many sorts: all have roots in illegal immigration and all are tearing at the fabric of our society and eroding our sovereignty.”
One very interesting aspect of the NAFBPO proposal addresses proposed Wilderness Areas on the border. As an advocate of more Forward Observation Bases and horse patrols on the border, this is a very important issue being raised.
• Environmental legislation. There is, among environmentalists and in Congress, a move to create huge swaths of formally-designated wilderness along the borders with Mexico and Canada. In places, they will extend deep into the United States.
The controlling legislation, the Wilderness Act of 1964, prohibits any motorized conveyance or man-made structure with wilderness areas. That includes landing of aircraft.
What this means is that, as a practical matter, the Border Patrol is prohibited from patrolling wilderness areas except on foot or horseback. Smugglers and illegal aliens observe no such prohibitions.
The effect on border security is predictable – wilderness areas become a highway and haven for them. Furthermore, environmental sensitivity not having seeped into the consciousness of smugglers and illegal aliens, the lands protected from the Border Patrol become dumps as passers-through deposit all manner of trash and garbage by the ton.
The Department of Homeland Security periodically announces that it has reached an accommodation with the other agencies involved, usually the Department of the Interior’s Forest Service or the National Park Service. DHS typically goes on to say that the ability to control the border will not be impacted by the creation of wilderness areas.
At NAFBPO we have, cumulatively, hundreds of years of border enforcement experience. We declare those announcements by DHS to be, at best, willfully blind to reality and at worst, an attempt to undermine the meaning of our borders. There are some things that technology cannot compensate for, and an officer on the ground at the right place and time is one of those things. The ability to be wherever needed, whenever, is fundamental to Border Patrol operations and legislation such as that being considered is utterly foolish if a secure border is to be created.
I encourage you to read the NAFBPO proposal…whether or not you agree with some of its provision…this clearly highlights the complexity of our border and immigration issues and the size of the task needed to fully address all border and immigration problems facing the country now.
An executive summary of the NAFBPO proposal:
strong>Step 1 – Secure our borders
• Border security between the ports of entry.
– Officer strength is nearly adequate at the projected 20,000 officer level.
– Current and anticipated technology is useful as an adjunct to manpower but is no substitute for it.
– Assure adequate space to process to detain all those arrested.
– Prosecute for immigration violations wherever possible, particularly for alien smuggling violations.
• Border security at ports of entry.
– As many as one-half of illegal aliens enter through ports of entry, either surreptitiously or by fraud.
– The balance between expediting traffic and conducting meaningful inspections tilts now toward expediting traffic.The balance must be recast in favor of thorough inspections.
– Ports of entry (land, air, and sea) have not received adequate attention in recent years. They are undersized and understaffed. Criminals know that and act on it.The inspections staff must be increased significantly.
– The effectiveness of inspectors can be enhanced by technologies not yet widely used: They should be brought on-line as quickly as possible.
Step 2 – Interior enforcement
• Increase the force of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents devoted to immigration enforcement. Only a small portion of the total number of ICE agents enforces immigration laws.
• Vigorously enforce employer sanctions.This is a fundamental, but not sole, precept for interior control.
• Seek out and remove any aliens found illegally in the U.S, not just criminals. No illegal alien should feel safe from detection and removal.
• Investigate and prosecute those who commit immigration fraud , including United States citizens and lawfully admitted aliens.
• Respond to calls from other law enforcement officers who have encountered people they believe are illegal aliens.
• Ancillary units upon which ICE enforcement depends, from detention and removal to
intelligence to trial attorneys and immigration judges must be increased in size commensurate with the increase in enforcement personnel.
Step 3 – Enforce existing laws and use other existing tools
• Employer sanctions – aggressively prosecute those who knowingly hire illegal aliens.
At present, there are not enough prosecutions to provide a deterrent lesson to those who knowingly hire illegal aliens.
• Section 287(g) – return to widespread granting of authority to state and municipal law enforcement agencies authorizing their officers to make immigration arrests.
• E-Verify program – encourage the present use of this voluntary program that verifies the eligibility for employment of job applicants. Its diligent use should be an affirmative defense against fines when illegal aliens are found on a job.
• No-Match letters – make a matter of law the practice of having the Social Security Administration issue letters to employers when withholdings submitted under a SSAN do not match the name in SSA records.
• Non-Citizen entry-exit matching system – this process will record both the arrival and departure of aliens as they pass through ports of entry. At this time, there is no record kept of departures; thus we have no idea of who has remained longer than he should have.
• Sanctuary cities – cities that impede or fail to cooperate with ICE in detecting illegal aliens should be penalized by loss of federal funds for justice programs. In egregious cases, city authorities should be prosecuted under 8 USC 1373 for willful concealment of aliens.
Step 4 – Identification fraud
• Issue a secure, tamper-resistant Social Security card as the sole evidence of eligibility for employment in the U.S.
• Implement the Real ID Act, HR 98 – this law, if passed, would be an important tool in dealing with fraudulent documents and their use.
Step 5 – Temporary worker program
• A TWP may only be implemented after demonstration of a secure border and proof of an effective employer sanctions program.
• A TWP must be a plan for temporary workers.• Aliens may apply for jobs only from their home country.
• All aliens seeking consideration for TWP must appear in person at a consulate or dedicated office overseas to allow criminal and background checks.
• The “H” and “L” nonimmigrant classifications allow aliens to perform temporary services when legal U.S. workers are unavailable. They are fraudulently used in many cases. The programs and participants should be subjected to intense reconsideration.
Step 6 – Amnesty
• Widespread problems with the 1986 amnesty should have taught this nation something. Fraud was endemic to the entire process.
• Current proposals for a legalization program are a corrupt bargain. They allow the illegal alien to buy his way out of the offense. He pays, not a fine, but a bribe because the money changing hands gives him what he wants. The fact that he is bribing the government as a whole does not sanctify the deal.
• Registering the estimated 10-12 million applicants would be a monumental task, impossible to accomplish in any rational time frame or fashion.
• Judicial involvement in any legalization program would certainly expand it beyond recognition, just as happened with the 1986 law.
• Chain migration, that is, families following to join those getting amnesty, would number around five times as many more over 20 years as gained the benefit initially.
• An accurate cost of an amnesty is incalculable, but an estimate by the Heritage Foundation supposes that it could be around 2.6 Trillion dollars over 20 years.
• Another amnesty will again send a signal to the world that the U.S. is not serious about enforcing its immigration laws
Step 7 – What to do with those here now?
• NAFBPO does not contemplate nor encourage massive waves of arrests and deportations. A proper application of social pressures will cause millions to depart on their own.
• To create those pressures, illegal aliens must be denied access to jobs, public
benefits, sources of identification (particularly driver’s licenses,) vehicle registrations, mortgages and loans from federally-insured institutions, and tuition assistance at public educational facilities.
Step 8 – Immigration legislation
• The fundamental balance of priorities for immigrants established by our immigration laws must be changed from family reunification to prefer those who bring skills and job-creating investment to this country.
• Citizenship by virtue of birth in the United States is an idea past due for change. Citizenship should be granted at birth only to children born to U.S. citizens or to aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
• Congress should issue a “sense of the Congress” statement that immigration laws matters and they deserve careful enforcement, not deliberate neglect as a policy.
Step 9 – Other matters
Violence in Mexico by drug cartels is spilling onto and over the border. The Border Patrol’s training should be expanded to deal with armed threats by small units and their armament should be upgraded commensurate with that mission.
Use of the military on the border
The National Guard is an appropriate entity to provide logistical support, training, and armed backup for the Border Patrol.
Creation of wilderness areas along the border is sought by environmental groups and supported by apologists for illegal immigration who would prefer an open border. It must be opposed vigorously.
Visa issuance process
This is the first line of defense against illegal and fraudulent entry through ports of entry. It is often not used effectively as the tool it should be to detect and deter those who would come here for nefarious purposes.
Blanket visa waivers
– on a basis of reciprocity, we do not demand visas from nationals of many countries regarded as low-risk for fraud, and friendly. Now, the existence of terrorists in every nation, now, makes this process suspect in that people from those countries arrive on our shores without previous screening.
– we have no system in place to verify that an alien who has come here has departed as he stated he would or was required to do. Thus, we do not know who is here.
• Improving the tamper-resistance of immigration documents is always a worthwhile goal. Steps in that direction were recently taken; they should continue.
The Matricula card
– this is a Mexican identification card issued to Mexican citizens by Mexican consular offices in the U.S. It is not secure identification in any way, shape, or form, yet it is accepted by many government entities and private institutions, such as banks. It must be declared invalid as a matter of law for purposes other than personal identification.
State and local police cooperation
– in short, this should be encourage, not discouraged. Section 287(g) of the INA (discussed above) should be promoted as a tool for law enforcement.
The annual alien address report
– this report, discontinued in the early 1970s, should be reinstituted. Modern technology makes it easy and national security calls for its use.
Step 10 – Summary and Closing
Immigration laws exist for four primary reasons. They are:
• Protect national security and sovereignty
• Protect American jobs and social programs
• Protect public safety
• Protect public health
For decades we have neglected immigration laws, forgetting that they exist for demonstrable reasons. Good laws and diligent enforcement benefit the nation, both in what they encourage and what they forbid.
We are paying the price now for that neglect, and it is time for it to cease. The nation should reexamine its immigration laws in light of national interests and the interests of individual Americans then adopt laws and practices that benefit us all.
Here is the full text of the NAFBPO….ReformProposalNAFBPO-10