'T' for Trillion – Mike Chertoff Will Make a Wreck of the Border

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Among other
gag-worthy characteristics, the
new immigration bill
announced last week is said to cost
over 2 trillion
(yes, it seems we have a couple of trillion
to spare, according to the new, new math).

A country already
mired in debt and credit needs to shell out 2 trillion about as
much as breaking the law should be the prerequisite for citizenship
under the rule of law.

The 380-page
bill, fruit of three months of high-sounding wrangling, gives the
immediate right to work (the Z visa), to some 12–20 million
illegal workers who got into the United States before January 1,
2007. Heads of household would have to return to their home countries
within eight years, and they would be guaranteed the right to return.
Applicants would also have to cough up a $5,000 penalty. That's
thousand, not hundred. Chump change for migrant workers, of
course.

Confirmed.
This administration's math is delusional, its laws are contradictory,
and now we also know its alphabet is backward:

"Z visa"
is followed by "Y," a guest worker program which has some
merit to it, in so far as it emphasizes good education and good
skill sets. Brownie points for that. Never mind that guest workers
families are broken up and they themselves usually end up held hostage
to their employer's whims and ever-changing paper requirements.

But "Y"
follows "Z" in another way too. As in, Y bother.

If you're going
to have a law, then apply it fairly to everyone. Or, don't have
the law.

Ted Kennedy
claims the whole business is about bringing people out of the shadows.

If lurking
in the shadows is the criterion, why not bring in insurgents from
Iraq too…that would at least put an end to the killing of troops;
it would supply cheap labor to businesses. And solve a crisis that,
after all, the government did create.

Of course,
the government created this one too.

Does anyone
think migrant workers paid less than minimum wage are going to be
able to cough up $5000? And if they could or couldn't, would it
matter? Because, we already know where this will end — with some
border patrolmen hand-in-glove with criminals who'll run a racket
built on it; with a whole industry of racketeers built on that,
as there already is on fake documentation; with the innocent
in trouble and the guilty off the hook. And then, finally, when
the abuse stinks to heaven, there will be even more high-sounding
wrangling in government (all at taxpayer expense), and everyone
will decide the simplest thing is to cancel the whole thing and
go home…until they come back with the next way to drive a nail
into the coffin of the US economy.

So, when we
are told that this alphabet of errors is not going to be recited
until the number of border patrol agents has been doubled (adding
6,000 new agents, bringing the total to 18,000), border fencing
strengthened (200 miles of vehicle barriers and new surveillance
towers), and a verifiable, high-tech ID-card system for immigrants
operational, all in the space of 18 months, let's figure that the
Noah Webster Standard American usage of this is that it's a whole
new era of bungling bureaucracy about to be inaugurated.

And the only
new money forthcoming to finance this fiasco-in-waiting will be
collected from employers, who will now be fined for hiring undocumented
workers.

Perfect. The
federal government shunts the costs of its own inability to man
the borders to tax-payers. Then it shoves off the mess of this guacamole
onto its citizens.

If Americanness
is defined by citizenship and citizenship is defined by law, can
the government enforce its own laws while violating the law of the
land?

If Americanness
is not defined by citizenship, then we need a debate about
that.

Nobody wants
to demonize immigrants. Least of all an immigrant like me.

If money can
go anywhere in the world to make a return on investment (and it
should), labor should be free to move where it wants to find work.

But here's
the rub. Not all movement of capital is the genuine, productive
result of investment activity. A lot of it is driven by interference
in the market in the form of state intervention in the money supply.
The result of that is speculation. And speculative flows can flood
a country, jack up the prices of everything and then in a trice
flow out, creating financial disaster. That's not the free market.
That's state-created financialization.

We know that.
And the state affects the labor market like that too.

Letting labor
move as it will is one thing. Subsidizing and incentivizing its
movement through public services is another.

That imposes
unbearable costs on local communities, bankrupts the state, and
causes cultural and economic problems. Add to that another thick
layer of DC bureaucracy and you have a recipe for disaster. Especially
when the registration of these 12–20 million illegals has to be
done in 90 days. In
an article in the Washington Times
, Emilio Gonzales,
the director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services thinks
that time-line needs to be doubled or tripled if the process is
not going to go the way of the fraud-ridden 1986 amnesty of a mere
3 million people: “We’re litigating cases today from 1986,"
he says.

But, Department
of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff thinks it's all
fine and dandy.

“Chertoff told
CNN that the bill would help him better focus his resources.

“Right now,
I’ve got my Border Patrol agents and my immigration agents chasing
maids and landscapers. I want them to focus on drug dealers and
terrorists. It seems to me, if I can get the maids and landscapers
into a regulated system and focus my law enforcement on the terrorists
and the drug dealers, that’s how I get a safe border.”

("Immigration
Breakthrough Could Pave the Way for Citizenship," CNN, May
22, 2007)

By the way,
Michael Chertoff, chief muck-a-muck of the Department of Homeland
Security, knows all about how to handle terrorists…and immigrants…and
safety.

He's the guy
on whose watch New Orleans was hit, first with Katrina…and then
with FEMA.

It was he who
ran the 9-11 investigation. Chertoff was the senior Justice Department
official on duty at the F.B.I. command center just after the attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. With all but impossible
speed, he ID'd the terrorists and made the link to Osama bin Laden.
He pushed to merge domestic surveillance and foreign espionage which,
until then, had been kept strictly apart under US law. ("The
Patriot Act's Impact," Duke Law Journal, Nathan C. Henderson,
November 15, 2002.
)

Chertoff also
authorized the unconstitutional detainment of thousands of Middle
Eastern immigrants — including Middle Eastern Jews — without charges.
As head of the DOJ’s criminal division, he told the CIA how far
to go in interrogations. (“Amid
Praise, Doubts About Nominee’s Post-9/11 Role,”
Michael Powell
and Michelle Garcia, Washington Post, January 31, 2005).

With Viet Dinh,
he co-authored the unconstitutional USA PATRIOT Act, enacted on
October 26, 2001. (“Bush
nominates new Homeland security chief
," January 12, 2005).

He's even done
a stint as defense in a terrorist trial.

Put
in charge of the 9-11 investigation, Chertoff defended Dr. Magdy
el-Amir, a leading New Jersey neurologist at the heart of a terrorist
web based in Jersey City, alleged to have funneled millions to Osama.
Some say Chertoff may have shielded el-Amir from criminal prosecution.
("Trail
of Terror
,” Chris Hansen and Ann Curry, NBC’s Dateline, August
2002 and The Record, Bergen County, NJ, December 11, 1998).

Nice rsum.

According
to CNN
, Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray of California, chairman
of the Immigration Reform Caucus, had this to say about the new
immigration bill:

“The
‘compromise’ announced today by Sen. Kennedy will reward 12 million
illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship — what part of illegal
does the Senate not understand?”

At least, we
already know what part of the Constitution this government doesn't.

And,
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says the bill “wound
up being about what it means to be an American … I think we’ve
got a deal that reflects who we are as Americans.”

Maybe, under
this administration, we have.

May
23, 2007

Lila Rajiva
[send her mail] is the
author of The
Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American Media
(MR
Press, 2005) and with Bill Bonner, the forthcoming Mobs,
Messiahs and Markets
, (Wiley, 2007). Visit her
blog.

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