'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