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OutrageHow Illegal Immigration, the United Nations, Congressional Ripoffs, Student Loan Overcharges, Tobacco Companies, Trade Protection, and Drug Companies Are Ripping Us Off ... And What to Do About It
By Dick Morris Eileen McGann
Regan BooksCopyright © 2007 Dick Morris
All right reserved.
Chapter OneImmigration: The Wide Open Door
For the average American, the issue of immigration is synonymous with the U.S.-Mexican border and the difficulty of curtailing illegal crossings over our vast southern boundary of rivers and deserts. Images come immediately to mind: droves of men, packed inside trucks, seeking to enter our country to find work and new opportunities. As a nation, we have a lot invested in protecting our perimeter from uninvited-and unwanted-visitors. Volunteer "Minutemen" patrol the border, acting as the eyes and ears of the Border Patrol. The Customs and Border Protection Division of Homeland Security deploys 11,300 guards on the frontier, and President Bush has recently ordered another 6,000 National Guard troops to join them.
This story of outwitting the illegal immigrants who secretly cross over from Mexico has received all of the attention and generated most of the heat in the current debate. But it is only one half of the problem of illegal immigration-and not the most important half. The biggest problem we face is caused by those who openly enter our country for a limited period of time-with the express permission of our government-and then refuse to leave.
On 9/11, we learned just how serious this problem is. It hasn't gotten any better.
It's time for America to adopt an aggressive program to identify and deport people who have deliberately and illegally overstayed their visas. Unless we do so, our efforts to secure our country will fail.
Consider this: of the 11.5 million illegal immigrants who lived in the United States in 2005, half did not cross the border with guards nipping at their heels. Instead, they came here legally, arriving by plane, train, car, or boat, with U.S. government entry visas in hand. Depending on their country of origin and their purpose in coming to the United States, these visitors were allowed to stay for a specific period of time. When their visas expired, however, they did not go home. Such visa overstays account for an estimated 50 percent of the illegal immigrants now living in the United States.
Remember, the 9/11 terrorists were in this immigrant category-people who entered our country legally, with legitimate visas. Seven of the terrorists had illegally overstayed their visa time limits.
Despite the well-documented problems with these temporary-visitors-turned-permanent-immigrants, critics of our system generally ignore them and continue their preoccupation with the permeable Mexican border alone. The vocal condemnation of illegal aliens by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), members of Congress, media talk shows, and the White House generally makes no distinction between those who entered with visas and those who sneaked across our border.
When it comes to immigrants, in other words, America is like somebody who puts bars on his windows, securely bolts his back and side doors, and then leaves the front door unlocked and wide open.
We spend enormous resources policing our borders, but we do little or nothing to make sure that visitors whose visas have expired, do, in fact, leave our country.
Make no mistake about it: the door is wide open! We legally admit 33 million people a year into the country, most of them with visas. This is up from 9.5 million in 1985. Sometimes they use forged or fraudulent documents to gain entry. We try to detect them, but we're not always successful. Frequently their stated reasons for coming here have not been fully verified. It's our policy to check up on them, but sometimes we can't reach their references. But at least we try.
There's one critical thing that we don't do at all, however. We don't kick out those people who remain here after their legally issued visas expire. Once they cross the threshold, we don't pay much attention to them.
So about four to five million people who have no right to be here-who were granted permission to stay in the United States for only a limited time-are still here, and unlikely ever to leave. And it gets worse. Not only will many of them overstay their welcome, but lots of them will formally ask the government to change their status and let them remain, even though they're here illegally. And guess what? The government actually says yes to hundreds of thousands of them every year! Two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were actually granted status changes. One of these, terrorist leader Mohamed Atta, had long overstayed his visa.
According to a study by immigration expert Jessica Vaughan, "in 2001, more than 60 percent of all those who obtained permanent residency (653,259 out of 1,064,318) did so not by obtaining an immigrant visa, but through an 'adjustment of status,' which means that they were already present in the United States, sometimes legally, sometimes not."
For the 650,000 people every year who change their status from temporary to permanent, the strategy is much easier than the alternatives. Why wait on line for the immigration quotas to become available? Why hassle with crossing illegally and at great risk? Instead, they just come here as tourists or on work visas and stick around, knowing that the government will probably let them stay.
ICE, now under the Department of Homeland Security, works hard to protect our borders, to check the identities of those who arrive on our shores, and to stop those who might turn into permanent immigrants from coming to the United States. But it does almost nothing to be sure that, once people enter on visas, they actually leave when they're supposed to.
This should not be a difficult task. In fact, it would be very simple to confirm the names of those who leave as required, and thus of those who have blatantly ignored their visa requirements and remained in the States illegally. For example, ICE could initiate a system of checking the identities of noncitizens as they leave the United States, and then simply subtract their names from the list of those who had previously arrived on temporary visas....
Excerpted from Outrage by Dick Morris Eileen McGann Copyright © 2007 by Dick Morris. Excerpted by permission.
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