A Response to Alan Reynolds on
Immigration Numbers -
June 5, 2006
Bill Disarms Law Enforcement
by Kris W. Kobach, May 24, 2006 The Heritage Foundation
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) before the U.S. Senate is touted by proponents as a “compromise,” combining amnesty for current illegal immigrants with stepped-up enforcement provisions. Nothing could be further from the truth. A previously unnoticed provision in this complicated legislation would disarm America’s state and local police in the war against terrorism.A Costly Lesson
One of most important lessons that the United States learned on 9/11 was that state and local law enforcement can be the difference between an unsuccessful terrorist plot and a devastating terrorist attack.
Five of the nineteen hijackers had violated federal immigration laws while they were in the United States. Amazingly, four of the five had actually been stopped by local police for speeding. All four terrorists could have been arrested if the police officers had asked the right questions and realized that they were illegal aliens.
Police officers across the country responded by stepping up their efforts to assist the federal government in making immigration arrests. But CIRA would stop them from protecting the American public in this way. The cases of two of the 9/11 hijackers show just how critical a role state and local police can play.
Lebanese terrorist Ziad Jarrah was at the flight controls of United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Jarrah first entered the United States in June 2000 on a tourist visa. He immediately violated federal immigration law by taking classes at the Florida Flight Training Center in Venice, Florida—a violation because he never applied to change his immigration status from tourist to student. Jarrah was therefore detainable and removable from the United States almost from the moment he entered the country.Six months later, Jarrah committed his second immigration violation when he overstayed the period he was authorized to remain in the United States on his tourist visa.
Jarrah successfully avoided contact with state and local police for more than fourteen months. However, at 12:09 A.M. on September 9, 2001, just two days before the attack, he was clocked driving at 90 miles-per-hour in a 65-miles-per-hour zone on Highway 95 in Maryland, 12 miles south of the Delaware state line. He was traveling from Baltimore to Newark in order to rendezvous with the other members of his team.
The Maryland trooper did not know about Jarrah’s immigration violations. Had the officer asked a few questions or simply made a phone call to the federal government’s Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC), which operates around the clock from Williston, Vermont, he could have arrested Jarrah. Instead, the trooper issued Jarrah a $270 speeding ticket and let him go. The ticket would be found in the car’s glove compartment at Newark Airport two days later, left behind when Jarrah boarded Flight 93.
Saudi Arabian terrorist Nawaf al Hazmi was the second-in-command of the 9/11 attackers and a back-up pilot. He entered the United States on a tourist visa in January 2000 and rented an apartment, where he lived for more than a year, with fellow hijacker Khalid Almihdhar in San Diego. As with Jarrah, Hazmi’s period of authorized stay expired after six months—after July 14, 2000, Hazmi was in the United States illegally. In early 2001, Hazmi moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to join another 9/11 hijacker, Hani Hanjour.
On April 1, 2001, Hazmi was stopped for speeding in Oklahoma while traveling cross country with Hanjour. Had the officer asked Hazmi a few basic questions or asked to see Hazmi’s visa, he might have discovered that Hazmi was in violation of U.S. immigration law. Once again, the officer could have detained him but did not. The officer also had the authority to detain Hanjour, who had entered the country on a student visa but never showed up for classes.
All of the 9/11 hijackers’ encounters with local law enforcement were missed opportunities of tragic dimensions. If even one of the police officers had made an arrest, the terrorist plot might have been unraveled.
In the wake of the attacks, the Department of Justice announced the conclusion of a new Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion: state and local police officers do have the legal authority to arrest any deportable illegal alien. This announcement did not create any new authority—the police had possessed it all along. Rather, the announcement reminded local law enforcement agencies of the crucial role that they could, and should, play in the war against terrorism by making immigration arrests.
The OLC opinion affirmed the conclusion of numerous U.S. Courts of Appeals that states have the inherent authority to assist the federal government by making immigration arrests. Moreover, Congress has never acted to displace, or “preempt,” this inherent authority. As the Tenth Circuit concluded in United States v. Santana-Garcia (2001), federal law “evinces a clear invitation from Congress for state and local agencies to participate in the process of enforcing federal immigration laws.”
Police departments across the country responded to the lessons of 9/11 and the OLC opinion by exercising their inherent arrest authority with renewed determination. The number of calls to LESC by local police officers who had arrested illegal aliens nearly doubled, reaching 504,678 in FY 2005—or 1,383 calls per day, on average. Local police have become a crucial participant in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Disarming Law Enforcement
The Senate’s immigration reform proposal would change all of that. Section 240D would restrict local police to arresting aliens for criminal violations of immigration law only, not civil violations. The results would be disastrous.
All of the hijackers who committed immigration violations committed civil violations. Under the bill, police officers would have no power to arrest such terrorists.
Moreover, as a practical matter, CIRA would discourage police departments from playing any role in immigration enforcement. Most police officers (indeed, most lawyers) do not know which immigration violations are criminal and which violations are civil. There is no particular logic to the distinctions. Overstaying a visa (something hijackers from the Middle East are more likely to do) is a civil violation, but marriage fraud is a criminal violation. Which one is more dangerous to national security?
Afraid of arresting the wrong type of illegal alien—and getting sued as a result—many police departments will stop helping the federal government altogether.
As the country is making progress in the war against terrorism, the Senate is poised to unilaterally disarm the men and women on the front line. Sadly, many senators aren’t even aware of the damage they might inflict on U.S. national security.
Kris W. Kobach is a Professor of Law at the University of Missouri—Kansas City. During 2001-2003, he served as Counsel to the U.S. Attorney General. He was the Attorney General’s chief advisor on immigration law.
A Response to Alan Reynolds on Immigration Numbers
by Robert Rector June 5, 2006 The Heritage Foundation
By a ratio of three to one, Americans prefer to decrease rather than increase immigration into the U.S.USA Today/Gallup poll, April 7-9, 2006 and previous years). But the immigration bill passed by the Senate (“The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act,” S.2611) contained a vast increase in legal immigration. This enormous increase in legal immigration has been effectively concealed from the public.
On May 15th, the Heritage Foundation released a study projecting that, if enacted, S.2611 would result in 103 million legal immigrants entering the U.S. over the next twenty years. On the same day, the author participated in a news conference held by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al.), who predicted a similar increase. As a result of the pubic disclosure of these estimates, the Senate promptly amended the bill, scaling back the legal immigration rate. (Even after amendment, the number of immigrants gaining legal status under the bill will be around 55 to 60 million over twenty years.)
On May 18th, Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute issued a column charging that the Heritage study was “inane nonsense” and a “cheap parlor trick.” One week later, Reynolds returned with another column making the same attack. Although Mr. Reynolds is an economist of merit, he seems to have been overcome by the heat of his own argument and, in consequence, has significantly distorted the Heritage study’s findings.
Misrepresenting the Study
The original Heritage Foundation study showed that S.2611 would increase legal immigration through many channels. (Robert Rector, “Senate Immigration Bill wold Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants over the Next Twetny Years,” The Heritage Foundation Web Memo, No. 1076, May 15, 2006). One of these was a new temporary “guest worker” program. (These workers would not be temporary; rather, they would have the right to permanent residence and citizenship.) The bill would have allowed 325,000 guest workers to enter the country in the first year and would have increased the number allowed, based on employer interest, by up to 20 percent per year. As Mr. Reynolds correctly points out, any number that grows at 20 percent per year, over time, becomes extremely large. For exactly that reason, the Heritage study never predicted that the number of immigrants in the H-2C worker program would grow at 20 percent per year but assumed a more modest rate of growth of 10 percent per year, meaning that the inflow would double every seven years or so.
When combined with the other provisions in the bill, this growth rate would have resulted in 103 million immigrants being granted legal status over the next twenty years. The bulk of the paper described this estimate in detail, breaking future immigration into eight separate categories.
The paper also provided two other estimates. The first assumed zero future growth in the H-2C program: this would have resulted in 73 million immigrants over twenty years. The second alternative estimate allowed the legal maximum growth of 20 percent per year in the H-2C program: this would have resulted in 193 million immigrants over twenty years. This higher “legal maximum” estimate was mentioned in only one paragraph in the text and was clearly intended to illustrate that the preferred estimate of 103 million was not a theoretical “worst case” scenario but, in fact, well below the bill’s legal ceiling.
Reynolds attacked the Heritage study by pretending that it assumed the worst case scenario of 20 percent growth in the H-2C program which would result in nearly 200 million legal immigrants over 20 years. It takes considerable chutzpah to allege that a paper titled “Senate Immigration Bill Would Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants Over the Next Twenty Years” actually predicted over 200 million immigrants, but that is exactly what Reynolds does.
Nearly every number in Reynolds’s columns involves an “estimate” the study never made. For example, Reynolds charges that the study predicted an inflow of 25 million immigrants per year by 2026. The study predicted nothing of the sort. Reynolds charges that the study predicted 10.4 million guest workers entering the country in 2026; the actual number in the paper is 2.1 million.
The Magic of Compound Interest?
Reynolds asserts that the study’s estimate of future immigration under S.2611was due to a “cheap trick” based on the “magic of compound interest.” But in reality, “compounding” had little effect on the actual estimate. Reynolds neglects to mention that the paper provides one estimate assuming zero future growth in the H-2C guest worker program. There is obviously no compounding in this case, but this assumption still yielded 72 million immigrants granted legal status over 20 years, more than three times the level permitted under current law.
In researching the original paper, the author produced some twenty models of immigration growth under S.2611, varying growth in the H-2C program and other factors. For example, one model assumed that the H-2C program started at 325,000 entrants and grew at a fixed rate, with the number of incoming workers increasing linearly by 75,000 each year for twenty years. Although there was no “magic of compound interest” in this model, the result was 104 million immigrants over twenty years. Another model assumed that the entrants in the H-2C program grew at 10 percent per year up to a level of one million per year and then froze at that level; this resulted in 94 million immigrants over twenty years. The published study did not include these estimates because they yielded very similar results to the model that was presented. Still, these estimates illustrate that the study’s conclusions were not based on a compounding “trick,” as Reynolds alleges.
Mr. Reynolds takes a further irrelevant shot by charging that the study’s estimate of 103 million legal immigrants exceeds the population of Mexico and “most guest workers are expected to come from Mexico.” But the estimate of 103 million immigrants gaining legal status included many categories of immigrants besides guest workers; moreover, the bill makes very clear that the H-2C guest worker program is designed to bring in workers from all over the world, not just from Mexico.
Heritage vs. CBO
Finally, Reynolds attempts to compare The Heritage Foundation’s estimates to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In a May 24 letter to Senator Jeff Sessions, CBO stated that the original S.2611 would have resulted in an additional 18.8 million immigrants achieving legal status over ten years. Combined with the 9.5 million immigrants permitted under current law, the total would be 28 million persons over ten years. The comparable Heritage estimate was 49 million over ten years. Over half of the difference in these estimates was due to conflicting interpretations of Section 408 of the bill. (CBO assumed that the permanent guest workers in Section 408 of the bill would be subject to the green card caps granting legal permanent residence under Section 501. Because there was no language in the bill stating that the permanent guest workers would be subject to this cap, the Heritage analysis assumed that the green card cap would not apply. This resulted in a difference of eleven to twelve million persons between the estimates. After the publication of both the Heritage and the CBO estimates, Senator Jeff Sessions successfully introduced an amendment, with the support of Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), a chief sponsor of S.2611, stipulating that the Section 501 caps would apply to guest workers). An amendment by Senator Sessions, with the support of Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), resolved that ambiguity, reducing the potential flow of immigrants allowed under the bill.
The remaining differences between the CBO and Heritage estimates relate to three factors. Relative to the Heritage study, CBO has lower estimates of the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S., the number of fraudulent applications for amnesty that will be made, and the number of foreign dependents who will be brought into the country as a result of amnesty. Each of these differences can be subject to further investigation. These factors account for a difference of around nine million legal immigrants between the Heritage and CBO estimates.
An Impossibly High Number of Workers?
Setting aside the red herring issues of compounding and the population of Mexico, one could reasonably argue that, no matter how the Heritage estimate was calculated, it is too high because the economy could not absorb so many workers. The original estimate of 103 million included 10 million immigrants who were already in the country plus some 25 to 30 million new workers who would come from abroad. (The remaining immigrants would be dependents.)
Over the last twenty years, the number of workers in the U.S. economy grew by 25 percent (cite). Similar growth over the next twenty years would mean an addition of 40 million workers. The Census Bureau projects that the working age population will increase by only 13 million during this time period (cite). and so it seems possible that the economy could absorb 25 to 30 million foreign workers if the nation chooses such a high level of immigration.
The critical question is not merely how many foreign workers but what kind of foreign workers. The impact that foreign workers have on current U.S. citizens depends on their earning capacity, the taxes they pay, and the welfare and other government services they receive. In general, low-skill immigrants are a fiscal burden on other taxpayers while high-skill immigrants are a fiscal plus—the taxes they pay exceed their cost to government and society.
Stealth Open Borders
When a nation sets immigration policy, it must do two things. First, it must determine the number of foreign individuals it wishes to admit, and second, it must determine the skill levels and other characteristics of those it chooses to admit. In selecting the number and type of permanent immigrants entering the country, the government determines, to an extent, the future of the country.
The original version of S.2611 was a stealth open border bill. It dramatically increased legal immigration flows into the U.S. but kept this fact hidden from the public. The Bingaman amendment to the bill substantially reduced the size of the guest worker program, but even with this change, the amended bill would still result in a dramatic increase in the flow of immigrants, with 55 to 60 million immigrants gaining legal residence in the nation over the next twenty years. Most of these immigrants will have low skill levels and will place a considerable financial burden on U.S. taxpayers.
Robert Rector is Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Guard Will Meet Deadline
Associated Press - July 15, 2006
WASHINGTON - The Army National Guard will meet its Aug. 1 deadline for deploying troops to help along the Mexican border, the Guard chief said Friday.
Lt. Gen. Steven Blum said about 3,600 soldiers are in the Southwest border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
"That number will grow to up to 6,000 by the first of August, as promised," he told a Pentagon news conference.
The deployments are part of an immigration plan announced by President Bush in mid-May. Troops are helping with aerial reconnaissance and in shoring up infrastructure like roads and sensors. That is designed to free immigration agents to focus on law enforcement.
Blum said he spoke to correct reports that the Guardsmen were not arriving on time.
DEA REPORT: MINUTEMEN REDUCE FLOW OF ILLEGAL DRUG TRAFFICKING
PHOENIX, AZ (July 13, 2006)
Chris Simcox, President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (“MCDC”), released the following statement about the DEA intelligence report crediting the Minutemen with helping reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United States by 20% in 2005:
“It is gratifying to have documented proof of what the Minuteman Corps has been saying all along: a lawful presence on the border deters illegal activity. Our goal has been to see the rule of law brought back to the border. We have sought to show the government what we think homeland security should look like. When you have obvious vigilance on the border, illegal activity goes away. That's what we have been trying to get the federal government to realize—that the government needs to hold the line actively, visibly with committed boots on sovereign U.S. soil.
“The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps stood watch all year and brought attention to the fact that the United States borders are not secure. While the Minutemen are on sentry, the bad guys are deterred, and the governments of both Mexico and the United States are encouraged to increase their presence surrounding our civilian border watch efforts.”
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), vice-chairman of the House Republican Conference and member of the House Immigration Reform Caucus released this statement:
"Every thief knows that it's not worth stealing if you know you're going to get caught. This report clearly demonstrates that one of the most effective tools to curb illegal immigration and criminal activity is getting more eyes and ears along America's borders, and especially in those documented points-of-entry which are overrun by drug cartels. I applaud the men and women of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps for continuing to ably supplement the efforts of law enforcement officials to do just that."
From Terror-Sponsoring Nations At Large in US
By Kevin Mooney
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
August 08, 2006
(CNSNews.com) - Almost half of the illegal aliens arriving in the U.S. from terrorist-sponsoring or "special interest" nations in the past few years have been released into the American population following their apprehension. This key finding is published in an internal audit of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) obtained by Cybercast News Service .
The so-called "catch and release" policies have allowed more than 45,000 illegal aliens from countries that are well known for their anti-American views or considered "hotbeds of Islamic fundamentalism" to be freed.
U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), in conversations with sheriffs operating along the Texas-Mexico border, learned that illegal aliens of Middle Eastern descent have been able to blend into the culture south of the U.S. border and pass themselves off as Mexicans.
"They learn Spanish and assimilate into the population," Poe said. "Coming across the Canadian border they would be more conspicuous."
The U.S. State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSTs), currently includes five countries -- Syria, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Sudan. However, the DHS audit lists another category called Special Interest Countries (SICs).
At the moment there is no public list of SICs, however, information made available through the office of U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) indicates that countries with large Islamic fundamentalist populations such as the U.S.-liberated Afghanistan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, are included on the State Department's SIC list.
Between the beginning of Fiscal Year 2001 and the mid-way point of Fiscal Year 2005, the DHS audit revealed that 605,210 individuals from countries "other than Mexico" (OTMs) were apprehended and 309,733 of that total were eventually released.
A total of 91,516 illegal aliens from SST and SIC countries were apprehended over the same time period and 45,008 were released, the audit showed.
The audit was produced by the DHS Office of Inspector General and focuses on the Detention and Removal Program, which is operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE). The audit was produced in April, but when completed in May, it "was made public on a Friday night with no press release," said Connie Hair, a spokeswoman for the group of citizen volunteers committed to fighting illegal immigration known as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.
The audit report, Hair said "was buried in an obscure corner of the DHS website," and discovered only as a result of her group's research.
The Detention and Removal Program (DRO) anticipates over 600,000 foreign-born individuals will be incarcerated in state correctional facilities during Fiscal Year 2007. Current estimates show that at least half of these criminal aliens - 300,000 - will be released or removed due to a lack of resources, according to the DHS audit.
Jamie Zuieback, a spokeswoman for ICE, advised against making "radical assumptions" about the individuals involved in the DRO simply because they come from a certain country. She also said that as a result of new programs, ICE is "making rapid progress" toward ending the practice of "catch and release."
During the month of July ICE added 1,500 inmate beds nationwide, Zieback said. She also pointed out that over 90 percent of the non-Mexican illegal aliens being apprehended are being detained. "No aliens are being released because of a lack of bed space," she said.
Zuieback cited statistics that show ICE fugitive teams are averaging 1,000 arrests a week. But agency officials admit that the available data only points to illegal aliens who have been detected. The DHS audit does not address the influx of illegal aliens who elude apprehension.
"The data is incomplete," cautions T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing over 10,000 "front line" border agents and part of the American Federation of Government employees. "We only know of the ones we apprehend. For every person caught there are two or three that slip by."
Bonner said he believes front line border control agents apprehend roughly 25 percent of the aliens entering the U.S. illegally. He also expects that "catch and release" policies will continue as long as there is insufficient funding.
Poe pointed to "a lack of will" on the part of the federal government, which he said translates into a paucity of "inner heartland enforcement."
The Texas congressman has some specific proposals. He would like to see abandoned military bases and Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers used for the purposes of detention. Poe is also calling for more federal funding for the hiring of immigration judges so the legal hearings of illegal aliens can be better managed.
The DHS audit pointed to a number of factors, in addition to funding shortages that are responsible for "catch and release."
It cites the "propensity of illegal aliens to disobey court orders to appear in immigration court" and "the penchant of released illegal aliens with final orders to abscond."
Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions also mandate the release of criminal aliens and even "high risk aliens" 180 days after the issuance of the final removal order. Finally, the report states that some countries "block" the repatriation of their citizens.
Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.
Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently there are six countries designated under these authorities: Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
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