Today's Illegal Immigration Diary

By Flagstaff Posted in Comments (16) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

I wouldn't have gone into this, but today brought news that there was a Senate vote yesterday that declined to fund the 370 mile fence/wall/barrier that they earlier had voted to build.

This is a perfect example of why those of us in favor of Security First™ believe that if security is postponed, to be passed as part of a "comprehensive" bill, there will be no pressure among the Elected elites for true security at all.  Security will never come, just like the Democrat-promised spending cuts that were supposed to follow Reagan's tax rate increases never came.

A bit more follows.If a "comprehensive" bill that includes some kind of amnesty is the first and/or only one passed, there are three things that can be guaranteed.  First, it will include less wall, less fence, and less security than would be included in a separate Security First™ bill.  Second, the security provisions of such a bill will be inadequate to stop the tide of illegal immigration.  Third, the "amnesty" provisions will be far less beneficial to the citizens of the US than they would be if we waited to devise them until after we knew just how effective the security measures actually were.  This will be true whether the bill is drafted by Republicans or Democrats.

Those who lack this understanding of our view of Congressional politics tend to look upon Security First™ as just code words for "anti-immigration."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is illustrated by yesterday's Senate vote.

At Gates of Vienna commentary on the fallacy of open immigration.

Well worth the read.

It is not the job of our border guards to concentrate on terrorists instead of "economic migrants". It is their job to guard our borders against anyone who attempts to cross the border illegally.

I didn't say otherwise.

But wouldn't you feel a tad more secure if we had far fewer people attempting to "cross the border illegally"? I know I would. I believe if my advice were followed, we would have far fewer people trying to get in illegally, because the bulk of those who are currently trying to make that attempt are doing so to take the jobs we allow them to take, but don't permit them to take.

If the job our border guards had to do was reduced by, say, 90%, they would surely pose a more formidable threat to terrorists than they do now. As I've stated before, if you're an Al Qaeda operative who knows it's tougher to make it past the immigration folks at US airports these days, you're probably going to at least consider donning the garb of a Mexican peasant, learning a few words of Spanish, and heading for our southern border. It's easy, in other words, to get lost in the human tide trying to gain illegal entry. I vote for removing this terrorist-friendly camoflage, or at least reducing it as much as possible.

And you're right, you don't often hear them.

I agree, the daily/weekly/monthly tide of illegal humanity is the primary problem, the one requiring first solution.  Your idea seems to be to transform a large proportion of them into legal visitors.  

On the face of it, it makes sense.  If an immigrant knew he could come in legally, there'd be no need to enter illegally.

The problem I have with it is only that it can be reversed with the passage of another bill.  Also, a  physical barrier will still work against the remainder, whatever their number.  But increased legal immigration would help border enforcement, if it's directed at the population that we want to increase.

The idea about visa overstayers is interesting.  I wonder what the actual numbers are.  If there is a way to identify the ones most likely to be dangerous, that would also be a great place to start proceeding against the illegals already inside the country.

If a "comprehensive" bill that includes some kind of amnesty is the first and/or only one passed, there are three things that can be guaranteed.  First, it will include less wall, less fence, and less security than would be included in a separate Security First<sup>TM</sup&gt bill.

That remains to be seen.

To me, the critical security (as opposed to economic or other questions) component of any immigration reform revolves not around the current illegal population and whether or not to give them amnesty (they've already successfully snuck in, after all); nor does it involve more robust physical barriers, fences, etc. (although such things are surely needed in this time of war).

No, the truly critical security component revolves around what to do with the ongoing human tide washing over our borders. Transforming the 10,000 weekly arrivals from illegal, shadowy aliens to legitmate immigrants who pass security screening and receive proper documents would help this commenter sleep a bit easier at night. For starters, our border guards would be free to concentrate on terrorists instead of economic migrants.

Of course doing this doesn't get characterized as part of "Security First" by the restrictacons. But how could such a reduction in illegal immigration and concommitant redirection of security personnel possibly fail to enhance America's safety?

By the way, although it doesn't get discussed much on this site, visa overstayers are likely the most dangererous security threat we face in the area of illegal immigration. I think I'm on firm ground in asserting that perhaps 1/3 of the country's illegal immigrant population snuck in not via Mexico or Canada, but through such places as O'Hare and LAX. Heck, if we could blast a new freaking ocean between the US and Mexico, and stop illegal immigration from our souther neighbors entirely, we'd still be looking at a potentially enormous security risk from tourists, students and businesspersons who jet in and stay on illegally. We might all want to pause and reflect on this situation when doing our cost-benefit sums with respect to the Great Wall of America.

You yourself cite the border influx at 10,000 per week, which is corroborated by a number of sources, some placing it higher, which it probably is. But again let's use the numbers from your source.  What is 500,000 settled illegals per year divided by 10,000 border crossings per week?

What percentage of illegal alien influx does that figure represent?

I cited a figure because we have to use figures. As we both know, the best we can do is use estimates. My guess is we're getting some where between 300k and 750k illegal immigrants per year, and that up to 1/3 of this number get in legally, with valid visas. The US receives something like 300 million legal visitors annually. If even a tiny percentage of visits results in illegal overstays, it would constitute an enormous number. I have no idea why your sense of the numbers is so out of kilter. Visa overstayers constitute a substantial source of illegal immigration. Dan Stein -- certainly no friend of immigration enthusiasts like me -- cites 1/3 (the figure I originally used) as the likely percentage of illegals who are visa overstayers (he uses 2003 figures):

In the new INS estimate, the share of illegal aliens attributed to entry permit overstays was put at one third, down from 39 percent in the 1998 estimate. That meant that two-thirds of the illegal alien population had sneaked into the country (Entered Without Inspection, or EWI in INS parlance).

I'm not sure what the larger point is you're making.

I made the rather uncontroversial remark that ending illegal immigration from the Mexican border in its entirety would still leave us with a massive visa overstayer problem. Do you disagree with this? Even if the 1/3 figure I used were off, by, say, five or ten percentage points (I'm not conceding this, but, just for argument's sake), where would that leave us? Answer: with many tens of thousands, and possibly a quarter of a million or more, illegal immigrants who arrive in full compliance with US law, as valid visa holders who overstay.

You may not have fully grasped my point, but, what I was implying is that illegal immigrants who are visa overstayers may constitute a particularly dangerous source of crimial aliens, for a number of factors unrelated to numbers alone. Not least of these is the fact that the world's primary sources of Islamist hatred are not to be found in Mexico or Central America, but rather, in places where one must take a plane if one wishes to reach the United States. We're at war, after all, with totalitarian Islam, not with Mexico or Honduras.

The whole gist of my point was that if cost benefit analysis were rigorously employed with respect to national security and stopping illegal immigration, the results would likely argue against an overemphasis on buttressing our southern border, and in favor of more stringent oversight of visa overstayers.

If national security is not one's main concern, but rather keeping the nation from becoming more hispanicized, then building a very very expensive wall may be just the ticket.

I'm not sure what the larger point is you're making.

Very well, PB, let's recap how this discussion developed, and where it has gone.

In your original response to the article, you made the following points:

Our focus should be concentrated on dealing with the 10,000 illegals that "wash over our border every week."

You simultaneously stated that a border fence somehow had no connection to this problem.

Your solution was to open our borders to unlimited immigration by making the 10,000 illegals every week legal by having them fill out paperwork and letting them in, thereby scrutinizing who they are. You stated that by completely opening up our borders and simply call the illegal aliens "legal" was somehow taking care of the illegal immigration problem.

You then displayed your derision of the fence by calling it "the Great Wall of America", as well as your derision of those who call for such border security by calling them "restrictacons".

Then you insinuated these "restrictacons" weren't really concerned with focusing more manpower on terrorists because they were opposed to this "solution". The jist was "how could they be against focusing on terrorists?"

You ended by stating that 1/3 of illegal alien influx was through overstaying visas.

In my initial response to you, I stated:

To eschew stopping the border crossers, because we would still have the visa overstay problem, was faulty logic;

That you can't cite the need for a border fence during time of war, and in the same argument attribute derision to its concept and proponents, since you are a proponent by your own opening statements;

That no where near 1/3 of the current illegal influx was from visa overstays;

That calling for unlimited immigration as a solution to border security was insanity;

That your argument is the same veiled argument as those who have no concern in preserving a unique American identity, and who are enamored with multiculturalism and internationalism.

In your second response, you called me on my position that 1/3 of the immigration influx was not by visa overstays.

In my second response, I used your sources and their sources to demonstrate:

That by the numbers the vast majority of illegal alien influx is currently coming across our southern border;

That the difference between cumulative statistics and current illegal influx are two different set of statistics, and that you were confusing one with the other;

That cumulative statistics of the 90's which were oft cited in your sources did not account for the documented explosion in border crossings beginning in 2000;

That current illegal growth numbers in states bordering Mexico, cited in the same sources, denied visa overstays as a major percentage of illegal growth;

That the GAO and the DHS set the number of visa overstay illegals from less than 1/4th  to around 1/5th of static cumulative totals;

I noted that the FAIR, GAO, PEW, and USCB all make note that the total illegal population is at best an educated guess and that accurate numbers are impossible, especially in Hispanic heavy enclaves.

I lastly stated that I was very concerned with visa overstays, I recognize its role in 9-11, and I want the system fixed, but not at the expense of unlimited immigration.

Your third response repeated your premise about the number of visa overstayers, without offering any additional examination of the numbers, but only someone else who "said so".

So, PB, here is where your argument fell down out of the starting blocks. Your assertion that the questions of border security and illegal immigration are mutually exclusive, an either-or decision that focuses on one at the expense of the other, is not a valid question. We will fix visa overstays, which has to do with security, and we will stop illegal immigration at the border, which has to do with border sovereignty, upholding the law, and massive over-immigration.

You and I, as well as you and most here at Redstate, disagree on the solution to the illegal immigration problem. And that's OK, I'll debate you on that subject, and we'll have a good discussion.

But don't try to confuse the illegal alien - border argument with terrorists. There may be some overlap in the solutions, but they are two different subjects with two different arguments. And both can be dealt with, simultaneously. The cost analysis places no limits on our responsibility to do both. This is America. If it can be done at all, it can be done here.

and for their analysis.

You say we need a wall for security in time of war...as you sarcastically call it the Great Wall of America.

You say it will only stop 2/3 of illegals if we close the border completely, so we shouldn't consider it since we will still have the other third threatening us (that's great logic).

By the way, it's not even close to a third who come in via some other way than our southern border. Not. Even. Remotely. Close.

You say we should completely open our border to all who want to come in, in unlimited numbers, by making it legal. You'll "sleep better". If you think the Amnesty of 1986 brought a huge influx of new immigrants, that was nothing. By your suggestion you are inviting a third of the Mexican population here. That is not poor logic, that is insanity.

The entire premise of your argument is the tired argument of the left, who are enamored with the idea of multiculturalism and internationalism, and who hold a disdain for a distinct American identity. It is for these reasons that you hold the concept of a border security barrier in such venomous contempt without the least bit of evidence that it won't work but with a great deal of emotional vitriol.

It would be interesting to consider your premise, except for this.

to read all of it, but what I have read is outstanding.

I am sick of "celebrating" diversity in its every form.  There are no jobs that Americans "won't" do, but because of cheap illegal labor, there are lots of jobs that aren't worth doing when you can make more by being on welfare.

The unemployment rate in my old home county in Georgia is very high, and it only counts the ones still trying to find work.  An old friend, an elected official there, was building a subdivision a few years back and took me out to visit it.  I noted that the contractor was from Florida and all the labor was Hispanic and asked him how, politically, he could get away with that.  He responded, "they don't care, they get their welfare checks."

It is insane to export American jobs and import the world's poor, illiterate, and criminal.  Now I await the blast from all the free market types and open the repartee by asking just where, besides the USA, there is a free market?

an open border, not the least of which is this:

Unrestricted immigration from failed states will eventually destroy global centres of excellence, the same way Communism did. This is definitely bad for the people who will lose what were once functioning countries, but in the long run bad for everybody else, too. It will deprive the inhabitants of Third World countries of the incentives needed to change their own nations if they can simply move somewhere else and refrain from confronting the reasons for their failures.

We have oft repeated this bit of truth here at Redstate. Instead of forcing change at home, the pressure from the south is relieved across our border. Thus, a corrupt government encourages them to go, rather than suffering a popular uprising which demands the needed reforms.

By the way, it's not even close to a third who come in via some other way than our southern border. Not. Even. Remotely. Close.

By the way, you, sir, clearly do not know what you're talking about. You're. Not. Even. Remotely. Close.

A quick googling will give you estimates that anywhere from a third to over half of all illegal immigrants in this country are visa overstayers.

http://chapelhill.indymedia.org/news/2006/04/20452_comment.php

http://www.cis.org/articles/2005/jmvtestimony102505.html

http://www.answers.com/topic/illegal-immigration

For starters, our border guards would be free to concentrate on terrorists instead of economic migrants.

It is not the job of our border guards to concentrate on terrorists instead of "economic migrants". It is their job to guard our borders against anyone who attempts to cross the border illegally. If they were allowed to do their job properly then both problems would be solved. Some people are so anxious to cripple the border guards activity against "economic migrants" that they are willing to accept the terrorist risk.

As far as visa's are concerned, the problem there is inseparable from the Bush policy on immigration in general. It has been known since 2001 that many of the 911 terrorists entered here with visas. It is now 2006 and nothing has been done to guard against this danger.

Any meaningful reform is being held hostage to the open-borders sides desire for "free movement of labor". Setting aside the insanity of that idea in other ways, it is leaving us wide open to further terrorist attacks.

...religious individuals with electronics, surveillance, piloting, and other technical and/or paramilitary skills in our country? They only make us stronger!

Gosh, some people might think you hate America, Streiff!

let's look at it more closely.

Had I checked back here earlier, I'd have responded sooner.

Your first link was a local Raleigh news blog whose only reference was a vague quote from the INS without a source, and that was from 1996, which would disregard the "new wave" of illegal immigration which began in 2000 and is not cumulative, cited by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Federation for Immigration Reform.

Your third source is Wikipedia, which is open to public editing and is not scrutinized for accuracy, but it does reference FAIR and the GAO for its reference to visa overstays. So for the sake of discussion, I will use your other sources or the sources they used for their main references.

The first thing to note is that this discussion has to do, not with cumulative illegal demographics, but rather with annual, ongoing illegal immigration. These are two completely different subjects, and the current crises has to with the ongoing, not the cumulative. You are interchanging the two. The sources you cite for your position only refer to the cumulative; therefore your argument is flawed from the outset.

Secondly, the sources you cite refer to the "new" wave of illegal immigration which ramped up in the late 90's but is viewed as reaching it's critical mass in 2000, when it exploded and is continuing to increase. By reviewing the facts drawn from your sources, this is the vast bulk of current illegal immigration.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) states that

"the current rate of immigration has jumped significantly over the historically high 1990s level, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Immigrants are estimated to be pouring into the country at a rate that increases the population by about 1.4 million each year."

They note the increasing wave of immigration is huge in scope and magnitude to the 1990's, which were in their own right historically high. Yet FAIR claims that, according to USCB, the current influx "pales" those percentages in comparison when referenced at the year 2000 and beyond, to wit;

If immigration continues at its current rate for the rest of the decade, the immigrant population will have increased by another 14 million, reaching a total of 45 million residents, and it will constitute 14.2 percent of the population.

This establishes the fact that there is a large new wave of illegal immigration ramping up in the late 90's but reaching a critical mass in 2000 when it exploded.

Texas is a prime example of this "new" wave of illegals. The INS estimated in February 2003 that the illegal alien population in Texas was 1,041,000 residents as of January 2000. That was a nearly a fifty percent increase from the previously estimated 700,000 illegal aliens residing in Texas as of October 1996. But most shocking was the increase between 2003 and 2005 to 1,618,000 illegals, an additional 577,000 illegals in only two years. This is only one example among many of this new wave of illegals.

The current INS estimate means that Texas has the second largest illegal alien population in the country (after California).

The Pew Hispanic Center corroborates this information, only setting it higher.

If you look at the yearly increase in numbers of illegals in individual states, rather than the percentage of illegal growth in each state, it becomes apparent that the southern border illegals far exceed the 2/3 estimate. This is supported by the number of new illegal growth in those states adjacent to the Mexican border, combined with the shift in settlement dynamics of the border illegals to upper Midwest and Eastern states noted by your source as well as many others.

Thirdly, FAIR notes that most of this illegal alien population is new, because earlier illegal aliens benefited from the amnesty provision in 1986. When an amnesty for illegal resident aliens was enacted in 1986, there were 445,052 applicants from Texas (308,517 long-term illegal residents and 136,535 agricultural workers). This new wave of illegals from the southern border is not cumulative, in contrast to the cumulative effects of visa overstays.

Fourthly, the current estimates by the DHS sets total visa overstay percentages at a much lower level than you have stated, and therefore would be far lower than that percentage for current illegal influx.

The latest figures from the GAO Report on Visa Overstay Tracking quotes the estimate of visa overstayers by the DHS at 2.2 million. That is a cumulative number over the last several decades, and would only reflect ¼ or less of total illegal residents as visa overstayers.

Note that just as in the nature of border crossers, the status and whereabouts of visa abusers is also an unknown, since they too are not tracked once lost, according to DHS and FAIR. Therefore we do not know whether they overstayed for a period of time or settled here.

 To sum it up, the cumulative effect of illegal border crossing was erased and restarted in 1986, which affected the estimated illegal percentages through the mid-90s for that category, but not for visa overstays. Then, beginning in 2000, a huge new wave of southern border illegals began to occur, which is virtually impossible to estimate, especially since migration dynamics are changing for border crossers, who are moving farther north and east in increasing numbers. Thus, the true number of the current influx of illegals crossing the southern border, as well as total current illegal influx, is an unknown, and most likely higher than current estimates.

Your source notes that illegal aliens fall into two broad categories: those who come here temporarily, and those who come here to settle.

Although admitting that precise figures are elusive, new illegal aliens may number as many as three million a year. Those who settle here permanently number about 500,000 a year. The Census Bureau's estimate of the number of illegal aliens living is the U.S. in 2001 is 8,700,000; other estimates are as high as thirteen million.

It has been admitted by many, including the Census Bureau and the former INS, that the estimates of illegal border crossings and illegal residents, particularly in the enclaves of heaviest Hispanic concentration (such as California) are just that; estimates. The numbers could be much higher, which FAIR, PEW, the GAO, and USCB make note of.

But let's just use the numbers cited by your sources. Total net illegal immigration (1/3 of all immigration) is an estimated 500,000 annually.

You yourself cite the border influx at 10,000 per week, which is corroborated by a number of sources, some placing it higher, which it probably is. But again let's use the numbers from your source.  What is 500,000 settled illegals per year divided by 10,000 border crossings per week?

What percentage of illegal alien influx does that figure represent?

You do the math.

This is not to intimate that I treat the problem of visa overstays lightly. It has been my opinion for several years that a tracking system for visa overstays (primarily the pleasure visa, which is the bulk of the abuse) be put in place, including a deadline based alert system tied into our egress ports. It was the modus operendi of 9-11, and still ads to the illegal alien population. It should be dealt with.

But I'm not holding my breath, waiting for that to happen. Congress can't even deal with the border, which is a tangible.

I had a few comments open at once and didn't look to see to whom I was replying.

 
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