Thursday, March 13, 2008

House of Representatives Discharge Petition Could Rescue SAVE Act From Oblivion

Since Tuesday, 168 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a discharge petition to outflank House leadership and force a vote on H.R. 4088, the Secure America with Verification and Enforcement (SAVE) Act.

According to supporters, who summarize the SAVE Act as "attrition through enforcement," it would, within 4 years, remove nearly all illegal aliens from the U.S. job market, and greatly increase funding for the border fences and for personnel to patrol the borders. The Act would, supporters say, "turn off the job magnet for illegal immigration."

According to the Numbers USA website, the Democratic leadership has not threatened Democratic Congressmen who sign the discharge petition.

"They have made it clear they oppose bringing the SAVE Act to a vote. But they haven't said they will punish Democrats who sign the discharge petition. Democrats are free to follow their conscience and the will of the voters in their district."

The leadership had asked Democrats to wait on signing the discharge petition so it could bring the SAVE Act to a vote through other channels. But negotiations between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Heath Shuler broke off after the Speaker insisted on some form of amnesty in the bill. As a result, there will be no vote on SAVE unless the discharge petition succeeds.

The Americans for Better Immigration website suggests that several House members are trying to have it both ways - they have signed on as co-sponsors in order to have bragging rights back in their home districts, but they haven't signed the discharge petition that would actually bring their bill to a vote.

Immigration reform activists are anxious to keep the momentum by adding more signatures to the discharge petition, and have mounted a grass-roots campaign in the Congressional districts to urge House members to sign it before they leave Washington for a two-week recess.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Internet Polemics About Illegal Immigration

This letter may well be contrived, but it is nevertheless an example of the Internet polemics that tap into working-class American frustration about legislative proposals to extend amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Becoming Illegal

(From an actual letter from an Iowa resident that was sent to his senator)

The Honorable Tom Harkin
731 Hart Senate Office Building
Phone (202) 224 3254
Washington DC , 20510

Dear Senator Harkin,

As a native Iowan and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My primary reason for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stems from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, all I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005.

Additionally, as an illegal alien I could begin using the local emergency room as my primary health care provider. Once I have stopped paying premiums for medical insurance, my accountant figures I could save almost $10,000 a year.

Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications, as well as "in-state" tuition rates for many colleges throughout the United States for my son.

Lastly, I understand that illegal status would relieve me of the burden of renewing my driver's license and making those burdensome car insurance premiums. This is very important to me given that I still have college age children driving my car.

If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent,
Donald Ruppert
Burlington , IA

Saturday, March 1, 2008

ABC News on 9/11 Redux: "Thousands of Aliens" in U.S. Flight Schools Illegally

Former FAA Inspector: TSA's Enforcement "Basically Nonexistent"

Thousands of foreign student pilots have been able to enroll and obtain pilot licenses from U.S. flight schools, despite tough laws passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, according to internal government documents obtained by ABC News.

The new laws were passed after it was learned that all of the 9/11 hijackers (including ringleader Mohammed Atta) who were involved in flight operations had trained at U.S. flight schools with improper visas.

"Some of the very same conditions that allowed the 9-11 tragedy to happen in the first place are still very much in existence today," wrote one regional security
official to his boss at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

"Thousands of aliens, some of whom may very well pose a threat to this country, are taking flight lessons, being granted FAA certifications and are flying planes," wrote the TSA official, Richard A. Horn, in 2005, complaining that the students did not have the proper visas.

Under the new laws, American flight schools are only supposed to provide pilot training to foreign students who have been given a background check by the TSA and have a specific type of visa.

But in thousands of cases that has not happened, according to the documents and current and former government officials involved in the program.

"TSA's enforcement is basically nonexistent," said former FAA inspector Bill McNease, in an interview for ABC News' World News With Charles Gibson.

McNease, who retired last year, says in one year alone, 2005, he found some 8,000 foreign students in the FAA database who got their pilot licenses without ever being approved by the TSA.

"And a flight school wants the money to teach 'em. And they are gonna teach 'em how to fly and get their ratings, and then they just slip through the cracks," McNease said.

In another internal e-mail obtained by ABC News, Monty Thompson, an official in the TSA Flight School Inspections section, complained in 2005 to his bosses in Washington, "I fear we are "dangerously close" to losing sight of the mission and the intent of the Flight School Security provisions."