Thursday, June 26, 2008

Minutemen Say "We're Not Gonna Stop"!

The government has abdicated its responsibility to enforce U.S. sovereignty at its borders for some decades now. This is a violation of Article IV, Section 4 of our Constitution, and in any case, nature abhors a vacuum. Illegal immigrants have rushed into the physical vacuum and then continued into settled North American communities where further, incremental abdication has created civic vacuums.

In this civic vacuum, the Mexican diplomatic corps has moved to occupy the field. Mexican consuls negotiate directly with municipal governments and local law enforcement, in defiance of Article I, Section 10, and in some cases these Mexican government officials assert direct physical authority over U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

It was just a matter of time, under these circumstances, until patriotic U.S. individuals would take matters into their own hands. I do not use the term vigilante to describe the Minutemen because their activities, so far as I know, have been entirely lawful, and they have not interfered with any judicial or law enforcement processes. The Supreme Court of the U.S. has so found.

There is an intriguing alliance between environmentalists and open-borders advocates. Environmentalists were, a generation ago, some of the strongest anti-immigration constituents, simply due to their concerns about overpopulation. Now, the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife have emerged as important allies of the Open Borders Lobby.

This suggests there is truth in the analysis of conservative talk show hosts Neil Boortz and Rush Limbaugh that North American leftists have migrated en masse into the environmental movement since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, and that these recent converts are not honestly concerned with the environment, but find it convenient to employ environmental issues to impose totalitarian collectivist policies on Western democracies.

Below, a somewhat self-serving Minuteman press release celebrates a recent Supreme Court ruling that U.S. environmental laws do not preclude the construction of a security fence at the border.

We Will Keep the Heat on the Feds and Keep Building Fence!

The Supreme Court spoke loud and clear confirming two years of Minuteman efforts and donations by clearing the way for Border Fencing on the U.S. Mexico. Justices declined without comment to hear a petition from 14 Democrats with the open border lobby in Congress and a group of law professors hiding behind environmental issues submitted by Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club. The ruling allows the Department of Homeland Security to continue border fence construction.

The fences built by the Minutemen have been a driving force compelling the federal government to act, and the ranchers along the border in Arizona say it well: "The government wasn't doing anything until the Minutemen showed up."

Minutemen must continue to keep the pressure on and make the federal government actually BUILD IT — talk is cheap, and a complete fence along the entire border is needed.

Al Garza, MCDC Executive Director says it all: "We're Not Gonna Stop" … "Anywhere We Can Drive a Post In, Is Where We're Gonna Stop Them."

The Minutemen are pleased with the Supreme Court's action confirming our efforts to make border security and border fencing a national priority. Now we must push the Congress to continue to the government's plan to build the first 670-miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico. The court's action clears the way to press ahead with the project with little worry that judges will be able to stop it.

Minutemen will continue working to stop activist federal judges that reject that claim as the open border lobby will continue to push for the justices to reconsider the issue at hand.

The Federal project still faces legal challenges from landowners and tribal groups.

But the government is not doing anywhere near all that it can do — it is long on talk and short on performance, selling the American people short as it has for decades.

The Feds are stalling, wasting time at vast expense on delayed timelines—all in the hopes that the people of this country will be won over by their political grandstanding and public relations. But if one thing is true about Americans, it is that we know how to work, we stay until the work is done, and we give it 110%.

Minutemen have revitalized fence building efforts. Against endless waves of open-border lobbying, and a constant barrage of nay-saying, criticism and media distortions, the Minutemen simply continue on their mission — to secure the border of these United States. We will not be distracted, and we will not be dissuaded.

While the alliance of critics devote all their time and resources seeking to destroy U.S. security and erase our border, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps volunteers stand strong in the gap to fortify, build, increase and improve border security for our country.

Much has been done and much more is left to do.

Minutemen have been hard at work grading, excavating, digging holes — sometimes in rock — and putting 9,504 linear feet of fence posts into the ground. There are (528) eighteen foot long posts cemented four feet deep into the ground, secured with 35,367 yards of concrete all of which is designed to support a cost effective and lasting fence that is a testament to the strength and resolve of the American Minutemen who say BUILD IT.

254 galvanized steel mesh panels are already installed according to our fence engineering and manufacture specifications, with anchor bolts that are shot into the steel and work the same as a weld. These panels form an anti-climb wall of security fence that is a substantial barrier forcing illegal aliens to go around the entire fence structure. Using anything short of a tank will not suffice to tear down these posts.

There is still much work to do. The fight has been long and hard, but the Minutemen are still gaining ground. Quietly and confidently our volunteers have trudged forward, through heat and monsoon season—and the mud that their opposition is throwing at them. What lies ahead is hope. Already the efforts of the Minutemen have paved the way, forcing our feckless federal government to begin giving the American people what they want and need, a border fence.

Stand up against the left, and against Quisling sell-out political agendas, and help the Minutemen get the job done. Help them Build the Fence. Show the world that the America that we love does not care for empty words, we care for action!

Finish the Hodges Minuteman Border Fence Now!

There is hope on the horizon to demonstrate to the nation and the Feds WHAT WORKS, but it will take the same stalwart dedication you have already shown. With your support we will be able to construct a barrier that will set the Fence standard for the Feds of ACTUAL, affordable impenetrability—thwarting the attempts of illegal aliens to invade this country.

It will cost about $400,000 to finish the Hodges Ranch span and install full security FOMGuard technology in the ground at $250 per foot of fence.

I know it's a lot of money. But we cannot secure America on the cheap. And this is vastly less expensive and vastly more effective than the federal government costs for what little physical fencing they are actually getting into the ground.

We are asking everyone who has already generously sacrificed to immediately send a $50 Donation Today. Doing so will complete our current project in Bisbee, AZ, and greatly empower our allies in Congress who want to show Washington a working model of actual, affordable fence!

Your country needs you now! The Minutemen and women need you now! If you are one of the thousands who have already contributed to building the Minuteman Fence, we thank you for your sacrifice—but we need you if possible to redouble your efforts and donate again. If you have never donated we ask you to join us by making a generous financial contribution and by becoming a Minuteman Volunteer.

Go and join with us TODAY.

For the love of our country,

Carmen Mercer
Vice President and Director of Government Relations
Minuteman Civil Defense Corps

Friday, June 20, 2008

Historical Overview of U.S. Immigration

This is a November 2006 blog post by Rubina, a.k.a. nevadaspirit1, entitled The U.S. Immigration System from the Beginning to the Present Day. Rubina says the US has always been a difficult country to get into, and that our immigration system is largely geared toward family reunification (for relatives already here) rather than overseas skills acquisition, because we are relatively self-sufficient in producing our own skilled workers and college graduates.

Americans encouraged relatively free and open immigration during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and did not question that policy until the late 1800's. After certain states passed immigration laws following the Civil War, the Supreme Court in 1875 declared that regulation of immigration is a Federal responsibility. Thus, as the number of immigrants rose in the 1880's and economic conditions in some areas worsened, Congress began to issue immigration legislation. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Alien Contract Labour laws of 1885 and 1887 prohibited certain labourers from immigrating to the United States. The more general Immigration Act of 1882 levied a head tax of fifty cents on each immigrant and blocked (or excluded) the entry of idiots, lunatics, convicts, and persons likely to become a public charge. These national immigration laws created the need for a Federal enforcement agency.

In the 1880's, state boards or commissions enforced immigration law with direction from U.S. Treasury Department officials. At the Federal level, U.S. Customs Collectors at each port of entry collected the head tax from immigrants while "Chinese Inspectors" enforced the Chinese Exclusion Act. Congress soon expanded the list of excludable classes, and in doing so made regulation of immigration more complex. As a result, when the Immigration Act of 1891 barred polygamists, persons convicted of crimes of moral turpitude, and those suffering loathsome or contagious diseases from immigrating, it also created the Office of the Superintendent of Immigration. Located within the Treasury Department, the Superintendent oversaw a new corps of U.S. Immigrant Inspectors stationed at the United States' principal ports of entry.

Under the 1891 law, the Federal Government assumed the task of inspecting, admitting, rejecting, and processing all immigrants seeking admission to the United States. The Immigration Service's first task was to collect arrival manifests (passenger lists) from each incoming ship, a responsibility of the Customs Service since 1820. Enforcing immigration law was a new Federal function, and the 1890's witnessed the Immigration Service's first attempts to implement national immigration policy.

Operations began in New York Harbour at a new Federal immigration station on Ellis Island, which opened January 2, 1892. The largest and busiest station for decades, Ellis Island housed inspection facilities, hearing and detention rooms, hospitals, cafeterias, administrative offices, railroad ticket offices, and representatives of many immigrant aidsocieties. Ellis Island station also employed 119 of the Immigration Service's entire staff of 180 in 1893. The Service continued building additional immigrant stations at other principal ports of entry through the early twentieth century. At New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and other traditional ports of entry, the Immigration Service hired many Immigrant Inspectors who previously worked for state agencies. At other ports, both old and new, the Service built an Inspector corps by hiring former Customs Inspectors and Chinese Inspectors, and training recruits. An "immigrant fund" created from collection of immigrants' head tax financed the Immigration Service until 1909, when Congress replaced the fund with an annual appropriation.

During its first decade at Ellis Island and other ports, the Immigration Service formalized basic immigration procedures. Inspectors questioned arrivals about their admissibility and noted their admission or rejection on manifest records. Detention Guards and Matrons cared for those people detained pending decisions in their cases or, if the decision was negative, awaiting deportation. Inspectors also served on Boards of Special Inquiry that closely reviewed each exclusion case. Often, aliens were excluded because they lacked funds or had no friends or relatives nearby. In these cases the Board of Special Inquiry usually admitted the person if someone could post bond or one of the immigrant aid societies would take responsibility for the alien. Those denied admission by the Board were deported at the expense of the transportation company that brought the alien to the port.

Congress continued to exert Federal control over immigration with the Act of March 2, 1895, which upgraded the Office of Immigration to the Bureau of Immigration and changed the agency head's title from Superintendent to Commissioner-General of Immigration. The Act of June 6, 1900, further consolidated immigration enforcement by assigning both Alien Contract Labour law and Chinese Exclusion responsibilities to the Commissioner-General. Because most immigration laws of the time sought to protect American workers and wages, an Act of February 14, 1903, transferred the Bureau of Immigration from the Treasury Department to the newly created Department of Commerce and Labour.

Attention then turned to naturalization, a duty assigned to Congress by the Constitution but carried out by "any court of record" since 1802. A commission charged with investigating naturalization practice and procedure reported in 1905 that there was little or no uniformity among the nation's more than 5,000 naturalization courts. Congress responded with the Basic Naturalization Act of 1906, which framed the rules for naturalization in effect today. The 1906 law also proscribed standard naturalization forms, encouraged state and local courts to relinquish their naturalization jurisdiction to Federal courts, and expanded the Bureau of Immigration into the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.

To standardize naturalization procedures nationwide, the new Naturalization Service collected copies of every naturalization record issued by every naturalization court. To prevent fraud, Bureau officials checked immigration records to verify that each applicant for citizenship had been legally admitted into the United States. When the Department of Commerce and Labour divided into separate cabinet departments in 1913, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization divided into the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Naturalization. The two bureaus existed separately within the Department of Labour until 1933.

The Immigration Service took form during an unprecedented rise in immigration to the United States. While Congress continued to strengthen national immigration law with acts such as the Immigration Act of 1907, a Presidential Commission investigated the causes of massive emigration out of Southern and Eastern Europe and a Congressional Commission studied conditions among immigrants in the United States. These commission reports influenced the writing and passage of the Immigration Act of 1917, which, among other provisions, required that immigrants be able to read and write in their native language. The Immigration Service then began administering literacy tests.

The outbreak of World War I reduced immigration from Europe, but also imposed new responsibilities on the agency. Internment of enemy aliens (primarily seamen who worked on captured enemy ships) became a Service function. Passport requirements imposed by a 1918 Presidential Proclamation increased agency paperwork during immigrant inspection and deportation activities. The passport requirement also disrupted routine traffic across United States land borders with Canada and Mexico, and the Immigration Service consequently began to issue Border Crossing Cards.

Mass immigration resumed after the war, and Congress responded with a new immigration policy, the national origins quota system. Established by Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1924, the system limited immigration by assigning each nationality a quota based on its representation in past United States census figures. The State Department distributed a limited number of visas each year through United States Embassies abroad, and the Immigration Service only admitted immigrants who arrived with a valid visa.

The corollary to severely restricted immigration is increased illegal immigration. In response to rising illegal entries and alien smuggling, especially along land borders, Congress in 1924 created the U.S. Border Patrol within the Immigration Service. The strict new immigration policy coupled with Border Patrol successes shifted more agency staff and resources to deportation activity. Rigorous enforcement of immigration law at the ports of entry also swelled appeals under the law and led to creation of the Immigration Board of Review within the Immigration Bureau in the mid-1920's. (The Board of Review became the Board of Immigration Appeals after moving to the Justice Department in the 1940's, and since 1983 has been known as the Executive Office of Immigration Review.)

A grassroots Americanisation movement popular before World War I influenced developments in the Naturalization Bureau during the 1920's. The Bureau published the first Federal Textbook on Citizenship in 1918 to prepare naturalization applicants, and its Education for Citizenship program distributed textbooks to public schools offering citizenship education classes and notified eligible aliens of available education opportunities. Legislation of 1926 introduced the designated examiner system that assigned a Naturalization Examiner to each naturalization court to monitor proceedings, interview applicants, and promote uniform implementation of Federal naturalization policy.

Executive Order 6166 of June 10, 1933, reunited the two bureaus into one agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Consolidation resulted in significant reduction of the agency's workforce achieved through merit testing and application of Civil Service examination procedures. During the 1930's, immigration volume dropped significantly. Deportation constituted a larger share of INS operations, as did certain repatriation programs later in the decade.

The threat of war in Europe, and a growing perception of immigration as a national security rather than an economic issue, affected the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1940. The President's Reorganization Plan Number V of that year moved the INS from the Department of Labour to the Department of Justice. United States entry into World War II brought additional change when many Service personnel enlisted in the Armed Forces and left INS short of experienced staff. At the same time, INS Headquarters moved to Philadelphia to sit out the war.

New responsibilities led to the agency's rapid growth during World War II. The INS' war-related duties included: Recording and fingerprinting every alien in the United States through the Alien Registration Program; organization and operation of internment camps and detention facilities for enemy aliens; constant guard of national borders by the Border Patrol; record checks related to security clearances for immigrant defence workers; and administration of a program to import agricultural labourers to harvest the crops left behind by Americans who went to war. The only agency responsibility to end during the war was enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which Congress repealed in 1943. Other war-time changes were conversion to a new record-keeping system, implementation of the Nationality Act of 1940, and doubling of the agency workforce from approximately 4,000 to 8,000 employees.

Immigration remained relatively low following World War II, because the 1920's national origins system remained in place after Congress re-codified and combined all previous immigration and naturalisation law into the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. American agriculture continued to import seasonal labour from Mexico, as they had during the war, under a 1951 formal agreement between the United States and Mexico that made the Bra cero Programme permanent. Other INS programmes of the late 1940's and 1950's addressed conditions in post-war Europe. The War Brides Act of 1945 facilitated admission of the spouses and families of returning American soldiers. The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 and Refugee Relief Act of 1953 allowed for admission of many refugees displaced by the war and unable to come to the United States under regular immigration procedures. With the onset of the Cold War, the Hungarian Refugee Act of 1956, Refugee-Escapee Act of 1957, and Cuban Adjustment Program of the 1960's served the same purpose.

By the mid-1950's, INS enforcement activities focused on two areas of national concern. Public alarm over illegal aliens resident and working in the United States caused the Service to strengthen border controls and launch targeted deportation programs, most notably "Operation Wetback." Additional worry over criminal aliens within the country prompted INS investigation and deportation of communists, subversives, and organized crime figures.

In 1965 amendments to the 1952 immigration law, Congress replaced the national origins system with a preference system designed to reunited immigrant families and attract skilled immigrants to the United States. This change to national policy responded to changes in the sources of immigration since 1924. The majority of applicants for immigration visas now came from Asia and Central and South America rather than Europe. The preference system continued to limit the number of immigration visas available each year, however, and Congress still responded to refugees with special legislation, as it did for Indochinese refugees in the 1970's. Not until the Refugee Act of 1980 did the United States have a general policy governing the admission of refugees.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service's functional responsibilities expanded again under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The Act charged the INS with enforcing sanctions against United States employers who hired undocumented aliens. Carrying out employer sanction duties involved investigating, prosecuting, and levying fines against corporate and individual employers, as well as deportation of those found to be working illegally. The 1986 law also allowed certain aliens illegally in the U.S. to legalize their residence here, and INS administered that legalization program.

Changes in world migration patterns, the modern ease of international travel for business or pleasure, and a growing emphasis on controlling illegal immigration all fostered growth of the Immigration and Naturalization Service during the late twentieth century. The INS workforce, which numbered approximately 8,000 from World War II through the late 1970's, today includes more than 30,000 employees in thirty-six INS districts at home and abroad. The original force of Immigrant Inspectors is now a corps of officers specializing in inspection, examination, adjudication, legalization, investigation, patrol, and refugee and asylum issues. As it enters a second century, the Immigration and Naturalization Service continues to enforce laws providing for selective immigration and controlled entry of tourists, business travellers, and other temporary visitors. It does so by inspecting and admitting arrivals at land, sea, and air ports of entry, administering benefits such as naturalization and permanent resident status, and apprehending and removing aliens who enter illegally or violate the requirements of their stay.