Working for logical immigation reform based on a stable population, a recognition of the finite nature of our natural resources and the adverse impact of continued growth on our quality of life, standard of living, national interest, character, language, sovereignty and the rule of law. Pushing back and countering the disloyal elements in American society and the anti-American rhetoric of the leftwing illegal alien lobbies. In a debate, when your opponents turn to name calling, it's a good sign you've already won.

Monday, August 31, 2009

District Court Rules in Favor of E-Verify Executive Order

On Wednesday, a federal court in Maryland ruled in favor of the E-Verify mandate for federal contractors, first issued by the Bush Administration. The order requires all contractors to verify the workplace eligibility of new hires, but it's been delayed four times - once by the Bush Administration and three times by the Obama Administration - pending the court's ruling. The rule is now set to become effective on Sept. 8. URGE Pres. Obama to prevent any further delays from the rule taking effect.

Also, be sure to read the blog from Dr. James Edwards who co-authored the book "The Congressional Politics of Immigration Reform". In his blog, Dr. Edwards details how the House's proposed health care bill would benefit illegal aliens.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Consequences of Illegal Immigration on the Environment

Securing our southern border raises interesting environmental issues. But there is no denying the environmental devastation along the border resulting from illegal immigration and our chronic failure to secure the borders.

The following is the result of Janice Kephart's work in using exclusive hidden camera video to tell the story of the negative effects of not stopping illegal immigration across the Mexican border.

Kephart served as legal counsel to the 9/11 Commission. The following is her latest report.

Recent Developments

Since the July 15, 2009, posting of the Center for Immigration Studies’ video, “Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border: Coyotes, Bears, and Trails," a lot has happened. None of it can be claimed to have been caused by the video, but there has been an interesting uptick in events in Washington and on the southeast Arizona border since its posting. While each of the events involving the federal government has acquired a hue of spin or premeditated silence, it does seem that a change is a coming – if the pressure keeps mounting. The Border Patrol is ramping up, the Forest Service has closed off some of the worst illegal layup areas due to potential bear encounters, and Congress is asking a lot of questions.

Border Patrol

On July 30, 2009, captured on film the largest group of illegal aliens in its 10 months online: 41. They looked tired, having just come up a steep climb through the Coronado National Forest, many of them resting and then moving on. In juxtaposition, just this past week, for the first time, the Border Patrol moved into the border area in high numbers, cutting off some of the trails leading to the hidden cameras. According to our sources, agents in the field say increased numbers of agents patrolling south of the mountains 24/7 is permanent, as are scope trucks and agents with all-terrain vehicles (they are often on foot). More men, more vehicles, and more technology are on the ground to help stem the flow. In addition, up near the rendezvous points where the trails end, the Border Patrol have set up ‘tent cities’ and the initial action has stopped groups of aliens from successful entry.

Congressional Action

On July 31, 2009, the ranking Republicans on the House Homeland Security, Oversight and Government Reform, and Natural Resources Committees, wrote Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano asking for documentation and answers regarding the Border Patrol’s responsibilities and agreements with the Department of Interior that support obtaining operational control of the border in light of the sensitive environmental impact of such activity on over 800 miles of federal land. Specifically, the letter stated:

Comprised of wildlife refuges, national parks and national forests, these lands represent some of the most culturally and environmentally sensitive areas in the country. Due to their sparse population, lack of development, and location on the border, these lands often serve as gateways for illegal aliens, smugglers, and possibly terrorists to enter the United States.

Given the magnitude of our underlying concerns, we are writing to request information relating to agreements between DHS and Department of the Interior agencies and the U.S. Forest Service. In particular, we respectfully request information concerning USBP access to lands under the jurisdiction of these agencies, including USBP's ability to patrol these areas and install important surveillance and communication equipment.

To address the existing matters, it is vital for us to better understand the critical situation along our nation's borders and the coordination between agencies.

The administration is bucking requests for answers from one Secretary’s office to another. There is talk that a whistleblower in one department has been silenced who offered up information in the form of detailed government reporting showing how well aware – for years -- the feds have been of the environmental consequences of illegal smuggling and drug cartel activity (I have the 2004 PowerPoint in question, along with a detailed threat assessment from that department).

In addition, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, has been asking questions of his own within his jurisdiction, including document requests to the Acting Director of the National Park Service Daniel Wenk. The requests included any environmental impact assessments done to determine the impact of illegal smuggling on these lands, and correspondence and agreements that enable the Border Patrol to gain access to southwest border lands owned by the National Park Service.

More recently, Rep. Bishop offered an amendment to help law enforcement, including the Park Service, Forest Service, and Border Patrol, to better do their job on federally protected land such as the Saguaro National Park (located west of the source of the hidden camera footage we used). The amendment was voted down on party lines, but Rep. Bishop asserted it would have done the following:

My amendment is designed to guarantee that law enforcement agencies can do their jobs effectively within the park and its surroundings. While Saguaro is a beautiful park, the Fraternal Order of Police named it one of the Top 10 most dangerous parks in the country. They stated that Saguaro is “home to body dumping, smuggling and poaching after rangers go home at night.” On the National Park Service website, it alerts visitors to be on the lookout for arson, vandalism, theft of cactus, poaching, dumping of debris, marijuana cultivation or drug labs.

Organ Pipe National Monument

In extreme detail, the 2004 PowerPoint presentation and threat assessment – whose existence was denied for months – show that the borderland manager’s group at Organ Pipe National Monument were well aware that the effects of illegal smuggling across the Monument are primarily responsible for its destruction. The extensive damage to Organ Pipe, according to the department’s own assessment, is mostly due to illegal activity – coyotes and their illegal-alien clients, drug smugglers, human traffickers. The requirement that Border Patrol do its part to mitigate damage remains, but the blame that continues to be placed wholly on the shoulders of the agency responsible for obtaining operational control of the border is misguided, at best. The assessment makes clear that the lack of fencing has exacerbated the destruction, and aided in the loss of endangered species and plant life. Questions raised in “Hidden Cameras” as to whether Coronado National Forest is going to suffer the same immense environmental damage as Organ Pipe due to illegal smuggling are well-founded.

Huachuca Mountains and Coronado National Forest

As to the Huachuca Mountains and Coronado National Forest, as mentioned previously, sources tell us that the Border Patrol has moved to set up reconnaissance and greater vehicle presence at points on the border which are entrĂ©e to the trails depicted in “Hidden Cameras." Within 48 hours of our video being posted, the U.S. Forest Service closed down campgrounds used by the same trails highlighted in the film:

Reef Campground in the Huachuca Mountains will be closed for two weeks due to black bear activity in the area. The campground, at 7,150 feet elevation on Carr Canyon Road in the Sierra Vista Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest, will be temporarily closed to remove the human influence such as food and garbage that may tempt bears to linger.

Another local news story depicted a photo of a mama bear and two small cubs, noting they are a growing threat to campers:

The same bear family was picked up a week prior, the first week of July, by other cameras on an illegal trail. In addition, five other bears and six groups of illegal aliens passed by hidden cameras in this same two-week time frame within a half mile of the closed area. On these campgrounds, about a quarter-mile from the legitimate camp area, are growing illegal-alien trash dumps similar to those highlighted in “Hidden Cameras.” The bears seem to be losing fear of humans, and growing interest in human food, ripping up backpacks and leaving droppings, with little activity near the established campgrounds that are closed.

And now a short news release on August 1, 2009 states the following:

TUCSON — The closure for Reef Campground in the Huachuca Mountains will continue for two more weeks, due to ongoing black bear activity in the area.

The campground, in the Sierra Vista Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest, will remain temporarily closed to remove the human food and garbage that may be tempting the bears to linger in the area.

The source of the problem isn’t mentioned in this news release – yet those on the ground relate that the problem is not the campers attracting the bears; the problem is the illegals’ lay-up areas and the trails that lead to them. At least in the Coronado, they are cleaning it up. For now.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NYT Article 8/3/09

NYT, 8/3/09 After early pledges by President Obama that he would moderate the Bush administration’s tough policy on immigration enforcement, his administration is pursuing an aggressive strategy for an illegal-immigration crackdown that relies significantly on programs started by his predecessor.

A recent blitz of measures has antagonized immigrant groups and many of Mr. Obama’s Hispanic supporters, who have opened a national campaign against them, including small street protests in New York and Los Angeles last week.

The administration recently undertook audits of employee paperwork at hundreds of businesses, expanded a program to verify worker immigration status that has been widely criticized as flawed, bolstered a program of cooperation between federal and local law enforcement agencies, and rejected proposals for legally binding rules governing conditions in immigration detention centers.
“We are expanding enforcement, but I think in the right way,” Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, said in an interview.
Ms. Napolitano and other administration officials argue that no-nonsense immigration enforcement is necessary to persuade American voters to accept legislation that would give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants, a measure they say Mr. Obama still hopes to advance late this year or early next.

(All of these temporary moves are "necessary to persuade American voters...". Exactly, and that is their sole purpose. They will be discarded as soon as Obama gets his way on amnesty. What neither he nor Napolitano is willing to admit is that full implementation of E-verify across the board in both public and private employers, vigorous internal enforcement, and a significant increase in the number of repatriations are all essential elements of border security. You cannot have secure borders if violators believe they will be home free once they escape the immediate environs of the border. Any idiot knows that!)
That approach brings Mr. Obama around to the position that his Republican rival, Senator John McCain of Arizona, espoused during last year’s presidential campaign, a stance Mr. Obama rejected then as too hard on Latino and immigrant communities. (Mr. McCain did not respond to requests for comment.) Now the enforcement strategy has opened a political rift with some immigrant advocacy and Hispanic groups whose voters were crucial to the Obama victory.

(This so-called "rift" lacks credibility. The primary objective of these groups is to achieve amnesty for the 12 million illegals. The enforcement measures will be dropped as soon as that objective is achieved.)

“Our feelings are mixed at best,” said Clarissa Martinez De Castro, immigration director of the National Council of La Raza, which has joined in the criticism, aimed primarily at Ms. Napolitano. “We understand the need for sensible enforcement, but that does not mean expanding programs that often led to civil rights violations.”

(De Castro has no interest in enforcement of any kind. She wants amnesty and open borders. Civil rights violations, if any, pale in significance to the need for border security. Her position is clear. La Raza is a political organization, some even say a racist organization, rather than the humanitarian organization it would like us to believe.)

Under Ms. Napolitano, immigration authorities have backed away from the Bush administration’s frequent mass factory roundups of illegal immigrant workers.
(Big mistake!) But federal criminal prosecutions for immigration violations have actually increased this year, according to a study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan group that analyzes government data. In April, there were 9,037 immigration cases in the federal courts, an increase of 32 percent over April 2008, the group found.
Ms. Napolitano said in the interview that she would not call off immigration raids entirely as some Hispanic lawmakers have suggested. “We will continue to enforce the law and to look for effective ways to do it,” she said. “That’s my job.” (The effective ways to enforce that law are obvious. None are perfect and never can be so get on with the task at hand: mandatory E-verify and expeditious repatriation.)
Ms. Napolitano, who as governor of Arizona sparred with Republican legislators seeking tougher steps against illegal immigration, said she was looking for ways to make enforcement programs inherited from President George W. Bush less heavy-handed.
(She should worry less about heavy-handedness and more about effectiveness.That's her job!)
She also wants to put the enforcement focus on illegal-immigrant gang members and convicts and on employers who routinely hire illegal immigrants so as to exploit them. (This cannot be done effectively without applying enforcement to all illegals. Use a big net and you can catch them all. Use a small net and the gang members will find it easy to hide within the larger communities of illegals.)

Immigration authorities have started audits of employees’ hiring documents at more than 600 businesses nationwide. If an employer shows a pattern of hiring immigrants whose documents cannot be verified, a criminal investigation could follow, Ms. Napolitano said. (Why such a weak statement instead of "...a criminal investigation and prosecution to the full extent of the law will follow"?)
She has also expanded a federal program, known as E-Verify, that allows employers to verify electronically the identity information of new hires. Immigrant and business groups have sued to try to stop the program, saying the databases it relies on are riddled with inaccuracies that could lead to American citizens’ being denied jobs.
But officials of the Homeland Security Department say technological improvements have enhanced the speed and accuracy of E-Verify. With 137,000 employers now enrolled, only 0.3 percent of 6.4 million queries they have made so far in the 2009 fiscal year have resulted in denials that later proved incorrect, the officials say. That, opponents note, still means false denials for more than 19,000 people.

(That's like saying if the national census is typically off by say a million people, we shouldn't do it. None of the false denials resulted in actual job losses. E-verify is one of the most accurate systems of its type around. Instead of allowing employers to use it, E-Verify should be mandatory for all employers and all current and new employees. Claims that citizens are permanently being denied jobs is a "red herring" promoted by employers who prefer cheap foreign labor.)
In addition, Ms. Napolitano has expanded a program that runs immigration checks on every person booked into local jails in some cities. And she recently announced the expansion of another program, known as 287(g) for the provision of the statute authorizing it that allows for cooperation between federal immigration agents and state and local police agencies.
In extending 287(g), federal officials also drew up a new agreement, which all of some 66 localities currently participating have been asked to sign, that is intended to enhance federal oversight and clarify the priority on deporting those immigrants who are criminal fugitives or are already behind bars.
But advocates for immigrants said the new agreement did not include strong protections against ethnic profiling. (Worries about profiling are overemphasized at the expense of effective enforcement, which should be the top priority. Random road blocks and stops for DUI checks are routinely employed to get drunks off the roads. Why not a similar approach for illegals? Find out where they hide or congregate and then make random checks at those locations stopping everyone in the area?)
They were surprised, they say, that Ms. Napolitano did not terminate the cooperation agreement with the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., Joe Arpaio, who calls himself the “toughest sheriff in America.” Latino groups in Arizona have accused Mr. Arpaio of using the program to harass Hispanic residents. (Could that be because they are harboring illegal aliens?)
“If they reform the 287(g) program and Arpaio doesn’t change, it won’t be reform,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a national immigrant advocacy group. (No one should listen to immigrant advocacy groups. These are groups that favor the interests of foreigners over those of their fellow citzens.)
Ms. Napolitano said it would be up to Mr. Arpaio, like other current participants, to decide whether to sign and abide by the new cooperation agreement. Separately, the Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation of Mr. Arpaio’s practices.
The Obama administration has received support for its immigration position from a leading Democrat, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, who will be writing an immigration overhaul bill later this year. (You can be sure that any new bill will be like the old ones that failed. It will provide amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens thus undermining any enforcement provisions by creating incentives for more border violations. What is it about this connection that Schumer and others do not understand?)
In preparation for what is likely to be a furious debate, Mr. Schumer has called on Democrats to show that they are serious about immigration enforcement and is even asking them to stop using the term “undocumented” to refer to immigrants who are here illegally. (It's about time!)
Democrats have to “convince the American people there will not be new waves of illegal immigrants” after an overhaul passes, Mr. Schumer said in an interview.
Republicans who oppose any legalization of the status of illegal immigrants say they remain unimpressed by the new enforcement measures. (Republicans and all informed Americans have good reason to be unimpressed. They heard all of this before in 1986 when Ted Kennedy stood up and said, "This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 -- 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another Amnesty Bill like this." Following the 1986 amnesty, the number of illegals swelled from 1.1 million to 12 million. That's not much of a recommendation for another amnesty. Instead, the best way to convince the American people of the need for immigration reform is enforce the present law until the number of illegals has been reduced to more like the 1986 figure of 1.1 million.)

“After 20 years of broken promises, it takes a lot more than token gestures,” said Representative Brian P. Bilbray, a California Republican who heads an immigration caucus in the House.
Michael A. Olivas, a professor of immigration law at the University of Houston, said Hispanic advocates were irked by the enforcement measures because they had seen scant sign that the administration was also moving deliberately toward an overhaul bill.
“We literally have the worst of all worlds,” Professor Olivas said.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Average Length of U.S. Recessions

The average duration of the US economic recessions since 1900 was 14.4 months. Given the recent string of weak economic reports and the freeze up in the credit markets, the question regarding the current period is no longer if we are in a recession, but when did it start. Using the assumption that the recession began at the start of 2008 (using Industrial Production and Employment statistics), if the current period ends up as just an average contraction, then we could expect the economy to bottom some time in the spring of 2009.
As shown in the chart, there is a clear dichotomy in recessions prior to WWII (red) and recessions after WWII (blue). Pre WWII, the average recession lasted 19.1 months. Since then, though, the average duration has been nearly cut in half to 10.2 months. While the reason for the shorter duration is up for debate, the faster information flow has certainly allowed companies to quickly adjust activity in order to compensate for shocks to the upside or the downside. By the post-WWII standard, the current recession should have ended in November, 2008. Therefore, the Obama turnaround is already several months overdue. Nothing to crow about there!