Michelle Malkin exposes the efforts of Senate Democrats to sneak a pro-criminal immigration provision into the Homeland Security bill. The offending provision pertains to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which, as Malkin explains it, can reopen the factual findings of federal courts and can overturn deportation decisions. Presently, the Attorney General is able to overrule this Board, but the Senate Democrats would strip him of this power. This would leave the Janet Reno-appointed bureaucrats on the Board with the unchecked power to allow criminals to avoid deportation. While many of the Board’s decisions are unpublished, Malkin notes that its published decisions include cases of “repeat drunk drivers, sexual abusers, burglars, and drug offenders and other aggravated felons who escaped deportation on convoluted technicalities.” She even cites a case in which a nanny convicted of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the fatal beating of a 19 month old baby was allowed to remain in the U.S. because she had not committed a crime of violence. While protecting these bleeding-heart decisions from review serves the interests of the immigration lawyers’ lobby, it hardly promotes homeland security.
Unfortunately, this is not the only instance in which the nation’s security interests have taken a back-seat to the Democrats’ immigration agenda. For years, Democrats (led by Ted Kennedy) sought to remove INS case officers from the immigration enforcement process. According to their vision, case officers should never talk to the enforcement people. Rather, they should simply confer status and benefits on immigrants (future Democrats in the vision). But it is far more sensible for “services” and “enforcement” to interact. The case officer is the best situated person in the entire system to discover suspicious aliens who might do us harm. Indeed, one INS official told me that, when it comes to matters of security, case officers are the only consistently good source of enforcement tips. Without their intelligence, the enforcement people end up investigating small time drug offenders on tips from the police, or hanging out at the local jailhouse looking for aliens to deport. That is not a recipe for finding Al Qaeda cell members.
Yet in the aftermath of September 11, the Democrats seized upon the call for reform and streamlining of the INS as a pretext for erecting a wall between services and enforcement, so as to make life easier for immigrants, both legal and illegal. Under this regime, the case officers don’t get valuable information from enforcement that could reveal fraud and provide a legitimate basis for denying benefits. And the enforcement folks don’t get tips from case officers that could enable them to identify threats to our security.
It would be bad enough if the Democrats were simply using September 11 as a pretext for enacting misguided special interest legislation. But it is unconscionable that they are using an attack on the U.S. as the basis for enacting special interest legislation that actually reduces our security.
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