From the February 2004 Idaho Observer:
Bush amnesty announcement effectively dissolves 2000-mile U.S/Mexican border
Border Patrol catch and release policy evidence that national security has been breached on a massive scale
FLORENCE, Ariz. -- Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly from Central and South America, are being released into the USA almost immediately after they are picked up by the Border Patrol as part of a policy that U.S. officials acknowledge represents a significant gap in homeland security, USA TODAY reporter Kevin Johnson stated in the lead of a story published after President Bush announced his plans to grant amnesty to illegal Mexican aliens.
Estimates on how many illegals will be granted amnesty range between eight million and 11 million.
Since Bush's announcement, illegal immigration along the 2,000-mile U.S./Mexican border, which resulted in 905,000 deportations last year, is reportedly escalating.
While the bulk of the nearly one million deportees were Mexican nationals, increasing percentages of illegals are residents of Central and South American countries. Where the U.S. and Mexico have a repatriation agreement, the other nations are reluctant to take their people back.
...the Department of Homeland Security, while spending billions of dollars on a range of antiterrorist programs, has a limited budget for renting detention cells at local jails, Johnson explained.
The result, Johnson reported, is that thousands of Central and South American illegals are being caught and released by the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP).
Upon capture, USBP demands a functioning U.S. phone number and address where the illegal can be reached then issues them written orders to appear at a deportation hearing at a nearby U.S. city. Immigration officials acknowledge the exercise is futile: About 86 percent of those issued such notices never show up for the court hearings, Johnson stated.
U.S. immigration officials estimate that in 2003, 6,000 undocumented illegals of unknown character or intent disappeared into the American fabric under the government's catch and release policy.
In recent months, immigration officials have been monitoring a flood of Brazilians into Arizona. Carrying passports and other identification documents, many of the Brazilians have intentionally surrendered to U.S. agents so they could quickly get notices to appear in court -- and then move on to Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and communities in New Jersey, Johnson continued.
Concerning the government's catch and release policy, Val Verde County, Texas Sheriff D'Wayne Jernigan said, During these times when everybody's concerned about who's coming into this country, I think you have to question the wisdom of this policy.
Jennigen also explained he had seen notices to appear that USBP agents had issued to captured illegals. He said the date and time of appearance was left blank as were the spaces for address and phone number. So, the illegals have no place or time to appear and the government has no clue as to where to begin looking for them to encourage an appearance. It's a complete farce, Jernigan said. It tells me that our doors are wide open for anyone to come in.
The process represents a serious and on-going breach in national security being ignored by the Bush administration and its Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS is currently emphasizing the erection of massive, multi-billion dollar, cradle-to-grave surveillance systems to spy on American citizens. Curiously, counterterrorism experts have been warning the Bush administration that international terrorists are likely to gain entrance into this country via the U.S. Mexican border.
Americans living close to the border have developed citizens groups such as American Border Patrol to protect one another from the waves of crime accompanying the hordes crossing into this country from the south. Local police are simply unable to keep up with the epidemic theft, vandalism, violent assault and drug trafficking that has come riding in on U.S./Mexican immigration policy.
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