Jobs Amer­i­cans won’t do? Hardly

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - PHYL­LIS SCH­LAFLY

Mid De­cem­ber was a bad time for the ad­vo­cates of amnesty for il­le­gal im­mi­grants and a guest worker pro­gram. On Tues­day, Dec. 12, the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion fi­nally cracked down, 20 years late, on a few thou­sand of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of il­le­gal aliens il­le­gally em­ployed in the United States. This crack­down on em­ploy­ers was promised by the Rea­gan amnesty of 1986 and now, 20 years later, the gov­ern­ment is get­ting around to en­forc­ing the law. The feds ar­rested thou­sands of il­le­gal work­ers at Swift & Co. meat­pro­cess­ing plants un­der false So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers. Swift an­nounced it might have to shut down for lack of work­ers.

The me­dia im­me­di­ately opened the TV chan­nels to pro-im­mi­gra­tion ac­tivists who claimed th­ese ar­rests “prove” the need for “com­pre­hen­sive” im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion with a guest-worker plan. Au con­traire. The news of Wed­nes­day Dec. 13 proved just the op­po­site.

Within hours of the news 261 il­le­gals had been re­moved from the Swift plant in Gree­ley, Colo., Amer­i­can cit­i­zens lined up to fill the va­cated jobs. The county em­ploy­ment agency re­ceived 230 job ap­pli­ca­tions, of which 157 were specif­i­cally for Swift.

That blows the ar­gu­ment for the need of a guest-worker pro­gram to fill un­pleas­ant jobs it is said Amer­i­cans don’t want to do. Let’s also take the ex­am­ple of Wal-Mart, the store lib­er­als love to hate be­cause it pays lower wages and ben­e­fits.

Last Jan­uary, a new Wal-Mart store in sub­ur­ban Chicago an­nounced the avail­abil­ity of 325 po­si­tions for which the av­er­age pay would be $10.99 an hour. Wal- Mart re­ceived an as­ton­ish­ing 25,000 ap­pli­ca­tions.

An­other Wal-Mart in Oak­land Calif., re­ceived 11,000 ap­pli­ca­tions last year when it made known it had sev­eral hun­dred jobs open.

In re­sponse to com­plaints about the dis­lo­ca­tions caused by the ac­tion against Swift & Co., ICE Chair­man Julie My­ers ex­plained that most of the ar­rests in­volved iden­tity theft in ad­di­tion to il­le­gal em­ploy­ment. Many of those ar­rested were work­ing un­der So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers they had stolen from real Amer­i­cans, and in some cases this caused sig­nif­i­cant credit dam­age to the vic­tims of the stolen num­bers.

Then on Thurs­day of the same week, the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice (GAO) low­ered the boom on the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion by re­leas­ing a new re­port stat­ing the gov­ern­ment has given up on plans to sys­tem­at­i­cally track the en­try and exit of for­eign vis­i­tors. Congress or­dered the cre­ation of an en­try-exit sys­tem called US-VISIT (ex­clud­ing Cana­di­ans and Mex­i­cans) back in 1996, and the ter­ror­ist at­tacks of Septem­ber 11, 2001, made this sys­tem im­per­a­tive.

Some of the Septem­ber 11 hi­jack­ers en­tered the United States legally on visas, and then just never de­parted when their visas ex­pired. It’s now 2006, and we are told an en­try-exit sys­tem doesn’t ex­ist and the gov­ern­ment has aban­doned plans to cre­ate it.

The gov­ern­ment had $1.7 bil­lion to de­velop this pro­gram, but now tells us that is not nearly enough money, so all plans are be­ing scrapped. There’s no such thing as border se­cu­rity with­out an en­tryexit sys­tem since at least 30 per­cent of il­le­gal aliens in the U.S. came in as le­gal vis­i­tors and then disap- peared into our pop­u­la­tion.

Stu­dent visas (many given to Third World ap­pli­cants) are a ma­jor cause of fraud since we know that Septem­ber 11 Pen­tagon pilot Hani Han­jour came in on a stu­dent visa. About 1 mil­lion for­eign stu­dents are in the U.S. at any given time.

Last Au­gust, 17 Egyp­tian stu­dents en­tered the U.S. on le­gal visas sup­pos­edly to study at Mon­tana State Univer­sity, but 11 had no in­ten­tion of do­ing so and sim­ply dis­ap­peared when they ar­rived in the United States. Af­ter a na­tional man­hunt, two were ar­rested in Rich­mond, one in Min­neapo­lis, two in Manville, N.J., two in Dun­dalk, Md., one at O’Hare Air­port in Chicago, and three in Des Moines, Iowa.

Track­ing peo­ple who come into the United States and re­quir­ing them to leave when their visas ex­pire is an es­sen­tial com­po­nent of na­tional se­cu­rity. Fail­ure to carry out such a sys­tem means our gov­ern­ment doesn’t care about pro­tect­ing our borders.

The same week as the Swift & Co. ar­rests and the sen­sa­tional GAO re­port came the reve­la­tion, now widely re­ported, that the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion has no in­ten­tion of build­ing an ac­tual fence on our south­ern border. This even though the Se­cure Fence Act was passed this fall by the Se­nate 80-17 and by the House 283-138, and Pres­i­dent Bush starred in a photo-op just be­fore the Novem­ber elec­tion so we could all see him sign it into law.

Now we hear it’s all a sham. We hear vague rum­bles that we might get a “vir­tual” fence, but what we re­ally got is a vir­tual law.

Border fenc­ing is not a to­tal so­lu­tion any more than em­ployee ver­i­fi­ca­tion or en­try-exit track­ing, but they are all ne­ces­si­ties. Pres­i­dent Bush must carry out his con­sti­tu­tional duty to “take care that the laws be faith­fully ex­e­cuted.”

Phyl­lis Sch­lafly is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist and a lawyer.

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