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The new Bush immigration enforcement plan: Color me underwhelmed

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By Michelle Malkin  •  August 10, 2007 10:25 AM

Update – related note: Lots of folks are asking about the accused killer in the Newark execution-style murders of four young students. Yes, he’s here illegally according to media and law enforcement officials and he just pleaded not guilty this morning. More: “Carranza, who spoke through an interpreter, admitted he was not a U.S. citizen and was staying in the country illegally.” And, yes, he has an extensive rap sheet:

Carranza had at least three prior arrests and was facing an aggravated assault charge in a separate case at the time of the killings, Booker said. According to court records obtained by The Star-Ledger of Newark, Carranza was indicted twice this year — in April on aggravated assault and weapons charges; and in July on 31 counts including aggravated sexual assault of a child younger than 13. He was free on bail on the indictments.

La Shawn Barber has more on Hispanic gang violence targeting blacks and writes: “Celebrate diversity!”

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I mentioned the new White House/DHS immigration enforcement plan last night. There will be a press conference officially unveiling the package this morning, scheduled to begin in the next few minutes. The NYTimes is playing it big (contrary indicator alert):

The Bush administration plans to announce numerous steps on Friday to secure the border with Mexico, speed the expulsion of illegal immigrants and step up enforcement of immigration laws, administration officials say.

The effort stems, in part, from White House frustration with the failure of Congress to approve President Bush’s proposals to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws and grant legal status to most of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

In other words, the initiatives stem not from the White House’s sincere belief that we should enforce our immigration laws for their own sake and in the best interest of national security, but because grass-roots conservatives and GOP immigration enforcement advocates “frustrated” them in our successful efforts to kill the spectacularly ill-conceived shamnesty bill.

Now that the Johnny-come-latelys have embraced an enforcement-first approach, will they look in the mirror and call themselves what they called us? You know: Bigots who need to shut up, xenophobes, loud folks who don’t understand reality, bloodthirsty rabble-rousers who want to execute illegal aliens, etc., etc., etc.?

I would be willing to put all that aside and put some faith that these new measures would help if not for open-borders Arlen Specter waiting in the wings to introduce another illegal alien amnesty, eliminate fugitive illegal alien status for hundreds of thousands of deportation absconders, and give millions of illegal aliens green-card status.

The open-borders GOP elites see enforcement not as an end in itself, but as a means to the same bad end they were trying to achieve earlier this summer: formally legalizing millions of law-breakers en masse. The “new” initiatives amount to promises to do the basic work they should have been doing years ago and which Congress and past administrations on both sides of the aisle should have implemented decades ago:

The proposals would raise civil fines on employers who hire undocumented immigrants by as much as 25 percent and overhaul temporary worker programs, according to a summary of the plans obtained by The Associated Press.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez planned to announce the changes in a news conference Friday.

A DHS spokesman on Thursday declined to comment because the announcement had not been made. The Commerce Department also declined to comment.

The administration also wants to expand the list of international gangs whose members are automatically denied admission to the U.S., reduce processing times for immigrant background checks, and install by the end of the year an exit system so the departure of foreigners from the country can be recorded at airports and seaports.

In addition, employers will face possible criminal sanctions if they don’t fire employees unable to clear up problems with their Social Security numbers.

The Homeland Security Department will ask states to voluntarily share their driver’s license photos and records with the agency for use in an employment verification system. The sharing is meant to help employers detect fraudulent licenses, according to the summary, which was provided by a congressional aide.

“Possible.” “Voluntarily.” For those who have followed the enforcement debate closely, those are big red flags.

While I certainly hope for the best, I recommend we all keep our expectations low and our fingers on speed-dial to ensure that this new plan is not just another in a long line of dog-and-pony shows.

***

More belated moves by DHS that will make you wonder: “Why are they only doing this just now:”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today steps that will strengthen aviation security through uniform and consistent passenger prescreening against government watch lists. DHS is publishing two regulations which will initiate these changes: (1)Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) Predeparture Final Rule, which enables DHS to collect manifest information for international flights departing from or arriving in the United States prior to boarding; and (2) Secure Flight Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), which lays out DHS plans to assume watch list matching responsibilities from air carriers for domestic flights and align domestic and international passenger prescreening. Both programs carry out 9/11 Commission recommendations.

“Stopping known threats before they board an aircraft, whether domestically or internationally, is a critical security measure,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “This enables our frontline personnel to get key passenger information prior to boarding. This information will better identify individuals who may pose a known or suspected threat to aviation or national security. These programs will improve the passenger experience by establishing a more consistent vetting process and better resolution for misidentified passengers.”

Meanwhile, another one to file under Homeland Security, What Homeland Security?

Airport officials searched about a half-dozen airplanes at Charlotte- Douglas International Airport on Friday after a man bypassed security screening.
The Transportation Security Administration noticed the man had slipped past screeners shortly before 8 a.m., said spokesman John Allen. Officials shut down Concourse C to conduct a search, but were not immediately able to locate him.

Allen said officials are searching about a half-dozen planes, but 10 others left before officials were able to search the flights. He said those flights will be reverse-screened when they land.

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