One Repatriation Revealed

On Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle presented a photo essay about Guatemalans being deported home from Mesa, Arizona. The one paragraph of accompanying text did not portray the event positively, particularly regarding the Secure Communities program which it deems “controversial.” The liberal press has apparently decided that open borders are more important than public safety.

Undocumented Guatemalens deported, San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 2011

A plane leaving from Arizona to Guatemala returns undocumented Guatemalans caught by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, through the controversial federal “Secure Communities,” a data-sharing program which puts local police on the frontlines of national immigration enforcement. ICE recently announced a set of adjustments to the program after many local communities and some states, including New York, insisted on opting out, saying immigrants were being deported for minor offenses such as traffic violations.

However, the photos don’t show angst and suffering among the deportees regarding their free trip to their native country, courtesy of the American taxpayer. In fact, a couple pictures show joy, presumably at being home after residing in a foreign land.

The Morton Amnesty Considered

When Barack Obama appeared for a Spanish-speaking town hall event on Univision in March (where he said he wanted illegal alien students to succeed), he was asked why he couldn’t use his big Presidential powers to stop deportations. “With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case,” Obama said.

His way of answering “no” seemed definite up to a point, but also had an undercurrent that suggested he would finagle an executive amnesty if he thought he could get away with it.

One strategy might be to get an obedient underling to issue a memo dialing back on who gets chosen for a free trip home. So we see ICE Director John Morton’s June 17 memo instructing agency leaders to use “discretion” in deciding whom to deport. In other words, ease off of anyone who isn’t a mass murderer.

At one point, Morton specifies “positive factors should prompt particular care and consideration”; it’s a list which includes every possibly sympathetic category except owners of fluffy kittens.

  • veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces;
  • long-time lawful permanent residents;
  • minors and elderly individuals;
  • individuals present in the United States since childhood;
  • pregnant or nursing women;
  • victims of domestic violence; trafficking, or other serious crimes;
  • individuals who suffer from a serious mental or physical disability;
  • and individuals with serious health conditions.

At least one writer has compared the memo to the DREAM Act, but Morton’s directions go far beyond that. It would be more appropriate to ask who isn’t included.

Below, young illegal aliens dressed in student graduation outfits demand more free education beyond K-12.

Interestingly, the list protects illegal aliens who are the most expensive users of taxpayer-funded medical services: those who “suffer from a serious mental or physical disability; and individuals with serious health condition.” Let no opportunity for excessive spending go unused — that’s the Washington way! The medical moocher Ana Puente who cost California taxpayers over $1 million for three liver transplants comes to mind, and she’s just one example of a person brought to this country specifically for free-to-them healthcare. An honest Colorado report noted that hundreds of illegal aliens came to that state to obtain medical care for their expensive conditions.

Now ICE agents are told to avoid deporting foreign welfare abusers. When word gets around, freebie no-deport medical care will be another alien magnet.

Rep. Lamar Smith has written up a bill to fight the Morton-Obama Amnesty, however it’s doubtful the legislation could get through the Democrat Senate, much less the President’s handy autopen. But it’s better to do something than do nothing.

Republicans seek to roll back discretion in immigration cases, Los Angeles Times, June 24, 2011

House Republicans are targeting an Obama administration effort to give immigration officials more leeway when it comes to deciding who to deport from the U.S.

Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, plans to introduce legislation next month that would suspend the Obama administration’s ability to exercise executive discretion in immigration cases.

Smith’s bill, called the HALT Act, would strip the administration’s power to defer deportation of immigration violators, grant work authorization or grant temporary protected status to immigrants who are fleeing a disaster.

The bill is aimed only at the Obama administration: In the proposed legislation, the executive powers would be restored at the end of this presidential term.

“Because of the Obama administration’s record, it cannot be trusted with these powers,” said Smith in a letter dated June 23 encouraging other House members to sponsor the bill with him. Continue reading this article

Doubts Take Hold concerning the Smith E-verify Bill

Like many who care deeply about America’s borders and sovereignty, I had great hopes for a universal e-verify bill from the Republican House and was happy to hear that Rep. Lamar Smith had authored one.

But now the concerns are mounting that the legislation is fatally flawed and will do more harm than good. It should be an immediate red flag that the evil Chamber of Commerce supports HR2164 as do the National Association of Home Builders and the National Restaurant Association. These groups have been vicious and entrenched enemies of workplace enforcement, so one has to wonder whether the change of heart is sincere.

The 1986 amnesty was supposed to trade forgiveness toward millions of lawbreakers for border and workplace enforcement. Somehow Washington forgot to do the enforcement part, and the Reagan Amnesty ended up being all carrot and no stick. We don’t want a replay of that stab in the back. In fact, we citizens are still owed enforcement from the 1986 deal, which contained no statute of limitations.

A big problem is how the Smith bill (aka the Legal Workforce Act) undercuts states’ ability to enforce immigration laws, as was recently affirmed by the Supreme Court. By contrast, Senator Grassley’s E-verify bill allows the immigration laws of states and localities to remain in force. The states, particularly Arizona, have led the way, showing hidebound Washington what can be done by aroused citizens and a responsible legislature.

The feds have been negligent for decades in enforcing borders and immigration laws. The recent decree that deportations will be scaled back indicates that public safety will be sacrificed by Washington to pursue elites’ cheap-labor open-borders agenda.

Kris Kobach has written persuasively on the legislation, e.g. Throwing the States off the Field, making the point that “The states are actually enforcing these laws, in sharp contrast to the federal government’s lax enforcement approach under President Obama.”

Rep. Lou Barletta was interviewed on the Steve Gill radio show June 17 where he discussed the Smith legislation, which he called “a good bill gone bad.”

Rep. Barletta also issued a press release June 15, E-Verify bill will make illegal immigration problem worse.

It included a focused list of what’s wrong with the Smith legislation as it stands:

SIX FLAWS IN H.R. 2164, THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT

1. It stabs Arizona in the back immediately after Arizona won its victory in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The law that Arizona passed in 2007 (which suspends business licenses of employers who knowingly hire unauthorized aliens and, which has been enforced vigorously), would be preempted under the Legal Workforce Act (sec. (6), p. 50).

2. It is an affront to states’ rights.
The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of cooperative enforcement, with the states and the federal government working together to restore the rule of law in immigration. Yet this bill snatches defeat from the jaws of victory and tells the states that they can no longer take meaningful actions to go after employers who knowingly hire unauthorized aliens. Alabama adopted Arizona’s approach just two weeks after the Supreme Court victory. Dozens of other states are likely to follow in 2012 when the state legislatures go back into session. If the Legal Workforce Act passes, Congress will tie the states’ hands, forcing them to continue paying about $80 billion a year in fiscal costs caused by illegal immigration.

3. The Legal Workforce Act will be another federal law that goes unenforced.
The federal government has been unwilling to aggressively enforce immigration laws in the workplace, and this law will be no exception. There is zero likelihood that the current administration will go after employers who fail to use E-Verify or who knowingly help their employees circumvent the system (which is very easy to do by using a U.S. citizen’s stolen name and Social Security number). In contrast, states like Arizona have been very effective in enforcing their own laws. In Arizona, dozens of worksite raids have occurred. That is why the number of  illegal aliens in Arizona dropped 16 percent between 2008 and 2010 — more than double the national average (of 7 percent).

4. The Legal Workforce Act gives a “workplace amnesty” to virtually all of the illegal aliens who are already employed in the United States.
Illegal aliens already working in the United States cannot be subjected to E-Verify unless they work for state or local governments (sec. (b)(3)(A), p. 26). The Legal Workforce Act is clearly designed to keep the current population of illegal aliens employed and working in the United States in the country, so they would still be here if amnesty is granted in the future.

5. The Legal Workforce Act allows agricultural workers to skip E-Verify entirely.
All an employer has to do is assert that the alien worked for him at some point in the past (sec. (b)(1)(D), p. 18).

6. Special Interest Groups want to take the immigration issue off the table in the 2012 elections.
Knowing the huge popular support for these state laws, Special Interest Groups want to eliminate them, and at the same time (falsely) claim that the issue of illegal immigration in the workplace is now resolved. Illegal immigration is an issue that voters consistently rank in their Top 5 issues of importance, and it needs to be used, not buried, in the 2012 elections.

Media Honchos Lawyer Up over Illegal Alien Journalist Revelations

The anti-borders media and bloggers have been in a tizzy over an illegal alien journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, who recently outed himself with details on enabling editors in the New York Times Magazine (My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant).

His NYT piece was the usual formulaic sob story of the American Dream thwarted by the mean government and its annoying laws. The various reactions have had the interesting aspect of media honchos tippy-toeing over the obvious ramifications regarding immigration law. Vargas’ big tear-jerker was refused by the Washington Post, which seemed fearful of being being prosecuted, as reported by Politico: Why did Post kill Jose Vargas story?

The article could be problematic for the Post, because it not only reveals that the paper broke the law by employing an illegal immigrant, but that Vargas told a mentor, Post assistant managing editor Peter Perl, about his immigration status. It is not clear whether Perl told anyone else at the paper.

Of course, scooting the article off to another newspaper won’t get the Post off the legal hook. Names were named, which was surely a strategy of Vargas to rope in the editors who hired him and force them to get on board like the good liberals they are. Vargas mentioned another newspaper that employed him, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Editor Phil Bronstein explained at length how he had been “duped” — probably as instructed by company lawyers.

Bronstein tried to play the aggrieved party in a rambling essay on his Chronicle blog, while still sounding sympathetic to his illegal alien scribbler. He worried about the “millions of people out there floating in terrifying limbo” but did not mention the citizens displaced by liars like Vargas in college slots and employment. The Chronicle is famously left-wing on border and immigration issues.

How many unemployed journalists, let go by newsroom downsizing over the past decade, are upset by this flouting of the law? Unlike most illegal alien articles created by the liberal press, this one affects the people who crank out the tiresome sob stories. But we are unlikely to hear any changes of heart about law and borders at least in public, since job-seeking reporters wouldn’t want to hurt their chances in one of the most liberal professions. Still, it would be interesting to hear some bar talk among journalists on this one.

Plus, someone should ask Bronstein whether he would support a new visa category for journalists to increase the diversity of the newsroom. How would that go over with reporters? It might make the media debate of immigration more interesting if practitioners had some skin in the game.

I was duped by Jose Vargas, illegal immigrant, By Phil Bronstein, Chronicle Blog, June 23, 2011

I was duped. I once hired an illegal immigrant to be a reporter for the Chronicle.
“I don’t think I’m a criminal,” Jose Antonio Vargas told me when we met last week, right before he announced his status to the world. “Don’t make me seem guiltier than I am.”

Jose lied to me and everyone else he worked for, and that’s not kosher, especially in a profession where facts and, more elusively, the truth are considered valuable commodities. In 2003 he wrote a story for us about illegals getting fake drivers’ licenses in the Mission when he’d used phony documents to get his own. He told me last week that he decided then that was a serious conflict of interest and wouldn’t cover immigration any more. But he later wrote on the topic for the Post.

Even though I didn’t know he was a lawbreaker when he worked for me, and he left the paper in 2004, his story lands me a little more directly in the atrociously rudderless but vicious debate on immigration reform.

After Jose’s essay was published on the New York Times website yesterday, detailing his deception in getting heady jobs here, at the Washington Post and the Huffington Post – and snagging exclusive access to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for a New Yorker profile – I have to wonder:

Am I a dupe? A felon – at least according to a tough new Alabama law that might find me guilty of “harboring” Jose when he was in my office the other day (I also bought him coffee)? Or have I unwittingly supported a potentially powerful new movement in the push for immigration reform?

There’s no way to tell for sure when immigration laws themselves are a hopeless jumble of unenforced, unenforceable or just plain unaddressed issues covering 11 million people. The most visible are Latino day laborers, but the Vargas confession may also open those gnarly closet doors for high-achieving white collar professionals.

“This is going to come off as a vanity act, but it’s not,” Jose told me last Tuesday, just before he left San Francisco for New York on what might be his last allowable U.S. domestic flight with his doctored-up I.D. “I tell stories for a living and this is the one I’ve been afraid to tell. I’m one of many like me. There have got to be undocumented workers out there even more successful than I am.”

Jose’s narrative of arriving in the Bay Area at age 12, discovering his illegal status at 16 and driving himself thereafter to somehow earn citizenship with the help of friends and family, has created a cat-in-a-blender bloodstorm, particularly among his fellow journalists. The Times has gloated on its blogs about bagging the story while the Post, which rejected it, is a little dour. Continue reading this article

Santa Maria the Worst for Hit & Run Crashes, Mostly from Illegals

Santa Maria is a community of around 80,000 on the central California coast, with a population that was 59.7 percent hispanic in the 2000 Census. According to local reporting, the place has the highest rate of hit-run accidents in the state.

Half of the vehicle crashes in the city are hit and run — talk about uncivil society! (By comparison, 10.15 percent of vehicle crashes nationwide in 2005 were hit and run.)

If that statistic isn’t enough of a jaw-dropper, police say that illegal aliens are the cause of most of the hit-run smash-ups.

Police Chief Dan Macagni has responded to the public safety crisis by instituting a program of checkpoints to get unlicensed and drunk drivers off the road.

Unsurprisingly, the usual ethnic hucksters have attacked the chief’s responsible leadership as discrimination. Good policing, designed to protect the public from bad guys, is increasingly in the crosshairs in Mexifornia.

See the video report: 50 Percent of All Vehicle Crashes in Santa Maria Are Hit and Run.

Santa Maria tops list of most hit and runs statewide, KSBY-TV San Luis Obispo, June 20, 2011

Santa Maria has the most hit and run crashes in state per capita. We’ve found out some startling numbers about the rate of hit and run crashes in Santa Maria. If you’re involved in a crash in the city, there’s a 50-50 chance that it’ll be a hit and run.

The Santa Maria Police Department tells KSBY News nearly half of the more than 1700 crashes last year were hit and runs. Police say illegal immigrants are responsible for most of them. Officers set up checkpoints in the city every two weeks to catch drunk or unlicensed drivers, but some say the checkpoints are discriminating.

Thousands of drivers in Santa Maria pass through DUI and license checkpoints twice a month throughout the city. What some call good policing others call discrimination.

“If they check in other places other than Mexican areas or Hispanic areas, you’re going to find others with suspended drivers license, with no drivers license, and all that too,” said C.C. Todd, an advocate for the Hispanic community.

Ariel: What do you say to critics who say you are targeting illegal immigrants?

“What do I say to them? Wait until they’re a victim of it and then go cry to somebody else,” said Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni.

He says he doesn’t care who you are. His goal? Get unlicensed and drunk drivers off city streets.

“How about obey the rules. Obey the laws of the state of California and the United States of America,” Macagni said. Continue reading this article

McCain Surprised at Criticism for His Wildfire Remarks

It was amusing that newly minted border defender (for his 2010 re-election campaign) Senator John McCain angered his old pals in La Raza by telling the truth about the spate of border-area wildfires in Arizona — that some were started by illegal aliens and Mexican drug smugglers.

Here’s Sheriff Larry Dever saying that he estimated the Monument fire was started by aliens or smugglers, 90 to 100 percent.

The Raza-bots must be getting bewitched by their own press releases if they think they can erase veracity entirely regarding border crime by just denying it. DHS Secretary Napolitano bleats that “The border is as secure as it has ever been” and shazam — she imagines the problem is solved. Similarly, any unpleasantries about chaos and murder can be squashed by the usual accusations of racism and xenophobia.

Johnny claimed he didn’t understand what the controversy was about, given the well documented facts about diverse arsonists, but he shouldn’t be surprised. The open-borders gang sees him as one of them because he promised to work for mass amnesty starting the first day of his Presidency, and they are miffed he didn’t hop immediately back on to the reservation after his re-election as Senator. But they aren’t listening closely: McCain has long made clear that he wants border security as a necessary precursor for a comprehensive amnesty rewarding millions of lawbreakers.

John McCain Baffled by Controversy Over Wildfire, Illegal Immigrants Comments, ABC News, June 21, 2011

Sen. John McCain said today that he’s “not sure what all this controversy is about” surrounding his unsubstantiated claim that illegal immigrants caused some of the wildfires raging across eastern Arizona.

Cochise Co. “Sheriff Larry Dever will tell you that the Monument Fire was started when the park, the forest was closed. So anyone who was in there is illegal,” McCain said in an interview on “Good Morning America.”

McCain also said that his assessment — that there is “substantial evidence” illegal immigrants are responsible for “some of these fires” — was based on a briefing Saturday from a U.S. Forest Service official familiar with the investigation of the fires.

“This is the toughest year in Arizona’s history as far as fires are concerned,” McCain said. “The fact is that as far back as 2006 the Forest Service testified before Congress, and I quote, ‘Large numbers of warming and cooking fires built and abandoned by cross border violators have caused wildfires that have destroyed valuable natural and cultural resources.’”

But a spokesman for the agency said Monday that while the latest wildfires appear to be “human caused” there is no evidence that the suspects may have been illegal immigrants.

Immigrant advocates and civil rights groups have accused McCain of politicizing the fires at a time when people are losing their homes and struggling to cope with widespread evacuations.

“The sad thing is that the intention was pretty clear,” said Clarissa Martinez with the National Council of La Raza. “It was to demonize immigrants and demonize Latinos.”

Randy Parraz, a civil rights advocate who ran unsuccessfully against McCain as a Democratic candidate in 2010, was quick to criticize McCain’s comments, calling them “careless and reckless.”

“It’s easier to fan the flames of intolerance, especially in Arizona,” Parraz said. Continue reading this article

More States Require Voter ID

For the elections-have-consequences file: since January, six states have enacted laws requiring photo ID to vote, largely because of Republican legislatures. That’s a blow for honesty in elections, as far as I’m concerned, and will hopefully help keep illegal aliens out of the voting booths.

The liberal argument that minorities and poor people don’t have identification is bogus and a distraction. Libs think that sovereignty and citizenship are too old-fashioned, and illegal aliens should be allowed to vote, as San Franciscans have voted on twice in the last few years.

More states require ID to vote, USA Today, June 19, 2011

State legislatures across the country have passed a record number of laws this year requiring photo identification to vote, a controversial move pushed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.

Proponents say the measures prevent vote fraud. Opponents say they are designed to stifle turnout among students, poor people and minorities, who are more likely to vote for Democrats but might lack government-issued IDs, such as driver’s licenses and passports.

Buoyed by big Republican gains in the 2010 elections, six states have enacted photo ID laws since January — Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Bills in New Hampshire and North Carolina await gubernatorial action.

The measures, all passed by Republican-controlled legislatures, could bring to 17 the number of states with photo ID requirements and come nearly 18 months before elections for Congress and the White House. Other states — including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia— have reduced the period for early voting. Continue reading this article

Chancellor Merkel: Germany Must Accept the High Crime Rate of Immigrant Youths

Integration of Muslims into German society remains a vexing problem, apparently.

Foreign Student Workers Are Still Welcomed in America

The Energizer Bunnies of open borders over at the State Department have long thought that bringing young foreigners to this country is a swell way to make friends for America on the cheap. In particular, the diplomats like welcoming college students, such as the 20,000 Saudis that the Bush administration promoted. Diplomats don’t worry that little citizen students might be displaced under the blowback of their brilliant policy initiatives; nobody in Washington cares about Americans any more.

(One problem is the auslanders like America so much that they don’t want to leave.)

Another hobby of Washington diplomats is to hook up young foreigners with American jobs, even during the current jobs depression in which youth are particularly hard hit.

One scheme favored by employers utilizes temporary work visas, which they laud as fostering good will, but are also conveniently profitable for business owners. The practice leaves our own young people unemployed while ripping off the foreign kids as employers charge them expensive room and board, which can leave the workers with only enough money to gt home.

The Denver Post article, linked below, mentioned near the end that “Nationally, there were 320,805 visas for all categories of J-1 visitors for 2010.” The program cost taxpayers $635 million last year, so we are paying to have foreigners displace us.

South Florida has noticed the problem as well, with the Palm Beach Post posting articles like U.S. program lets noncitizens take PBC luxury resort jobs

SUMMER JOBS: Visa program encourages seasonal hiring of foreign students while U.S. youths go jobless, Denver Post, June 19, 2011

At a time when job creation has top political billing and American high school and college students can’t find summer work, more than 2,100 young foreigners are filling seasonal jobs at resorts, farms, amusement venues and national parks in Colorado and hundreds of thousands more nationally under a government-sanctioned cultural exchange program.

Colorado has the nation’s largest number of foreign students employed under a work/travel program on a type of visa called the J-1. Their duties include running cash registers at Rocky Mountain National Park, changing beds at Mesa Verde National Park and packing fruit at orchards on the Western Slope.

The J-1 work/travel visa, which can be traced to the 1960s Cold War-era Fulbright-Hays Act, was designed to promote “the interchange of persons, knowledge and skills in the fields of education, arts and sciences.” Last year, the program received $635 million in government funding for administration.

The work/travel visas allow foreign college students aged 18 to 28 to spend four months (or up to 18 months with extensions) in the United States working and traveling.

Backers of the program see it as a way to foster goodwill and a cheap and easy way for companies needing seasonal workers to fill that void with foreign students, who generally have longer vacations than their domestic counterparts. The foreign workers commit to stay with one employer for a specified time.

“When you take into account attrition rates and other issues with local workers, this (the J-1 program) makes our lives more comfortable,” said Bruce Talbott of Talbott Farms in Palisade. He employs 20 to 30 Russians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Taiwanese in his family’s packing shed each summer and fall in lieu of hiring locals who rarely last the entire season.

Critics cite loss of U.S. jobs

Critics of this program administered by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs say it cuts into opportunities for unemployed Americans. It gives tax breaks to employers, including government contractors, and it has been abused by some employers who treat the students like indentured workers. It also has been abused by some agencies that promise jobs, collect fees and leave students without employment.

“A high priority for our government at this time should be putting our people to work. It’s very nice to foster relationships and all, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of American workers,” said Ira Mehlman, spokesperson for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Continue reading this article

Senator McCain Notes Illegal Alien Arsonists

Good for Senator John McCain (something I don’t say very often) for stating out loud that many of Arizona’s destructive wildfires have been started by illegal aliens.

Interestingly, wildfires often occur along the invaders’ favorite routes, as noted in the June 15 Arizona Star, Another major fire in a smuggling corridor.

However, the cause of border-area fires is a topic that the irresponsible mainstream media has been loath to discuss, an omission that mirrors their disinterest in illegal alien crime generally. On June 3, Katz Journalism Award winner Leo Banks mentioned that squeamishness during his acceptance speech, noting, “The local media has covered it as a fire, extensively, which they should. They don’t cover it as part of the border war.” (Watch the video or read the transcript of the CIS event).

So it’s a good thing that McCain is piping up about the illegal alien cause of many wildfires in Arizona and other border states.

McCain blames some Arizona wildfires on illegal immigrants, CNN, June 19, 2011

(CNN) — U.S. Sen. John McCain is blaming illegal immigrants for starting some of the wildfires that have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in Arizona.

“There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally,” McCain, R-Arizona, said Saturday at a press conference. “The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border.”

The Arizona senator, however, did not say what the evidence is, prompting a swift rebuke from Latino civil rights advocates.

“It’s easier to fan the flames of intolerance, especially in Arizona,” said Randy Parraz, a civil rights advocate who ran unsuccessfully against McCain as a Democratic candidate in 2010. Continue reading this article

Illegal Alien Pickers Remain Troublesome in Washington State

Poaching by illegal aliens has been an interest of mine for years, mostly because of the ongoing damage to America’s wilderness and animals. In addition, poaching was the cause of the 2004 mass murder of six American hunters by a trespassing Hmong immigrant in Wisconsin, which showed how extreme the thieving urge can get. The subject of resource theft gets little attention in the dinosaur media, which doesn’t care much about conservation, although the scribblers do manage to burp out annual stories about Mexican drug gangs growing marijuana in national parks and forests.

One ongoing crime scene is the coastal Northwest where aliens illegally pick in protected lands like the Olympic National Park valuable plants which are sold for use in floral arrangements. The industry generates a lot of money, one estimate being $250 million annually. As a result, theft and violence have grown, as noted in a 2006 Seattle Times article, A War in the Woods. So it’s not exactly an atmosphere of idyllic nature.

Below, Guatemalans pick salal in Washington state.

Along the trend toward more lawlessness, a recent kerfuffle has brewed up in Forks, Washington, as least according to the Associated Press, about the accidental death of a foreigner who was trying to avoid arrest. The AP writer gave it the full sob story treatment, as if the problem were law enforcement rather than the choices made by the alien.

Only the Mayor Bryon Monchon was quoted as being unhappy about the Border Patrol presence (contact him: bmon.forks@forkswashington.org). Given that the town is poor (40 percent of schoolkids get free or reduced price lunches), it’s more likely that local Americans would prefer fewer aliens competing for scarce jobs and less illegal poaching of the area’s natural resources.

Still, the event focused attention on a region not often thought to be afflicted with the scourge of illegal alien job thieves.

‘Twilight’ town death sparks Border Patrol debate, Associated Press, June 18, 2011

Benjamin Roldan Salinas, a forest worker in the country illegally, leapt into the frigid Sol Duc River to escape a pursuing U. S. Border Patrol Agent, disappearing into the fast-moving waters.

For more than three weeks, his family, friends and volunteers — including other illegal immigrants — scoured the dense forest along the swollen river’s banks for any sign of him.

The Border Patrol suspected that Salinas had survived and fled. Still, as many as 150 people at a time continued to look.

“They believed he was out there somewhere because he hadn’t gone home,” Clallam County Sheriff’s Sergeant Brian King said.

The search ended June 4 when a family friend spotted the 43-year-old Salinas’ bloated, decomposing body entangled in roots downstream, according to the sheriff’s report.

His death heightened tensions in what has become a protracted engagement between the Border Patrol and the immigrant population of Forks — the small, remote Washington town best known as the fictional home of the vampire series “Twilight.”

“We talk about Arizona, Texas and the southern border…it’s here. It’s in our backyard,” said Forks Mayor Bryon Monohon, about immigration enforcement efforts in his town. “It really is just an atmosphere of fear.”

Border Patrol agents have questioned citizens and arrested illegal immigrants leaving the Forks courthouse. They’ve chased migrants working as pickers for the decorative floral industry in nearby forests.

The crackdown has spurred immigrants and their allies to develop a warning system using phones and text messages any time a Border Patrol car is spotted, according to interviews with Border Patrol officials, town leaders, and immigrant advocates.

The agency says that it is simply following its mandate: Enforcing the country’s immigration laws, protecting the border and shoreline from terrorists, drug smugglers and other illegal activity. Forks is just another locale where the nation’s immigration laws are being violated, officials said. Continue reading this article

House Investigates Gunwalking to Mexican Organized Crime

The June 15 hearing held by the House Oversight Committee examining the ATF’s curious scheme of purposely allowing thousands of firearms to reach Mexican drug cartels did not crack the answer of who authorized the program and to what purpose, but did clarify how crazy evil it was. Chairman Darrell Issa says that high-level officials in the Justice Department knew about the program and did not object to the American government arming Mexican organized crime.

The testimony of the three ATF agents who appeared was striking. They painted a picture of pointless police work, where the agents were instructed by superiors to observe the purchase of weapons by illegal straw buyers, watch the guns handed off to the real buyer (a Mexican cartel rep) and then repeat. There was no follow-through of arrest and seizure of the firearms in order to build a case for trial, not to mention protect the public. What interested the bureaucrats was the pattern of purchases, or something like that.

ATF Agent Olino James Casa described his experience (read his full testimony):

After I reported to Phoenix Group VII Office, I was briefed by group members on the investigation that later became titled Fast and Furious. Shortly after, I became aware of what I believed to be unusual and questionable investigative techniques. For instance, I became aware that certain suspected straw purchasers were purchasing numerous firearms from area firearm dealers. What I found concerning and alarming was more times than not, no law enforcement activity was planned to stop these suspected straw purchasers from purchasing firearms. The only law enforcement activity that was occasionally taken was to conduct a surveillance of the transaction, and nothing more.

The Fast and Furious strategy of the ATF sounded more like slow and pointless, designed to waste time and accomplish nothing.

(All written statements can be seen on the Committee’s hearing page: 6-15-11 “Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes”. Another important document is the report: “Four ATF Agents Working on Controversial Operation ‘Fast and Furious’ Tell their Story” also press release about the paper.)

Panel 1 included opening statements from the Committee and Senator Grassley’s testimony.

Panel 2 presented three members of the family of Brian Terry (the Border Agent killed by gunwalked weapons) and three whistleblower ATF agents.

I watched carefully and read the statements. The hearing did not convince me that the gunwalking scheme was not designed to damage the rights of US citizens to own firearms by blaming America’s Second Amendment for Mexico’s anarchy.

A bloodbath in Mexico is probably seen by Washington gun grabbers as a useful argument against American firearm ownership. Presidente Calderon has certainly been a willing partner in bashing US gun rights. The dinosaur media have been pushing the myth that the majority of weapons seized in Mexico from drug gangs are from the United States, but most have no marks showing origin and cannot be traced at all. Perhaps some big brains in the Justice Department thought delivering thousands of identifiable American guns to Mexican organized crime would improve the stats, from their viewpoint.

Good old human stupidity accounts for many of the dumb decisions made by government, so it’s possible that an out-of-the-box idea of bringing down cartels via gunwalking was seen as a swell way to increase funding to the ATF. In fact, funding seemed an important focus when I reported in July 2010 about “Gunrunner Teams” assigned to tracking the few firearms headed south. It wouldn’t be the first time a government agency created a problem in order to get money to solve it.

At this point, the motivation for the gunwalking fiasco remains unclear, although the DOJ’s obstruction shows that whatever the reason, it’s bad.