Terrorist Travel Is Still Possible

In the nearly 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, with billions of dollars spent to improve safety in air travel, one might hope that a high level of security now exists (although the clownish behavior of TSA patting down children is not reassuring).

Flight safety from jihadists is not in place, according a recent GAO report, Combating Terrorism: Additional Steps Needed to Enhance Foreign Partners’ Capacity to Prevent Terrorist Travel (GAO-11-637) .

As the title suggests, a problem remains in countries where security practices are not up to snuff, yet flights from those nations arrive daily. One thinks of the Christmas underpants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who flew from Yemen to Amsterdam to Detroit, with explosives hidden in his clothing which he tried to set off over the American city.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to investigate the problem: TEN YEARS AFTER 9/11: PREVENTING TERRORIST TRAVEL.

Report Shows Gaping Holes in Intelligence on Overseas Terrorists, Fox News, by Catherine Herridge, July 12, 2011

Fox News has obtained a draft copy of a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that concludes, a decade after 9/11, gaping holes remain in databases of overseas terrorists as well as in passport security.

“The system truly is as strong only as its weakest link,” Maine Senator Susan Collins, the senior Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News after reviewing the report.

“We have spent literally billions of dollars to increase security, to make sure our watch lists are more complete, to verify documents, but in fact we have to rely to a certain extent on the systems used by other countries.”

According to a year-long investigation by the GAO which included travel to Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand, many countries have yet to address the chronic problem of fake documents, such as birth certificates, that are a gateway to a genuine passport. Passport security is described as weak with many countries using no security features, such as biometrics, to prevent fraud.

The GAO report, first obtained by Fox News, reads in part:

“Some countries do not have their own database systems with terrorist screening information or access to other countries’ terrorist screening information to keep track of biographical and biometric information about individuals who are known or suspected terrorists. Even when countries have terrorist screening information, they may not have reciprocal relationships to share such information or other travel-related information such as airline passenger lists, with other countries, thereby limiting their ability to identify and prevent travel of known or suspected terrorists.”

The GAO report also notes widespread corruption means a wink and a nod, at some foreign airports, will get a suspected terrorist through security. Continue reading this article

DoJ Moves to Restrict Gun Sales

Evidence continues to accumulate that the Obama administration has, at the least, used the carnage engendered by its own ATF program arming Mexican cartels to restrict honest Americans’ right to possess firearms.

Whether the gunrunner scheme to funnel weapons bought in the southwest to Mexican organized crime was meant to create a bloodbath in Mexico, with US gun rights blamed, remains to be seen. But that scenario looks increasingly more likely than not. The most convincing evidence is that ATF agents were actually prevented by superiors from following the guns south in a supposed sting, as testified before the House hearing.

For example, House Democrats recently held their own hearing on the gunrunning to Mexico scandal to push for stronger restrictions on weapons purchase.

When Mexican Presidente Calderon visited Washington in May 2010, he made a point of blaming American guns for his country’s violence. It’s a false charge; only a small percentage of firearms recovered in Mexican crime can be traced to the United States. But Calderon was telling a tale to help out his pal Obama who has a anti-gun agenda.

DOJ gives new tools to ATF on guns, The Hill, July 11, 2011

The Obama administration on Monday granted new powers to federal regulators fighting gun traffickers on the violence-plagued Mexican border.

Issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the new rules require border-state gun dealers to report bulk purchases of assault weapons made by individual buyers over short spans of time — a tool requested in December by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Supporters say the new oversight will help reduce the flow of guns to the violent drug cartels south of the border.

“The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole said in a statement. The new powers, he added, will help ATF officials “disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations.”

The change drew the immediate praise of gun reformers, including Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who said it represents “a crucial tool to identify and disrupt Mexican drug cartels.”

But Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, slammed the change as an erosion of constitutional rights.

“Limiting the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens is not going to solve the problem of guns being trafficked into Mexico,” Smith said in a statement. “This rule unfairly punishes citizens in border states who have the right to purchase firearms to protect themselves and their families from dangerous drug traffickers and human smugglers.” Continue reading this article

Omaha Schools Mandate Diversity Ideology in a Big Way

Your tax dollars at work; stimulus sub-category. . .

The Omaha school system ordered up a pile of diversity training books to give to every staff member, from teachers to custodians, at a cost of $130K. (Diversity agitprop doesn’t come cheap.)

The school board apparently believes that teachers must be indoctrinated with diversity ideology (aka cultural proficiency), so they will believe that all cultures are morally equal and will instruct students accordingly.

Teachers are required to attend study groups to discuss the book.

A strong theme in the book appears to be the evil of “white privilege.” Once that is smacked down, universal peace will break out.

Another idea is that teachers attaining cultural proficiency will help failing hispanic students improve.

Anyway, that’s the belief currently popular among liberal educators.

OPS buys 8,000 diversity manuals, Omaha World-Herald, July 10, 2011

The Omaha Public Schools used more than $130,000 in federal stimulus dollars to buy each teacher, administrator and staff member a manual on how to become more culturally sensitive.

The book by Virginia education consultants could raise some eyebrows with its viewpoints.

The authors assert that American government and institutions create advantages that “channel wealth and power to white people,” that color-blindness will not end racism and that educators should “take action for social justice.”

The book says that teachers should acknowledge historical systemic oppression in schools, including racism, sexism, homophobia and “ableism,” defined by the authors as discrimination or prejudice against people with disabilities.

The authors argue that public school teachers must raise their cultural awareness to better serve minority students and improve academic achievement.

The Omaha school board approved buying 8,000 copies of the book — one for every employee, including members of the custodial staff — in April. The decision to buy the book was made 11-0, with board member Mary Ellen Drickey passing on the vote.

Janice Garnett, OPS assistant superintendent of human resources, said she could not recall another time that the district had bought copies of the same book to give to every staff member.

Employees will be asked to read a couple of chapters each quarter and then meet in study groups to discuss the book using a study guide produced by the district, she said. For teachers, the study sessions will be a part of their professional development.

School board President Sandra Jensen said the district doesn’t endorse everything in the book, nor does she expect employees to adopt the authors’ positions. The book is intended to open a dialogue, she said.

“The purpose of providing this resource is to help staff see that people come from a multitude of different backgrounds which cause them to respond differently to the same set of facts, depending on their personal perspectives,” she said in a statement. “Recognition that one might have a certain perspective is critical to treating all people equally.”

Representatives of other large Nebraska school districts — Lincoln, Millard, Papillion-La Vista and Bellevue — said they have not used the book for training teachers, nor have the Council Bluffs Community Schools and Des Moines Public Schools.

Lincoln officials bought copies of a different cultural proficiency book to train administrators later this summer, according to spokeswoman Mary Kay Roth.

The book that OPS bought, “The Cultural Proficiency Journey: Moving Beyond Ethical Barriers Toward Profound School Change,” includes a worksheet for teachers to score themselves on a continuum of cultural sensitivity. The continuum ranges from “cultural destructiveness,” as evidenced by genocide and ethnocide, to “cultural proficiency,” depicted as the highest level of awareness.

Only those educators who acknowledge the existence of white privilege in America, that “white” is a culture in America and that race “is a definer for social and economic status” can reach proficiency, the authors contend. Those who score poorly on the worksheet are asked in the book what they will do “to align yourself with the values expressed.” Continue reading this article

Indoctrination Success: New York Times Incites Illegal Immigration Appeasement

On the propaganda front, the ridiculous idea that Mexican immigration is nearing zero is catching on. The great fount of liberal disinformation is to blame (see my analysis of the recent NYT article New York Times: Mexican Invasion Is Over.)

Michael Barone has taken the notion to the extreme in a recent opinion piece extolling his own brilliance and predictive powers:

Immigration From Mexico Down Close to Zero , AEI, July 7, 2011

Immigration from Mexico to the United States has slowed down toward zero: that’s the thrust of an excellent story by Damien Cave in the New York Times (complete with excellent interactive graphics). I plan to write a column on that subject, but I can’t resist pointing out that I have been predicting this trend for more than two years now.

The Orange County Register commented similarly that the era of big illegal immigration is over, no more problema:

Study: Illegal Mexican migration to U.S. in decline, Orange County Register, July 8, 2011

[. . .] Today’s illegal Mexican immigrant pays up to $6,000 for a smuggler and contends with a dangerous journey, dominated by ruthless cartels, a reinforced border and menacing desert. For those who make it, there’s no guarantee of a job and there is a higher risk of detection and deportation than ever before.

These are some of the reasons why fewer Mexicans are choosing to cross illegally into the United States, immigration demographers and experts said. [. . .]

However, one gets a different impression reading the following Arizona report, which describes illegal aliens clawing their way through roaring wildfires and blistering desert heat to steal American jobs. It doesn’t sound like much has really changed down on the border.

Despite the Borderland Fires, Border-Crossers Keep Coming, Tucson Weekly, July 8, 2011

Even amid the smoke, the danger and the confusion of the border-area fires, the smugglers don’t let up.

We saw that phenomenon play out during the Horseshoe 2 Fire, which began in the Chiricahua Mountains on May 8, just south of a well-known drug camp at Burro Springs. The massive fire burned until June 25 and did enormous damage across parts of 222,954 acres.

Blogger and mountain resident Narca Moore-Craig attended a fire briefing June 17, at which Incident Commander Rich Harvey told the assembled group that he was conducting a back burn on the west side of the Chiricahuas when four UDAs “burst out of the flames” and ran past the firefighters.

Moore-Craig, an artist and biologist, wrote on June 18 that the firefighters are accustomed to clearing deer and cattle before firing a line. “But these folks don’t live along the border, and they were surprised indeed by the illegals,” she wrote. “Harvey advised anyone igniting fire to yell, ‘¡Pásela!’ before firing, to try to shoo hidden people out of danger.”

Reached by e-mail, Harvey, Nevada’s deputy state forester, confirmed Moore-Craig’s account.

Dinah Davidson, a semi-retired biology professor, tells a similar story from Saturday, June 4. That morning, Border Patrol intercepted 14 people in Sulphur Canyon, south of Portal. The fire had passed through that area days before, but was still burning off to the northwest.

One of them, a Salvadoran, escaped, and Davidson ran into him as she was driving to her home in Cave Creek Canyon. He said his name was Andres. He was hungry and wanted to call his mother, but didn’t have a phone card, and Davidson doesn’t have long distance service. She says illegals often say they want to call their mothers, only to phone for a pickup ride to their destination.

She describes Andres as wide-eyed, frightened and confused. He first asked Davidson to call “imigra,” but quickly changed his mind. She told him to follow her car the one-tenth of a mile to her house, and she’d feed him. He sat in a corner of her porch and ate peanuts, fried eggs, yogurt, granola bar, watermelon, an apple, and some bean-and-rice leftovers from the fridge.

Andres said he lived in El Salvador with his mother and eight siblings. He had left there about eight days before en route to Washington state, where he had friends, and was discouraged to learn how many states he had to pass through to get there. Continue reading this article

First National Spanish Spelling Bee Held

Another signpost in the multicultural poisoning of America is the first national Spanish spelling bee, held Saturday in Albuquerque.

The open-border gang is focused on transforming America into a bilingual nation where Spanish is equal to English, similar to Quebec with French. Their stubborn demands on this issue demonstrate that they are engaged in invasion, not immigration.

One sees the foreign moochers’ demands expressed in Spanish on their hostile gimme signs more frequently, which is another message of disrespect as insulting as Mexican flags. Aliens insist on being allowed to live and work here while voicing disgust with our society and system of government.

Predictably, the sponsors of the Spanish spelling bee say they are celebrating multilingualism, but the inability of people to communicate is highly damaging to community cohesion. “Diversity decreases trust,” according to Bowling Alone sociologist Robert Putnam, and language diversity is foundational to undermining human relations. Homogenous communities are happier and work better, which is simply a function of the tribal nature of human beings.

In former Governor Richard Lamm’s ironic opinion piece “I have a plan to destroy America”, the first item on his to-do list is to make the country bi-lingual and bicultural: “History shows, in my opinion, that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; it is a curse for a society to be bilingual,” he observed.

Polls continue to show that a large majority of citizens expect immigrants to adopt America’s language and culture, even after decades of multicultural propaganda from the liberal media.

Finally, the spelling bee was more show piece than competition, since Spanish is a simple phonetic language with little challenge regarding spelling, and participants received in advance a list of the words to be spelled.

First-Ever National Spanish-Language Spelling Bee, Fox News, July 09, 2011

Sure, eighth grader Sukanya Roy won the 2011 National Spelling Bee a months ago with “cymotrichous.” But could she whip off kanindeyuense”, “Tenochtitlán” or “otorrinolaringologo”?

These are among the list of words that may be used in New Mexico on Saturday, as the National Hispanic Cultural Center hosts the first ever national Spanish Spelling Bee.

“We’re celebrating the multilingualism of America,” said Daniel Ward, editor of Language Magazine, one of the event’s sponsors, in a statement. “We’re recognizing that, like most of the world’s other children, [our kids will] need more than one language to succeed in our global village.”

By the numbers, Latinos would seem to have a leg up in this challenge: According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 33 percent of Latino households speak English and Spanish equally, and 17 percent are majority Spanish-language.

The inaugural bee is being organized by the Alliance for Multilingual Multicultural Education (AMME) and the New Mexico Association for Bilingual Education (NMABE), and is modeled on the latter’s 15-year-old annual state Spanish Spelling Bee: Participants will be asked to spell out loud words randomly chosen from a list that had been provided to them beforehand.

From a linguistics standpoint, there’s been some snarking that the Spanish bee might be easier than the English one, since Spanish orthography is in general considered simpler. “In Spanish, every letter has a unique associated phoneme, so with very few exceptions, words are written exactly as they sound,” wrote the BBC.

The 86-year-old English-language bee has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring documentaries, books and international attention. This year, the battle between 275 kids from all 50 states and sundry countries was televised live during primetime.

The Spanish-language bee will begin more modestly, with about 11 participants, grades four through eight, from five states. It is the culmination of state Spanish spelling competitions held earlier this year.

The competition begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.

London Warning to Infidels: Sharia Zone Ahead

At this point in history, Britain is the absolute worst example of cowering appeasement in the face of hostile Islamic immigrants. The Muslims correctly recognize the reaction as fear and have busied themselves establishing their own anti-Western society on UK soil. In some cases, immigration is war by other means.

The excellent Gates of Vienna blog posts a photo and description from a British reader showing how bad it has gotten in the home of the Magna Carta:

Please see attached a poster seen stuck on to a bus stop on corner of Mission Grove and Carisbrooke Road, London E17. Signs of subtlety in the message — avoiding items that might be thought of as controversial like killing homosexuals and stuffing women in bags.

Here’s a list of the sharia no-no’s shown:

● No alcohol

● No gambling

● No music or concerts

● No porn or prostitution

● No drugs or smoking

Who would have thought a few decades ago that Britain’s welcome of Muslims as immigrants could be so threatening to the home society? The Labour Party thought they would be loyal leftist voters. But the Sons of Allah’s totalitarian views make Stalin look positively cheerful and life-affirming.

Consider life without music. . . how joyless that would be. But that’s the kind of world Islam wants to create — whether we like it or not. Let’s leave Muslims in their own societies and not admit any more Islo-diversity here.

Southwest Immigration Enforcement Overlooked by Napolitano

Earlier this week the DHS announced that Secretary Napolitano would present a new plan to deal with southwestern perimeter crime, called the Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy.

When Napolitano did make her speech in Nogales, Arizona, only drug smuggling was mentioned, at least as reported by the mainstream media.

Is illegal immigration no longer an acceptable subject for debate? Perhaps the Obama crew believes the invasion crisis will disappear if the administration ceases to speak of it.

In another example of relying on lies, the Secretary declared, “Violent crime along the border is flat and or is going down,” as assessment with which many who live there would not agree. When Rep. Ed Royce visited the area last winter, ranchers told him there was “more vandalism, more threats, it was worse.”

Last spring, Napolitano scrapped the Secure Border Initiative, a program that was supposed to use technology to shut down illegal entry via a “virtual” fence. But it didn’t work very well, so a billion-dollar system went down the drain.

If Washington keeps switching means of enforcement midstream, then it needn’t worry about the firehose of illegal alien labor from the south being shut down. The feds have a strategy for failure, and it’s working.

Napolitano visits Nogales border, Fox News Phoenix, July 8, 2011

TUCSON, Ariz. — The drug fight at the border continues to be an ongoing battle.  Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and other senior Obama representatives laid out their plan to try and stop drugs and violence at the border.

On a hot afternoon at the Nogales border patrol station, drugs crossing the border was the hot topic of discussion.

“Look, this is a fight that we all need to be in and we need to be in it quite holistically.  There’s no one enterprise here that owns the problem, we’re all in this together,” said Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske.

The goal of the strategy is to reduce the flow of illicit drugs, the proceeds and the violence that comes with it.

“Two things have meshed together our counter narcotics strategy which emphases prevention as well as addiction, the southwest border initiative which is designed to make sure that the United States has a safe and secure border with Mexico,” said Kerlikowske.

Two years ago there was a border drug and security strategy unveiled in El Paso.  Two years later Secretary Napolitano feels there’s been some progress.

“What we know violent crime along the border is flat and or is going down, we have air cover that we didn’t have before its border patrol agents that we didn’t have before,” said Napolitano.

But not all in attendance agree that the counter narcotics strategy is working.

“Now the third year into the administration to start talking about mitigating the drug smuggling coming through all across the border and what you’re going to do with it,” said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

Sheriff Paul Babeu feels that the best thing do now is get more man power along the border.

“We need 6,000 soldiers here now for a two year period of time then build the necessary infrastructure and then enforce the law completely across the board,” said Babeu.

Governor Brewer has been an outspoken critic of the federal government’s security efforts on the border.  Thursday she expressed some trepidation over not being in the loop about Napolitano’s announcement. Continue reading this article

Muslim Son of Immigrants Convicted of Terrorism

Sometimes it happens that youthful rebellion takes a nasty turn, particularly among immigrant kids when their home culture has a ready-made hostile ideology to oppose American authority.

Something like that may have been in the mix of high school drop-out Betim Kuziu (pictured) who decided that jihad was a swell career choice. His plan was to train abroad to develop his skill set with similarly minded Sons of Allah, then kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.

His parents were immigrants from Macedonia, which is supposedly a society with the moderate Islam we hear about. As a young man, Kaziu became attracted to radical Islam, an interest he shared with a friend he knew from the seventh grade, Sulejmah Hadzovic. The boys went from playing video games in middle school to studying jihad online in later years. They travelled to the Middle East to pursue their dream of killing infidels, where Hadzovic thought better of the scheme and testified against Kaziu at the two-week trial in Brooklyn.

Of course, the case is a another example that Muslim immigration is a terrible idea and should end before more Americans die as a result.

High school dropout convicted of trying to join terrorist group so he could kill U.S. troops, New York Daily News, July 7, 2011

Brooklyn high school dropout was convicted Thursday of conspiring to join a foreign terrorist group so he could kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Betim Kaziu faces life in prison for the jihadi adventure that took him to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and finally Kosovo – where he was arrested in 2009.

The jury deliberated less than four hours before reaching a verdict in the two-week trial in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Kaziu smiled and waved to his parents, who emigrated from Macedonia.

“I need my son home,” Kaziu’s father said outside court.

Kaziu, 23, wanted to become a member of the Taliban or the Somali-based Al Shabbab so he could die a Muslim martyr on a battlefield in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine or Africa.

“The defendant desired to wage jihad,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali Kazemi said in his closing argument.

“He never intended to return to the United States. He hoped to die a martyr. ”

Flush with cash from a court settlement for a playground accident, Kaziu traveled overseas with a buddy from Mill Basin who chickened out of the scheme and returned to Brooklyn to eventually became a government cooperator. Continue reading this article

Drunk-Driving Illegal Alien Kills Mother and Daughter in Missouri

Another family has been devastated by a drunk-driving illegal alien. Mother and hospice nurse Diane Bronson and her 11-year-old daughter Anna of Belton, Missouri, were killed on July 4 in a head-on crash. The deadly SUV was driven by 18-year-old Felix Solano Gallardo whose blood alcohol was measured two hours after the wreck at .185, double the legal limit in Missouri. He had driven 14 miles the wrong way on the interstate before smashing into the Bronson’s car.

Diane and her daughter were on their way to a Fourth of July celebration in Sugar Creek where her husband Buddy was set to ride an antique scooter in the parade. They never made it.

Drunken driver reportedly went wrong way for 14 miles before fatal wreck, Kansas City Star, July 5, 2011

Diane K. Bronson was eight months pregnant when a state paint-striping truck rear-ended her vehicle in 1999.

Firefighters had to cut her out of the wreckage, and Bronson suffered a serious head injury. But she survived, as did her prematurely born baby, whom she named Anna.

On Monday — more than 11 years later — Bronson and Anna, of Belton, were again involved in a highway crash. But this time, neither survived.

Police blamed the 8:30 a.m. wreck on Interstate 435 near 63rd Street in Kansas City on a drunken driver going the wrong way.

Jackson County prosecutors charged Felix Solano-Gallardo, 18, of Kansas City, Kan., on Monday with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. His blood alcohol content was 0.185, more than double the legal limit of 0.08, more than two hours after the wreck, according to court records.

Police were still working Tuesday to confirm the man’s identity. According to court records, Gallardo gave his name as Felix Gallardo, but he had two Mexican identification cards on him with a different name, and both cards had different photos. Prosecutors think he is an illegal immigrant.

Police said they think Gallardo had been driving the wrong way for at least 14 miles because they think he ran a driver off of Interstate 70 into a concrete median near Harrison Street earlier. The victim told police the driver drove at him from one side of the highway to the other and appeared to be trying to hit him, police said. Continue reading this article

New York Times: Mexican Invasion Is Over

According to the New York Times, illegal immigration from Mexico has “sputtered to a trickle,” so we little citizens needn’t worry our heads about it any more. Yep, life is much improved in dear Mexico (except for the drug war in which 40,000 have been killed); therefore breaking in to the USA just doesn’t have the same charm it once did — or so says the queen bee of mainstream media.

Of course, Mexico is a rich country, currently ranking #14 among nations of the world for GDP, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t do better for its poor people than push them out the door.

However in the racist society of Mexico, the white elites don’t mind when millions of Indians and mestizos leave for the United States. Uncle Sucker’s unwilling taxpayers fund the invaders’ healthcare and education, so why should wealthy Mexicans bother? It’s a system that works well for Mexico’s ruling class.

Back to the Times article: it is an interesting piece of fiction that relies on pleasant-sounding anecdotes, like young men who say they want to stay home. But a few sweet stories and carefully chosen statistics do not prove the end of a decades-long history of illegal border crossings that have been a rite of passage for Mexican males and an economic system based on remittances for millions.

Another example of propaganda is the bogus chart indicating a falling number of lawbreaking entrants, titled “An Estimate: Percent of Mexicans the U.S. illegally for the first time.” Given that most invasive Mexicans have entered numerous times, counting the first timers is not an accurate measure.

It would be terrific news if Mexico really were getting its act together, but the Times‘ arguments simply aren’t credible. Another hint is how much of the information is given in percentages rather than raw numbers of people leaving or not.

Meanwhile, a New York Daily News article suggests that the good news of a better Mexico has not reached the small town of San Marcos Natividad, which is virtually empty of young men, who have unlawfully ended up in Staten Island. (See Men from small town in Oaxaca struggle to live, work and support families amid anti-Mexican tide)

Below, Mexicans in Staten Island.

Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North, New York Times, July 6, 2011

AGUA NEGRA, Mexico — The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.

Here in the red-earth highlands of Jalisco, one of Mexico’s top three states for emigration over the past century, a new dynamic has emerged. For a typical rural family like the Orozcos, heading to El Norte without papers is no longer an inevitable rite of passage. Instead, their homes are filling up with returning relatives; older brothers who once crossed illegally are awaiting visas; and the youngest Orozcos are staying put.

“I’m not going to go to the States because I’m more concerned with my studies,” said Angel Orozco, 18. Indeed, at the new technological institute where he is earning a degree in industrial engineering, all the students in a recent class said they were better educated than their parents — and that they planned to stay in Mexico rather than go to the United States.

Douglas S. Massey, co-director of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton, an extensive, long-term survey in Mexican emigration hubs, said his research showed that interest in heading to the United States for the first time had fallen to its lowest level since at least the 1950s. “No one wants to hear it, but the flow has already stopped,” Mr. Massey said, referring to illegal traffic. “For the first time in 60 years, the net traffic has gone to zero and is probably a little bit negative.”

The decline in illegal immigration, from a country responsible for roughly 6 of every 10 illegal immigrants in the United States, is stark. The Mexican census recently discovered four million more people in Mexico than had been projected, which officials attributed to a sharp decline in emigration.

American census figures analyzed by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center also show that the illegal Mexican population in the United States has shrunk and that fewer than 100,000 illegal border-crossers and visa-violators from Mexico settled in the United States in 2010, down from about 525,000 annually from 2000 to 2004. Although some advocates for more limited immigration argue that the Pew studies offer estimates that do not include short-term migrants, most experts agree that far fewer illegal immigrants have been arriving in recent years.

The question is why. Experts and American politicians from both parties have generally looked inward, arguing about the success or failure of the buildup of border enforcement and tougher laws limiting illegal immigrants’ rights — like those recently passed in Alabama and Arizona. Deportations have reached record highs as total border apprehensions and apprehensions of Mexicans have fallen by more than 70 percent since 2000. Continue reading this article

ATF Investigation Aided by Acting Director

A couple weeks ago, the mainstream press reported that the acting head of ATF, Kenneth Melson (pictured), was about to resign, given the worsening Gunrunner scandal in which his agency purposely allowd thousands of guns to be sent to Mexican organized crime in order to track them.

Now it turns out that Melson was not willing to take the fall, and has been speaking with Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, the two leaders pursuing the case. Rep. Issa had previous called for Melson’s resignation, but he has reversed that position since Melson has become more cooperative to the investigation.

Sen. Grassley sent a letter dated July 5 to Attorney General Eric Holder which detailed the meeting in understandable, non-lawyer language (Read here.)

Another news item in the case is that the FBI was involved in the so-called “sting” operation, unbeknownst to the ATF. Acting Director Melman alleged (according to the Grassley letter) that the Justice Department had kept the ATF in the dark regarding the activities of other agencies, which was both inefficient and confusing.

As Grassley wrote, “Specifically, we have very real indications from several sources that some of the gun trafficking “higher-ups” that the ATF sought to identify were already known to other agencies and may even have been paid as informants.”

That’s no way to run a law enforcement department, and it speaks poorly of the improved inter-agency communication the nation was promised after the 9/11 terror attacks.

See also Powerline’s analysis of the recent revelations: Fast and Furious Blows Sky High.

Additionally concerning is how high the Justice Department cover-up goes — although it is hard to imagine that permission for a cross-border operation wouldn’t go at least to the top of the agency.

Justice Department Obstructing ‘Fast and Furious’ Gun Probe, ATF Director Says, Fox News, July 6, 2011

The Justice Department is obstructing the congressional investigation of a U.S. law enforcement operation intended to crack down on major weapons traffickers on the Southwest border, according to the embattled leader of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Ken Melson, the acting director of the ATF, lobbed the accusation when he sneaked in for an interview with congressional investigators on July 4, two days ahead of his scheduled interview with the inspector general about the operation known as “Fast and Furious,” Fox News has learned.

“If his account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand,” Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder. “That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation.”

The Justice Department is reportedly looking to oust Melson, who has been acting ATF director since April 2009, as the agency deals with its biggest scandal in nearly two decades. Andrew Traver, who was tapped in November by President Obama to become the permanent ATF director, could be named as acting director until the Senate acts on his nomination, sources have said.

In a separate development, congressional sources have learned that not only was U.S. taxpayer money being used to buy guns that were later sent to Mexico, but the main target of the investigation was actually a FBI informant and former drug dealer who had been deported years ago.

“Fast and Furious” has been at the center of an investigation by Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. The operation began in the fall of 2009 as an effort to trace and stop the trafficking of illegal guns on the Southwest border, but instead allowed thousands of guns to get into the hands of Mexican cartel members.

The two say they learned about the program after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010. At the crime scene were two guns linked to the “Fast and Furious” operation.

At an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing last month, three federal firearms investigators testified that they wanted to “intervene and interdict” loads of guns, but were repeatedly ordered to step aside to allow suspected smugglers to carry the weapons over the border. Continue reading this article

Mexico Miffed over Gunrunning Scandal

Finally, we see some reporting in the American press about the reaction in Mexico to the shocking Gunrunner scandal, in which the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agency allowed thousands of firearms to be bought in US gun stores by straw buyers to be funneled to Mexican organized crime, supposedly so the guns could be “traced” — but no ATF officers followed anything south of the border.

Naturally the Mexican government suits are upset, and who can blame them? The Mexes have way more trouble than they can handle already without the US government piling on. However the Mexicans are insisting that those responsible should be extradited and tried in Mexico, which will never happen. (Incidentally, the official complainting about his country’s sovereignty being violated would not be well received in the US, given Mexico’s systematic decades-long assault on American autonomy.)

However, one can imagine Presidente Calderon putting the bite on Obama for some extra billions in foreign aid or maybe a nice big amnesty focused on Mexicans. Not that BHO needs much pushing in that direction, given his recent directives of non-deportation for nearly everyone outside of axe murderers.

Interestingly, the credulous Mexican street believes that Washington is conspiring to control the country through arming the cartels. Or something. The Mexicans are too self-involved to understand it’s more likely that gun-control liberals wanted the Mexican drug carnage to be blamed on US Second Amendment (even though only a small percentage of confiscated weapons can be traced back to the US).

House Democrats had their own hearing about the scandal because they didn’t like Chairman Issa’s investigation and wanted to urge firearm restrictions (e.g. Dems use forum to push tighter gun laws, Houston Chronicle).

Meanwhile, the New York Times gently characterized the Obama administration’s worsening scandal as a “Rough Patch.”

U.S. Officials Behind ‘Fast and Furious’ Gun Sales Should Be Tried in Mexico, Lawmaker Says, Fox News, July 5, 2011

While the investigation continues into the U.S. operation that helped send thousands of guns south of the border, Mexican lawmakers say they’ll press for extradition and prosecution in Mexico of American officials who authorized and ran the operation.

“I obviously feel violated. I feel my country’s sovereignty was violated,” Mexico Sen. Rene Arce Islas told Fox News. “They should be tried in the United States and the Mexican government should also demand that they also be tried in Mexico since the incidents took place here. There should be trials in both places.”

Arce is chairman of Mexico’s Commission for National Security, a congressional panel similar to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

His point of view is shared by many Mexican politicians, including Sen. Santiago Creel, a former Interior Minister and the likely presidential nominee next year of the National Action Party to succeed Felipe Calderone, also of PAN.

“I think we should at least try to prove that what happened in Mexico must be sanctioned by Mexican laws and under our sovereignty,” Creel told us. “What can’t happen is that this now ends on an administrative sanction, or a resignation. No, no, no. Human lives were lost here. A decision was made to carry out an operation that brought very high risk to human lives.”

Mexico doesn’t completely understand Operation Fast and Furious, the American plan to help send assault rifles and revolvers to Mexico as a means of exposing the gun trafficking rings that operate along the border. The project lasted 18 months and allowed some 2,500 guns to be illegally sold to suspects the U.S. government knew to be front men for the cartels.

Rather than follow the guns and arrest the brokers and middle men who helped move the guns south, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dropped back and ignored the transfer and transport of the weapons to Mexico. Continue reading this article