Welcome to the American Revolution II

Welcome to the American Revolution II
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method..." and warned about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals and continued with a warning that "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex... The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."Dwight D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Obama not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas

Border patrol seizes more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana

TUCSON - U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Willcox Station seized more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana hidden inside an abandoned vehicle early Monday.

The drugs are valued at more than $1.2 million.

Agents were responding to suspected illegal activity when they discovered a pickup truck abandoned in a ditch.

Inside the truck, agents found 74 bundles of marijuana.

From October 1, 2009 until April 30, 2010, agents in the Tucson Sector have seized approximately 552,000 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $441 million.

Not every illegal immigrant in the United States snuck across the border. A very large number, perhaps as many as 5.5 million, entered legally with visas and then never left.

But unlike the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border every year, very few visa violators are ever caught.

The Border Patrol's Tucson sector, the busiest in the nation, logged 241,673 apprehensions last fiscal year. In comparison, federal agents in Arizona tracked down and arrested 27 people who had overstayed their visas.

Visa violators represent nearly half of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. But they have been largely ignored amid a national clamor to secure the border, fueled in part by Arizona's tough new immigration law, the killing of a southern Arizona rancher and worries that cartel violence in Mexico could spill into this country, analysts and experts say.

"It's not that we have too much emphasis on the border. We still need enforcement on the border. The problem is not enough attention to the other issue," said Michael W. Cutler, a former senior agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which became Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In the past five years, the number of Border Patrol agents stationed along the U.S.-Mexico line has doubled, to more than 20,000 people. That's the highest level of staffing in the Border Patrol's 85-year history. And Arizona politicians including Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, and Democratic Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Ann Kirkpatrick have called for deploying the National Guard to the border, too.

There has been no corresponding call to increase the search for those who overstay visas.

In 2003, Immigration and Customs Enforcement created a special unit to track down visa violators. Funding grew from $6.7 million the first year to $68.3 million in fiscal year 2009, according to testimony in March by Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for ICE John Morton to the House Homeland Security Committee.Investigators analyze records of hundreds of thousands of potential violators based on data from various government databases that keep track of students, tourists and other people who enter the U.S. On average, the 272 investigators assigned to the unit arrest 1,400 visa violators a year, Morton said. ICE officials said the number of overstayers arrested each year has steadily risen, though they could not provide details.

Lon Weigand, assistant special agent in charge of ICE investigations in Phoenix, said most of the 27 visa violators in Arizona last year had overstayed tourist visas. ICE could not say whether that was up or down from previous years.

Border emphasis

A USA Today/Gallup poll released May 4 showed that four in 10 Americans think it is extremely important for the government to do more this year to control U.S. borders.

McCain, who sits on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs
Committee, said illegal immigrants who overstay their visas are a "serious problem." But "certainly not along the lines of what is happening on our border, though," McCain said, mentioning the killing of rancher Robert Krentz and the April 30 wounding of a Pinal County sheriff's deputy. Drug smugglers are suspected in both incidents. There also are fears that the increasing cartel violence in Mexico, where tens of thousands have been killed since the 2006 war on drugs began, could spill over the border.

"We've got drug smuggling. We've got murder. We've got abuse of human rights and human smugglers. We've got heavily armed and equipped organizations that are responsible for the deaths of 22,000 Mexican citizens," McCain said.

Cutler, the former immigration agent, likened the attention heaped on border security to a wing on an airplane. "Without the wing, the plane won't fly. But the wing alone does not constitute an airplane," he said.

Kirkpatrick, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the attention to the border is justified. "The risk of violence spilling into Arizona is clearly there. I am not going to wait for that risk to become a reality or for that problem to come to us," she said.

But she acknowledged that more attention needs to be paid to visa violators, especially keeping better track of people who don't leave after their visas expire. In general, people from other countries must obtain a visa to come to the United States as a student, tourist or businessperson. They are required to fill out an I-94 form when they arrive and turn it in when they leave. People from 36 "visa waiver" countries, including Britain, Spain and Ireland, are not required to obtain a visa if they plan to stay for less than 90 days for tourist or business purposes.

"The ease in which people can overstay their visas is a significant security threat," Kirkpatrick said.

Less focus on interior

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 40 to 50 percent of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants entered the country legally. As of May 2006, the most current data available, 4 million to 5.5 million people had entered the U.S. legally and then remained after their visas had expired. An additional 250,000 to 500,000 people entered legally with temporary border-crossing cards and then stayed.

"Building fences and stopping people from sneaking into the country only goes part way," said Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the center who studies the undocumented population. Passel said 35 million people come to the U.S. with visas every year for extended stays. On top of that, there are millions of people who cross through land ports each year for short visits, making it difficult to keep track of everyone who enters and leaves.

"We allow this because it is good for the country. We want tourists to come here. We want students to come," Passel said. "But even if 99 percent turn around and leave," a significant number remain.

Gerald Burridge 58, an illegal immigrant from Britain, entered the U.S. on a three-year visitor's visa in 2003 and stayed after it expired. Interviewed at the ICE facility on Central

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