#Obamacare navigators helping people sign up at Mexican consulates

March 27, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Nah, there’s no potential for fraud, here:

The Obama administration has been helping to facilitate a series of events nationwide at Mexican Consulate offices to enroll people in Obamacare – and a key activist says the efforts are “our responsibility” regardless of citizenship.

“Whether they’re Mexican nationals or whether they’re United States citizens or whether they’re in transition– and if they’re there it is our responsibility within all of America to educate on the Affordable Care Act,” Enroll America Field Organizer Jose Medrano told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

Health Care insurance navigator groups hosted an Obamacare enrollment fair on Tuesday in the Mexican Consulate’s Brownsville office, The Rio Grande Guardian reported last Friday, where Mexican nationals among others were counseled about enrolling in the ACA.

“The Mexican consulate is a very reliable source of information to the Latino community. And therefore when they host their events, yesterday being the health fair, there are several hundred people that show up,” Medrano said.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), undocumented immigrants aren’t supposed to be receiving government-run health benefits or subsidized coverage. However, President Barack Obama told Latinos in early March that the Healthcare.gov website would not be used to find out about an individual’s immigration status.

“None of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services,” he said.

As the article points out, this isn’t the first time the administration has made use of Mexican consulates to push entitlement programs to Latino communities: in 2012, USDA ran Spanish-language commercials encouraging people to sign up for food stamps.

Back to Obamacare, the extensive use of Mexican consulates, which are a trusted source of information for Mexican communities in the US, and the promise to not forward an applicant’s information to ICE all but guarantees that the American taxpayer will wind up subsidizing health insurance for Mexican nationals who are in the US illegally.

And if some sort of amnesty goes through, guess which party expects (1) to reap the benefits of our state-mandated generosity?

Why, it’s almost as if that’s the plan.

via Fausta

Footnote:
(1) Then again, with all the screw ups and problems experienced with O-care to date, maybe the Democrats’ shouldn’t expect much gratitude.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Culture of corruption: The Dems’ dangerous DHS pick

December 13, 2013

Ah, a throwback to the days of Bill Clinton and his Blue-Light Sale on pardons. We’re in the best of hands.


So, would Charlie Crist have been better than @MarcoRubio ?

July 1, 2013

You know it’s bad when conservative commentators like Allahpundit find themselves asking that question:

Even now, even after everything, I strongly prefer his flip-flopping to the grotesque omnibus opportunism of Charlie Crist. But it’s worth asking: How different would the Senate have looked since 2010 with Crist in there instead of Rubio? What would have changed in terms of actual policy? If anything, without Rubio to woo conservatives, the Senate immigration effort would have been in deeper trouble than it is now. The fact that we have to pause and even consider this sort of “what if Crist won?” hypothetical makes me think maybe we should hold off on the Rubio tributes. For now.

The question arises because of the very flip-flopping that Allah mentions. Rubio’s transformation from an anti-amnesty, fix the gosh-darned border hawk into an immigration squish has been nothing less that stunning. It’s like the person you thought was your sweet grandmother ripping off her rubber mask and revealing herself as your lifelong arch-nemesis. And then laughing maniacally as you’re lead away to the dungeons.

To give you an idea of how much he’s changed, here’s an excerpt from a 2009 article wherein Rubio criticizes Reagan for the 1986 amnesty (h/t Patterico):

Rubio delivered a six-minute discourse on immigration policy in which he brought up The Gipper’s support for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to most undocumented workers who could prove they had been in the country continuously for the previous five years. 

“In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people,” Rubio said. “You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process.”

“If you grant amnesty, the message that you’re sending is that if you come in this country and stay here long enough, we will let you stay. And no one will ever come through the legal process if you do that.”

Rubio said the U.S. must first get control of its borders and its visa system, which often allows people to enter legally but remain after their visas expire.

And to drive the point home, watch as he makes the argument even more strongly:

(h/t Legal Insurrection, where you’ll find a transcript)

I think you can understand why, now, his role in the Gang of 8 has left me feeling I should be scraping a pie off my face. The man who went on program after program on radio and TV trying to sell a lemon of an immigration bill to conservatives is not the same guy in that quote and in that video. They look alike, they sound alike,  but the new guy is clearly the evil twin from another universe. He just needs the van Dyke.

Or, rather than being an evil dimension-hopping doppelganger, candidate Rubio was lying massively back then, always really favored some sort of amnesty, and is now cynically fronting the Gang of Eight in order to present himself as a “leader” for 2016.

I think we can guess which is really true.

There’s no hiding it: my disappointment in Marco Rubio is deep, painful, and abiding. From the moment I saw the video of his farewell speech as Florida House Speaker, I thought this guy has “it.” The right political principles combined with ample charisma and a marvelous talent for communication. A sure future president, one I was certain would be great.

Sure, Lucy. I’ll kick that football.

Conn Carroll, a border hawk, writes that, in spite of it all, he still loves Rubio because he acted as a gentleman throughout, treated his opponents with respect, and never intended to deceive. I find that last part especially hard to square with the quote and video above, for Rubio is not a dummy. He has to know the border security provisions in this bill are garbage. Given that, how is the repetition of slickly delivered, deceptive talking points on Hannity and Limbaugh and O’Reilly treating your opponents with respect?

No, my love affair with Marco Rubio is over. If he wants to get back in my good graces, he’ll have to do a penance that makes Henry IV’s walk to Canossa look like a stroll in the park.

And his chances for the 2016 nomination, too, should be over, if he runs. This wasn’t some minor flip-flop that can be passed over; border security, immigration, and the rule of law are core issues. If he wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him, as he’d still be better than Hillary or whatever progressive the Democrats put up, but, in the primaries, I’m looking elsewhere.

To answer Allahpundit’s question, right now I’d have to say “Yeah, ‘Spray-Tan Charlie’ might well have been better.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Immigration, the latest legislative farce

June 27, 2013

I’ve been taking a break, catching up on my reading, and a recent column by Andrew McCarthy reminded me of the disgust I felt at the shameful process by which Obamacare was passed, a feeling I’m experiencing again as the Senate moves closer to the passage of the 1,000+ pages-long immigration bill. So, I thought I’d share an excerpt from it that sums up my feelings quite nicely:

But there is a larger point: no “important legislation” should be 100 pages long, much less 1,200 (or the even more mind-boggling girth of monstrosities like Obamacare). The United States Constitution is about 4,500 words long — outfits like Cato and Heritage publish it in small pamphlets that can be read in a few minutes. Nowadays, not only are the bills so gargantuan that no one could conceivably master them and predict their consequences; each page produces even more pages of regulations. They can’t even be lifted, much less digested.

You cannot have a functioning democratic republic when the laws are so voluminous no one can know what the law is. And that is especially the case when (a) the rationale for passing new laws — according to “reform” proponents like Senator Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan — is that we don’t enforce the laws currently on the books; (b) key parts of legislation consist of commitments to do what previously enacted law already commands; and (c) the president, notwithstanding his oath to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, claims the power to refrain from enforcing whatever laws he disapproves of. Washington has made a farce of the legislative process and of the once proud boast that we are ”a nation of laws not men.”

Yep. My only quibble would be to add “Once again,…” to the start of the last sentence.

Then again, what’s the point of making it even just one page, when many don’t feel a need to even read the bills they’re voting on?

Shameful and disgraceful.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ted Cruz: You get a tax break for hiring a legalized illegal under Obamacare

June 25, 2013

The Senate voted yesterday to accept the Corker-Hoeven amendment to the immigration bill (really, the amendment is a replacement bill), so, naturally, senators hit the airwaves to explain their positions. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was interviewed on Sean Hannity’s show. It’s starts off as one of Hannity’s usual talking-points interviews, but then Senator Cruz makes a point I’d never heard before about the status of the would-be legalized under Obamcare. Watch the whole thing, it’s relatively short, and see if you don’t find yourself doing the same double-take I did, starting at about the 4:30 mark:

In other words, if the Senator is right, the “bipartisan” immigration bill creates a $5,000 incentive per employee for businesses to hire workers legalized under the immigration bill, in preference to citizens or legal immigrants.

The is one big example of why I dislike gargantuan “comprehensive” bills: there is always at least one bomb buried in some subsection, just waiting to go off. God alone knows why someone thought this would be a good idea, but it isn’t. If Cruz is correct, this stinks. It directly harms current Americans and legal immigrants in two ways: by not exempting them from that monstrosity, Obamacare, and by hamstringing them in the race for a job. The whole thing should be scrapped and each aspect dealt with as separate, easily read and comprehended bills, and only voted on after sufficient time for public comment and debate.

And then they should rename this crap sandwich the Senate is feeding us the “Congratulations On Avoiding La Migra Affirmative Action” bill.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Kickbacks and carve-outs: this is how the immigration bill will pass the Senate

June 23, 2013

satire Money suitcase bribe corruption

Remember the deals bribes various senators were offered for favorable consideration to buy their vote for Obamacare? There were Mary Landrieu’s “Louisiana Purchase,” Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback,” Chris Dodd’s “U-Con,” Bill Nelson’s “Gator-Aid” for Florida, and others. In each case, a senator sold their vote in favor of an unpopular, badly written bill few had read in return for a legislative 30 pieces of silver.

Now there comes the immigration reform bill: an increasingly unpopular, badly written bill that few have read in full and is being rushed to passage before many can.

And it’s happening again:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) have inserted a provision that amounts to little more than a handout to Las Vegas casinos into the repackaged immigration reform bill, Breitbart News has learned. This provision, a brazen example of crony capitalism, was inserted into the immigration law enforcement section of the bill despite the fact that it has nothing whatsoever to do with “immigration” or “law enforcement.”

On page 66 of the repackaged bill, the following provision appears:
“CORPORATION FOR TRAVEL PROMOTION.—Sec- 9(d)(2)(B) of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (22 U.S.C. 2131(d)(2)(B)) is amended by striking ‘‘For each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015,’’ and inserting ‘‘For each fiscal year after 2012.”

The Travel Promotion Act (TPA) of 2009 allows the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to spend up to $100 million on promoting travel to specific areas of the country. If the provision Reid and Heller inserted into the proposed immigration reform legislation becomes law, the benefits of the TPA would be extended indefinitely.

As the Heritage Foundation’s Jena McNeill wrote in June 2009, the Travel Promotion Act creates “a government-run public relations campaign funded by a tax on international visitors.” After the law was passed, the PR campaign touting Las Vegas casinos and other tourist destinations in the U.S. using that tax was rolled into a government-run corporation called “Brand USA.” In October 2012, Jim DeMint and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report that “reveals a history of waste, abuse, patronage, and lax oversight” with the Brand USA program and the Department of Commerce that oversees it.

Why any state needs a federally funded campaign to attract tourists is beyond me; they all have tourism boards of their own, after all. And, if the big casinos want to boost Vegas, somehow something tells me they make enough money to fund a campaign themselves.

But, the question of where the federal government gets its authority to promote tourism aside, here’s the kicker and the kickback: per the Breitbart article, Senator Dean Heller (R) was not a sponsor of the original immigration bill. Now, with the amendment, something he can brag about in his next campaign, he suddenly is. You can just hear the clink of the silver in his palm.

So, what should we call this one? How about the “Silver State Sellout?”

via Jay Cost

UPDATE: Ooh! And here’s another, this time for Alaska! Clink, clink, clink.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, no. This won’t set off conservative and libertarian alarm bells at all.

May 11, 2013

"The State watches over you"

“The State watches over you”

I mean, what’s so threatening about a biometric database of all adult Americans being in the immigration bill, citizen?

The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.

Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf)  is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.

Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.

This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet. Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloging every check-in.

Emphasis added.

Nah, there are no 4th Amendment illegal search and privacy concerns here. Nothing to see, carry on. After all, wingnuts, you demanded greater security in the immigration bill and, well, here ya go! The government will make sure only bona fide Americans get jobs by keeping track of each and every one of us. And if they should find other uses for the information, well, that will be for the public good, too.

And you thought Person of Interest was just fiction.

If this Wired story is true, this provision is reason enough to kill the bill.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Border control: This reassures me. Not. Update: Napolitano 2016?

February 4, 2013

At the moment I consider myself agnostic about the latest immigration proposal, this time from a bipartisan group of senators including Marco Rubio (R-FL). We all know the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli plan was a bust, because the promised border security arrangements were never implemented. And there are serious questions in this latest proposal: J. Christian Adams raises a few good ones. On the other hand, Rubio has promised to withdraw his support for the bill, should the border security provisions not be adequate.

One good sign they won’t be is just who gets to determine when and if the border is secure: Janet Napolitano.

Under a bipartisan Senate framework, Democrats say, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano would have final say over whether the border is secure enough to put 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.

If Napolitano does not provide the green light for putting illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, the responsibility for judging whether the metrics for border security have been met will be given to her successor.

This is the same idiot who declared, after the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit was stopped by an alert passenger at the last minute, that “the system worked.” And she’s to be put in charge of determining when the border is secure? What’s her criteria, tea-leaf readings?

And, to be blunt, I wouldn’t trust any politically appointed official in the Obama administration to make an objective call; the self-interest of the president’s party means that they have an interest in granting citizenship as soon as possible and as fast as possible to as many Latin American immigrants as possible, because they are more likely to vote Democratic. The pressure on Napolitano to declare the border secure ASAP would be tremendous. (Not that it would take much, as Janet has shown herself to be a willing tool.)

If this provision stays in the bill, I’d advise Senator Rubio to have a press release handy announcing his opposition.

via Bryan Preston

UPDATE: Janet Napolitano is thinking of running for president in 2016? Seriously??

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


A desperate President spoils the DREAM — Updated — Obama has a public hissy

June 15, 2012

His “reboot” speech on the economy yesterday having turned out to be a miserable flop, President Obama will unveil today Plan B: pander shamelessly to an important ethnic group:

The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of a growing Latino electorate that has opposed administration deportation policies.

And from the the New York Post:

Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a US high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The officials who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it in advance of the official announcement.

The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods. It tracks closely to a proposal offered by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as an alternative to the DREAM Act.

To borrow a famous phrase, let me be clear: regardless of what euphemism the administration chooses, this is nothing more or less than an amnesty.

It’s also a cheap, cynical political move by a cheap, cynical Chicago pol who sees his reelection chances shrinking. (When a Democratic president has to worry about Michigan…) It’s the Alinskyite community organizer in action: take a controversial issue and propose a “solution” that sets group against group, guaranteeing polarization on the issue. It’s purpose is two-fold: both groups become intransigent, preventing a compromise that would weaken your influence, and “your” group welds to your side, because they’ll think you’re with them against the other guy.

When, really, all you care about is keeping their support for your own goals. In this case, that means votes in November.

If that were the end of it, this would be nothing more than the pathetic, desperate gesture of an increasingly pathetic, desperate president. But this coming announcement does real harm:

Standing on its own, the measures are not a bad compromise on one area of the immigration problem: children brought here as minors by their parents. Call me a RINO, but I’ve never seen how justice or American national interest is served by punishing children for the decisions of their parents.

BUT…

By bypassing the legislative process and cutting out the elected representatives of the people, Obama is killing any chance for a compromise based on consensus, such as that proposed by Senator Rubio. (1) This is the same type of mistake (2) as that made by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, when it used judicial fiat to quash the political process. Obama’s selfish use of executive authority has thrown a gigantic monkey wrench  into the democratic process of compromise and consensus that was starting to get underway in Congress, effectively jamming it.

Obama also has shown, once again, his contempt for the constitutional order. While the president is granted broad (often too broad) regulatory authority by Congress, this kind of major change to the law clearly is the purview of the legislature. While presidents can and should refuse to enforce laws they believe unconstitutional, constitutionality is not what’s being argued here — Obama simply wants to change the law for his own benefit. And he’ll do it on his own, thank you.

That’s called “usurpation.” Maybe even “tyranny.”

It’s also, let’s face it, another “Look! Squirrel!” moment, designed to set us all yelling at each other while we forget about Obama’s pathetic record on the economy. Well played, Barack. This one might actually work.

This decision leaves open a question: What about the parents of these now-immune children? Are they granted immunity? Are they still subject to deportation? (Yeah, let’s see how that plays on the nightly news. (3) )

And it’s not without risks, as Bryan Preston points out:

The unemployment rate among young Americans stands well above the national average of 8.2%. Unemployment among black Americans stands officially at about 16%. The president’s policy plays one constituency that he sorely needs, Hispanic voters, against another that supported him in 2008 but has soured on him since, younger voters, and may hurt black voters looking for work as well.

On top of that, how will the unions react , given they’re already annoyed with Obama over Keystone and his failure to stand with them in Wisconsin? SEIU will probably be fine, but UAW and AFL-CIO? The latter two aren’t so keen on competition from immigrant labor. And let’s extend it a bit to areas hard-hit in the current economy: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina… Do we really think out-of-work or under-employed workers in those areas will be thrilled with this news? That now they’ll have more competitors for jobs?

Me, neither.

Obama may buy some votes with this trick, but I wonder if, in November, he’ll discover the price was too high.

Footnotes:
(1) And, gee, he just happens to steal the thunder from an up-and-coming conservative Hispanic senator. What a coincidence.
(2) Actually, in Obama’s case it wasn’t a mistake at all. It was the intent. The community organizer wants polarization.
(3) Gee, this couldn’t be something Obama wants, could it? Nah…

UPDATE: A statement from Senator Rubio:

“There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run.

“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short term answer to a long term problem. And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.”

UPDATE II: Well, well, well. It seems that our president is, with this order, doing exactly what he said he couldn’t do just last year:

Faced by a young person who disproved his claim about his Administration’s treatment of these young people, the President now seemed to concede that students and young people eligible for the DREAM Act are being deported and says that it’s not his responsibility to change that: “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law.  I don’t have a choice about that.  That’s part of my job,” he said. When Ramos asked a follow-up question about granting formal administrative relief to undocumented youth, Obama was even more forceful: “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.

Are we surprised? No. Everything, including the rule of law,  is subordinate to his reelection needs.

UPDATE III: President Thin-Skin does not like being questioned:

“This is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship, it is not a permanent fix,” the president said before a person, reportedly Neil Munro of The Daily Caller, interjected with a question.

“Excuse me, sir; it’s not time for questions, sir,” said Obama, who didn’t take any questions at the announcement. “I’m not asking for an argument.”

“These kids deserve to plan their lives in more than two-year increments,” the president continued, adding that Congress still needed to take DREAM Act action because the order is just a “stop-gap measure.”

“It makes no sense to expel talented young persons who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.”

As Obama walked away from the podium, a voice called out, “What about American workers who are unemployed while you import foreigners?”

Touchy, ain’t he?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Chuck Woolery solves the illegal immigration crisis

April 11, 2012

And, the Occupy movement, too:

I tell you, the man is a genius. Woolery 2012!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


An insult to the real Civil Rights movement

November 21, 2011

Democrats plan to make illegal immigration the next civil-rights crusade. Because foreigners breaking our laws to get into America are just like the US citizens who fought for the political rights guaranteed them as citizens.

If I were the NAACP, I’d be teed-off that the accomplishments of my parents and grandparents were being so diminished by the comparison, but that would require a NAACP that wasn’t deep in the hip pocket of the Democratic Party.

“Shameless” doesn’t half-describe it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Does the White House endorse the view that Republicans are racists?

May 11, 2011

Have a look at this item from Conn Carroll. True, the shout “They’re racist” came from an audience member, but it was one of only a very few(1) the White House saw fit to include in the official transcript of Obama’s speech on immigration in El Paso(2), which does lend it a somewhat “official” quality.

So, question for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Does the President of the United States agree that Republicans and border-security advocates are racists?

(1) The others being expressions of adulation for Obama, which we can assume have the WH seal of approval.

(2) Which happens to be in a state that’s burning to the ground, not that Obama has noticed.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Band of (Illegal) Brothers?

March 23, 2011

Call it a gut feeling, but my hunch is that this odd incident is more a reflection of clever stupidity than anything menacing:

13 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in California Wearing U.S. Marine Uniforms

Border Patrol agents recently arrested 13 illegal immigrants disguised as U.S. Marines and riding in a fake military van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.

The illegal immigrants were clad in Marine uniforms when they were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., border officials said. Two U.S. citizens in the van also were arrested.

Pine Valley is just east of San Diego.

Like I said, “clever.” There’s a big military presence around San Diego, and there are a lot of Hispanics in the military, so seeing a bunch of Hispanic US Marines being transported from one place to another wouldn’t be too odd.

But what was the “stupid” part, you ask?

The name labels on their uniforms all read “Perez.”

D’oh! 

via The Jawa Report, which has video.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Border Patrol Agent killed in southern Arizona

December 15, 2010

The federal government is suing the state of Arizona for trying to do the job the Obama administration refuses to do: control illegal border crossings.

This is the result of federal abdication:

The U.S. Border Patrol says that one of its agents has been shot to death after a confrontation in southern Arizona.

Border Patrol spokesman Eric Cantu confirmed the agent’s death to The Associated Press on Wednesday morning.

Cantu tells KTVK-TV the agent is identified as Brian Terry. Cantu says Terry was shot and killed after confronting several suspects near Rio Rico north of Nogales.

At least four people are in custody and possibly one more remains at large.

There are no details about the arrested people, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Agent Terry had come across drug smugglers, who are often heavily armed — and even maintain bases inside US territory.

Earlier this year, a rancher in Arizona was gunned down on his own property, perhaps by a cartel scout. A few months ago, a man enjoying some sightseeing with his wife on Falcon Lake in Texas had his head blown off by cartel gunmen.  Now a Border Patrol agent has been shot dead.

While it would be an overstatement to say the situation in our southern borderlands is a war, it is increasingly lawless and dangerous. There are even areas of American parklands that Americans are warned not to enter, for fear of Mexican drug smugglers.

Local and state law enforcement agencies are being overwhelmed, as is the undermanned Border Patrol. Rather than trying to take over whole swathes of the economy, shouldn’t the President of the United States be doing the job he’s been assigned?

Oh, wait. I forgot the guy in the Oval Office doesn’t really want the job.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Jihad and immigration

December 14, 2010

Sweden recently found itself a target for Islam’s jihad against the West everyone else, but, before that, it had become a locus for jihad recruitment among emigrant Muslims. At Big Peace, Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism looks at terrorist connections in Sweden, particularly among immigrant  Somalis:

Somali’s al-Shabaab recently issued a new recruitment video, targeting international jihadists and particularly Somali youth living abroad. In a Swedish-language section, former Swedish resident Abu Zaid called on his audience to “make Hijra,” to immigrate to Somalia. Drawing his finger across his throat, Abu Zaid also threatened cartoonist Lars Vilks, whose drawings of the Prophet Muhammad have led to death threats that now keep Vilks living in seclusion. “Know what awaits you, as it will be nothing but this, slaughter,” Zaid told the Swedish listeners, “If you can, kill this dog Lars Vilks. Then you will receive a great reward from Allah.”

Some of the approximately 25,000 Somalis living in Sweden have responded to al-Shabaab’s call. Police and residents report that roughly 20 youth left to join the terrorist group, particularly from the heart of the Swedish Somali community, Stockholm’s suburb of Rinkeby. The Swedish state security police, SAPO, stated that five of them have been killed and 10 are still at large in Somalia. Al-Shabaab recruitment was also linked by Swedish authorities to a Somali youth center in Rinkeby, which had been receiving funds from the Swedish government. In addition, two Somali immigrants, one from Stockholm and another from Gothenburg, recently received 4 year sentences for planning to go and fight with al-Shabab.

Somalia is in danger of turning into a new Afghanistan: a failed state that is fertile ground for al Qaeda and other Salafist groups. Indeed, one of Somalia’s major jihad groups, al Shabab, has aligned with al Qaeda and is recruiting among Somalis in the United States. The recruitment has been focused on bringing people back to fight in Somalia, but it would be naive to discount the possibility of Somali recruits waging jihad here in America at some point in the future.

Articles like these bring home the dangers of radicalism in immigrant Muslim communities: many of the 9/11 hijackers were students in Germany. The tube bombers in Britain and the jihadists who attacked the Glasgow airport were British Muslims, either immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants. The suicide bomber in the Stockholm attack was apparently radicalized in the British town of Luton, a known hotbed of extremism.  Here in the US, the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, was a naturalized citizen from Pakistan.

All this reminds us of the need for effective counterintelligence. While it would be wrong and unjust to make a blanket assumption that all Muslim immigrants are terrorists or likely recruits for jihad, it would be an act of deep denial and politically correct blindness to refuse to see the potential for radicalization of at least some among those immigrants and watching for the signs. That means both developing contacts and informants among the Muslim community and planting undercover operatives at known radical mosques. Yes, that’s distasteful –as it should be– but it’s also necessary for our own defense in an age of terrorism and war.

Otherwise we’re going to be left asking the same stupid questions about what happened and why, when the answers are right before us, if we would only look.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexico: the migrants’ path of peril

December 6, 2010

Mexicans are not the only immigrants trying to enter the United States illegally; many of them are from Central America. Most of those come by land, passing through Mexico on their way to the US. The dangers they face on the way, both from criminal gangs and Mexican authorities, is notorious.

In today’s Houston Chronicle, Dudley Althaus recounts the harrowing experiences of people who, in search of a better life, dare to cross the river of woes:

TECUN UMAN, Guatemala — Juan Bautista Castañeda stepped aboard a makeshift raft to cross the shallow Suchiate River into Mexico from Guatemala, the beginning of a more than 1,100-mile trek he hopes will end on the South Texas border.

And not in abduction, torture or death.

On two earlier tries, he has been attacked by thugs and arrested by Mexican immigration agents, Castañeda said. But nothing good awaits the field hand back in his El Salvador village, so he has girded himself for another, perhaps final, attempt.

Pushed first by war and then by want, Central Americans for three decades have poured through Mexico by the millions on their way to hopeful, if illegal, futures in the U.S. Making their way north by rail and road, many have been robbed and raped, kidnapped and extorted, maimed and murdered.

“You see it every day — how difficult it is, how dangerous,” Castañeda said. “But I’m going again. With the Lord’s help, I’m going to make it.”

The article goes on to give examples of the horrific things that have happened to migrants making their way to the US, such as the massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants that made worldwide headlines. Kidnapping and hostage-taking to extort money from relatives of migrants “back home” or already in the US is also common, with over 10,000 incidents in 2009.

This is a good article, worth one’s time to read, and there are a few points to take away from it:

While we are legitimately concerned about illegal immigration and our poorly secured southern border, and while we shouldn’t reward people who break our laws (other than to reelect them to Congress), we must never forget that behind the statistics are human beings seeking the same thing for their families we want for ours: a better life. Yes, hidden among them are criminals and agents of our jihadist enemies, but to treat all illegals as potential thieves is just as dumb as ignoring the problem, as the open borders crowd would do.

Once again, the Mexican government’s whining about the treatment their illegals receive in the US is shown to be a sick, twisted joke when compared to what happens to illegals in their own country.

And, finally, that people would attempt these journeys again and again, knowing the dangers involved and even after experiencing them first-hand, is an amazing testimonial both to human determination and to how bleak life must be where they come from, that they are motivated to risk everything to get here.

h/t Frank Smyth via Melissa del Bosque

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What we believe: Immigration

November 14, 2010

In part six of his series of video essays, Bill Whittle examines what American conservatives believe about immigration, the rival concepts of the US as a melting pot versus a mosaic, and who the real racists are:

There are those who say that it’s difficult to balance openness to immigrants with laws that control immigration, to which I reply “nonsense.” While a nation of immigrants, we are also founded on the rule of law and equality under the law; as Whittle points out, how is turning a blind eye to illegal immigration and granting amnesty to those here illegally in any way fair and just to those who have played by the rules? And, in an age when terrorists actively wage war against us, can we be so foolish as to ignore the armed men who cross our borders nightly? Indeed, at the most basic level, how can a nation that cannot control its own borders truly call itself “sovereign?”

All of these issues and more have nothing to do with race or ethnicity, yet everything to do with whether American citizens, freeborn and naturalized, truly rule in their own land.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Residents abandoning Juarez

September 16, 2010

From an article in Borderzine, a student journalism project of the University of Texas at El Paso. The war between the drug cartels has grown so serious that residents are abandoning the city:

According to newspaper records, a historical record was set for monthly and annual homicide totals was in 1995 with 34 victims in the month of August and 294 for the whole year. Fifteen years later, homicide rates have increased nearly ten fold. In 2008, 1,623 murders were recorded, with a much larger number of 2,754 in 2009.

“No longer is the violence in Juarez out of our lives but intricately part of it,” said Diego Acosta, a junior at UTEP.”

“I miss my old life very much, a city one that was once my home. I have built my life here [El Paso], my friends are here, or they come over often, and most importantly I feel safe here; I cannot say the same about Juarez,” lamented Esmeralda Zazueta, a current UTEP sophomore.

Despite the fact she misses Juarez, Zazueta explained that after violent threats to her family, they “panicked, began packing that afternoon, and were living in El Paso within two weeks.”

The violence in Juarez has also affected the housing market. According to Brandi Grissom of The Texas Tribune, Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz reported an estimate of 20,000 homes have been abandoned since 2008, with the estimates of those who fled, and continue leaving the city, ranging from 100,000 to half a million or 38% of the city’s total population.

“While some have fled north to seek safety and prosperity in America, many more have gone back to their homes in southern Mexico,” Reyes Ferriz said.

According to a survey by the Observatorio de Seguridad y Convivencia Ciudadanas, seven out of ten Juarez citizens reported they have modified their everyday lives and routines due to the intolerable fear. This study showed 63% of the Juarez population perceives the city as dangerous and citizens of the downtown area reported feeling more at risk.

When does “illegal immigration” become a “refugee problem?”

(via Latina Lista)


Laredo Invasion: final nail in a myth’s coffin?

August 12, 2010

Bob Price of Texas GOP Vote has done the legwork that “journalist” Kimberly Dvorak and various credulous bloggers have refused to do regarding the “news” that Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican drug cartel, had taken over some US ranches near the border city of Laredo, Texas. He went and talked to the people supposedly involved, both from law enforcement and the ranchers. It’s a long entry, well-worth your time to read, but here’s an excerpt in reference to the police blotter Dvorak produced in her “scoop:”

The author of that story would have you believe this is proof that a ranch was taken over by the Zetas. This prompted further investigation. I was able to verify the authenticity of this message from my sources within the Laredo Police Department. It verifies there was actually a call for service to a ranch outside Laredo.

But, my prior investigation had already revealed a call for service occurred. So, what is a “call for service”. Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. In law enforcement terms it means a law enforcement agency received a phone call requesting assistance from the police (or sheriff’s department in this case). Nothing more. It does not mean that anything really happened. Only that someone called.

In this case, the call itself appears to be a hoax. I have spoken with the rancher who allegedly made the call and he denies it ever happened. For several reasons detailed below, I believe him. It appears, the call actually came from a café/store located in the vicinity of the ranch. The Sheriff’s department reacted to the call and found nothing happening out of normal daily life. Perhaps the call was a hoax? Perhaps it was a diversion to draw law enforcement resources to one area while drugs or human cargo were smuggled across in another area.

So, why was this story so believable by readers across the nation? What I found was perhaps more interesting than the alleged story itself.

First, I found nothing but cooperation from all law enforcement agencies working that region. I spoke with the “originating source” of the story, the Laredo Police Department. They talked openly and honestly with me for quite some time. They even said if we want to visit they will “roll out the red carpet.” I talked with the rancher who allegedly was forced off his land. He told me the first he heard of this was Monday morning when the FBI called him to ask what was going on at his ranch. He told them, and me, everything was normal. I have also learned his ranch is really of no strategic value to a drug cartel. The ranch is situated above a high cliff facing the river which would make a border crossing extremely difficult, at best. Nothing had happened. We talked for over 30 minutes about several issues regarding this and life around Laredo.

Emphases added.

In other words, and once again, there is no evidence whatsoever that anything at all occurred outside of Laredo. Dvorak and the others’ “evidence” amounts to a case of “I can’t reveal my sources, so trust me.” They rely on an implied conspiracy (“Why is the media not covering this? They must be part of the government cover up!”) worthy of the tinfoil hat crowd, something Bob Owens rightfully calls “Laredo Trutherism.”

Price then reports on the real violence, across the border in Nuevo Laredo, something that was mentioned in a slightly misleading FOX video (see update at the end of the post) that I’ve suspected as a possible seed for this modern myth. It’s the cartel war in Mexico that is the real news and a potentially real threat to our own security, not some fantasy about US territory being invaded.

Meanwhile, as far as I’m concerned, any credibility Ms. Dvorak or her allied bloggers may have had is gone. Until they can provide credible, independent sources willing to go on the record with some sort of physical evidence -video, police radio recordings, whatever- I can only regard them as nothing more than people in desperate need of attention.

RELATED: Two earlier posts about the Laredo invasion fantasy.


No confidence

August 12, 2010

It can’t be a good sign when the union representing 7,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents unanimously passes a no-confidence motion against ICE management:

The union that represents rank-and-file field agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has unanimously passed a “vote of no confidence” for the agency’s leadership, saying ICE has “abandoned” its core mission of protecting the public to support a political agenda favoring amnesty.

The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 7,000 ICE agents and employees, voted 259-0 for a resolution saying there was “growing dissatisfaction and concern” over the leadership of Assistant Secretary John Morton, who heads ICE, and Phyllis Coven, assistant director for the agency’s office of detention policy and planning.

The resolution said ICE leadership had “abandoned the agency’s core mission of enforcing U.S. immigration laws and providing for public safety,” instead directing its attention “to campaigning for programs and policies related to amnesty and the creation of a special detention system for foreign nationals that exceeds the care and services provided to most U.S. citizens similarly incarcerated.

“It is the desire of our union … to publicly separate ourselves from the actions of Director Morton and Assistant Director Coven and publicly state that ICE officers and employees do not support Morton or Coven or their misguided and reckless initiatives, which could ultimately put many in America at risk,” the union said.

Be sure to read the whole thing, and check out Power Line for good analysis. Meanwhile I’ll leave you with this: the Executive Branch, starting at the top with the President, is charged with seeing that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed. What does it say when the rank and file of a law-enforcement agency accuse the Executive of not just failing at that duty, but positively refusing to do it?

And no, before anyone asks, I’m not indulging in an impeachment fantasy. It’s a stupid idea for many, many reasons. (For starters, “President Biden??”) But clearly the ICE management targeted by this resolution are following Obama administration policy preferences: they do not want illegal immigration controlled and they do want some sort of amnesty, whether granted by Congress or through (illegal?) administrative fiat. Cynics would say that’s because they assume illegals put on a path to citizenship would be likely future Democratic voters. That’s not impossible, as this is the most politically cynical administration I’ve experienced since Nixon’s.

But the way to stop them is not through self-indulgent cries for impeachment. Instead, we have to take Congress away from the (Social) Democrats. At least the House, and preferably the Senate, too. Then, with the power of the purse and the brakes applied by a divided government, we can throw light on the derelictions of this administration and lay the groundwork for electing a Chief Executive who will see that the laws are faithfully executed, rather than a President who thinks he’s still 12-years old.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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