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Monday, April 30, 2007

Wisconsin City Taking Better Steps Against Illegal Immigration

I don't care what political faction you tend to side with, or what your stance on illegal immigration in general may be - there's one question that I think we can ALL agree on the answer:

Is the government adequately enforcing its current illegal immigration laws? No.

Which brings us to Wisconsin. Normally I shy away from the Cheese-Head State as much as I can, since I live in Chicago and to Illinois residents, Wisconsin is pretty much our Canada. However, I am not only going to make reference to the state, I am praising a few cities therein. Waukesha County wants to be the first city in the state of Wisconsin to give its deputies the right to handle illegal immigration cases.

As it is, it's pretty much the Federal Government's job to handle illegal immigration law. An illegal immigrant gets caught in some city, and city officials simply don't have the enforcement power to deport the illegal immigrant like the law says we should be doing. Instead, it's pretty much a catch-and-release situation, allowing the criminal to go free because getting a Federal Agent's attention long enough to have them trek over and handle the illegal immigrant case is too rare of an event.

Personally, I'm outraged at how little the Federal Government (or rather the I.C.E.) actually does. I mean, you identify an illegal immigrant, you capture them, you deport them. It's that easy. And to make matters worse, the media WAVES illegal immigrants in our faces. I remember reading an article in the NEWSPAPER that was also available ONLINE to EVERYONE - talking about illegal immigrants who are having a problem with funding for college. Now, I can't expect a reporter to do the right thing and REPORT the illegals to some law enforcement agency. But when EVERYONE can see the NAMES and FACES and LOCATIONS of two specific freely-confessing illegal immigrants - and the Federal Agents don't get over there and deport them - what the hell are we doing???

The Federal Agencies should KNOW where illegals are. Hell, if I can find and identify illegal immigrants by doing something as simple as opening a newspaper - certainly government agents would be able to do the same, if not more. The problem apparently comes with getting them to DO something about it. And if nobody's going to do anything on a federal level - I say it's about damned time we open that offer up to state and city law enforcement agents. If a city cop is bored enough to issue a ticket for illegally parking, they have enough time to deport all of the illegal immigrants they run across. Yea, it's some extra paperwork, and then ya throw 'em on a plane or a bus or a boat. That's it. I'm sure city officials can handle that. Even the ones in Waukesha County in Wisconsin.

Most people would stop there. But I'm never one to miss a golden opportunity to pitch the idea of "Operation Wetback 2". No, do NOT get all P.C. on me about my flagrant usage of "the W-word" or a "racial slur". It's not MY military operation - it was Eisenhower's!

June 17, 1954 - Operation Wetback went into effect.

What was "Operation Wetback"? Well, the major problem with the stopping of illegal immigration is probably the same today as it was then - every time Border Patrol or the police arrested an illegal immigrant in agricultural areas and whatnot, the owner of the land who hired the illegal immigrant would call up their political connections and get it reversed or charges dropped. So Operation Wetback came into play when Eisenhower hired HIS friend, retired General Joseph "Jumpin' Joe" Swing to the position of INS commissioner. Which meant Jumpin' Joe was the end-all be-all in the INS and no farmer's political intervention was going to contradict the political sway of the President, you know?

So the operation started on June 17, 1954 and involved about 750 INS agents just making a sweep through the agricultural areas, starting in California and Arizona. They swept north from the border and had a combined goal of 1,000 apprehensions each day. By end of July, more than 50,000 aliens had been caught in those two states alone, and it's estimated that almost 500,000 others had simply fled the country, fearing arrest. By September, 80,000 were arrested in Texas and another 500,000 to 700,000 had fled from Texas voluntarily.

Because with Operation Wetback, the arrests weren't the only thing. There was no more simply bringing illegals back to the border, where they'd just illegally cross again. Jumpin' Joe arranged for buses and trains to take the arrested illegals DEEP into Mexico where it'd be harder for them to make it back to the border to try again. And in July, when the sweep spread to Utah, Idaho, Nevada and TEXAS - tens of thousands were put on two hired ships (the Emancipation and the Mercurio) and sent from Port Isabel, Texas, to Vera Cruz, Mexico, more than 500 miles south.

And this was done with less than 1,000 agents - at a time when Border Patrol was less than a TENTH of what it is today.

So how can we improve on Operation Wetback for its stunning sequel?

1. Deport them to places where they won't come back as easily. While I admit that it was a lot harder to travel across a country back in the 50s than it is today, it's still a better deterrent. Make the ones we CATCH go back 500 miles, and maybe that'll once again convince ones we haven't caught yet to simply go back the easier and closer way. Heck, I still like that whole boat idea... We could be REAL bastards and drop 'em off on another continent, or some country with a different language just to make things harder.

2. Hit the business owners harder and punish them worse for hiring illegal immigrants. Without the possibility of jobs, maybe they won't be as quick to jump that border, eh? And DON'T tell me "we crack down plenty hard" or "how much harder could we make it" - we're currently TRYING to pass better legislation to hit people who hire or rent to illegals, who keep boo-hooing that it's not their job to do background checks. Yes, it is - because now you can get arrested/fined for NOT doing it. It's not that hard to ask for proof of citizenship, and it's not that expensive to run the basic checks. Maybe if it were a more-common law, the pricing would go down to be competitive.

3. No more of this "catch and release" stuff for non-Mexican aliens. Apparently if they're caught they usually get set free after their arrest if they promise to appear later before a judge. Shockingly, few show up. Maybe "not from around here" should be considered enough of a flight risk to deny this catch-and-release system. At LEAST hit 'em for bail money so we get SOMETHING out of it if they flee afterwards. Odds are they won't be able to afford it anyway.

So if we set "Operation Wetback 2" into motion, imagine the possibilities. I mean, with ten times the agents out there making the sweeps, you could THEORETICALLY arrest ten times as many illegals. But let's say benefit of the doubt and estimate fivefold results. That means in three months' time, we could deport over 650,000 illegals, and possibly scare away 5 million in the process. And those are moderate estimates, without even incorporating our advanced technology to find even more illegals even faster, and just over 3 months' time. Think what we could do if it lasted a year or two...

Of course, that's just one citizen's opinion... What's yours?

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