June 26, 2002
The watchword of the Bush Administration's education reform is
accountability. To receive federal funds, everyone in education must
be accountable: teachers, students and schools.
But whatever happened to accountability when it comes to border
security and the admission of aliens to the United States? Politicians
are aggressively second-guessing the decisions of the FBI, the CIA and
even the White House itself, but where is any accountability for aliens
getting into our country, legally, illegally, and as legal visitors who
never leave and then become illegal?
Attorney General John Ashcroft says there are 314,000 illegals,
called absconders, who have been ordered deported after committing
felonies, but our government can't find them. The Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) recently raised that appalling number to
The legal aliens are an even bigger problem. All 19 hijackers on
9/11 entered the United States legally on government-issued visas,
several of whom illegally overstayed their allotted time.
Now we hear there is another way aliens are able to remain in our
country. They sneak over our borders illegally, or illegally overstay
their visas, and then become legal by exploiting a now-expired loophole
known as 245(i), the section in a 1994 federal law that allows an
illegal alien to apply for a green card, stay permanently in the United
States, and subsequently apply for citizenship.
This amnesty loophole allowed aliens who broke our laws to pay a
$1,000 fine and go to the head of the line in front of prospective
immigrants who complied with our laws. U.S. law states that aliens
must apply in their own countries to get permission to immigrate to the
A million of these loophole aliens have become legal residents
since the law was passed. In 2000, these loophole aliens were 28.3
percent of new legal residents, in 1999 they were 25.4 percent, and in
1998 they were 29.4 percent.
INS chief James Ziglar has no will to tackle the illegal-alien
scandal. He recently told a Tucson audience that "it's not practical
or reasonable to think that you're going to be able to round them all
up and send them home."
Loophole 245(i) expired in April 2001, but the open-borders lobby
led by Senator Ted Kennedy has been hard at work to get it renewed.
With the active support of the Bush Administration plus scheduling
chicanery by the House leadership, renewal passed the House by one vote
on March 12.
Senator Robert Byrd then brought 245(i) extension to a screeching
stop by calling it amnesty and "sheer lunacy." However, the amnesty
push hasn't gone away.
On May 14, President George W. Bush said, "I wanted a temporary
extension of 245(i). . . . I intend to work with Congress to see if we
can't get that done here pretty quick."
The open-borders lobby is trying to claim that 245(i) is not
amnesty, but the dictionary refutes their argument. The definition of
amnesty is a general pardon for offenses against the government, and
the purpose of the 245(i) loophole is to pardon illegal aliens for
their offense in violating our immigration laws and to allow them to
benefit by that violation.
Section 245(i) applies to those who snuck across our border,
intentionally overstayed a temporary visa, violated the terms of their
visa, or entered the U.S. as an aircraft worker or ship crewman. It
even applies to aliens who are deportable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(4)(B),
which includes any alien who "engages in any terrorist activity."
Section 245(i) is not designed to address the problems of aliens
whose cases have been snarled in the INS bureaucracy. They are taken
care of by Section 245(a).
Rabih Haddad, a co-founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which
U.S. officials shut down because of suspicions it was helping to fund
terrorist groups, is among those who have applications pending to get a
green card under 245(i). The danger of amnesty is further indicated by
the case of Mahmoud Abouhadimi, convicted of participating in the 1993
World Trade Center truck bombing, who received amnesty in 1990 under
the big amnesty law of 1986.
Despite all we know about the people who are plotting to kill
Americans, the U.S. has issued 50,000 visas since 9/11 to non-Israeli
visitors from the Middle East.
Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) has introduced a bill to establish a
temporary moratorium on visas issued in 15 countries that sponsor
terrorism, the Terrorist Admission Prevention Act (H.R. 4010). When is
Congress going to get serious about border security?