border

Shocking New Loopholes Snuck Into Amended Immigration Bill

“Today, the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven rescue amendment was dropped on the Senate floor. Members and Staff have only until Monday afternoon to read through the 1,187 pages of this modified proposal...Already, in a short time, we have identified grave and deep flaws in the modified bill – both in terms of failure to live up to new promises made as well as some shocking changes that actually further weaken the underlying bill. The special interests who wrote these provisions know exactly what they do and designed them not to work – but I fear some of the Senators who sponsored this amendment have no idea they’re even there… These are undoubtedly only some of the new flaws that will be uncovered in the proposal”

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement about the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven Gang of Eight substitute amendment:

“When the Gang of Eight first introduced their plan, they made a series of promises about their proposal. Each of those was subsequently proven to be false. Today, the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven rescue amendment was dropped on the Senate floor. Members and staff have only until Monday afternoon to read through the 1,187 pages of this modified proposal. Already, in a short time, we have identified grave and deep flaws in the modified bill – both in terms of failure to live up to new promises made as well as some shocking changes that actually further weaken the underlying bill. The special interests who wrote these provisions know exactly what they do and designed them not to work – but I fear some of the Senators who sponsored this amendment have no idea they’re even there:

--The Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment doesn’t change the bill’s amnesty first framework. Instead it goes even further and creates an automatic amnesty for future illegal aliens. Section 2302 says if you overstay your visa in the future you can still apply for a green card and become a citizen. It is permanent lawlessness. Joined with existing language that restricts future enforcement, it guarantees unending illegal immigration.

--Contrary to their rhetoric there is no border surge. The Secretary doesn’t even have to start hiring new border patrol agents until 2017, and the amendment only gives her until 2021 to increase the number by 20,000. According to the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents, this hiring process could take up to 20 years. Much like the 2006 law requiring a 700-mile border fence, it’s never going to be happen.

--To raise money, the amendment increases fees on visas for legal immigrants, but keeps the same low fees and fines for those applying for amnesty – favoring illegal over legal immigrants. Under the 2007 comprehensive immigration bill, amnesty applicants had to pay up to $8,000 – vastly more than the fines in the current plan which total only $2,000 and are subject to numerous waivers. The Gang has repeatedly claimed their bill is completely paid for by fees. However, under the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment, the American taxpayers are on the hook for $38 billion.

These are undoubtedly only some of the new flaws that will be uncovered in the proposal. And the largely unchanged original bill retains its scores of many flaws including: amnesty first, legalization for criminal aliens, decimated interior enforcement, and a massive increase in low-skill legal immigration.

The Gang of Eight’s proposal – modified or not – still guarantees three things: amnesty, lower wages, and higher unemployment.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) serves on four Senate committees: Armed Services, Judiciary, Environment and Public Works, and as Ranking Member of the Budget Committee. Visit Sessions online at his website or via YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Note: Please do not reply to this email. For further information, contact Sen. Sessions Press Office at (202) 224-4124.

Gang of Eight's immigration bill neglects enforcement, favors amnesty: Rich Lowry

Congress is boring. It can't even make new false promises.

On border security, it keeps making the same assurances. The Gang of Eight immigration bill, which could well be the signature legislative accomplishment of President Barack Obama's second term, travels in the well-worn ruts of past immigration promises. The Gang of Eight is offering this basic deal: "We will pretend to enforce the law, if you pretend to believe us."

The Gang of Eight bill purports to create an exit-entry visa system that Congress has been mandating since 1996. Back then, only the most cynical of observers would have believed that 17 years later, Congress would seek to pass a new amnesty for roughly 11 million illegal immigrants partly in exchange for the very same entry-exit system. But in the immigration debate, cynicism always pays.

In 2006, Congress passed a law calling for about 700 miles of double-layer fencing on the border. We've built about 36 miles, or a good, solid 5 percent. At this rate, we'll have all the double fencing in another 130 years. The rest of the mileage is various forms of inferior fencing, in keeping with a loophole Congress passed the very next year giving the Department of Homeland Security discretion in how it would go about building the fence.

Executive discretion is where border enforcement goes to die, and as it happens, the Gang of Eight enforcement provisions are entirely at the mercy of the executive. The secretary of homeland security merely submits a plan to do the things the executive branch has been mandated to do, but failed to do in the past. Who decides whether it is working? The secretary of homeland security.

This is so self-evidently ridiculous, even the Gang of Eight apparently realizes it needs to make some gesture toward toughening the bill. For his part, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is doing the best Hamlet since John Gielgud. He is refusing to say whether he will vote "yes" on his own Gang of Eight bill after spending months drafting, defending and helping shepherd it to the floor. He has supposedly discovered that the enforcement provisions are inadequate, although he has done countless interviews insisting the bill contains the "toughest immigration-enforcement measures in the history of the United States."

Another basic problem in the architecture of the bill is that the amnesty comes before anything else, giving the Obama administration, ethnic interest groups and the business lobby every incentive to resist any enforcement measures after they pass.

Rubio is loath to admit that the amnesty comes first, although in a recent interview on Univision, he indeed admitted it: "First comes the legalization. Then come the measures to secure the border. And then comes the process of permanent residence." In a subsequent interview, he said he was inartful, which in Washington is a synonym for "frank." When he's speaking more artfully, he is careful to blur the difference between the initial amnesty and the process of getting a green card to give the misimpression that enforcement has to happen before anything else does.

Not that he'll use the word "amnesty." A hallmark of Republican supporters of the Gang of Eight bill is stating their earnest opposition to amnesty at the same time they support amnesty. They call the status quo a "de facto" amnesty, but refuse to make the basic concession to logic that codifying the "de facto" amnesty makes it a "de jure" amnesty. They readily call the 1986 immigration reform "amnesty," even though the essential features of the Gang of Eight bill -- legalization with a few symbolic hoops for the newly legal immigrants -- are exactly the same.

The Gang of Eight bill is powered, in large part, by pretense and word games. If this bill passes, and then a decade or so from now we need another amnesty, the road map to passage will be easy: Congress can promise to follow up on the Gang of Eight's enforcement measures -- yet again.

Boxer Amendment: Redirect Border Funds for Immigrant Health Care

Sen. Barbara Boxer is planning an amendment to the Senate's immigration bill which would redirect funds committed to border security to reimburse state and local governments providing health care to newly legalized immigrants. Boxer plans to take $250 million, and likely much more, out of border security and use it to underwrite uninsured immigrants health care costs.

Supporters of the Senate bill have stressed repeatedly that newly legalized immigrants wouldn't be eligible for federal welfare benefits. In almost half the states, however, they would be eligible for state and local government assistance. The legalization in the Senate bill would put a strain on already stretched government budgets.

Boxer's amendment funds this assistance by using fees paid by illegal immigrants applying for legalization. Under the Senate bill currently, that money is earmarked for border security. The amendment is an admission that the rush to legalization will put a strain on taxpayers. It is also an admission that border security isn't a big priority for many of those supporting this bill.

Boxer is also seeking to allow newly legalized immigrants to access federal welfare benefits sooner. Currently, it could take up to 15 years for immigrants to access the full range of federal assistance programs. Boxer would like to reduce that by 5 years.

 

 

 

Fuel-saving measures hamper Border Patrol efforts

Budget cuts have hampered the U.S. Border Patrol’s work in its busiest sector on the Southwest border, agents said Friday, with the agency introducing fuel conservation measures in the Rio Grande Valley that have agents patrolling on foot and doubling up in vehicles.

The Border Patrol instituted the changes after the across-the-board government spending cuts known as sequestration. The constraints come as Congress moves deeper into the debate over comprehensive immigration reform and Republican legislators push for stronger border security components as a precursor to any path to citizenship for immigrants who have entered the country illegally.

 

Local deputy killed 6 years ago, suspect remains on the loose

MARION COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - A Marion County deputy responding to an emergency was killed in a crash, leading to the death of a passenger in the other car six years ago.

The driver of that car remains on the loose today.

Deputy Kelly Fredinburg was hit and killed on Highway 99 E north of Gervais on Sunday, June 16, 2007. Fredinburg was 33 years old.

Investigators said Fredinburg was driving to an emergency call at 11:30 p.m. that night when his patrol car was hit head-on by a car driven by Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio.

Fredinburg's car caught fire and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Oscar Ascencio-Amaya, 19, was in the other car and he died the next day at the hospital. A second passenger received minor injuries.

De Jesus Ascencio turned 26 in January. He was treated for critical injuries at the time of the crash. Investigators later learned he fled the U.S. to Mexico around the time of his indictment for criminally negligent homicide in August 2007.

Investigators believe he remains in Mexico. He was last thought to be in the area of Puacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico.

Last year, Fredinburg's family announced the Oregon Officer Reward Fund. Its purpose is to help find suspects wanted in connection with officer injuries or deaths in the line of duty. The reward in this case is $20,000.

Crime Stoppers is offering an additional $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

For more information about the Oregon Officer Reward Fund, go to www.oorf.info.
 

Special Delivery: A Trojan horse

Michelle Bachmann spells it out for anyone laboring under the illusion that there is no way an amnesty bill will actually pass.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/06/13/bachmann_ruling_class_will_pass_a_trojan_horse_immigration_bill_in_house.html
 

Bachmann: "Ruling Class" Will Pass A "Trojan Horse" Immigration Bill In House

"Don't count on the House stopping this bill," retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) warns about the immigration reform proposal in the Senate. "Because this is what's going to happen: The Senate is going to pass a very bad bill. The House will pass what will sound like a pretty good bill. But I’m just here to tell you, it's a Trojan horse."

"It will be a Trojan horse bill that says 'we're here to secure the borders.' So all the Republicans will vote for this bill -- for securing the border. Those bills will go to what's called a conference committee," Bachmann told World Net Daily.

"The good guts of the Trojan horse bill will be pulled out. The very bad amnesty provisions will be put in the bill. The bill will go to the House floor and it won’t be Republicans that pass it. It will be Nancy Pelosi leading all the House Democrats to vote for it. And just enough Republicans, probably committee chairs and subcommittee chairs will be voting for the bill, and you'll have amnesty and it will all be done in six weeks," she said.

Hear Bachmann explain her idea.

 

 

 


 

Immigration Reform Clears First Senate Hurdle In 82-15 Vote

The Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill took a significant step forward Tuesday afternoon, when the Senate voted 82-15 to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed on the measure. The Senate will now begin formal debate on the bill, with the goal of holding a final vote on the compromise measure by the July 4th holiday.

Despite weeks of heated debate over the bill, just 15 senators voted against moving it forward: John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and David Vitter (R-LA). All 15 are Republicans.

Despite the overwhelming support for the motion to proceed, the ultimate fate of the compromise bill is still very much in question. Many of the Republicans who voted in favor of the motion to proceed may ultimately oppose the bill after it undergoes a contentious amendment process. Specifically, Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) amendment to add strict border security requirements before any immigrants can obtain permanent residence — a proposal that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has called a “poison pill” — and Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) amendment to add language protecting same-sex couples could divide the fragile coalition that supports the bill. Leahy has not yet announced whether he will offer the amendment, which he declined to offer in committee in the face of Republican threats that it would scuttle the deal.

As Jamelle Bouie points out in The Plum Line, Democratic senators such as Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) could ultimately oppose the bill as well.

Senate leaders from both parties hailed Tuesday’s vote as a critical step toward fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.

“There are 11 million reasons to pass common-sense immigration reform that mends our broken system — 11 million stories of heartbreak and suffering that should motivate Congress to act,” Senator Reid said ahead of the vote. “The bipartisan proposal before the Senate takes important steps to strengthen border security. It also makes crucial improvements to our broken legal immigration system.”

Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — who has threatened that the bill would need “major changes” to ultimately win his vote — voted to invoke cloture, arguing on the floor that the Senate “deserves a chance to debate it” and “the opportunity to amend it.”

Even if the bill does survive the Senate, there are no guarantees that it will advance through the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner expressed his concerns with the “Gang of Eight” compromise during a Tuesday morning interview with ABC News, telling host George Stephanopoulos that “especially in the area of border security, and internal enforcement of this system, I’m concerned that it doesn’t go far enough.”

“I would expect that a House bill will be to the right of where the Senate is,” Boehner added.

Were the House to pass the Senate bill, it would almost certainly be with a minority of the Republican House majority — in violation of the so-called “Hastert Rule.”

Earlier Tuesday, President Barack Obama had pushed the Senate to move forward with the bill. The president stressed that the compromise bill contains several elements for which Republicans have pushed — such as $6.5 billion in new border security, and harsher penalties for businesses that employ undocumented workers — and insisted that “no one is going to get everything they want. Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me.”

Drug fighters run on fumes

COQUILLE — After 25 years of battling crime, the area’s multi-agency anti-drug task force could run out of money in a little more than a year.

Running out would force the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team to depend on already cash-strapped local governments.

Cal Mitts, SCINT’s director, said the team has enough grant money to continue operations for approximately 14 months.

The team, which borrows detectives from local police agencies, leads anti-drug investigations by its member agencies. It relies on federal and community grants to pay its staff.

“We’re 100 percent grant-funded,” Mitts said.

The problem? Grants have dried up. And the financial crunch is coming at a time when use of both methamphetamine and heroin is rebounding in the area.

“They’re both up considerably,” Mitts said.

Combating meth has been one of SCINT’s primary missions throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. One of the most noteworthy victories came in 2005, when SCINT and other agencies arrested 15 people in the Barview area in a project named Operation: Black Ice.

The number of meth labs in the area shrank after state legislators moved a key precursor chemical behind pharmacy counters. Starting in 2006, any psuedoephedrine purchase required a prescription.

But shutting down the labs didn’t stop meth. Mitts said criminal drug trafficking organizations in Mexico have filled the gap.

In May, a task force of state and federal law enforcement agencies arrested more than 30 people in Klamath County suspected of operating a meth-trafficking ring.

The Oregon Department of Justice said it had found links between the traffickers and Mexican cartels.

I would comfortably say 90 percent — basically all of our drugs — are coming from south of the border,” Mitts said.

While methamphetamine is seeing a resurgence in the area, its nothing like what’s being experienced with heroin.

Despite popular perceptions, Mitts said heroin has a long history in the area.

“In the ’80s and ’90s, there was a lot more of it,” he said. “It was black tar as opposed to powdered — or ‘gunpowder.’”

Still, Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier — who once served as a special prosecutor for the team — said arrests for the drug were relatively uncommon.

“In the seven years I was there, I could probably count on both hands and my toes the whole number of heroin cases we had,” Frasier said.

But the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse that hit the nation in the past decade brought with it a new generation of heroin users.

“With the safeguards that have been put in place since that rise, the people who cannot obtain the pain pills that they could in the past are looking on the street,” Frasier said.

Both Mitts and Frasier said heroin is now cheaper on the South Coast’s black market than prescription opiate-based painkillers.

“It’s alarming to see the age demographics,” Mitts said. “They keep getting younger.”

The veteran officer said he’d be hard-pressed to name anyone the team had arrested recently over the age of 30.

Over the past decade, the team has relied heavily on community and federal grants to pay its salaries.

Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said that from 2003 through 2010 — the year before the House Republican leadership banned all earmarks — he managed to secure more than $1 million to fund the team. The last earmark was the biggest — about $600,000 — and SCINT has lived on it ever since.

“Unfortunately, the Republican ban on earmarks remains in effect, to the detriment of programs like SCINT, but I will continue to fight to fund it in any way I can,” DeFazio said.

Mitts said the team supplements federal money with smaller community grants, including one from the Coquille Indian Tribe.

Mitts said if the agency can’t secure more outside funding, its only option will be to turn to the county and its partner city governments for help.

“What we’re going to have to see is the different municipalities stepping up,” he said.

But Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni said his agency is already exceeding its commitment to SCINT.

“We already house the team and fund it by providing staff out of the department,” Zanni said.

More money?

“Unless the commissioners hit the Powerball jackpot, I doubt it,” he said.

In its heyday, SCINT had four detectives, an administrative aide, an intelligence analyst, a director and a special prosecutor. Mitts said he’s currently operating with two full-time detectives.

A few years ago, the team hit its lowest point: a director and one detective. It could return to that level if the grants aren’t renewed within 14 months or so, Frasier said.

In the meantime, SCINT continues to pursue its mission with the resources it has on hand. Mitts said a recent operation targeting a low-income housing development in Empire netted a number of heroin arrests.

The veteran officer said for investigations like that to be successful, the public has to provide information — and then testify in court.

“We can only do so much with anonymous information,” Mitts said.

What about asset forfeiture?

While SCINT today relies on grants for its survival, it wasn’t always that way.

Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier, who formerly served as a special prosecutor for the team, said that in SCINT’s early days, the team subsisted primarily on asset forfeitures from drug arrests.

In those days, drug task forces nationwide commonly supported themselves by selling cars, homes and other property seized in raids.

Marijuana not methamphetamine, was SCINT’s cash cow.

“The meth cases generally did not generate a lot of forfeitures,” Frasier said. Chemical contamination makes former meth labs unappealing to potential buyers.

In the late 1990s, Oregon voters passed two ballot measures that would inhibit the team’s ability to profit from asset forfeitures.

The first was Measure 67 in 1998, better known as the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Because so many marijuana growing operations are being conducted under the auspices of the act, prosecutions and subsequent seizures prove difficult, Frasier said.

Then, in 2000, Oregon voters passed Measure 3, which prevented law enforcement from retaining the proceeds from forfeited assets.

“With the lack of funds being available for SCINT to operate, it basically went into a shutdown mode,” Frasier said.

The Legislature loosened the law in 2008, allowing police to keep as much as 63 percent of forfeiture proceeds. But Frasier said the continued difficulty in prosecuting marijuana growers means the process remains relatively unprofitable.

Lack of options for treating opiate addiction

Increasing opiate addiction on the South Coast is straining the resources of treatment providers.

The area badly needs residential services and increased access to Suboxone for detox purposes, said Diedrie Lindsey, director of ADAPT Counseling and Treatment Services. ADAPT provides drug and alcohol treatment services to people on parole and probation through Coos County Community Corrections.

“With opiate addiction, people get three days into the seizure and they’ll hurt so bad they’ll go out and use,” she said.

Suboxone is a drug containing the semi-synthetic opiate buprenorphine and a chemical called nalaxone, which blocks opiate receptors in the central nervous system. Lindsey said the drug is one of the most effective ways to help patients detox, but he knows of only one provider in the area.

Lindsey said ADAPT sees 16-20 people on parole and probation as part of its contract with Coos County, and about 260 people total.

Border apprehensions wildly exaggerated in formula behind Senate bill, say critics

The 90 percent apprehension goal set by Senate and House bills seeking to rein in illegal immigration while establishing a path to citizenship for those crossing into the U.S. from Mexico is based on fuzzy math, according to critics.

The goal, which is supposed to give teeth to legislation some view as amnesty, would depend on a Department of Homeland Security formula for determining the success rate of catching illegal border crossers. That formula requires visual or physical evidence for determining someone got past the border patrol, evidence that simply isn’t left behind in most cases. The result, say critics, is a wildly exaggerated success rate for catching illegal border crossers.

“To calculate it, border patrol officers go out and look for physical evidence of crossings… you know, ‘I saw this person cross and I didn't get him.’ Or, ‘I saw footprints in the sand,’” John Whitley, an economist who analyzed such statistics while he served as the director of the DHS’s Program Analysis & Evaluation department under President Bush, told FoxNews.com.

The problem is that, no matter how hard border patrol officers try to find physical evidence of successful illegal crossings, they can’t find everything.

“We know that this method of calculation understates the number of successful crossings, because you're excluding anyone you don't have physical evidence for,” Whitley said.

Using that method, Department of Homeland Security data already indicate a border security effectiveness rate of 84 percent -- close to the 90 percent target.

Some congressmen are concerned about the numbers.

“To just look for footprints and have a guesstimate – that would be outrageous,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told FoxNews.com.

“We can't go along with a bill that says, ‘Hey, we have a 90 percent requirement for security’ – when there is no way to verify whether or not the 90 percent is accurate.”

In addition to not being accurate, the DHS methodology presents other problems, according to critics. For instance, an administration looking to artificially inflate the border effectiveness rate could simply call Border Patrol officers off from looking for signs of successful crossings and assign them to other tasks.

“There is no way we could trust this Department of Homeland Security to verify,” Gohmert said. “And there are independent sources that we could trust. We could have drones and other monitoring where we can find out exactly how many make it across without being apprehended.”

Other methods of estimating border crossings show a much lower apprehension rate.

“Survey data, recidivism data, and press reports about the Vader radar system all put it in the 50 percent range,” Whitley said, referring to the DHS’s new airborne Vader radar system which, during a test last winter in the Sonora Desert, indicated that the Border Patrol caught 1,874 people but missed 1,962 who successfully crossed.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

But groups that support more immigration said that border enforcement should not be a priority in the first place.

“Government obsession with the particulars of border enforcement metrics misses the point,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration analyst at the CATO institute. “We know from experience that increasing legal immigration opportunities, especially for lower-skilled guest workers, is the best way to eliminate unlawful immigration. Border Patrol should operate as a funnel to channel would-be unlawful immigrants into the legal market rather than an agency that separates willing workers from willing employers.”

Policy questions aside, the formula some say is flawed makes the pending Senate bill being touted by Marco Rubio R-Fla., and others problematic, according to sources on Capitol Hill.

“It doesn’t make sense if you’re allowing the Department of Homeland Security to judge themselves,” a GOP Senate staffer told FoxNews.com. “They can game the system, game the statistics, and then end up meeting the requirements.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Tuesday that he would introduce an amendment that would put Congress, not the DHS, in charge of making the determination about whether the border is 90 percent secure.

“My amendment requires Congress to vote every year on border security. If Congress votes that the border is not secure, elements of immigration reform will cease to go forward and visa programs will be slowed," Paul said in a press release.

As of now, the 90 percent goal remains only that, a goal – and the path to citizenship provisions for illegal aliens would be implemented even if the 90 percent target were not met. The only consequence of not meeting the target is the creation of a government committee that would issue a report with recommendations for meeting the target.

Gohmert says he does not want the bills to pass.

“Let's secure the border. And then we can get a deal worked out very, very quickly after that. But not until the border is secure.”

The writer of this piece can be reached at maxim.lott@foxnews.com or on twitter at @maximlott
 

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