Guest Column: Local immigration enforcement

Our current immigration law has failed because local authorities are not empowered to enforce it. Any new immigration law Congress enacts, however skillfully crafted and compassionate, will fail for the same reason.

Whatever amnesty-by-any-other-name adopted by this year’s lawmakers will fare no better than Reagan’s amnesty program. It established the principle that America’s immigration laws can be flouted with impunity. An explosion of illegal immigration resulted.

The Border Patrol arrests 3,000 illegal border crossers every day and stops 6,000 pounds of illegal drugs. By the government’s own estimate, they stop only one out of four illegal crossings.

If drugs from the Mexican border find their way into junior high washrooms in towns all across the nation, a terrorist device can, too.

Reagan’s program included $10,000 fines for employers that were never collected, because only federal officers could levy the fines. For very good reasons, local law enforcement in America is not conducted by federal authorities.

We don’t want feds on every street corner. That is why federal law preventing locals from enforcing immigration law guarantees failure. We now have violations of immigration law on every street corner.

In 2003, the number of criminal aliens arrested in a half-year period increased from 2,600 to 30,000. Catching only one out of four means 180,000 more criminals within our borders every year. Believe it or not, the Senate bill now under consideration does not exclude them from the “pathway to citizenship.”

Local police and sheriff’s departments should be empowered to confiscate the business property of employers who pay illegal aliens for work. This would give an incentive to cash-strapped local law that puts federal bureaucratic business-as-usual to shame.

Set a deadline. Pass a compassionate law and watch this law be obeyed with a vengeance, not ignored with impunity, as before. Watching the border for terrorists will be a much easier job when our Border Patrol has to stand out of the way to keep from getting run over by the crowd rushing back south across the border when illegal jobs are taken away.

The present situation is our fault, really. We The People. We’ve tried to make the terrorist threat from illegal immigration another SEP—“somebody else’s problem.”

The Joint Terrorism Task Force has stopped Border Patrol public reports about the number of non-Mexican illegal crossers. If they think that number is of military significance, shouldn’t we think so, too? Three million unseen illegal border crossers a year make a heck of a crowd for one terrorist with a nuclear bomb to get lost in.

Passivity is the sin of Adam. He just stood there at Eve’s elbow and waited to see how things would turn out. The heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11 turned their back on passivity, found their battle to fight, and saved many.

So must we.

Don’t let your elected representative pass another immigration law—however skillfully crafted and compassionate—that will simply be ignored like the last one.

Roger Cain is the author of Worth Killing, which deals with the immigration issue and the security concerns it raises. He may be reached at

From the May 24-30, 2006, issue

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