Monday, January 19, 2009


WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush has commuted the prison sentences of two former Border Patrol guards whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited debate about illegal immigration. Bush's act of clemency on Monday for Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean was a victory for Democratic and Republican members of Congress and others who pleaded with the president to pardon the men or at least commute their sentences. Ramos and Compean are each serving sentences of more than 10 years for shooting an unarmed illegal immigrant as he was fleeing an abandoned marijuana load in 2005, then trying to cover it up.

Yep, it was the woeful cover-up that brought the house down on these two fellows. When will our heroes ever learn? Thanks to Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen Project and the thousands of others who fought to end this travesty of justice.

The nation's largest veterans organization released this week a policy bulletin that takes a firm stand against illegal immigration and calls on its members to hold elected officials accountable for implementing and enforcing U.S. immigration law.

The 30-page bulletin is officially titled, "The American Legion Policy on Immigration: A Strategy to Address Illegal Immigration in the United States."

"The American Legion members have served in the U.S. Armed Forces throughout the world so that Americans can be safe at home," the organization's website explains. "This gives them a unique perspective to the threat that open borders present to their homeland."

"America is a nation built by immigrants and the American Legion recognizes and celebrates that," said National Commander David K. Rehbein in a press release. "We do take strong issue, however, with illegal immigration. It's a matter of national security. The 9/11 hijackers and three of the men who plotted to kill innocent Americans at Ft. Dix were perfect examples of terrorists exploiting our weak immigration laws and our lack of enforcement. This booklet is a good reminder that America has a serious problem that needs to be addressed."

The booklet itself makes the Legion's position clear in a statement that stands alone on the first page.

"The American Legion is opposed to any person or persons being in this country illegally, regardless of race, sex, creed, color or national origin," the bulletin states. "We believe the current laws governing immigration should be enforced impartially and equally."

Originally founded in 1919 on an idea proposed by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (the president of the same name's eldest son), the Legion has now grown to a membership of more than 2.6 million wartime veterans organized in more than 14,000 posts nationwide.

The policy bulletin explains, "Legionnaires subscribe to a creed, 'To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order and to foster and perpetuate a 100 percent Americanism.' These words are recited in unison at Legion meetings and represent a continuing contract of service to benefit America and it is this commitment by Legionnaires that is the fuel for action on illegal immigration and other national security concerns facing this country."

The Legion hopes the policy booklet will educate the American public on how "the security, economy and social fabric of the United States of America is seriously threatened by individuals who are illegally in this country."

"Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime," the booklet states. "The poor, minorities, children and individuals with little education are particularly vulnerable. It causes an enormous drain on public services, depresses wages of American workers, and contributes to population growth that, in turn, contributes to school overcrowding and housing shortages. Directly and indirectly, U.S. taxpayers are paying for illegal immigration."

In financial terms, the booklet cites a report by the Center for Immigration Studies that claims the average illegal alien household in 2003 paid approximately $4,200 in federal taxes while, on average, created $7,000 in costs at the federal level.

In response to what it sees as a contributing factor to crime, terrorism, unemployment and depressed wages, the Legion proposes the following five-point strategy urging the federal government to enact the following steps:

1. Secure the borders and other points of entry in the United States, including construction of a physical barrier and sufficient Border Patrol presence.

2. Eliminate the jobs magnet and social services benefits that draw illegal immigrants to the U.S. by enforcing laws sanctioning employers who hire illegal aliens, implementing employment eligibility verification and eliminating government benefits for illegal aliens.

3. Eliminate amnesty laws that permit illegal aliens to break the law and remain in the U.S.

4. Reduce the U.S. illegal alien population by attrition through workplace enforcement, interagency and interstate cooperation, rejection of driver's license plans, mandating English as national language and establishing parameters for noncriminal deportations.

5. Screen and track foreign visitors legally entering the United States. The plan further calls for reforms to current legal immigration policy, including alteration of the non-immigrant visa program that allows some nations' citizens entrance to the U.S. without a visa application, elimination of the visa lottery that randomly approves visas from countries with low immigration rates and expanding visa allowances for seasonal and temporary workers. John Raughter, a spokesperson for the Legion, told WND that many people think only of the economic issues surrounding illegal immigration, but for Legion members who have fought to protect America, the issue is a matter of continuing the fight for our country's freedom.

"We want to raise public awareness that illegal immigration is a national security issue," Raughter said. "The American Legion wants to remind people that included in the Fort Dix Six conspirators and 9-11 attackers were men in the country illegally."

This is not a vendetta against legal immigrants. This is about playing fairly and giving immigration control back to the government of the United States and taking that power away from people and nations who wish us harm. We have met many fine immigrants, hard workers just wanting a chance at a better life. As Fox News analyst Bill O'Reilly has opined several times on his show, if he were a penniless citizen of Mexico and beyond with a family to feed, clothe and house, encouraged by his own peers to exploit the ease at which this nation of ignored immigration laws soaks up illegals into its system, he too, would be among those millions pouring in.

Less than a year before the New York City and Washington terrorist attacks, my wife and I had the chance to visit Paris. We stayed with a young American fellow and his wife in their modest flat in central Paris for a few days before moving on, but what struck me was how diligent he was, as a spouse of an American exchange student in making his monthly visits to the immigration and visa police. This friend voiced passionate concern that he could be deported at any time unless he complied fully with regulations.

Here was a young American, aUniversity of Texas student, on sabbatical for a year in Paris, living in a run down flat off the Rue Saint Maur metro stop while his young Anglicized Romanian wife spent a year in exchange at a French business school. And yet, he was afraid of missing a monthly status appointment, an error in judgement or circumstance engineered to have the wild-eyed immigration police immediately banging on his door to put him back on the plane to Austin.

This was before 911. What a difference a few years and an ocean make, although this doesn't explain why France is currently groaning under the weight of excessive and belligerent Muslim immigration. Perhaps my friend was simply paranoid, or perhaps closer to the truth, officials in both nations, America and France, tend to look away in a fog of political correctness when confronted by problems brought into their midst by the "diversity" sort of "illegal" alien, while clamping down hard on those who might tend to obey the rules for the slightest infraction. Unfortunately, this latter conjecture sounds about right.

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