Nearly five years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, our borders remain porous. The deportation system remains broken. The government’s tracking systems for criminal illegal aliens and visa overstayers remain incomplete. So, what’s Washington’s latest homeland security solution?
“Gold Cards” for illegal aliens.
I kid you not.
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee began debate on a proposal by Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., that would create a “Gold Card” program for illegal aliens who broke the law to get into the United States before Jan. 4, 2004. Applicants for the Gold Card would supposedly undergo a background check by the Department of Homeland Security, then be eligible for two-year work visas that could be renewed indefinitely.
If that isn’t the dictionary definition of amnesty, I don’t know what is. Indeed, Specter’s plan amounts to an unprecedented mass governmental pardon for millions of immigration law-breakers (plus their spouses, children and, by extension, their employers). There’s nothing in his measure that bars Gold Card holders from obtaining eventual U.S. citizenship.
Here’s more of a reality check. The Department of Homeland Security is in an abysmal position to screen millions of Gold Card applicants (not to mention the untold numbers of con artists who have entered the country illegally since Jan. 4, 2004, and would try to game the system). Specter’s proposal gives the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau at DHS 18 months to conduct background checks for an estimated 10 million applicants—on top of the 7 million it already can’t handle. According to a draft government report obtained by the Washington Times this week, fraud is so rampant at the bureau that it can’t tell how much there is and will not have a fraud-management system in place until 2011. The USCIS director of the agency’s Office of Security and Investigations resigned last month because of lack of support for investigative and enforcement priorities.