- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2006

President Bush’s guest-worker program is a “Trojan horse” that fails to address the problem of securing America’s borders and is an open invitation to millions of people who want to enter the United States illegally, say U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona.

“Every day that President Bush and the Senate hold real border security hostage to their misguided amnesty program, thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens continue to flood into the country,” said the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 2544 in Arizona. “Make no mistake, most of them get by us. We are losing this war, and it’s not even close.”

The Tucson chapter is the NBPC’s largest. The union represents the agency’s 10,000 nonsupervisory agents. More than half of the 1.15 million illegal aliens apprehended last year by the agency were detained in the Tucson sector.

“President Bush and the Senate do not ‘get it’ … The American people ‘get it’: Shut the border down to illegal crossings, then start hammering the greedy employers who hire them,” the local said on its Web page, www.local2544.org. “Start deporting, we repeat, deporting, the illegal aliens who are here in violation of law.

“It may take years, but you don’t build a house overnight … . Promising more amnesty is not going to dissuade anyone from coming here. Rewarding the lawbreakers with amnesty is not going to solve anything. It just demonstrates that there are rewards for breaking our laws.”

A flood of illegal aliens into the United States has impacted and, in many cases, overwhelmed schools, health care, the environment and the criminal justice system, veteran Border Patrol agents and supervisors in Arizona told The Washington Times.

They called the Bush guest-worker program an amnesty for aliens similar to a 1986 program by the Reagan administration, which they described as a “disgraceful mess.”

NBPC President T.J. Bonner, a 27-year Border Patrol veteran, has vigorously opposed amnesty for illegal aliens now in the U.S., saying that rewarding lawbreakers only encourages more lawlessness. He said a guest-worker program sends a “clear message” that America is not serious about enforcing immigration laws. He said the number of illegal aliens will increase again.

“This is not conjecture. It happened after the passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act and will undoubtedly happen again,” he said.

Polls show Americans do not trust the federal government to secure the border and overwhelmingly want Congress and the White House to stem the flow of illegal aliens before tackling other aspects of immigration reform.

Mr. Bonner said that although most politicians know that the availability of jobs is the “magnet” that lures people to enter this country illegally, few have embraced legislation addressing the problem. He said the House-passed bill and one being debated in the Senate will not “effectively reduce the employment magnet.”

“Even the allegedly tough immigration-enforcement bill passed by the House last year fails miserably in that regard,” he said, adding that employers should be required to ensure the eligibility and identity of those they hire. “This can only be achieved if employers are held accountable for checking to ensure that each prospective employee is eligible to work in this country.

“Such a system will require the use of a single counterfeit-proof document that establishes both identity and employment eligibility.”

The Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Social Security Protection Act of 2005, offered by Rep. David Dreier, California Republican and chairman of the House Rules Committee, creates biometric, machine-readable and fraud-resistant Social Security cards and sets harsher penalties for those who hire illegals.

Known as the “Bonner bill,” it was introduced in 2004 and is pending before a House subcommittee. It would require cards with an encrypted electronic identification strip unique to that person that would allow employers to access an eligibility database at Homeland Security for information on the applicant’s true identity and legal status.

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