- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Homeland Security’s record

In the editorial “Six strikes and you’re out” (March 27), The Washington Times demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the Department of Homeland Security’s successful ending of the prior practice of “catch and release” of illegal aliens along our nation’s borders. Their reference to “six strikes” refers to prosecutions, not deportation. The department is focused on removing illegal aliens from the country, even if prosecution is not possible. Prior to the current administration, many non-Mexican nationals who were apprehended entering the United States illegally had to be released for the sole reason that the department did not have enough bed space to hold them until the conclusion of their immigration court cases. No more. If the department apprehends a non-Mexican at the border today, it’s one strike and you’re out of the country, regardless of whether or not the individual can be criminally prosecuted.

Why was this administration able to end this unfortunate practice that several prior administrations could not? In 2006, the department’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) received funding for several thousand additional detention beds, and we were able to introduce substantial efficiencies in the deportation process, allowing us to make the most of that added bed space. By way of example, in 2005, aliens in our custody for administrative immigration violations spent an average of approximately 90 days in custody before removal from the United States.

Today, through the use of expanded legal authority to remove certain aliens without a full immigration court hearing and technological initiatives aimed at reducing the length of time it takes for foreign governments to process the paperwork needed to deport their nationals, the average length of stay in our facilities has dropped to 40 days. And with the additional detention capacity made possible by the strong bipartisan support of this administration and Congress, we increased the average number of detainees in custody from approximately 18,000 at this time last year to over 29,000 today. These improvements are real and leading to impressive results.

Lastly, The Times only offered speculation, not evidence, that “catch and release may not have ended.” The entire argument rests on the mere guess that the prosecution practices of one state might be similar across the entire border. Besides falsely assuming criminal prosecution was necessary for deportation, The Times also incorrectly assumes the situation in one state must be the same for the rest of the country.

While The Times got it wrong, it’s only strike one. We sincerely hope they won’t strike out on setting the record straight on what is truly an impressive accomplishment of the patriotic men and women who serve to secure the homeland.

RUSS KNOCKE

Press secretary

Department of Homeland Security

Washington

The politics of war

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards are setting our military up for failure (“Hillary, Edwards urge war bill fight,” Nation, yesterday). How can she vote for the war, unanimously vote for Gen. David H. Petraeus to lead the surge and the associated plan and then urge to chop his legs off with an arbitrary constraint date placed in a wartime logistical support bill?

When the military or any manager makes plans, all assumptions and constraints are brought out during the definition and analysis phase of planning. Through that they can validate assumptions and allocate resources for constraints and determine the risk factors associated with both.

When a constraint is placed in the middle of implementation, that invalidates the plan and sets it up for failure. That is what is happening with the surge bill. Gen. Petraeus is being set up to fail by Congress with the endorsement of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards.

Never again will the military be able to validate the assumption that they have the complete support of the American people as represented by Congress. After Vietnam, Somalia and now Iraq, the rules of engagement will be determined by political agendas and not the ability to win wars.

LARRY STONE

Agate, Colo.

‘Children of illegals are illegal’

“Born in the USA” (Op-Ed, Tuesday) by Frederick Grab asks a good question but not does not cast a wide enough net to address this problem of “born in the USA” automatic citizenship. What about children born here to legal visitors — students, visiting scholars and all those who are here on extended work visas? In several cases, couples come to America expressly to have their child born here.

There is no intent on the part of these internationals to become citizens. In fact, many of the fathers go home, leaving their wives here to care for the children (American citizens) who go through our public school systems.

Mr. Grab’s assertion that our Constitution needs to be amended is correct. His solution, however, that the only requirement need be that the birth mother is here legally is not extensive enough. The requirement for citizenship should be that the birth mother is a U.S. citizen.

ANN WESTERMAN

Vienna

The children of illegals are illegal. The maxim of the law, as every first-year law student learns, is that the malefactor may not profit from his malfeasance. By the government not removing the children, along with their parents, the malefactor (the original illegal) profits by being allowed to remain “for the children,” exacerbating the alien problem. When the government does not enforce the law, the law is turned on its head.

In the article “Born in the USA,” Frederick Grab is absolutely correct in pointing out that the 14th Amendment does not grant birthright citizenship to the children of illegals; nor does it grant citizenship to the children born of diplomats stationed in the United States; nor to the offspring of anyone who happens to wash up on American soil. Further legislation, although possibly useful, is unneeded. The legislative history of the amendment is unambiguous: It only applies to former slaves. The great legal historian Raoul Berger, in his history of the 14th Amendment (“Government by Judiciary: The Transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment”), makes this abundantly clear, despite later judicial conjuring.

Should further evidence be required, the 14th Amendment did not automatically grant citizenship to American Indians, persons certainly born on American soil. That would have to wait until the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, signed by President Coolidge. A Senate resolution of 1870 had denied that the amendment covered Indians, and the Supreme Court in Elk v. Wilkins (1884) again denied citizenship because Indians owed their primary allegiance to a “distinct and independent” polity. The examples of the Mexican government continually affirming that Mexicans remain Mexicans wherever they are and the illegals proud flouting of American law are ample proof of their allegiance to a foreign nation and their contempt for the American republic.

Those who argue birthright citizenship deny history and common sense; those who aid and abet illegal aliens, or demand amnesty, reward the malefactor. In so doing they are gleefully inviting the destruction of their own nation. The rest of us have no obligation to acquiesce in cultural suicide.

W.J. LAYER

Arlington


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