Secretary Ridge Should Quit

Contrast these two stories:

  • On Thanksgiving Day, while visiting Buffalo, N.Y., an incredulous friend explained how she drove across the border from Canada into New York via the Peace Bridge. “I had my passport and papers out, and was ready for a vehicle inspection, but the officers didn’t look and just waved me through!”
  • On December 9 in Miami, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the government ought to “afford some kind of legal status” to the 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens in this country?and then called for instituting a border enforcement policy to prevent future illegal entries!
  • With such remarks, Ridge is clearly incapable of overseeing homeland security. He should resign. Almost immediately, members of the bipartisan immigration reform caucus in the Congress condemned this insanity. Aside from dynamiting the rule of law by rewarding lawbreakers, how would security interests be served by simply granting legal status to foreigners whose identities and criminal histories can’t be verified? Besides, this would only serve as a magnet for more illegal immigration?as the foolish congressional amnesties of 1986 and 1990 underscore. Polls show that up to 90% of the American people?black and white, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican?want illegal immigration stopped, especially when you consider we have the most generous legal immigration policy in the world. Why this disconnect between Ridge and the American people? Has the radical open-borders lobby become this influential in Washington, even as we are trying to prevent the entry of terrorists? Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.), grimly notes that, even now, 65% of undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes are never being deported. Ridge surely knows there are plenty of immigration laws on the books?they just need to be enforced. In fact, the illegal immigrant arrests at Wal-Mart are a welcomed counterattack. Sessions and Sen. Zell Miller, (D.-Ga.), just introduced a bill deputizing local police officers to arrest undocumented immigrants for deportation. Participation by a police department is voluntary. If it became law, House sponsor Rep. Charlie Norwood (R.-Ga.) says “cities that want to give their law enforcement folks the access to data, funding and training to enforce immigration laws during the course of their everyday duties can do just that.” Consider this: the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement only have 2,000 officers?an average of 40 per state. There are over 650,000 local law enforcement officers nationwide. If Ridge truly wants, as he says, to institute an immigration enforcement policy, he should be loudly supporting the Sessions-Miller-Norwood legislation. And here’s a thought: Ridge ought to give fewer speeches and concentrate more on shifting more desk-bound immigration officers to the border so there’ll be no more waving visitors through “security” checkpoints!