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This Senate Bill Will Make Federal Regulations Smarter and More Effective

Americans complain about over regulation. As rule after rule has piled up over the decades, they have good reason to complain.

But here’s an interesting observation: Regulations written by the Obama administration operated under something like a power law. The biggest regulatory costs came from a few regulations, as this American Action Forum chart shows.

American Action Forum chart: Regulatory costs for Top 3 rules versus all others, by year, 2009-2016.
Source: American Action Forum.

Another way of looking at this is a chart from an important report, Taming the Administration State, by the U.S. Chamber’s Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division.

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“The regulatory world is top-heavy, where a majority of costs and benefits are concentrated in three or four measures,” explained AAF’s Sam Bakins.

Regulations with massive burdens include the FCC’s Open Internet Order that converted the internet into a publicly utility, the (stayed) Waters of the United States rule that would give EPA authority over how land is used over large portions of the country, and the (also stayed) Clean Power Plan that would wipe out affordable coal-fueled power plants.

Businesses—especially small businesses— have had to cope with these costly rules and know full well they hold back investment, job creation, and economic growth.

If we focus on the costliest rules, regulators can limit their detrimental effects, make them more effective at achieving their intended goals, or even reevaluate their intended purpose.

To the rescue is the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA). Sens.  Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) introduced the bipartisan bill in the Senate that would make the first major changes to the federal regulatory process in seven decades.

The RAA is based on three principles for regulatory reform William Kovacs, U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President, Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs, laid out earlier this year:

·  Accountability. Federal agencies need to show that the costliest rules are truly needed and are written to use the least costly option available to achieve their objective.

·  Transparency. Agencies must be open about why and how they make key decisions to regulate, and avoid making those decisions in secret under pressure from special interest groups, entirely outside of the normal rulemaking process.

·  Participation. Agencies should be required to inform the public of pending regulatory decisions on high-impact rules early in the process, share their data and economic models, and allow those who will be affected adequate time for public input.

The RAA would focus federal agency efforts on proposed regulations that would have the biggest effects on the economy. The federal government would still have the ability to write necessary regulations. The RAA would only require additional effort on the most-expensive ones in order for them to achieve their intended goals at the lowest cost to our economy.

“Our bipartisan bill would make federal regulations smarter and more effective for everyone impacted by them, support job growth, create certainty, and provide an important check and balance on the president no matter who is in charge,” said Sen. Heitkamp. “Can you imagine if we still used telecommunications systems from World War II? They might get the job done, but they would be slow, potentially faulty, and incredibly inefficient. The same goes for the current 70-year old law which still governs the way federal agencies propose and establish regulations.”

“This legislation would bring our outdated federal regulatory process into the 21st Century by requiring agencies to use the best scientific and economic data available, strengthening checks and balances, and giving the public a voice in the process,” Sen. Portman added.

Business groups support the RAA. Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, said in a statement:

The rules governing the federal regulatory system were written in the Truman administration, with few updates since then. Now, under the Trump administration, it’s past time to modernize the process. The Regulatory Accountability Act would increase scrutiny of the most expensive rules that cut across industries and sectors, requiring greater transparency and agency accountability. We encourage all Senators to support this bipartisan reform legislation that can encourage business expansion, spur job creation, and ultimately help grow the American economy.

After the House passed the RAA earlier this year, business groups urged the Senate to do the same. “The RAA stands for good governance and getting rules right by bringing transparency, accountability, and integrity to the rulemaking process at federal agencies,” the letter stated. “With the passage of RAA, Congress would be restoring the checks granted to it by the Constitution over a federal regulatory bureaucracy that is opaque, unaccountable, and at times overreaching in its exercise of authority.”

President Trump and the Congress have done quite a bit in the first 100 days of the new administration to lower regulatory burdens on businesses. By passing the RAA into law and improving how federal regulations are made, it would be a victory for a more competitive economy.

Watch Sens. Portman’s and Heidkamp’s press conference where they introduced the RAA.

MORE ARTICLES ON: REGULATORY REFORM

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by photographer Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

fraud-alert-

Immigration Fraud: Lies That Kill

Fraud: Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain

en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/fraud

1 a:  deceit, trickery; specifically :  intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right : was accused of credit card fraud
b:  an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick : automobile insurance frauds
2 a: a person who is not what he or she pretends to be :  impostor : He claimed to be a licensed psychologist, but he turned out to be a fraud; also :  one who defrauds :  cheat
b: one that is not what it seems or is represented to be : The UFO picture was proved to be a fraud.

Merriam-Webster

Fraud is a common crime that occurs in a wide variety of areas. So-called “con artists” seek to gain the confidence of their intended victims. In point of fact, the term “con” is a contraction of the word “confidence,” wherein the criminal tricks their victims into trusting him so they can be taken advantage of.

Most “white collar crime” involves fraud.

Think of how many victims, for example, were defrauded out of their life savings by the infamous Bernie Madoff, who conned his victims into trusting him.

Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme is similar to a “Ponzi Scheme” — named for Charles Ponzi, who in the 1920s, used the monies paid to the initial investor-victims by those who came on board subsequently. Ultimately such schemes fail but enable the perpetrator to pocket huge sums of money before the collapse.

Insurance fraud generally involves individuals filing false claims to bilk the insurance company out of money.

Welfare fraud involves individuals concealing assets and sources of income to be eligible to receive assistance that they would not be entitled to if all of the material facts were known by the authorities who administer the welfare program.

Not unlike other forms of fraud, immigration fraud is a serious crime committed by aliens, and those who may conspire with them, to enable aliens to game the immigration system to circumvent the immigration laws in order gain entry into the United States and/or gain lawful status or other immigration benefits to which they are not lawfully entitled.

Examples of these benefits include being granted political asylum, lawful immigrant status, or even U.S. citizenship via the naturalization process.

The nexus between immigration fraud, terrorism, and national security is of considerable concern, and, in point of fact, when aliens engage in immigration fraud to facilitate terrorism, they generally face a maximum of 25 years in federal prison.

There are generally two forms of fraud that concern law enforcement: document fraud and immigration fraud schemes.

Fraudulent documents involve the production of counterfeit or altered documents such as birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, or other such identity documents, or supporting documentation such as diplomas or marriage licenses. Immigration fraud schemes involve such deceptions as marriage fraud and false statements in immigration applications.

There are several federal statutes that establish the elements of crimes involving immigration fraud. Title 18 U.S. Code § 1546 — Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents are key sections of federal law that address such fraud.

Another federal statute that pertains to identity theft and the false use of identification documents is Title 18 U.S. Code § 1028 — Fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information.

Identity theft has become one of the most significant “white collar” crimes. There are many criminal schemes that are furthered by identity theft, but one of the key motivators for those who engage in identity theft is to provide illegal aliens with false identities that enable them to work and/or otherwise take on the appearance of normality as they go about their day-to-day lives in the U.S., even though their very presence represents a violation of our immigration laws.

Identity theft is hardly a “victimless crime.” It can create a major problem for those whose identities are stolen. When illegal aliens steal another person’s identity and then work illegally, they also deprive American workers and lawful migrant laborers of jobs they need to support their families. Yet American workers who lose their jobs to illegal aliens are never discussed by those who talk about how illegal aliens are simply trying to get their slice of the “American Dream.”

Immigration fraud is of major importance because it undermines national security and public safety.

Indeed, the 9/11 Commission identified immigration fraud and visa fraud as the key methods by which the majority of terrorists enter the U.S. and embed themselves as they prepare to carry out deadly attacks.

Immigration, in fact, has a profound impact on virtually every challenge and threat that Americans face today. Our immigration laws were enacted to protect American lives and the jobs of American workers. Our nation’s borders are our first and last line of defense against foreign spies, international terrorists, and transnational criminals.

However, globalists, whether politicians or those who seek to influence our politicians, see in our borders an impediment to wealth — their wealth. Therefore they seek to overcome that impediment no matter the cost — whether it’s the jobs of hard-working Americans or even the lives of the victims of terrorism or transnational criminals.

Having raised the issue of the cost of immigration law violations — let us begin by considering the victims of these crimes.

Our immigration laws were enacted to prevent the entry of aliens into the U.S. whose presence would pose a threat to the safety and well-being of Americans.

Title 8, U.S. Code, Section 1182 is a section of law within the Immigration and Nationality Act and enumerates the categories of aliens who are to be excluded from entering the U.S. Among these classes of aliens to be prevented from entering the U.S. are those who suffer from dangerous communicable, diseases or extreme mental illness.

Additionally, convicted felons, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists, and spies are to be excluded, as well as aliens who are likely to become public charges, or would seek unlawful employment, thus displacing American workers or driving down the wages of American workers who are similarly employed.

Aliens who violate our immigration laws therefore must be seen as a potential threat to national security, public health, and public safety and/or to the livelihoods of American workers.

President Obama’s executive orders, misuse of what he referred to as “Prosecutorial Discretion,” which I have come to refer to as “Prosecutorial Deception,” through the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for so-called “DREAMERS,” and other actions made a mockery of our nation’s borders and immigration laws.

On the state and local levels, so-called, “Sanctuary Cities” have become safe havens for illegal aliens, including transnational criminals, fugitives, terrorists and their supporters, as well as aliens who work illegally, and thereby displace American workers.

Consequently, government officials have actually become the facilitators of immigration-related crimes. Indeed, President Obama, through his various executive orders and policy decrees, became the Facilitator-in-Chief for aliens who seek to enter the U.S. illegally and remain in the U.S. thereafter to work or commit crimes.

Under his orders, even aliens who were convicted of committing felonies and caused the deaths of innocent people were released from custody and not removed (deported/expelled) from the U.S.

Therefore, given the importance of how our government acts, or fails to act, to address immigration fraud and other crimes, we must begin by considering the third form of immigration fraud: the fraud that is perpetrated on the citizens of the U.S. by their elected officials and “representatives” from both political parties and their allies in the “Third Estate” — journalists and pundits — who have created and propagated falsehoods about immigration, which have created a toxic environment where honest discussions about immigration are all but impossible.

The way that polls are conducted about immigration and other issues also skews public perceptions about how many Americans, for example, consider the immigration crisis to be important. This provides cover for duplicitous politicians and the globalists who are “pulling their strings.”

The number one job politicians have is to get elected and then get re-elected. Today this often involves heavy-duty “fund-raising,” which virtually amounts to pandering for bribes.

Most Americans are adamant about their desire to end illegal immigration. This is why, in my judgment, Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency was so successful. His call to “Build a wall” on the Mexican border reverberated among huge numbers of Americans, irrespective of their political orientation.

However, it must be noted that while much attention has been paid to the lack of security along the southern border which separates the U.S. from Mexico, our nation is, in reality, a nation of 50 “border states.” Any state that lies along our northern or southern borders is a border state, as are states that lie along our nation’s 95,000 miles of meandering coastline or have international airports. All are border states.

The focus on the Mexican border to the exclusion of so many other dysfunctional components of the immigration system is a part of the bigger issue of the creation of distractions by open-borders/immigration anarchists.

Make no mistake, the U.S.-Mexican border must be secured. However, simply making that border totally secure won’t end the immigration crisis. As I pointed out last year:

If the U.S.-Mexican border had been protected by the mythical “deflector shield” from the Starship Enterprise, the terror attacks of 9/11, the attack of the Boston Marathon by the Tsarnaev brothers, the terror attack at San Bernardino, and all of the other terror attacks America has suffered would not have been prevented.

Clearly the first myth that we have debunked is that a wall on the Mexican border by itself will solve our immigration crisis .

I compare securing the southwest border to closing one of many holes in a colander. Simply plugging a hole in the bottom of a colander will not turn it into a water-tight bucket.

Aliens may enter the country illegally by evading the inspections process conducted along the northern as well as the southern borders. They may enter without inspection along America’s 95,000 miles of meandering coastline.

It is absolutely important to understand that aliens who gain access to the U.S. by entering without inspection (EWI) are also not vetted and no record of their entry is created. Open borders/immigration anarchists refer to aliens who enter the U.S. without inspection as being “undocumented.” This is one hell of a lie.

POPULAR FALSEHOODS

It is worthwhile to consider some of the falsehoods that are endlessly repeated by politicians, pundits, and pollsters, which are designed to mislead the public about our immigration crisis.

False Argument Number One: The presence of millions of illegal aliens supposedly proves that the immigration system is “broken” and hence the solution is “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

In reality this is about more than simply reforming immigration. The principal failure of the immigration system is its lack of integrity and a lack of enforcement resources. The lack of integrity to the immigration system mirrors the lack of integrity of our elected representatives.

Providing lawful status to unknown millions of illegal aliens would irrevocably undermine national security. There is no way to conduct in-person interviews, let alone actual field investigations. While it is claimed that this would get these aliens “out of the shadows,” there would be no resources for agents to track down and arrest illegal aliens who would not voluntarily emerge from the shadows. This would, disturbingly, include aliens who know that their fingerprints would identify them as criminals, terrorists, or fugitives.

False Argument Number Two: Inasmuch as we cannot deport all of the aliens who are here illegally, we must provide them with lawful status. The Democrats claim that these aliens, who would pay taxes and learn English, would have “earned” the right to U.S. citizenship, while Republicans claim that “once the border is secured,” we should “only” provide them with lawful status and permission to work and bring their families to the U.S.

Generally, law enforcement efforts only involve finding and punishing a very tiny percentage of law violators. Yet no one would ever say that if you cannot identify and arrest all drunk drivers, we should therefore not seek to arrest any drunk drivers. The same can be said about a laundry list of other such violations of law. Statements by our politicians that call for providing legal status for millions of law violators have essentially fired the starter’s pistol for aspiring illegal aliens from around the world for whom the finish line is the [U.S.] border.

Immigration law enforcement should not be treated differently from other violations of law — efforts need to be made to identify and arrest as many aliens as possible who violate our laws and seek their removal (deportation) from the U.S. Not unlike the strategies of law enforcement and politicians where drunk driving, texting while driving, and other violations of law are concerned, public service announcements need to emphasize the efforts being made to enforce our immigration laws to deter those who might be contemplating violating these laws.

This would also honor those millions of lawful immigrants who waited their turn and followed the law and abided by the provisions of those laws.

False Argument Number Three: We need to be “compassionate” and reunite families of illegal aliens in the U.S.

In this instance, the fraudsters are counting on the extraordinary compassion Americans are known to possess. This is about finding in the kindness and compassion of Americans a weakness that can be easily taken advantage of.

Exploitation is not a demonstration of compassion. Unscrupulous employers hire illegal aliens because they know that those employees can be exploited — paid substandard wages under substandard conditions. Re-uniting families by permitting illegal aliens to bring their family members to the U.S. puts the horse before the cart. Effective immigration law enforcement would deter illegal aliens from entering the U.S. in the first place. This way families in other countries would not be split up when a family member travels to the U.S. to work illegally.

Permitting huge numbers of foreign nationals to enter the U.S. takes pressure off of the corrupt regimes of their home countries, whose oligarchies are behind the rampant poverty in countries such as Mexico. Propping up oligarchies flies in the face of traditional American values. However, today America is transitioning from being a republic to being an oligarchy. This is antithetical to the American Dream and what America has, until recently, stood for.

False Argument Number Four: Mandatory E-Verify is the solution to the employment of illegal aliens.

In reality, effective enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S. would deter unscrupulous employers. E-Verify must be made mandatory, but without adequate numbers of immigration agents available to conduct field investigations, employers who want to hire illegal aliens will simply employ them “off the books.” Thus E-Verify, by itself, will not be able to stop the criminal and corrupt practice of employers hiring illegal aliens.

Focusing on mandatory E-Verify while ignoring the abject shortage of enforcement personnel at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is apparently designed to distract the majority of Americans from noticing the lack of enforcement resources. Proponents for Comprehensive Immigration Reform may call for hiring more Border Patrol Agents — this is consistent with the notion that all that needs to be “fixed” is to secure the U.S.-Mexican border. However, they never call for hiring more ICE agents to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S.

This means that employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens will most likely not be detected; illegal aliens will likely not be arrested or deported (removed). And this also means that immigration fraud will likely go undetected.

False Argument Number Five: Our schools are failing to educate the huge numbers of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals that we need for America to be successful.

This lie has been perpetrated by a large number of organizations, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to CEOs of Silicon Valley and other industries that have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into massive lobbying efforts to push this agenda. The goal of this effort is to drive down the wages of professionals.

Consider that nearly every month newspaper accounts abound that disclose a long list of American companies that have fired their computer programmers and other highly skilled loyal employees. Most recently McDonald’s fired 70 American accountants [and] replaced them [with] foreign workers…. The “shortage” of such employees was manufactured by unscrupulous employers who simply want to lower their labor costs.

DON’T FORGET PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER

President Jimmy Carter ordered INS personnel to identify aliens who evade the inspections process as “undocumented immigrants.” Carter recognized and exploited the political opportunities offered by massive illegal immigration. His use of deceptive language created a fraudulent impression to mislead Americans, not unlike the way that a con artist swindles his/her victims. Carter blithely ignored the way that his actions and mandates undermined national security threats. For Carter and others, creating a narrative that was conducive to their political agenda was far more important than protecting Americans.

Repeated deadly terror attacks have been conducted in the U.S. by radical Islamist terrorists who easily gamed the immigration system that was deliberately weakened by Mr. Carter.

It is estimated that nearly half of all illegal aliens in the U.S. did not enter the country without inspection, but actually were admitted at ports of entry and then, subsequent to admission, went on to violate the terms of their admission.

Nonimmigrant aliens, that is to say, aliens who were admitted for a temporary period of time for a variety of purposes, become deportable (subject to removal) if they violate the terms of their admission as required by the category of visa under which they entered the U.S. For example, this applies to aliens who remain beyond their authorized period of admission, accept unauthorized employment, or, in the case of foreign students, fail to maintain their status as students by failing their courses or failing to attend their schools.

NOT ANTI-IMMIGRANT, BUT PRO-ENFORCEMENT

Often journalists and politicians refer to those of us who want our immigration laws enforced as lacking compassion and being “Anti-Immigrant.” This is one of those false accusations that has somehow taken hold in America today. We need to dispel it.

Anyone who is labeled as being “anti” anything faces a tough uphill battle. Consider that where the highly contentious issue of abortion is concerned, the two sides are described as being either “Pro-Life” or “Pro-Choice.” Neither side is described as being, for example, “Anti-Life” or “Anti-Choice.”

In reality, anyone who favors secure borders and effective immigration law enforcement should actually be described as being “Pro-Enforcement.” Anyone who is pro-enforcement is actually “Pro-Immigrant.”

Our immigration laws were enacted to protect national security and the lives and livelihoods of Americans. They are completely blind on issues such as race, religion, and ethnicity.

While, under our immigration laws, American citizens have an absolute right to enter the U.S., aliens do not. This is not unique to America but is how all countries operate.

This is not unlike the homeowner who has the right — in fact, the imperative — to look through the peephole before opening the front door to his/her house before admitting a stranger, being careful not to let someone in who may pose a threat. We want to live in communities that are as crime-free as possible.

We want our schools to provide American students with first-rate educations that will qualify them for careers that will enable them to use their training and degrees to have the opportunity to be successful. This is the American Dream that all Americans, irrespective of race, religion, or ethnicity, want for themselves and their children.

In other words, Americans want opportunities to use their talents to be as successful as they can and want their children to have even greater opportunities than they have. Period!

VISA FRAUD

Failure to enforce our immigration laws undermines national security and public safety. Failures of the immigration system, including visa fraud, enable more foreign workers to enter the U.S. each month than the number of new jobs that are created.

Those who lie and commit fraud for gain are criminals. Usually that “gain” is money or something of material value. However, where immigration fraud is concerned, the gain is access to the U.S.

The ability of aliens to enter our country and embed themselves once here is a matter of national security and public safety. We live in a perilous era when members of ISIS and other terrorist organizations seek to enter the U.S. to commit crimes to fund and carry out their deadly terror attacks. Therefore, preventing these terrorists from carrying out that fraud is as important as is the necessity to prevent terrorists and criminals from running the physical borders of the U.S.

Effectively combating visa and immigration fraud is at least as essential to protecting Americans from international terrorists and transnational criminals as is securing our northern and southern land borders from aliens who seek to enter the U.S. without inspection.

Investigations into suspected fraud can untangle those webs of deception, but only if there are adequate numbers of investigators who can work those cases. This work is labor intensive and requires an appropriate number of personnel to get this job done. The immigration crisis we are currently experiencing is directly attributable to an abject lack of resources — by design.

Failures to investigate fraud allow those who perpetrate that fraud to escape detection and punishment. This encourages still more fraud, which creates a vicious cycle where more individuals are encouraged to file still more fraud-laden applications, creating an increasing burden on those who adjudicate applications and on those whose mission is to uncover fraud and those that perpetrate fraud. As the number of applications increases, the amount of time and resources that can be brought to bear against fraud dwindles. This encourages still more fraud.

What is generally not known is that approving an application is far less time-consuming than denying an application. An application for immigration benefits can be approved in minutes, while denying an application is an involved process that can take days — evidence has to be gathered, reports have to be written, and then any denials generally have to be reviewed by attorneys to make certain that the denials can stand up to anticipated challenges when appeals of the denials are filed.

All government agencies on the local, state, or federal level are also at risk of fraud when individuals provide false or misleading information to the agency they are interacting with.

Fraud involves an individual filing an application in which material facts are omitted or misrepresented to enable the person committing that crime to acquire something he/she would not be entitled to if all of the material facts were known.

We have all read stories about welfare cheats and those who commit tax fraud.

Most agencies take aggressive action to combat fraud to recover their lost funds and also to deter anyone who would even contemplate defrauding that agency.

When people cheat on their tax returns, they can expect the IRS to hunt them down and not only demand payment of the taxes they failed to pay initially, but also likely hit them with a hefty fine and penalty that may well be a multiple of the money they owe, because they concealed earnings or other sources of income. They may, in fact, face criminal prosecutions.

The expectation most people have of the IRS, namely that it will relentlessly discover their crimes and doggedly track them down, has been fostered through its reputation to aggressively enforce the laws under its jurisdiction. To reinforce this expectation, the IRS often stages highly publicized arrests of people who have committed fraud against the IRS. This includes extensive media coverage when IRS agents round up citizens from every walk of life, charging them with tax fraud as Tax Day (April 15) approaches. This effectively reinforces the public perception of the IRS as the federal agency that is not to be trifled with.

The IRS uses intimidation against those who might be contemplating committing tax fraud to convince them to file honest tax returns.

I refer to this tactic as “Deterrence Through Enforcement.”

The message is clear — commit tax fraud and your crimes will be discovered and you will face severe punishment.

However, as I noted previously, where immigration fraud is concerned, there is an abject lack of resources dedicated to investigating fraud and bringing criminal charges against those who commit such fraud and/or enter into criminal conspiracies. Rather than deter fraud, this encourages fraud and endangers national security and the lives of our citizens.

While politicians claim they want to write new laws to “fix” our broken immigration system, they never appropriate adequate funds to hire a sufficient number of ICE agents and other personnel to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S. effectively.

Today the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employs more than 45,000 people. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employs more than 60,000 people including more than 20,000 CBP inspectors at ports of entry to screen people to keep out aliens who under our immigration laws are excludable because they would pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of America and Americans.

CBP also employs approximately 20,000 Border Patrol agents to interdict smugglers who would enable individuals and contraband to circumvent the inspections process conducted at America’s 325 ports of entry.

Since 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not been divulging the number of its employees. The ridiculous claim of the Obama administration was that they don’t want the “bad guys” to know how many there are. In reality I am convinced that they didn’t want Americans to know how few there are.

ICE reportedly has “an estimated 5,800 deportation agents” (out of a bureaucracy of 20,000 employees, according to Politifact). Furthermore, it is estimated that over half of those agents are engaged in conducting investigations of violations of custom laws, which have nothing to do with immigration. Customs laws are all about collecting duties and tariffs and preventing contraband from entering the U.S.

This means that the primary task of some 3,000 ICE agents actually focus on the deportation of illegal aliens.

To further put this in perspective, there are more than 35,000 police officers in the New York City Police Department.

This is why we have an immigration crisis — illegal aliens and aspiring aliens have absolutely no fear of detection or arrest once they get past the Border Patrol or the inspector at a port of entry. They are further encouraged by politicians from both parties who insist that since we cannot arrest and deport all of the illegal aliens who are here, sooner or later, they will get lawful status if they can only enter the U.S. — one way or another.

This includes criminals and terrorists.

Consider the lunacy known as “Catch and Release,” whereby Border Patrol agents are ordered to release illegal aliens whom they apprehend and simply provide them with the equivalent of a summons, a document known as a “Notice to Appear.” The Border Patrol agents, out of anger and frustration, have come to refer to these documents as “Notices to Disappear,” because they know that more than 90 percent of these aliens will simply discard those documents and never show up for a hearing.

What you may not know is that “Catch and Release” is hardly a new concept. It is how the Border Patrol has attempted to do its job for many decades. During the Obama administration these valiant and beleaguered agents had to resort to this insane tactic more than ever before.

Once those aliens head for the interior of the U.S., there are no ICE agents to follow up and track down any of these disappearing aliens. In fact, on those extremely rare occasions when ICE agents arrest illegal aliens, they may also have to play the game of “Catch and Release.”

However, the INS perpetrated its own “Immigration Fraud” by reporting to Congress on how many aliens were apprehended, rarely if ever noting that ever so many illegal aliens were simply processed for deportation and released.

Considering the breadth and depth of immigration fraud and the profound impact it can have on America — undermining national security, public safety and the well-being of Americans and their ability to earn a decent living — you would think that immigration fraud would be a key area of concern for our politicians and journalists.

However, nothing could be further from the truth, even though the 9/11 Commission Report and the testimony of a long list of national security/counterterrorism experts before Congressional committees and subcommittees have identified immigration and visa fraud as keys for the entry and embedding tactics of terrorists.

For example, page 54 of the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel contained this excerpt:

Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.

In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the U.S. terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attacks.

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the U.S. government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.

Please pay attention to the first sentence of the last paragraph; here it is again:

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity.

This issue has been repeatedly noted in the 9/11 Commission Report, yet nothing has been done to enhance the enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S. Indeed, under the Obama administration interior enforcement of our immigration laws all but stopped.

In spite of the clear warnings issued by the 9/11 Commission about the nexus between immigration and visa fraud and the threat of terrorism, the Obama administration insisted on admitting thousands of refugees from Syria who cannot be vetted. This means that our officials, no matter how much time they may be given, will not be able to verify the true identities of those who claim to be citizens of Syria seeking refugee status.

The lack of an adequate number of investigators who can work those cases has plagued the immigration system for decades. Consequently, these failures to identify and investigate fraud can and, in fact, have enabled huge numbers of aliens who have perpetrated fraud to escape detection, prosecution, and deportation. Some of these cases involved terrorists whose frauds went undetected until after they participated in deadly terrorist attacks.

Failures to identify, investigate, and prosecute those who perpetrate fraud encourage and embolden additional aliens worldwide to file fraud-laden applications. This creates the dreaded “backlog,” resulting in pressure applied to the adjudications officers to work more quickly, to dispose of these cases at a faster pace. This makes it even more difficult to scrutinize the applications. The vicious cycle continues to accelerate.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the virtual mantra of our leaders in Washington was that in order to succeed the terrorists had to get it “right” only once. For our government to defeat the efforts of the terrorists to protect American lives, we had to get it “right” 100 percent of the time. Every alien who succeeds in gaming the immigration system creates the potential for the terrorists to get it “right,” yet this clear threat to national security has been blatantly ignored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and our leaders.

When the issue of stopping illegal immigration is discussed, the immediate knee-jerk response is to focus on the need to simply increase the number of Border Patrol agents and erect a fence on the southern border.

Last year the DHS issued a report, Entry and Exit Overstay Report, Fiscal Year 2015 that focused only on the arrival and departure of non-immigrant aliens (temporary visitors) though international airports and seaports but did not include aliens who were admitted at land border ports of entry.

The report noted that more than 400,000 aliens who had been admitted into the U.S. during 2015 failed to depart when they were supposed to. If land border entries were taken into account, that number of illegal aliens would have likely been considerably greater.

These aliens would have been able to enter the U.S. if CBP employed one million Border Patrol agents and if the mythical “Deflector Shields” from the Starship Enterprise were installed along that problematic border.

The only way to deal with aliens, who violate the terms of their admission through ports of entry, is for ICE agents to arrest them. Yet this important issue is another of those immigration failures that seldom sees the light of day on news programs that refuse to discuss the utter lack of resources to enforce our immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S.

On those all too rare instances when the issue of the enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S. is discussed, the need for mandatory E-Verify generally becomes the focus of that discussion, and the need to identify criminal aliens and seek their removal.

It is more than a coincidence that the very same political “leaders” who demand that the government hires more Border Patrol agents never demand that more ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents be hired to enforce the immigration laws.

The abject lack of resources for the enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S. is a problem that has plagued the immigration system for many decades. As far back as May 4, 1999, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims conducted a hearing on the topic, “Designations of Temporary Protected Status and Fraud in Prior Amnesty Programs.”

One of the witnesses at that hearing was a John Shaw, a true gentleman and former Assistant Commissioner for Investigations, Immigration and Naturalization Service. He was the official at the very top of the immigration enforcement program for the interior of the country.

On the day of that hearing in 1999 he testified about how the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, under whose “leadership” he worked, demonstrated utter disdain for the enforcement of our immigration laws. Consider this extract from his testimony:

In its determined efforts to establish control of the border by tightening security on the perimeter, Congress has seemingly ignored the critical, complementary roles and responsibilities of Interior Enforcement … and these fall mainly on the shoulders of Investigations. I believe that the concept of Interior Enforcement, supported by a well-articulated strategy document, ought to be as familiar in the nomenclature of immigration enforcement as the concept, or term, Border Control. Although, I must admit that even in-house at INS, the Commissioner has said that Interior Enforcement is a term of usage invented by Investigations and devoid of meaning.

That Commissioner was Doris Meissner, whose disregard for the enforcement of our immigration laws — especially from within the interior of the U.S. — was reflected by the agency she directed. She was the Commissioner of the INS during the Clinton administration.

Meissner did everything in her power to make certain that the term “interior enforcement” was, indeed, “devoid of meaning.” She continues to work against any efforts to enforce our immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S.

During her tenure as INS Commissioner, she created Citizenship USA (CUSA), which had the stated goal of naturalizing a record number of new citizens — at least one million, in roughly one year. A Justice Department, Office of Inspector General (OIG) report about this ill-conceived program, stated that when she assumed her position, Meissner was focused on vastly increasing the number of new citizens the INS could crank out. Not surprisingly, the number of applications for naturalization exploded.

She became consumed with the need to clear the backlog of applications. As a result she hired many more employees to adjudicate the applications. According to a subsequent report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, these new hires did not have adequate training. She also re-engineered the entire naturalization process to streamline it. Among the ways that the process was “re-engineered” included not actually interviewing all of the applicants for citizenship and taking other shortcuts that enabled ultimately thousands of aliens who should not have been naturalized, including criminals, to become U.S. citizens.

In its first year, 1996, CUSA awarded citizenship to 1.2 million foreign nationals. The program, which ran through 2000, was vigorously promoted by President Clinton. Critics called it an election-year ploy to speed naturalizations for Democrat voters. Districts in heavily Democratic Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco were targeted.

One of the key persons involved in this program was T. Alexander Aleinikoff, who became one of 
Barack Obama’s top immigration advisors. It was under Aleinikoffs “leadership” that U.S. citizenship was awarded to thousands of convicted criminals. Hundreds of thousands of naturalization applications did not undergo proper FBI fingerprint analysis, including 80,000 who had fingerprint checks that generated criminal records, but who were naturalized anyway.

Aleinikoff went on to become Dean of the Georgetown University School of Law, and then, in 2009, Deputy High Commissioner on Refugees at the United Nations. This is the agency that, in part, determines America’s admission of refugees into the U.S. And both Meissner and Aleinikoff are senior fellows at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.

When, under the administration of President George W. Bush, the DHS was created in response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the various missions of the former INS were split off into separate and unwieldy agencies under the DHS umbrella. The adjudication of applications for various immigration benefits went to a new agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The first Director of that agency was Eduardo Aguirre, who, according to his official bio on the USCIS website, apparently made clearing up the backlog of applications for immigration benefits his priority — as it had been for Doris Meissner.

Consider this portion of his DHS bio:

Director Aguirre fundamentally transformed the delivery of services by the U.S. immigration system. He leads a team of 15,000 who annually serve over 6 million applicants. The USCIS basic mission is to make certain that the right applicant receives the right benefit in the right amount of time, while preventing the wrong individuals from obtaining benefits. Under Director Aguirre’s leadership USCIS established three basic priorities: eliminating the immigration benefit application backlog, improving customer service, and enhancing national security.

In that last sentence he made “enhancing national security” his third priority behind “eliminating the benefit application backlog” and “improving customer service”!

Aguirre has been an executive in international banking positions. Consider this further excerpt from his bio:

For over three decades Mr. Aguirre has traveled extensively in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, promoting economic growth, international trade, and business opportunities as a banker, civic leader, and representative of the U.S. government. He joined the Department of Homeland Security from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. where he was appointed by President George W. Bush, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. From December 2001 to December 2002, he served as Acting Chairman of the Export-Import Bank and guided the agency through its Congressional reauthorization. During Mr. Aguirre’s leadership the Bank reorganized its structure to become more market-focused and customer-driven while enhancing risk management.

Prior to joining Export-Import Bank, Mr. Aguirre served as President of International Private Banking for Bank of America. In this capacity, he ran a highly profitable unit of this industry leader. Over the course of his 24-year career with Bank of America, his team was consistently acknowledged for excellence in customer service and employee satisfaction.

I cannot make this statement strongly enough — I am not making any claim, whatsoever, that Mr. Aguirre had any involvement in the malfeasance allegedly committed by the Bank of America or any other organization. I have never seen anything that would even suggest any such connection.

However, I am concerned that the goals and culture of the banking industry are often in direct opposition and antithetical to the best interests of America and Americans. Banks are globalists. To a globalist borders are not lines of defense but impediments to wealth.

The Bank of America was one of the very first banks to accept Mexican identity documents known as Matricula Consular cards, which are issued to illegal aliens by the government of Mexico. These cards were the focus of a Congressional hearing in 2003 by the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims. Among those testifying was Steven C. McCraw, then Assistant Director, Office of Intelligence, of the FBI.

McCraw made it clear that such cards are not only unreliable for use as identity documents for business purposes, but also created opportunities for criminals and terrorists to use those cards to obfuscate their true identities. He told the Committee:

These criminal threats are significant, but it is the terrorist threat presented by the Matricula Consular that is most worrisome. Federal officials have discovered individuals from many different countries in possession of the Matricula Consular card. Most of these individuals are citizens of other Central or South American countries. However, at least one individual of Middle Eastern descent has also been arrested in possession of the Matricula Consular card. The ability of foreign nationals to use the Matricula Consular to create a well-documented, but fictitious, identity in the U.S. provides an opportunity for terrorists to move freely within the U.S. without triggering name-based watch lists that are disseminated to local police officers. It also allows them to board planes without revealing their true identity. All of these threats are in addition to the transfer of terrorist funds, mentioned earlier.

In the 2004 article, “Terror route seen in bank program,” the Washington Times reported that Bank of America honored the SafeSend program that enables people to send money directly from the U.S. to Mexico.

What is unfathomable is how, all too often, the leadership at the immigration enforcement agencies has not come from within the agency, but all too often are individuals who have no law enforcement background. To my knowledge, this has never happened at any other law enforcement agency.

SHORTCOMINGS WITH FINGERPRINTING

The need to identify and remove (deport) criminal aliens from the U.S. is widely recognized. But what needs to be considered is how DHS can identify criminal aliens in the first place, and whether there is an adequate number of agents to do this critical job where innocent lives hang in the balance.

The public perception is that when an individual is fingerprinted, a magic computer spits out page after page of accurate information about that person. While this is sometimes true, where foreign criminals are concerned, if that person has never before been arrested or fingerprinted in the U.S. and lies about his/her actual identity, it is entirely possible that the computer will not identify any relating information about that individual. Law enforcement officers will have to rely on the information that he provides to those who arrest him.

If such an individual claims to have been born in the U.S., then it is entirely possible that ICE will not be notified about him, even if that police department cooperates with ICE. Of course where Sanctuary Cities are concerned, no matter what the defendant says about immigration status, ICE will not be notified.

We often hear about how someone “fell through the cracks in the system” and went on to commit more crimes. This lack of personnel to accurately identify criminal aliens in custody is far greater than a mere “crack.” It is bigger than the Grand Canyon!

Because of this haphazard situation, the actual number of criminal aliens in the U.S., as reported by the various government agencies, may well be much higher than published statistics claim.

Therefore it is essential that an adequate number of INS personnel be assigned to interviewing prisoners in the many local and state prisons to determine if prisoners in custody are U.S. citizens or aliens who should be subject to deportation. If an alien runs our borders and is subsequently arrested by local police or other law enforcement agencies, simply running that person’s fingerprints will likely not disclose the true identity of such illegal aliens or even the fact that they are aliens.

It is not uncommon for aliens from Latin America to claim to be from Puerto Rico. Likewise, illegal aliens from Jamaica, Trinidad, and other Caribbean countries often claim to have been born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, thereby violating 18 U.S. Code § 911 — False Claim to U.S. Citizenship, a felony that is described below:

Whoever falsely and willfully represents himself to be a citizen of the U.S. shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

False claims to U.S. citizenship by illegal aliens are common, but it takes a highly skilled immigration agent to break such false claims. Aliens who succeed in conning local jail officials into believing they are U.S. citizens, when in fact they are aliens, will never be deported.

While the laws of nature are immutable, legislated laws are meaningless unless violations of those laws are uncovered and appropriate action is taken by law enforcement officers.

E-VERIFY AND EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION

Certainly the use of E-Verify must be made mandatory for all employers. However, that alone won’t stop aliens from entering the country and taking jobs that should go to Americans.

ICE agents need to be available to conduct investigations of employers to make certain that they are not defrauding the E-Verify system. These agents are needed to audit the applications and physically conduct investigations at various job sites, and, where appropriate, arrest illegal aliens to deter them from entering the U.S. and to deter those aliens who were legally admitted with visas that did not provide them with the lawful authority to work in the U.S.

However, we need to keep in mind that the immigration system is not unlike a balloon. If you squeeze a balloon at one place it will bulge at another place. Even if it became impossible for illegal aliens to be employed in the U.S., aliens who are determined to work in the U.S. would simply commit immigration fraud in order to get lawful status to enable them to work in the United States.

When political leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties insist that the only “solution” to the current illegal immigration crisis is to provide illegal aliens with employment authorization, they simply encourage a human tsunami of aliens from around the world to cross our borders, convinced that ultimately they will be granted employment authorization and, depending on which political party is in power, whether they will also receive U.S. citizenship as a further reward for their violations of our borders and immigration laws.

This is a manifestation of the desire of our duplicitous political leaders from both parties to make certain that nothing is done to discourage or impede the huge numbers of foreign workers and foreign students from entering our country — even if it undermines national security and public safety.

TRADITIONAL IMMIGRATION FRAUD

Immigration fraud, as discussed previously, generally falls into two broad categories — document fraud and fraud schemes. Furthermore, immigration fraud is generally perpetrated by aliens to enter and then to operate freely within the U.S. In the parlance of the 9/11 Commission, this ability to operate freely in the U.S. is known as embedding. I have come to refer to this as “hiding in plain sight.”

Companies also may commit immigration fraud to facilitate their ability to bring in foreign workers to displace American workers. They fraudulently claim that these foreign workers are “exceptional,” yet the only thing exceptional about them is their willingness to work for exceptionally low wages under exceptionally adverse conditions.

USCIS operates under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security and adjudicates applications for immigration benefits for aliens. Among the benefits are the granting of political asylum, authorizing aliens to change their nonimmigrant status so that they may, for example, attend school in the U.S., conferring lawful immigrant status upon aliens, providing such aliens with Alien Registration Receipt Cards (Green Cards) to signify this status, and finally naturalizing aliens, thus conferring U.S. citizenship upon them.

USCIS is also the agency that processes the applications for the administration’s controversial DACA Program, which has enabled hundreds of thousands of illegal alien DREAMERS to file for temporary lawful status. While this program has been “sold” to the American public as involving “children,” in reality these “kids” may be as old as 31 years of age.

All that these illegal aliens must do is file an application in which they claim that they entered the U.S. prior to their sixteenth birthday. There are no interviews and no field investigations. The approval rate for this program is well over 90 percent.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are talking about illegal aliens who entered the U.S. without inspection. They have trespassed on America. Only they know who they are, when they got here, and what their actual backgrounds are. Yet Mr. Obama provided hundreds of thousands of these illegal aliens with lawful status, ordering the hapless employees at USCIS to take at face value the word of aliens whose identities and backgrounds cannot be verified.

USCIS is already overwhelmed with its workload, yet this inept agency and its beleaguered employees would be pressed into service to process potentially tens of millions of applications for any legalization program that our politicians promise (threaten?) they want to foist on America and Americans.

USCIS processes approximately 6 million applications for various immigration benefits annually, including conferring U.S. citizenship upon hundreds of thousands of lawful immigrants through the naturalization process.

Fraud is a serious issue for this adjudications process, undermining its integrity. Again, this issue and the threats it poses to national security were amply discussed by the 9/11 Commission, insofar as the tactics for terrorists to embed themselves in the U.S. are concerned.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 includes a section of law that enumerates the categories of aliens that are excludable from the U.S. The list of excludable classes of aliens includes aliens who suffer from dangerous communicable diseases, or from severe mental illness, fugitives from justice, convicted felons, spies, terrorists, war criminals, human rights violators, and aliens whose presence would undermine national security and/or public safety.

Finally, aliens who are likely to become public charges or would seek employment that would displace Americans who are similarly employed, or, by providing unfair competition, would drive down wages and/or working conditions of Americans, are not supposed to be admitted

Aliens who know that they cannot be lawfully admitted into the U.S. because they belong to one or more categories of excludable aliens but are determined to enter the U.S. nevertheless have two basic options to gain entry. First, they can enter without inspection by evading the inspections process conducted at ports of entry by the Inspectors of CBP (Customs and Border Protection), an arm of the Department of Homeland Security). This can be done by running America’s northern or southern borders or by stowing away on a ship or otherwise entering illegally along America’s 95,000 miles of coastline.

Second, they can engage in immigration fraud by seeking to enter the U.S. by assuming a false identity through the use of counterfeit or altered passports and travel documents, or by bribing a passport official of another country to provide them with an authentic passport that misrepresents their true identity because they know that their true identities or backgrounds would bar them from entering the U.S. This includes aliens with criminal histories who may also be fugitives from justice in other countries and/or aliens who are engaged in terrorism or are affiliated with terrorist organizations.

These individuals use immigration fraud to mask their true identities the same way that a chameleon uses changes in coloration in order to hide in plain sight.

Some aliens may not have criminal histories and are not known to law enforcement authorities or intelligence authorities, but intend to work illegally in the U.S. and misrepresent material facts when they apply for visas to enter the U.S., or when they are interviewed by a CBP inspector at a port of entry into the U.S.

Sometimes aliens will apply for a job that will enable them to get a visa to enter the U.S. As an INS agent in the late 1970s, I became aware of a large number of aliens from Jamaica and Panama who had been admitted into the U.S. on agricultural work visas to work in the orange groves of Florida and the apple orchards of upstate New York. Most of these aliens never reported for work on those farms, but simply used the visas they received as a means of entering the U.S.

I encountered and arrested many such illegal aliens when I worked with members of the NYPD to investigate a number of extremely violent drug posses that were operating in New York City trafficking in marijuana and cocaine. Most of the members of the posses were deportable aliens who had entered the U.S. through ports of entry with those agricultural work visas.

We found that some of these aliens had hooked up with a small number of Navy recruiters who were being pressured by their superiors to meet enlistment quotas. These recruiters entered into a criminal conspiracy to provide these illegal aliens with false identity documents so that they could enlist in the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Members of what was then the Office of Naval Intelligence, today known as Naval Investigative Service (NIS, now known as NCIS), joined in the investigation as did members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Many of these aliens went AWOL after they completed tactical combat training, stole high-powered weapons, and subsequently used their military training to carry out a series of extremely violent, commando-style bank robberies throughout the New York City area.

We ultimately arrested a large number of these violent illegal aliens. Working closely with the NYPD, I helped bring federal criminal charges where appropriate, while many of these thugs were simply charged in state court with murder, armed robbery, and other such crimes.

Meanwhile, the Naval Intelligence officers dealt with the recruiters for their crimes.

To tie up the last of the loose ends, I lodged detainers with the local prison officials to make certain that once these criminals were released from prison, they would be immediately taken into immigration custody to arrange for their deportation from the U.S.

Back then there was no question that such detainers would be honored — unlike today, where out of a bizarre concept of “compassion” such detainers would be blatantly ignored and criminal aliens would likely be released back into their communities, where they could continue their criminal “careers.”

This is why I am vehemently opposed to the enlistment of illegal aliens in our military. The notion of providing individuals whose true identities may not be verified with access to our military bases and tactical firearms training is the stuff of nightmares.

However, I suspect that, for all too many of our elected officials, our national security and public safety are not important.

The entry tactic of aliens obtaining work-related visas and then not reporting to their jobs is not limited to agricultural visas. Some aspiring illegal aliens enroll in schools, enter the U.S. with student visas,such and then fail to attend those schools.

Additionally, there are various criminal enterprises that can conspire with aliens who seek to enter the U.S. by creating the illusion that they have a job offer. These criminal enterprises may then submit visa applications for aliens to enable them to enter the U.S. with a visa to which they would not have been entitled if all of the facts were known.

ICE disclosed that a New York City attorney was sentenced to five years for operating such a fraud scheme. What is significant is that this attorney, Earl Seth David, operated his fraud scheme for many years, and reportedly at least 25,000 aliens availed themselves of his “services” to acquire legal status by committing fraud. When his law license was suspended in 2004, he continued to practice law, and apparently applications filed by his law firm continued to be processed by immigration authorities.

If this doesn’t provide sufficient evidence of massive incompetence by ICE, consider that, according to its own press release, in 2006 David fled to Canada when he found out his law firm was under criminal investigation, and was able to continue to receive funds from his fraud scheme in Canada.

Furthermore, while being convicted of a serious felony, he committed multiple felonies involving many sections of law that involve massive criminal conspiracies, corruption of government officials, and the use of a highly sophisticated set of schemes. His punishment was minor considering the major crimes he committed and the impact that those crimes continue to have. Consider that there were apparently no efforts to identify the tens of thousands of aliens who may now be “legally” residing in the U.S. thanks to his work. By not seeking to arrest these many thousands of alien clients, the government once again failed to deter aliens from engaging in fraud.

FOREIGN STUDENTS POSE DANGER

Aliens who enter the U.S. with student visas may also pose a serious threat to national security. For years I have been warning about the danger of educating our adversaries. What is the point of educating “Engineers of Jihad” at U.S. universities? The legal immigration system allowed al-Qaeda-linked terrorists to attend American colleges and roam free among us.

Sometimes bogus schools provide the appropriate documentation to enable aliens to enter the U.S. as students, where the schools are actually “mills” that crank out the appropriate paperwork, for a fee. These “schools” may not even exist in a physical building.

The problem is that currently more than 9,000 schools are authorized to file the appropriate applications for foreign students. Some of these schools teach hair dressing, woodworking, and pet grooming.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with running a training facility to teach any skill, but the likelihood that someone, especially from a Third World country, would travel half-way around the world and pay hefty tuition fees to learn to groom pets is highly suspect, at best. Yet the lack of personnel at ICE to conduct these essential investigations makes it easy for some of these bogus schools to operate for many years before they are detected — if, in fact, they ever are determined to be bogus.

In fact, the lack of integrity to the foreign student program depends on foreign student advisors, employed by the schools, to keep track of foreign students and notify immigration authorities if students fail to attend their schools or to maintain a passing grade level. In the case of legitimate schools, this generally does not pose a problem. The foreign student advisors of these schools generally dutifully report foreign students who fail to maintain their status as students.

However, when the school exists simply to produce applications to be used by foreign students, the “wolf is truly guarding the hen house!”

In any event, when foreign students go missing, the lack of ICE agents means that when these aliens play the game of “hide-and-seek,” they hide, and ICE has no one available to seek them.

In 2014, ABC News aired “Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to ‘Track Missing Foreign Students.’” The segment noted,

The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the U.S. on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished — exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything,” said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. “Some of them could be here to do us harm.”

ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. — now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.

“They just disappear,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-OK), “They get the visas and they disappear.”

Coburn said since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, 26 student visa holders have been arrested in the U.S. on terror-related charges.

Tightening up the student visa program was one of the major recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, after it was determined that the hijacker who flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had entered the U.S. on a student visa but never showed up for school.

Despite repeated concerns raised by Congress, federal immigration officials have also continued to grant schools certification to accept overseas applicants even if the schools lack accreditation, state certification, or any obvious measure of academic rigor.

There are now more than 9,000 schools on the government approved list. The list includes such top-flight American colleges as Harvard and Yale, but it also includes 86 beauty schools, 36 massage schools, and nine schools that teach horseshoeing. Foreign students can enter the U.S. on a visa to study acupuncture, hair braiding, or join academies that focus on tennis and golf.

Once the student arrives in the U.S., it is up to the schools to keep track of the visa-holder’s whereabouts — and report to the government if they repeatedly miss class.

That is a serious concern, Coburn said, because a number of for-profit schools appear to have been operating with a primary goal of selling visas, not educating students.

Once in the U.S., aliens who had been admitted as nonimmigrants, that is to say, for a temporary period of time, may decide, for whatever reason, to remain permanently in the U.S. In point of fact, they may have entered the U.S. initially planning to not leave when required, and entered with the intentions of not only remaining in violation of their authorized period of admission, but working in violation of our immigration laws.

These arriving foreign visitors lied when they were interviewed to the CBP inspector at the airport or other port of entry when they entered the U.S., when they answered questions about their purposes for entering the U.S. and the length of time they planned to stay. They may well have completed the charade by providing the inspector with a return airlines reservation for a flight they had no intentions of taking. That ticket was provided simply to convince the inspector at the port of entry that the alien would be leaving when he said he would.

Furthermore, if the inspector decided to hold the alien for an exclusion hearing by an Immigration Judge, that ticket would likely convince the judge of the sincerity of the alien.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 contained many provisions to bolster the enforcement of our immigration laws. One of the provisions was the requirement that a biometric system be created that would track the arrival and departure of aliens, to know when nonimmigrant aliens who were admitted for a temporary period failed to depart from the U.S. when they were supposed to.

It is important to note that there are other ways that aliens may also violate the terms of their admission into the U.S. For example, aliens who are admitted as tourists must not be gainfully employed. When aliens accept such illegal employment, they become deportable (removable). Aliens who are admitted to attend schools and then fail to attend those schools are similarly removable for violating their immigration status, as are aliens who are admitted to work in the U.S. and fail to go to their authorized jobs. The point is that aliens may violate their terms of admission even before they overstay their authorized period of admission.

CURSORY INSPECTION PROCESS

CBP inspectors have a minute or two to do the most cursory of interviews of people seeking U.S. entry. The first issue is to make certain that the applicants for admission are who they claim they are. The next task is to separate aliens from citizens. Citizens may never, under any circumstances, be denied entry into the U.S. Aliens, on the other hand, must provide evidence that they are not on any watch lists that screen for terrorists, criminals, and others whose presence, under our immigration laws, would be harmful to the U.S. or its citizens. Aliens must prove they have the financial wherewithal to not be likely to work in the U.S. in violation of the law. Aliens who seek to deceive the CBP officials may have “show money,” which is the term we used to describe a wad of bills that do not belong to the alien presenting them, but will be given back to the person or organization that lent it to them to provide (false) evidence of financial self-sufficiency to pay for expenses in the U.S.

Aliens are supposed to provide an address in the U.S., but when aliens seek to tour across the country, often those addresses are less than worthless.

The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) supports the DHS’s responsibility to protect the nation by providing biometric identification services that help federal, state, and local government decision makers to accurately identify the people they encounter and determine whether those people pose a risk to the U.S. OBIM supplies the technology for collecting and storing biometric data, provides analysis, updates its watchlist, and ensures the integrity of the data.
OBIM was created in March 2013, replacing the U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program. OBIM is part of the National Protection and Programs Directorate. The DHS website makes it clear that this program is vital for our nation and our citizens, yet it is still not fully implemented.

Once again, the abject lack of ICE agents guarantees that nothing can or will be done to track down and arrest these illegal aliens who, although they did not evade the Border Patrol, defrauded the visa process and the inspections process conducted at ports of entry by CBP. Stop and think about the lack of agents to arrest illegal aliens. Simply tracking illegal aliens is absurd because those aliens are not arrested and deported (removed).

Simply tracking aliens who violate our laws makes as much sense as the BATF agents who, under the auspices of “Operation Fast and Furious,” provided guns to Mexican drug traffickers and then tracked the guns as they disappeared across the border into Mexico.

Could you imagine a police officer telling his/her superiors that he/she had encountered a criminal committing a crime and simply tracked that thug to determine where he went after he mugged someone, and then wrote a report about how many crimes the crook may have committed?

Yet when illegal aliens violate our borders and our immigration laws, our wonderful members of Congress and the Obama administration, as administrations before had done, make a big deal about tracking aliens who violate our laws. They have done nothing to arrest them and seek their prosecution for crimes and ultimately their removal (deportation) from the U.S. Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement work for a division of the Department of Homeland Security. How secure is our nation when an agency that is charged with securing our nation is content to spend billions of dollars to sort of track law violators?

MARRIAGE FRAUD

Some aliens may enter into sham marriages where they marry an American citizen or lawful immigrant who then files an application on their behalf. They don’t live with their spouse and their spouse may be paid money for this business arrangement.

This constitutes a serious crime, notwithstanding that this sort of arrangement has been portrayed in a number of romantic comedy films as a sort of light-hearted adventure. Such marriage fraud is seldom detected and even less frequently prosecuted.

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel (2004) took a radically different view of immigration and marriage fraud. They most certainly did not see it as a laughing matter.

This paragraph is found on page 98 of that official government report under the title “Immigration Benefits”:

Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the U.S. if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the U.S., acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.

In fact, marriage fraud had a nexus with the deadly terror attack in San Bernardino, California. On December 2, 2015, Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook carried out a terror attack in San Bernardino that left 14 dead and 22 wounded. The guns the terrorists used are alleged to have been provided by Enrique Marquez.

On December 3, less than 24 hours after that horrific attack, Enrique Marquez was scheduled to be interviewed at the San Bernardino offices of USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) in conjunction with the application for lawful immigrant status he had filed on behalf of his Russian wife, Mariya Chernykh. Consequently, five special agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), operating in conjunction with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, went to the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) hoping to locate Marquez, not only because of his allegedly providing assistance to the two terrorists who had carried out the deadly attack one day earlier, but because of concerns that he might have information or, in fact, be connected to upcoming attacks. Time was vital because of the concern that more terrorists might carry out still more murders.

Incredibly, the ICE agents were prevented from entering the USCIS office by the manager of that office, Irene Martin. It must be pointed out that both ICE and USCIS are agencies that operate under the aegis of the DHS (Department of Homeland Security).

‘VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT’ OPEN TO FRAUD

The notion of providing the spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants with lawful immigrant status was to provide an important service to Americans and lawful immigrants to enable them to marry foreign nationals and bring them to the U.S. so that they could live together in matrimony. At some point politicians decided that it was important to facilitate the entry of aliens into the U.S. These politicians raised concerns that some unscrupulous Americans might abuse their spouses and hold lawful immigrant status over their heads so that these aliens would be intimidated into not complaining that they were being abused by their American husbands.

Under an innocuous-sounding law they created, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994, any alien spouse could self-petition for lawful immigrant status if, after marrying an American, they filed a criminal complaint against their spouse. It is important to know that it is not uncommon for a foreign national to dupe an American into marrying them so that they could acquire lawful immigrant status and the Alien Registration Receipt Card (also known as the “Green Card”) that signifies that they have been granted lawful immigrant status.

In these instances, hapless Americans marry a citizen of a foreign country, and for several months they believe that they have been fortunate in marrying the “girl of their dreams.” (It could also involve the American woman who marries the “man of her dreams.”) However, once the petition for resident alien status is filed and the alien spouse is issued a Green Card, their loving spouse suddenly undergoes a radical change in behavior. Their once loving spouse refuses to sleep with them and otherwise makes it clear that they really don’t want to remain with their American husband/wife. For such aliens, their marriage was a scam, done to enable them to remain legally in the U.S.

If the American who was duped can provide evidence that their alien spouse had duped them, although it might be difficult, an investigation could provide the evidence that the alien had conned the American and could be stripped of lawful immigrant status. However, under VAWA, a truly unscrupulous alien can now claim to have been assaulted by his/her citizen spouse and be granted lawful immigrant status even if the American seeks to withdraw his/her petition. This incentivizes aliens who engage in such duplicitous conduct to falsify claims to have been assaulted by their spouse. The spouse may face a jail sentence while the alien gets to remain in the country permanently. This situation is the result of making the needs of aliens more important than the needs of American citizens. When politicians dare suggest that the law needs to be modified, they are accused of not being compassionate to abused women. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

ASYLUM FRAUD

Sometimes aliens may make a claim of “credible fear” that they cannot return to their home country because they would face persecution, or worse, if they returned, thereby filing an application for political asylum.

The Tsarnaev brothers who participated in the deadly terror attack at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, had, along with their other family members, successfully applied for political asylum, claiming that they could not return to their native Russia. Shortly after being granted political asylum, they voluntarily flew back to Russia. Obviously they had lied, but nevertheless they not only did not lose their immigration status or face punishment for their fraudulent claim, they were subsequently provided with lawful immigrant status. One of the brothers became a naturalized citizen prior to carrying out that attack.

Ramzi Yousef, one of the leaders of the deadly 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that killed six innocent victims, injured more than one thousand people, and inflicted roughly one-half billion dollars in damages to that major New York City landmark, which occupied a prominent place in the lower Manhattan skyline, attempted to enter the U.S. in 1992 with a false passport under a false alias. He was detained by immigration inspectors at John F. Kennedy International Airport and then, after he claimed “political asylum,” was ultimately released from INS custody, purportedly because of overcrowding in the detention facility. His release enabled him to lead the bombing of the World Trade Center a year later.

On December 11, 1994, nearly two years after the bombing of the World Trade Center, Yousef also planted a bomb on Philippine Airlines Flight 434 that killed one passenger and nearly brought that packed Boeing 747 airliner down. He was a key player in what came to be known as the Bojinka plot, which had it been carried out, would have blown multiple U.S. airliners out of the sky on the same day.

Although he fled the U.S., he was subsequently arrested by Pakistani and U.S. officials and extradited back to the U.S. to stand trial. He is currently serving two life sentences.

Two deadly terror attacks were carried out in the U.S. in 1993 by radical Islamist terrorists who entered the U.S. through ports of entry, either by committing visa fraud or by using counterfeit or altered passports. In a number of instances, they had successfully applied for immigration benefits, such as acquiring political asylum or amnesty through the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) provisions of the 1986 Amnesty program, which were an intrinsic element of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986.

On January 25, 1993, a citizen of Pakistan, Mir Amal Kansi, stopped a borrowed station wagon at a traffic light at the entrance to the CIA complex in Virginia, emerged from his vehicle, and fired his AK-47 into the vehicles of CIA employees reporting for work that winter morning. When the smoke cleared, two CIA officers were dead and three others were wounded. After his deadly attack, Kansi fled the U.S. but was subsequently captured in Pakistan by American law enforcement agents.

It is worth noting that Kansi’s strategy of fleeing the U.S. after the attack is a tactic often employed by alien terrorists and criminals to evade U.S. law enforcement authorities. These foreign nationals have a sort of “trap door” they can escape through, and all too often, this tactic is successful. In the case of Kansi, however, because of the nature of his crimes, our government took the extraordinary measures of tracking him down and returning him to the U.S. Many other such individuals have been successful in fleeing from the U.S. and never facing justice, and hence never having to pay for their crimes.

Just one month later, on February 26, 1993, a bomb-laden truck was parked in the garage under the World Trade Center complex and detonated. Ramzi Yousef, whose background and involvement in this and other attacks were noted previously, was one of the perpetrators.

That attack too was carried out by alien terrorists who managed to not only game the visa process in order to enter the U.S. and get past the inspections process at ports of entry, but game the immigration benefits program as well. This enabled them to remain in the U.S. and embed themselves as they went about their preparations to attack the U.S. and cause massive casualties. Aliens had to have found a way to enter the U.S. and then manage to hide in plain sight as they went about their deadly preparations. Yet the former INS faced no pressures to change the way that this important agency carried out its multiple missions.

On September 11, 2001, the very same failures of the immigration system enabled the most horrific and massive terror attack to be conducted on U.S. soil.

Still, today, the mission of enforcing our immigration laws from within the interior of the U.S. has not only been ignored, but was savaged by the Obama administration. Hillary Clinton promised that she would increase the number of Syrian refugees being admitted into the U.S. by 500 percent and would provide a massive amnesty program.

Indeed, she repeatedly charged that the Obama administration had actually been far too aggressive in enforcing our immigration laws.

VISAS GIVEN TO CITIZENS OF TERRORIST-SUPPORTING COUNTRIES

The Trump administration has been under fire for trying to limit the entry into the U.S. of citizens from countries that have a record of supporting terrorism. How many of Trump’s vocal critics know that as far back as February 24, 1998, the Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information of the Committee on the Judiciary, held a hearing on “Foreign Terrorists in America: Five Years After the World Trade Center.” Their report discloses how foreign students who were citizens of countries associated with terrorism, including Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq, were studying various science disciplines that could have trained them to carry out biological or nuclear attacks on the U.S.

Even Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) was alarmed. In her prepared statement she suggested that aliens from countries that sponsor terrorism should not, perhaps, be granted visas to enter the U.S.:

There are also a number of glaring loopholes in our immigration laws.

I have some reservation regarding the practice of issuing visas to terrorist-supporting countries and INS’ inability to track those who come into the country either using a student visa or using fraudulent documents through the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.

The Richmond Times recently reported that the mastermind of Saddam Hussein’s germ warfare arsenal, Rihab Taha, studied in England on a student visa. And England is one of the participating countries in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program, which means, if she could have gotten a fraudulent passport, she could have come and gone without a visa in the U.S.

The article also says, regarding Rihab Taha, also known as “Dr. Germ,” that her professors at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, speculate that she may have been sent to the West specifically to gain knowledge on biological weaponry.

What is even more disturbing is that this is happening in our own backyard.

The Washington Post reported on October 31, 1991, that UN weapons inspectors in Iraq discovered documents detailing an Iraqi Government strategy to send students to the U.S. and other countries to specifically study nuclear-related subjects to develop their own program. Samir al-Araji was one of the students who received his doctorate in nuclear engineering from Michigan State University. He eventually returned to Iraq to head its nuclear weapons program.

The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy found in September 1997 that many terrorist-supporting states are sending their students to the U.S. to get training in chemistry, physics, and engineering, which could potentially contribute to their home country’s missile and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs.

Yet the State Department often does not do in-depth background checks on the students, and once they are in the U.S., the INS has no ability to track the students to make certain they actually study the subjects they claim to study and to attend the schools they said they would attend.

Between 1991 and 1996, the State Department has issued about 9,700 student visas to students from terrorist-supporting states such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria to attend undergraduate and graduate studies in the U.S.

Additionally, a survey done by the Institute of International Education indicates that most students from terrorist-supporting countries major in the sciences, and the percentages: 71 percent from Iran; 65 percent, Iraq; 47 percent, Libya; 53 percent, Sudan; 68 percent, Syria.

Currently, the State Department does not do any special background checks for students coming from Syria or Sudan. An intermediate background check is required for Iranian students and a more extensive check for Iraqi students.

The defendants in the World Trade Center bombing are also an example of those coming in through nonimmigrant or employment-based visas or abusing our political asylum process and then committing crimes.

For instance, Nidal Ayyad, one of the defendants in this case, used his position as a chemical engineer for Allied Signal to obtain the chemicals used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

There is Gazi Abu Mezer, who was arrested in a suspected terrorist plot to detonate bombs in Brooklyn last year. He came in illegally across the Canadian border to Washington State and attempted to seek asylum, but withdrew his application and agreed to leave the country. Once he was released on voluntary departure, he fled Washington to Brooklyn, New York, where he was arrested for plotting suicide-bomb attacks in Brooklyn.

After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, FBI Director Louis Freeh sent a memo to the Deputy Attorney General on September 26, 1994, and made the recommendation that the State Department needed to establish a uniform system of communication on visa denials and that the Visa Waiver Pilot Program could be used by terrorists holding fraudulent documents and that asylum procedures and student visas can be abused by people trying to get into the country.

The INS then formed a Task Force on Foreign Student Controls in 1995, in response to Freeh’s memo, and found that INS had no ability to track the students in the U.S., that INS had no idea if the students leave, drop out, transfer, interrupt their education, violate their status, or commit crimes.

Mr. Chairman, under the 1996 Immigration Act, Congress requires the INS to create a pilot project to track information on foreign students — where they are, what they are studying, if they commit any crimes, and if they are studying the subjects they planned to study. The act requires INS to submit a report by 2001. The act also tightens up the asylum process by making it harder for aliens to claim asylum fraudulently, and section 110 of the Immigration Act requires an entry/exit system at all ports of entry by September 1998.

However, I cannot stress enough the importance of having the ability to track international students, particularly those from terrorist-supporting countries and having an entry/exit system ability so we know who is coming in and out of the country.

I also believe we need to re-evaluate the Visa Waiver Pilot Program as is. In fact, without additional controls to screen out those travelling from terrorist-supporting states, the Visa Waiver Pilot Program would make us vulnerable to allowing aliens from terrorist countries to enter without any detection.

Nearly twenty years later, although the Visa Waiver Program was identified as posing a threat to national security, it was not only permitted to remain in place but has continually been expanded.

A system to track foreign students was implemented. But simply tracking foreign students does little good if they are not arrested and removed from the U.S. when they fail to maintain their status as students. This is not a hard concept to understand.

Yet, as I noted earlier in this article, as of 2014, immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. — now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.

When someone calls 911 for police, an ambulance, or for firefighters to put out a blaze, simply tracking those emergencies would achieve nothing. It is expected that when such emergencies occur there will be an adequate number of emergency personnel who are appropriately equipped and trained who will swiftly respond to effectively address the emergency.

Likewise, simply knowing that there are illegal aliens present in the U.S. does nothing to actually bring those persons into custody and seek their removal from the U.S. When there is no law enforcement response to violations of laws, these present a threat to our safety. The message to aliens contemplating illegally entering the U.S., and the terrorists and criminals among them, is clear — violations of the immigration laws are of no consequence. This creates an incentive for aliens to violate our immigration laws, secure in the knowledge that there will be no adverse consequences for committing those violations of law.

When our elected officials make it clear that no matter how aliens may have entered the U.S., we simply will not deport them but instead will provide them all with lawful status, then we really need to ask why the federal government bothers with a legal entry system for foreign visitors.

Most terrorists have been able to game the background check by providing false identity documents. Other aliens simply decide to not leave the U.S., confident that with the all but nonexistent enforcement of our immigration laws within the interior of the country, no one will look for them. They may purchase a stolen identity or assume a fabricated identity to hide in plain sight.

Yet nothing has ever been done to instill integrity in these processes. The lack of integrity in the various categories of our immigration system simple mirrors the lack of integrity where our elected “representatives” are concerned.

DANGERS IN CURRENT LEGALIZATION PROPOSALS

The legalization programs that leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties tout as a supposedly “commonsense solution” to dealing with millions of illegal aliens who are too numerous to all be deported, would provide terror organizations and transnational gangs with unparalleled opportunities to enable their operatives to enter the U.S. and embed themselves in American communities. This could lead to the greatest invasion any country has ever witnessed, and it would have been orchestrated and facilitated by the political leaders of our own nation.

The Reagan Administration claimed that the amnesty program that was part and parcel of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 would enable roughly one million illegal aliens to emerge from the “shadows.” In reality, when the bureaucratic dust settled, nearly four million illegal aliens had availed themselves of the opportunity to gain legal status.

Today our official, optimistic claim is that there are about 12 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. If the same ratio of undercounting and/or underestimating the actual numbers continues as it did in 1986, the actual number of such aliens who would have to be processed would exceed 40 million.

To reassure Americans that it is in America’s best interests to get millions of illegal aliens out of the shadows, politicians tout the fact that every alien would have to undergo a “background check.”

“Background checks” cannot and must not be equated with “background investigations.”

A background check simply involves running a name and a set of fingerprints through a series of databases. Contrary to what many people may believe, fingerprints do not always identify the person who is fingerprinted and may not disclose his/her true background or criminal or terrorist history. This is especially true for aliens from Third World countries, where there may not be any fingerprints available for comparison. A person whose fingerprints are not on file and who uses a false name will almost invariably beat this system.

A “background investigation” is an entirely different process. It requires that investigators interview people in the field. This would include neighbors of the subject of the inquiry, along with family members and friends as well as colleagues at work. Such an investigation may also include surveilling the subject, reviewing his/her bank records, phone records, and other such documentation. This is a time-consuming and costly process.

There would be no way to interview these millions of aliens and hence no way to conduct any field investigations to verify any information contained in their applications. No way to know who they are, no way to know anything about their possible connections to criminal or terrorist organizations. There would be no way to know when they actually entered the country.

Establishing a cutoff date of arrival to determine eligibility of these aliens would simply be a charade. When illegal aliens evade the inspections process, no record of their entry is created. These aliens would simply have to make certain to have claimed to have entered the U.S. prior to whatever that cutoff date is.

Only aliens who wanted to emerge from the “shadows” would do so. Aliens who know that their fingerprints would disclose that they are the subjects of criminal arrest warrants or know that they would be identifiable as belonging to criminal or terrorist organizations would, without fear, be able to continue to reside in those shadows. Meanwhile that massive legalization program would tie up immigration personnel at DHS for years to come.

Additionally, this would also mean that aliens who have done everything they were supposed to in order to comply with our laws would likely find that they would have to endure many years of waiting for their applications to be adjudicated.

Finally, each and every one of these newly legalized aliens would have the right to immediately apply to have their spouses and minor children lawfully admitted into the U.S. to join them here. This could result in millions of children suddenly being enrolled in public schools in towns and cities across the U.S.

Aliens have been easily able to game the visa process, the inspections process conducted at ports of entry, and the immigration benefits program to acquire lawful status. Most of the time aliens have done this to be able to work in the U.S. While not a violent crime, these aliens are, nevertheless, displacing American workers and driving down wages.

However, as the 9/11 Commission discovered and as has been disclosed at a series of Congressional oversight hearings, terrorists have also committed fraud to gain entry to the U.S. and then embed themselves. Yet most of our politicians, including the mayors and governors of “Sanctuary” cities and states, blithely ignore the damage being done to Americans who are losing their livelihoods and, all too often, their lives, to aliens who are violating our laws and our borders.

For these politicians, the harm being done to Americans is “collateral damage,” or, as the father of a young man who was killed in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, during the terror attacks, “the cost of doing business.” Our politicians are arguably conducting the biggest con game in the history of our nation.

The multiple failures of the immigration system have never been addressed and are not likely to be addressed any time soon with the current crop of political “leaders” from both political parties. Wanting campaign contributions, politicos have made placating the U.S. Chamber of Commerce their chief aim. The Chamber represents the interests of corporations from a broad swath of businesses that want an unlimited supply of cheap and compliant labor for bottom-rung economic jobs all the way up to high-tech jobs that employ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals.

Corporations that depend on tourism want an unlimited supply of foreign tourists to spend their money in the U.S., and schools want an unlimited supply of foreign students.

Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its ultra-deep-pocketed allies and associates from Silicon Valley to Wall Street are truly getting “the best government money can buy.”

Meanwhile, Americans are losing their livelihoods and their lives. That is the truth.

citizenship ISIS

Judge Revokes follower of Mohammed’s U.S. Citizenship

Citing immigration irregularities and numerous lies on various applications the U.S. government has revoked the citizenship of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist. This is excellent news and should be done with every Muslim who has been convicted of jihad terror activity here or abroad.

A confessed al-Qaida operative who recruited other naturalized U.S. citizens to commit attacks and helped Egyptian terrorists avoid detection by running a communications hub from his northern California home has been stripped of U.S. citizenship by a federal district judge in Washington, D.C.

A former Silicon Valley car salesman, al Dahab lived in California for 12 years. He married in the U.S. three times and fathered five children, according to court records and a 2001 news report. His naturalization application was approved in December 1996, and he became a U.S. citizen in February 1997, according to court records.

Convicted of terrorism-related crimes in Egypt, al Dahab later confessed to his membership of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and that he had traveled to a terrorist training camp near Jalalabad, Afghanistan. There he received military-style training and in turn, taught foreign fighters how to hang glide as part of a plot to free imprisoned members of the terrorist group.

While in the United States, al Dahab told investigators, he recruited 10 Muslim Americans to join al-Qaida. From his apartment in Santa Clara, California, he helped Egyptian Islamic Jihad operatives avoid detection in their communication by using three-way calling to connect operatives and skirt electronic surveillance inside their country. Those efforts supported terrorist attacks in Egypt and Pakistan, according to the Justice Department. In doing so, al Dahab failed to establish good moral character, a requirement for naturalization, the government argued.

The Justice Department alleged that he repeatedly lied on his naturalization application and during an interview with an Immigration and Naturalization Service officer about where he lived, his foreign travel, past marriages and his affiliation with a terrorist group. The court order requires al Dahab to surrender and immediately deliver his citizenship papers to U.S. authorities. (more here)

Khaled Abu al Dahab, 57, most likely found out that the government wanted to denaturalize him through Facebook.

JUDGE REVOKES SUSPECTED AL-QAEDA TERRORIST’S CITIZENSHIP

Courthouse News Service, April 21, 2017
WASHINGTON (CN) – A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS REVOKED THE U.S. CITIZENSHIP OF AN EGYPTIAN MAN THE GOVERNMENT CLAIMS IS A SENIOR AL-QAIDA JIHADIST OPERATIVE.
Barely mentioning Khaled Abu al-Dahab’s alleged links to terrorism, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell instead found that he had illegally procured his citizenship after falsifying information on his naturalization applications three times.

Howell focused on the fact that al-Dahab, who was naturalized as a citizen in 1997, had lied about his marital and travel histories. He had also falsely claimed in a 1988 employment application to be a U.S. citizen.

“The defendant’s false testimony and statements on these three occasions establish by clear, unequivocal, and convincing—indeed, undisputed—evidence that the defendant procured his citizenship illegally,” Howell’s 17-page opinion, released Wednesday, states.

Al-Dahab, 57, came to the U.S. in 1986 on a non-immigrant visa. He married three times, but according to the court ruling, concealed his third marriage during a naturalization interview and in his application paperwork.

Al-Dahab, who now resides in Alexandria, Egypt, also said he had not left the country in the five years prior to submitting several applications for naturalization. On his second application, however, he claimed to have left the country once on an emergency trip because he thought he would have to donate a kidney to his mother.

But the Department of Justice cites far more sinister reasons for its desire to revoke al-Dahab’s citizenship. In a press release about the court ruling, the DOJ said al-Dahab had worked in Silicon Valley as a car salesman, where he confessed to being a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Howell’s opinion only mentions this claim once, buried in a footnote on page 12.

“The government also claims that the defendant gave untrue statements about his residences and an alleged affiliation with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization, supporting these claims with declarations by a single FBI Special Agent,” the footnote states.

The DOJ disclosed the prosecution’s original 33-page complaint and 35-page motion for summary judgment to Courthouse News, both of which outline al-Dahab’s terror associations in more detail.

“From on or about November 2, 1989 through at least on or about October 29, 1998, Defendant was a member or associated with EIJ,” the government’s Oct. 31, 2016, motion for summary judgment states.

The U.S. government designated the EIJ as a foreign terrorist organization on Sept. 24, 2001.

A Nov. 21, 2001, San Francisco Gate article by Lance Williams supports the government’s assertions. According to the article, which is based on unspecified accounts of Egyptian court proceedings and interviews with people who knew al-Dahab, al-Dahab confessed to an Egyptian military court that he was a member of the EIJ.

By Williams’ account, al-Dahab turned against the U.S., Israeli and Egyptian governments after his father’s death in a 1973 plane crash.

Israeli fighter jets shot down the Cairo-bound plane when it strayed into airspace over the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel still occupied after conquering the territory in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Williams reported that Egyptian authorities arrested al-Dahab in Cairo in 1998. A military court sentenced him to 15 years in prison for his Islamic Jihad membership and his role in plotting to overthrow the Egyptian government.

Howell ignored this alleged history in her ruling, even though the government had used it to argue for revocation of al-Dahab’s citizenship.

“Defendant’s membership or affiliation with EIJ constitutes prima facie evidence that he was not attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and was not well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States at the time of naturalization,” the government’s motion states.

The government also claims al-Dahab had confessed to recruiting 10 U.S. citizens to al-Qaida — which reportedly delighted Osama bin Laden — during the 12 years he lived in California.

“Al-Dahab told the investigators that Osama bin Laden was eager to recruit American citizens of Middle Eastern descent because their U.S. passports could be used to facilitate international travel by al Qaeda terrorists, and that bin Laden personally congratulated him for this work,” the DOJ said in a statement (alternative spelling of al-Quaida in the original).

Al-Dahab allegedly confessed to traveling to Afghanistan to report directly to Osama bin Laden about his recruitment successes.

According to the government’s motion for summary judgment, al-Dahab had attended a camp in Jalalabad, Afghanistan to receive military training and teach other Islamic Jihad members to fly hang gliders for use in terror attacks.

The government says he also operated a communications hub for the Egyptian Islamic Jihad from his Santa Clara, California, apartment, which facilitated terror attacks abroad.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions applauded the DOJ for prosecuting al-Dahab.

“We will protect our national security and our borders, and when we identify individuals tied to foreign terrorist organizations who procured their U.S. citizenship by fraud, we will initiate denaturalization proceedings – whether you reside here or abroad – and ensure you are denied entry into the United States,” Sessions said in a statement.

RELATED ARTICLE: Haitian ‘temporary’ refugees to test Trump’s resolve on immigration

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Geller Report.

Ilhan Omar

Muslim legislator thinks Islamic terrorists should get their life insurance policies

By voting against a bill that would block life insurance payments to terrorists killed while killing Americans, Minnesota legislator Ilhan Omar shows her allegiance to her people.

From Leo Hohmann at WND:

Omar as the inspiration for a Somali Muslim Barbie doll.

She burst on the scene last August when she upset a 44-year incumbent Democrat in the Minnesota state primary elections to become the nation’s first female Muslim state legislator.

Ilhan Omar, the 34-year-old community organizer who came to America as a refugee from Somalia, was touted by Democrats as a model success story.

“From a refugee camp to the State Capitol with intelligence and insight,” beamed former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who endorsed Omar. “This is a wonderful story to tell as Americans, and a great source of pride for the state of Minnesota’s open arms.”

But on Thursday Omar made her mark in another way.

She was one of only two members of the Minnesota State House to vote against a bill that would allow life insurance companies to deny payouts to the beneficiaries of terrorists who die in violent attacks on Americans.

The House voted 127-2 to pass the bill, which now moves on to a vote in the State Senate.

Omar, who represents the heavily immigrant Cedar Riverside area of Minneapolis, was joined by fellow Democratic Rep. John Lesch of St. Paul in voting against the bill.

Omar’s vote sticks out because at least 42 Somali refugees have been confirmed by the FBI to have left the U.S. to join overseas terrorist organizations, including al-Shabab, the al-Qaida affiliate in Somalia, and ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

[….]

The Minnesota insurance bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, in response to Syed Farook’s jihadist rampage in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015 in which he shot and killed 14 people and injured 22 at an office Christmas party. Farook made sure his life insurance policies worth $275,000 were valid before conducting the deadly shooting with help from his wife, Tashfeen Malik.

After Farook died in a shootout with police, his mother fought to remain the beneficiary of the life insurance policies. The insurance company balked and the case has gone to court.

There is much, much more including an interview with our friend Debra Anderson, continue here.

See our previous posts on Omar by clicking here.

Why can’t someone in Congress introduce (and get passed!) a federal bill to bar life insurance payouts in cases like the San Bernardino slaughter.  There will surely be more as the US Muslim population increases!

EndNote: There will be many more Muslim legislators like Omar as well if this group has it’s way:  See Jetpac Inc.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump Admin comes in at just short of 900 refugees in past week; Syrian numbers way down

Pence in Australia: Sure! We will be taking over 1,000 illegal aliens now held in Australian detention

veiled muslim woman

VIDEO: Special Gun Rights for Muslims?!

Faith Goldy reports:

When I applied for my Canadian firearms licence after passing my federally mandated PAL and RPAL courses, the RCMP got all of my information. They asked for everything from medical history, relationship history, familial structures, and a photograph.

However, when I recently logged online to renew my license, I noticed something peculiar:

An exception to the usual regulation requiring a photograph, citing religious exemption!

So, I contacted the RCMP, and you won’t believe what happens next.

While I’m no fan of tighter gun control measures, shouldn’t all law-abiding gun-owners be treated equally in Canada?

Why are special rights being granted to members of certain religious sects while other Canadians are held to a different standard?

pedophilia stop it

Did you know that a 14-year-old child can legally marry in New York State?

There is a move to make sex with underage children legal across America.

Alfred Kinsey.

Dr. Judith Reisman in a March 25th, 2016 column titled They’re mainstreaming pedophilia! wrote:

Alfred Kinsey’s ongoing sexual anarchy campaign has no end in sight.

Matt Barber, associate dean of the Liberty University School of Law, and I attended the “B4U-ACT” pedophile conference Aug. 17. To eliminate the “stigma” against pedophiles, this growing sexual anarchist lobby wants the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to redefine pedophilia as a normal sexual orientation of “Minor-Attracted Persons.”

Adhering to the Kinsey principle of lulling “straights” into a false sense of security, pedophile dress was largely conservative – short hair, jackets, some ties and few noticeable male ear piercings.

Matt Barber and I sat in the back of the meeting room among roughly 50 activists and their “mental health” attending female enablers. “Pedophilia, Minor-Attracted Persons, and the DSM: Issues and Controversies,” keynoted “Fred Berlin, M.D., Ph.D., as founder, National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma; Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic.”

Read more…

In December 2016 Heather BarrSenior Researcher, Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, in a December 7th, 2016 column titled Ending Child Marriage Everywhere—Including in the West: US and European Countries Allow Too Many Children to Marry wrote:

Did you know that a 14-year-old child can legally marry in New York State?

Ending child marriage is urgent, because it is deeply harmful to children, wherever they live. Married children often drop out of school, and are locked in poverty as a result. Married girls often become pregnant soon, and early pregnancy involves serious health risks for pregnant girls and their babies. Girls who marry earlier are at higher risk of domestic violence than women who marry as adults. Married girls often face extra barriers in escaping an abusive or unhappy marriage, and accessing shelter and legal assistance.

[ … ]

In New York, between 2000 and 2010, 3,853 children under 18 married, with permission from parents, judges, or both. In the vast majority of cases, it was girls marrying adult men. In 2014, 3 percent of Serbian women age 20 to 24 reported that they married before age 18.

Read more…

So who is supporting child marriages?

Organizations such as B4U-ACT, the followers of Mohammed, pedophiles, pederasts and Kinseyites. This is child abuse, plain and simple. We hope this warning is heeded by elected leaders at all levels. Child trafficking, child prostitution and using children as sex slaves by groups such as ISIS is an epidemic.

Child sex abuse must stop.

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Charges for Man Disguised as Woman in Bathroom Filming

EASY MEAT: The Muslims are ‘raping our daughters’

Pedophiles in American Public Schools and Universities

Pedophile Jared Fogle and the Untold Story of his Visit to Sarasota, FL

Boys Beware: Classic Film warns against Homosexuals, Pedophiles and Pederasts

EXPOSED: The U.S. and British “Sex Industrial Complex”

INFOGRAPHIC: Kinsey flow chart, courtesy of Dr. Judith Reisman:

kinsey flow chart

Fall-ofBerlin-Wall

What Eastern Europe Can Teach Cuba and Venezuela by Daniel J. Mitchell

It appears that Venezuela is on the brink of collapse as it enters the fourth circle of statist hell.

And the death of Cuba’s long-time dictator gives hope that the people of that island nation may soon escape communist tyranny.

Moreover, one certainly hopes that the lunatic leadership of North Korea’s brutal regime won’t last forever.

Let’s cross our fingers that these evil governments will soon lose power. But that’s only the first step. We also need to think about the policies that would enable these nations to undo the damage of pervasive socialism.

We can learn some lessons by looking at the experience of post-communist nations in Eastern Europe, which is a topic I addressed in the latest edition of The Conservative, which is the quarterly magazine published by the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformers in Europe.

I started the article with some broad observations about grim political and economic impact of communism.

Communism was an awful system for people trapped behind the Iron Curtain. The political cost was enormous. Personal rights and individual liberties were sacrificed to protect the power of the state. Human rights were abused, dissidents were imprisoned, and some were even killed. Communism also imposed huge economic costs. Collectivized agriculture, central planning, price controls, and government-run industries were among the policies that resulted in a debilitating misallocation of resources. And because labor and capital were poorly utilized, living standards lagged far behind western nations.

That was the bad news.

The good news is that the Soviet Empire collapsed, the Berlin Wall was dismantled, and democratic forms of government are now the norm in Eastern Europe.

But good news isn’t perfect news. Nations that emerged from the Soviet Bloc are still economic laggards. And if you dig into the latest version of Economic Freedom of the World, a big problem is that post-communist nations have not been very successful in defending property rights and implementing the rule of law.

Establishing genuine capitalism, though, has been a bigger challenge. Part of the problem is policy. And to be more specific, data from the Fraser’s Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World shows that the major difference today between Western Europe and Eastern Europe (nations that were part of the Soviet Bloc) is that the former get much better scores for “Legal System and Property Rights.” Indeed, the average ranking of Western European nations is 20.6 (with 1 being the best) while the average ranking of Eastern European countries is 67.1 (Economic Freedom of the World ranks 159 jurisdictions).

Here’s a graph comparing Western European nations with Eastern European nations.

As you can see, this is an area where Western Europe leads the world. Nordic nations tend to be at the very top of the rankings (thus helping to offset bad fiscal policy in those countries), and other countries in the region also are highly ranked (though a few countries in the region, such as Italy and Greece, don’t get good scores).

Eastern European countries, by contrast, don’t do well. There’s a significant gap when looking at average scores. Indeed, only Estonia ranks in the top 25.

And bad scores in this category are akin to putting a house on a foundation of sand. Other policies may create a house that looks very nice, but it probably won’t last very long on the unstable foundation.

And speaking of other policies, post-communist nations have better fiscal policy than the countries from Western Europe. Or, to be more accurate, they have less-worse fiscal policy.

If you examine the overall ratings for “Size of Government,” Eastern European nations actually are ranked significantly better, with an average ranking of 89.2 compared to 129.2 for Western European countries. This is because tax rates tend to be lower (many former Soviet Bloc nations have flat tax regimes, for instance) and welfare states aren’t as burdensome.

As I already hinted, doing “significantly better” on fiscal policy than Western Europe does not mean Eastern Europe has good fiscal policy.

Indeed, an average ranking of 89 means that most Eastern European nations are in the bottom half of the world.

So while it’s good that some Eastern European nations have flat taxes, that’s not an economic elixir if there are very high payroll taxes, stifling value-added taxes, and onerous energy taxes.

And since the burden of government spending is extremely onerous in Western Europe, it’s hardly an impressive achievement that Eastern Europe ranks slightly higher.

Though there’s one aspect of fiscal policy where the post-communist countries are lagging their neighbors to the west.

…if you dig into the details and examine the various components that determine “Size of Government,” there’s one area where Eastern Europe lags. The numbers for “Government Enterprises and Investment” are better in Western Europe. …In other words, politicians play too large a role in the allocation of capital in former communist nations.

To put that message in blunter terms, there’s too much cronyism in Eastern Europe.

So long as politicians can directly (state-owned enterprises) or indirectly (handouts, subsidies, and bailouts) provide favors and tilt the playing field, the enriching forces of private markets will be stunted.

Which is why I shared this conclusion in my article.

The bottom line is that post-communist nations need to choose genuine capitalism if they want a brighter future for their citizens.

If you want to close with some good news, I did point out in the article that there are some bright spots in the region, especially Estonia, though Poland also has made big progress.

Republished from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

GIC-Housing-Finance

Index finds Rallying Home Purchase Market in 2016

Today, AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk (ICHR) and First American Financial Corporation release the AEI/First American National Housing Market Index (NHMI), the first index ever to analyze sales transaction volume for the entire home purchase market.

The national housing market continued its rally in the fourth quarter of 2016. On an annualized basis, 5,810,000 sales transactions were reported, which is up 350,000 transactions, or 6.4 percent, from 2015.

  • 2015 had already seen demand grow by 340,000 transactions or 7.6 percent from 2014.
  • The home purchase market also closed out 2016 with strong growth as transactions increased 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago.
  • Cash sales continued to trend down accounting for only 29 percent of all transactions in 2016, down from 30 percent in 2015 and 36 percent in 2013.
  • Filling its void was government-backed lending, which accounted for 55 percent of all transactions in 2016, up from 53 percent in 2015 and 50 percent in 2013. 
  • The AEI/First American National Housing Market Index (NHMI) is the first index to report on the entire home purchase market.
  • Transaction numbers are also available on the state and metro area level for unprecedented geographical detail.

The NHMI combines ICHR’s data on the federal agency market (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Association, Veterans Affairs, and Rural Housing Services) with data provided by First American via DataTree.com for the private side of the mortgage market and for cash and non-institutionalized lender sales. The combined data set nearly covers the volume of the entire market at the national, state, and metro levels. To account for the small amount of incomplete data, housing data are scaled to estimate total volume at the various reported levels.

In contrast to existing estimates of home sales, the AEI/First American NHMI is based on comprehensive loan- and transaction-level data and does not involve extrapolations from a survey or sample of the housing market. Other published data are based on surveys or samples, necessitating assumptions about the entire market. The NHMI is the only metric that (i) compiles data from virtually the entire housing market, (ii) provides views into the data from many key perspectives, and (iii) is published quarterly with minimal time lag.

The AEI/First American NHMI is released quarterly by AEI’s ICHR. It provides counts for home purchase transactions undertaken with institutional financing or other financing, as well as cash sales. In addition, dollar volumes, loan counts, average loan amounts, and market shares for primary owner and secondary owner/non-owner tenure types will be provided at the national, state, and metro area level for each of the five loan agencies (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, the VA, and Rural Housing Services), as well as for the private (non-agency) loan sector in order to give an accurate and detailed picture of activity in the home purchase and the mortgage loan markets. Today’s release reports on transactions from the fourth quarter of 2016. The quarterly time series tracks housing data back to the fourth quarter of 2012 and is based on almost 23 million home purchase transactions. The number will grow with each additional quarter of data.

“The NHMI-Primary Owner Purchase Loan volume index rose to 141 in 2016: Q4, as compared to 124 in 2015:Q4 and 116 in 2014:Q4,” noted Edward Pinto, co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI’s) International Center on Housing Risk. “Based on these and other data, I expect 2017 purchase originations to continue to grow robustly.”

“The total value of residential purchase transactions in the U.S. housing market approached $1 trillion in 2016, coming in at $965 trillion for the year. The share of cash sales continues to decrease, but remains a significant portion of the overall market at 29 percent,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American. “Entering the busy spring home buying season, I expect prices to continue to rise and transaction volumes to continue to grow, spurred on by the strong sellers’ market and increasing Millennial, first-time homebuyer demand.”

The NHMI for the first quarter of 2017 will be released on June 26, 2017.

To arrange an interview with Ed Pinto, please contact AEI Media Services at mediaservices@aei.org or 202.862.4870.

To arrange an interview with First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming, please contact First American’s corporate communications team at 714-250-3298. Mark Fleming’s unique research and analysis of real estate, mortgage risk and housing trends is available at www.firstam.com/economics.

About First American

First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a leading provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions that traces its heritage back to 1889. First American also provides title plant management services; title and other real property records and images; valuation products and services; home warranty products; property and casualty insurance; and banking, trust and investment advisory services. With revenues of $5.6 billion in 2016, the company offers its products and services directly and through its agents throughout the United States and abroad. In both 2016 and 2017, First American was recognized by Fortune® magazine as one of the 100 best companies to work for in America. More information about the company can be found at www.firstam.com.

About AEI

AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk provides research, commentary, and new tools for measuring housing and mortgage market trends. Mr. Pinto is the codirector of the ICHR, a resident fellow at AEI, and a former executive vice president and chief credit officer for Fannie Mae.

hospital-waiting-line

Why Single-Payer Health Care Delivers Poor Quality at High Cost by Daniel J. Mitchell

I shared last year a matrix to illustrate Milton Friedman’s great insight about the superior results achieved by markets compared to government.

Incentives explain why markets work best. When you spend your own money on yourself (box 1), you try to maximize quality while minimizing cost. And that drives the businesses that are competing for your money to constantly seek more efficient ways of producing better products at better prices.

This system generates creative destruction, which sometimes can be painful, but the long-term result is that we are vastly richer.

Governments, by contrast, don’t worry about efficiency or cost (box 4).

Today, though, let’s use Friedman’s matrix to understand the shortcomings of the US health care system. Way back in 2009, I opined that the most important chart in health care was the one showing that American consumers directly paid for less than 12 percent of health expenditures.

For all intents and purposes, instead of buying health care with their own money, they use other people’s money (box 2), a phenomenon known as third-party payer. And because most of their health expenses are financed by either government (thanks to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc) or insurance companies (thanks to the tax code’s health care exclusion), consumers focus only on quality and don’t care much about cost.

That 2009 column was written before Obamacare’s enactment, so let’s see if anything has changed.

Well, we know health care has become more expensive. But do we know why?

The answer, at least in part, is that consumers are directly financing an even smaller percentage of their health care expenses. In other words, the distortions caused by third-party payer have become worse.

Here’s the most-recent data from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (specifically the National Health Expenditures by type of service and source of funds, CY 1960-2015). Consumers are now paying only 10.5 percent of health care costs.

Now let’s consider the issue of efficiency.

Are we getting better health care for all the money that’s being spent?

That doesn’t seem to be the case. Here’s another chart from the archives. It compares per-capita health spending in various nations with average life expectancy.

As you can see, the United States is not getting more bang for the buck. And I very much doubt an updated version of those numbers would show anything different.

Heck, we even have more government spending on health care, per capita, than many nations with fully nationalized systems.

So if we’re not buying better health outcomes with all this money, what are we getting?

The blunt answer is bureaucracy and inefficiency. Here are some excerpts I shared years ago from a column by Robert Samuelson.

There are 9 times more clerical workers in health care than there are physicians, and twice as many clerical workers as registered nurses. This investment has not paid off in superior outcomes or better customer service, however. …Every analysis of medical care that has been done highlights the significant waste of resources in providing care. Consider a few examples: one study found that physicians spent on average of 142 hours annually interacting with health plans, at an estimated cost to practices of $68,274 per physician (Casalino et al., 2009). Another study found that 35 percent of nurses’ time in medical/surgical units of hospitals was spent on documentation (Hendrich et al., 2008).

Let’s close with a chart from a left-wing group that wants a single-payer system.

And this chart clearly makes a compelling case that the current approach in the United States is very wasteful.

For what it’s worth, I’m slightly skeptical about the veracity of the numbers. Why, for instance, would there be a sudden explosion of administrators starting about 1990?

But even if the data is overstated, I’m sure the numbers are still bad. We see the same thing in other areas of our economy where government-instigated third-party payer enables waste and featherbedding. Higher education is an especially shocking example.

The real issue is how to solve the problem. Our leftist friends think a single-payer health care system would solve the problem, but that would be akin to nationalizing grocery stores to deal with the inefficiencies created by food stamps and agriculture subsidies.

The real answer, as Julie Borowski explains in this video, is unraveling all the government interventions that caused the problem in the first place.

And if you want another video on the topic, here’s a Dutch expert making similar points. I also recommend this clever cartoon video that explains third-party payer. And this Reason video on how costs are lower when actual markets operate.

And if aren’t already numbed by lots of data, Mark Perry and Devon Herrick have more evidence of lower costs when third-party payer is reduced.

Republished from International Liberty.

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Defeat. Conservative Victory.

House Freedom Caucus

It’s Fake News to Call the ‘Freedom Caucus’ the ‘Rebellious Far Right’ by Jeffrey A. Tucker

My hope is that this article will settle this nonsense once and for all. It won’t. Fake news outlets will persist as long as they are allowed to get away with it. It’s a smear and an outright lie but it goes on often, especially recently.

The Background

First of all, as you undoubtedly know, there is a faction within the House of Representatives gaining consciousness of the great task of our time: to get government out of the way of the productive forces of freedom, and to do this in every area of life. It is called the “Freedom Caucus,” and their influence just brought down the false alternative to Obamacare that preserved all its essential features.

Given the upheaval in the Republican Party, these people are developing a new understanding of themselves. They stood up to Trump. Clearly, they don’t exist on the common left/right spectrum.In how they handled the great Obamacare/Ryancare debacle, they should be called “libertarians,” because this is the word that has emerged to describe them in our times.

But more correctly, they should be called “liberals,” because they are the successors to the great cause of human liberation that began in the late Middle Ages, extended through the Enlightenment, drove the revolutions against power in the 18th century, ended slavery and the subjugation of women in the 19th century, and fought socialism and fascism in the 20th century. In the 21st century, they’ve championed digital innovation, privacy, and technological progress.

Here is good tutorial.

What They Believe

This group, which is undergoing a revival in many forms in our times, is trending toward being a consistent force of freedom. It’s not there just yet but the trend line is unmistakable and good. It’s not just about lower taxes, though they do desire that. They also want free trade, free migration as an ideal, free speech, deregulation, penal and prison reform, and an end to wars of all sorts. In short, they see the free society as the answer and government as the problem.

They have few connections to what is called the Left, except in areas like prison reform, drug decriminalization, and free speech. But neither do they share the values of the emergent far Right we’re seeing in Europe or the United States. They reject authoritarians of all sorts, which is why they are not reliable friends of the Trump administration. They will back him when he is right but fight him when he is wrong. They are independent in this way, recognizing that both Right and Left are forms of statist ideology, two flavors of the same cause.They are often called “conservatives” in American political lexicon, and sometimes they too have to embrace this term because it has resonance with the media and the voters. But they don’t like it, and it doesn’t really describe them. They do not want to conserve any old habits of government. They want government out of the way precisely so market forces and society in general can discover new and better ways of doing things.

Now, having described the Freedom Caucus in the House as best I can, consider what the New York Times says. The article “Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War” is by Glenn Thrush (twitter.com/GlennThrush) and Maggie Haberman (twitter.com/maggieNYT). Here is what they write:

In stopping the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years, the rebellious far Right wing of his party out-rebelled Mr. Trump, and won a major victory on Friday over the party establishment that he now leads.

You see that? The “rebellious far Right wing.”

The Real Far Right

Any reader would equate that designation with Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, Norbert Hofer in Austria, and so on. Actually, you can read all about the rise of the far Right in Europe in a very authoritative source: the New York Times, in an article published only a few months ago.

Their policies are by now predictable. They want protectionism, restricted immigration, some form of industrial economic planning, a strong welfare safety net, and, very often, they favor national health care systems.In fact, even in the United States, the most highly-trafficked Nazi website (please forgive me for not linking) came out with a front page editorial on the day of the Republican vote that came out explicitly for nationalized health insurance.

These policies are not pro-freedom. They have more in common with an interwar-style fascism. Most people who hang out on Twitter know them well. They are masters of the troll, self-proclaimed edge lords who tweet racist, anti-semitic, and nativist slogans and memes all day and all night. There are whole packages of software designed to block them.

Libertarianism is different, very different, from the alt-right, the far Right, the fascist right, the Nazi right, and so on.

Rebellious, Yes; Far Right, No

With health care, in particular, you see a striking difference. The Freedom Caucus opposed the Trump/Ryan plan because it preserved the statist features of Obamacare. It did not introduce market competition. They knew, as a matter of personal conviction and experience, that the replacement would not work. They acted out of principle but also out of a genuine knowledge of the sector, what has broken it, and how it must be fixed.

These reporters really must find a way to clean up their language, or risk sowing a very dangerous confusion. It is ridiculously misleading to persist in these old habits of describing any non-Leftist as associated with the “far Right.” It smacks of propaganda. These reporters have to do better if they want to describe the emergent liberal faction of the Republican party with any accuracy.On a personal note, I adore the New York Times. I read it thoroughly every day. I don’t agree with it, but I find it an indispensable source of news. I would like to see the ideological reporting of this paper improve.

If you tweet to these reporters, please be nice. No trolling. They are human beings. They are trying to do their best. They just need a bit of help. It is crucial they get this right.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Trump Sabotaging Obamacare? – POLITICO Magazine

RELATED VIDEO: Senator Rand Paul Doesn’t Want the GOP to Fail at Obamacare Replacement Plan.

EDITORS NOTE: Learn real skills from successful entrepreneurs at FEEcon: June 15-17 (Register by May 15).

pen desk charts

More Firearms, More Firearms Owners, Fewer Fatal Accidents

The National Safety Council released the 2017 edition of its annual Injury Facts report this week, and it contains welcome news about firearm safety. 

The number of fatal firearms accidents dropped to the lowest point ever (since 1903, when the data was first tracked).  There were 489 total fatal firearm accidents nationwide – a 17% decrease from 2014. As a percent of the total number of fatal accidents, firearms accident rank very low: just 0.3% of all fatal accidents involved a firearm. 

Comparing the odds between the types of fatal accidents can help put these numbers into context, and the National Safety Council puts fatal injury data in this format to make comparisons easier. The odds of a fatal firearms accident are 1 in 6,905. You are more likely to be killed by:

  • Poisoning (1 in 96)
  • A motor vehicle crash (1 in 114)
  • A fall (1 in 127)
  • Drowning (1 in 1,188)
  • A bicycle crash (1 in 4,486)

What makes the record low number of fatal firearms accidents even more noteworthy is that it came at a time when the number of firearms in the country was skyrocketing. The year 2015 saw the most background checks ever conducted in a single year until that point (the number was surpassed in 2016).  More than 23 million NICS checks were conducted in 2015. Background checks don’t have a one-to-one correlation with firearms purchases, so we don’t know for sure how many more guns were bought in 2015 than previous years…. but we do know that the number of American gun owners was on the rise. 

PEW Research Center reported a five-point increase in the percentage of American households with a firearm between mid-2015 and mid-2016. Fox News reported on a host of other surveys with similar findings

So, in 2015 we had more background checks conducted AND more Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights AND a record low number of fatal firearms accidents. The safety efforts of the NRA, our partners and allies supporting the Second Amendment, and, most of all, responsible, law-abiding American firearm owners made the record-setting safety of 2015 possible.

RELATED ARTICLE: What’s Happened to Gun Sales After Trump’s Election

neil gorsuch

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller “guarantees the individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.”

Gorsuch made the comment during an exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who was trying to goad him into agreeing with the anti-gun opinion recently issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (see story at this link).

He refused to take the bait, however, telling her,

“Well, it’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, Senator, respectfully it’s a matter of it being the law. And — and my job is to apply and enforce the law.”

Throughout his hearings, Gorsuch deftly answered questions about his judicial philosophy and parried on inquiries that would have required him to prejudge legal issues that he could face as a Supreme Court justice.

His answers made clear, however, that he would staunchly defend Americans’ constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment.

They also reinforced his belief in Justice Scalia’s signature technique of constitutional interpretation known as originalism. This methodology focuses on the actual words of constitutional provisions as they would have been publicly understood at the time of their enactment.

This approaches ensures that the inalienable rights recognized at the founding cannot later be declared null and void by judges who might consider them outdated or counterproductive in the modern world.

As Justice Scalia put it in Heller:

A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad.

Gorsuch paid homage to Justice Scalia in his opening statement at the hearings. Calling Scalia a “mentor,” Gorsuch stated, “He reminded us that words matter. That the judge’s job is to follow the words that are in the law, not replace them with those that aren’t.”

He also invoked the words of Alexander Hamilton:

“Liberty can have … nothing to fear from judges who apply the law. But liberty has everything to fear if judges try to legislate, too.”

President Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would respect constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment, and who would faithfully apply the law.

Judge Gorsuch embodies those ideals, and his performance this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee gives every indication he will soon get to exercise them as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

And when he does, all Americans – including gun owners – will be better off as a result.

<> on July 25, 2014 in New York City.

Leader of Hillary supported ‘Day Without a Woman’ strike deported for naturalization fraud

We raised concerns that Rasmieh Odeh, one of the leaders of the Day Without a Woman strike, was a convicted terrorist. According to Fox News:

A convicted terrorist is reportedly among the organizers of the so-called “Day Without a Woman” strike.

In a letter posted by The Guardian, the female authors – including Rasmea Yousef Odeh – call on women around the world to join them in a “new wave of militant feminist struggle.”

Rasmea Odeh listens to supporters after leaving federal court in Detroit Thursday, March 12, 2015. A judge sentenced the Chicago activist to 18 months in federal prison Thursday for failing to disclose her convictions for bombings in Israel when she applied to be a U.S. citizen. Odeh, 67, also was stripped of her citizenship and eventually will be deported. But she will remain free while she appeals the case. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Rasmea Odeh leaving federal court in Detroit Thursday, March 12, 2015. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

We now learn that Odeh has been deported for naturalization fraud. The Investigative Project on Terrorism in an article titled Breaking News: Rasmieh Odeh Reportedly Accepts Plea Deal reports:

Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh, who faces a May 16 retrial for naturalization fraud, reportedly has agreed to plead guilty and leave the United States in exchange for avoiding any prison time.

According to a statement from her supporters, Odeh “has made the difficult decision to accept a plea agreement.” [Emphasis original.] The statement hailed the decision as “a victory, considering that the government had earlier fought for a sentence of 5-7 years.”

No court papers have been filed to confirm the report.

Odeh was convicted in November 2014 and sentenced to 18 months in prison, the loss of her citizenship and deportation. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain in February 2016, ruling that he improperly barred testimony supporting Odeh’s claim that she failed to disclose her Israeli conviction for participating in two 1969 Jerusalem bombings, including one at a grocery story that killed two Hebrew University students.

Drain granted a new trial including the testimony, prompting federal prosecutors to issue a new indictment adding greater emphasis on Odeh’s acknowledged membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group.

Read more…

Refinery 29’s Landon Peoples in an article Why Hillary Clinton Wore A Red Pantsuit Today noted:

Hillary Clinton proved during the election that she knows the potential of a good pantsuit. At various times during her campaign, she’s chosen various colors to convey messages of empowerment and unity. And today, at the Girls, Inc. luncheon in New York, the former Democratic nominee wore a red pantsuit to add support to another important initiative: A Day Without A Woman.

Clinton spoke to the New York sector of Girls, Inc. as she honored Lisa Blau, Annie and Maggie Ford Danielson, Shaun Robinson, and Barry Sternlicht who were all dressed in red, too — the official color of A Day Without A Woman. “Sometimes the road to progress can feel like it’s two steps forward and one step back, particularly when it comes to advancing the rights and opportunities, and full participation of women and girls,” Clinton said in her speech. “It can seem discouraging whether you’ve been on that road for a long time, or you’re just starting out, but think how different the world would be today if the people who came before us had not just gotten discouraged, but because of that, had given up.”

It appears we once again see the Red/Green alliance in full force. Hillary the socialist wearing red and Rasmieh Odeh, an Islamic supremacist and convicted terrorist, representing the color green representing Islam.

When is comes to those who believe in the power of government over the people must be absolute, birds of a feather really do flock together. Most recently in support of the Day Without a Woman strike.

healthcare

EXPLAINED: Government Healthcare is not Christian

The latest salvo against Christians who are politically conservative is to charge in the most morally superior of tones that failure to continually expand welfare programs is in direct defiance of biblical teachings.

This is true, of course, as long as you don’t actually read the Bible.

But the lack of truth rarely slows a political assailment, particularly against Christians who are politically conservative.

So this quickly became an attack line against the healthcare reform program Republicans proposed in Congress last week. It wasn’t the substance of the need to stem the bleeding of Obamacare; it wasn’t the skyrocketing insurance costs the program incurred; it wasn’t the all-important personal freedoms at stake that we spelled out previously.

It was this, best represented in a couple of tweets from CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers retweeting one of her followers. Her follower tweeted: “We do not require religious writings to know that it is right for gov to have compassion for the poor.” To which Powers added: “This is true. And it’s sad that so many people demanding scripture citations have such antipathy toward the poor.”

They are probably demanding those citations in relationship to the role of government. And in that, there are none to be found.

Personal experience with this

This is not a new line of attack.

Many years ago, I was at a luncheon function sitting at a large table with others from the newspaper where I worked. As the speaker was walking up to the podium, the editorial page editor — an older, liberal atheist man who knew I was both Christian and politically conservative — turned and said, “Based on Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, I don’t understand why all Christians aren’t liberals.” He then turned away toward the speaker as the program began, allowing no time for a response.

That was purposely timed. I wrote him an extensive explanation. But he never responded, nor could I get him to engage when I saw him, because he did not want a discussion or a better understanding. He wanted to take a cheap shot, feel smugly self-satisfied and move on.

That is a lot of what we are seeing here today. Many of the people saying that any opposition to government-funded or government-run healthcare insurance is un-Christian are themselves not even Christians. (Powers, to be noted, is a Christian.)

It’s a dual purpose political attack line to score points for big-government welfare programs among the uninformed while also taking a whack at RWRN (social media slang for Right Wing Religious Nuts.)

But they have an empty case on multiple levels, and they should be and can be knocked down vigorously.

Christianity and government healthcare

Let’s take the Sermon on the Mount, as this is a favorite for those who skim the Bible, or hear it paraphrased from others who have skimmed it.

The problem with the editorial page editor’s cheap shot is that it suffered from a fatal fallacy. Jesus teaches for three full chapters in Matthew on the deeper Christian life of joy, suffering and generosity toward others. In one portion of one chapter, Jesus says:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Jesus not only is speaking directly to his followers — that is, those who are now called Christians — but he is also telling them to not be generous in ways that call attention to ourselves. Do it quietly, even secretly when possible. In the very passage he is talking about giving to the needy, he exhorts his followers to do it tacitly, humbly.

No place in these three chapters does he mention a role for government in his teachings. This is consistent throughout Scripture. Some argue that just because Jesus did not overtly say this should be done by government does not mean he opposed it.

That is true, but that is not what defenders of big government welfare programs are asserting. They are saying Christians are compelled to support helping the poor through government programs because they are Christians. But Christianity is based on the Bible, and it is clear that is not what the Bible says at all.

Further, Jesus had plenty of opportunities to spell out a Christianized government role when talking to soldiers, centurions, Roman leaders, Pontius Pilate and so on. And he stayed mum.

Given his teachings that were always aimed at the responsibilities of the individual believer and not the government, and his choice to stay mute when given the open opportunity to spell out the role of government, it seems more than likely that he was disinterested in government doing what individual Christians should be doing.

The error of compassionate government

Compassionate government is an impossible combination.

An entity such as a government cannot have compassion. People can have compassion because it is a uniquely human trait. Anthropomorphizing government is a grave error leading to terrible policies — exactly what we’ve seen for decades.

Government as an institution has a critical role, but it has nothing to do with compassion or love or anger or any other human emotions or traits. The American government’s primary role was meant to be the protection of individual human rights. That’s why the very Declaration separating us from a distant tyrant launches with:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Government is meant to secure the rights of the individual, and protect them from intrusion by other individuals and by the government itself. Hence we have a system of checks and balances within the government so as to keep itself in check because by nature it is not compassionate. It was a machine designed to protect us from itself.

Endowing government with human attributes such as compassion and placing upon it the burden of caring for individuals is a doomed proposition. We see it fail again and again and again.

Opposition to government healthcare is not hatred

Kind of an absurd point to have to make, but alas, here we are. Powers used the word “antipathy.”

An American, whether Christian or not, can believe that X should be done and also think that it is wrong for government to do X. We can believe in helping the poor individually, through churches and synagogues and other charitable organizations and oppose the government doing the same. It is not an either/or proposition.

What we’ve seen is that when government fills this space, it displaces charities that would otherwise be doing the work. And it does it inefficiently while creating an entitlement mentality among those receiving it. Instead of gratefulness to an individual or a church or an organization, recipients see the gifts bestowed from government as a virtual right. And if the gifts are not sufficiently large, they are angered and will protest for more.

That alone is a bad sign for the soul.

So we spend about $1.3 trillion every year on various safety net programs and in return we get deep familial dysfunction, enablement of bad behavior, more debt that eventually we will be unable to pay off and, maybe as much as anything, we lock the poor into generational poverty and ingratitude.

Opposing the system doing this is not hatred. In fact, it may actually be more loving and therefor more Christian. But politicians cannot take credit for that system. Only when ladled by their generous hand can they take the credit and secure future votes — accomplished by forcibly taking money from others. There is no love in any of that.

There is nothing virtuous about giving other people’s money to the poor. In fact, if you want to go to Scripture, Jesus has a few harsh things to say about such grandstanding.

We cannot outsource moral obligations

Shifting responsibility to the government is a pathway for us to feel relieved of any personal duty to help those in need. For many, merely advocating for more money to go to the poor proves our compassion and moral superiority.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Conservatives tend to want a system where there is minimal welfare, just enough to help people get back on their feet. The institutional variety we have now breeds ever more welfare and robs people of their self-worth, making them comfortable living in poverty on handouts.

That is not loving and it certainly is not Christian.

So any Biblical case for Christians being required to support government healthcare and other welfare programs is DOA — if we actually read the Scriptures.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

ACA-Health-Care-Reform

HEALTHCARE REFORM: Freedom Is Its Own Indispensable Goal

The healthcare debate in D.C. is following predictable form: Miles off track with the media hyperfocused on the politics, rather than the substance. The coverage focuses heavily on the daily ins and outs of the political struggle, the D.C. winners and losers.

Will Republicans be able to placate the Freedom Caucus and still keep moderates? Will they put together something that can get through the House and have any life in the Senate? Is Ryan back-peddling? Is Trump? Will McConnell detonate the nuclear option? Is it Trumpcare or Ryancare?

The thing is, most Americans outside of political junkies don’t really care about that.

They do care about whether they will be able to afford health insurance. They do care about whether our country will drowned itself in unsustainable debt. They do care about their children’s future. But those are rarely the story. Because the truth is that in Washington, D.C., Americans are basically pawns to be played in the furtherance of personal agendas.

On the rare occasions when the substance of the proposal is actually explored, it is mostly along the lines of how many people are covered, will be covered, won’t be covered, how much it will cost, how the changes will play out politically for each party, etc. Those are fine in their place, and should be regularly reported on. They are not.

What Washington and the media never, ever talk about is the principle of American freedoms, which is at the heart of this. Virtually no one wants to talk about it.

So, status quo in the swamp. And for Americans.

The Old Liberties for Security Trade

But here is the whittled down nub of the issue: How much personal freedom are we willing to give away to get a little healthcare security? Because the reality of the human condition always and forever is that some people will be irresponsible with their life decisions — from relationships to finances to health.

So there will always be a percentage of Americans who do not want to purchase, or simply will not purchase, health insurance. Here’s the thing: They should be free to not and that point of freedom should be argued strenuously.

Because the only way to stop that dynamic is to give government total authority to force every single person to have health insurance. That was what Obamacare attempted to do, require every American to either buy a product — health insurance — or be fined increasing amounts by the government to financially force them to to buy it.

In an enormously tragic precedence, the Supreme Court made a political calculation and approved the forcible purchase requirements under Obamacare by calling it what it was not, what is authors including President Obama argued it was not, so as the court could rule it “constitutional.” Truly, a constitutional travesty.

Among the many things wrong with Obamacare, this was perhaps the most egregious because it went to undermining fundamental freedoms. It wasn’t just bad policy, or inefficient, or expensive — which are all true. It was a denial of basic liberty, the concept upon which our nation was founded and thrived to be what she is today.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Franklin was looking at the real physical and economic threat of a distant tyrant.

And so are we, though not so distant.

The Real Cost

Obamacare undoubtedly reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans, or more accurately, uncovered Americans. This was accomplished by expanding Medicaid — direct welfare — subsidizing plans in the state exchanges — indirect welfare — and forcing every American to participate — coercion. Even then, the total number of Americans not covered in some fashion, only declined a few percentage points.

Trillions of dollars, catastrophic rises in premiums and deductibles, loss of health care insurance options — often down to one in an entire state — all to pick up a few percentage points. About 9 percent of Americans remain without health insurance.

If Republicans did nothing more than simply repeal the Obamacare mandate, at least 10 million people would no longer have coverage, according to the Office of Management and Budget estimate of the repeal measure. The media reports this as Americans who will “lose” their coverage, but this particular 10 million will actually choose not to have coverage.

Whether that is a good idea or not is debatable. What is not debatable is what it represents: Freedom.

Because unless the government forces people by law to have health insurance, some will not. Freedom calls us to allow them to not and accept the consequences. Otherwise, with this precedent in place, the government could also make the case for regulating what we eat (because eating healthy is good for us) and forcing us to exercise (because exercising is good for us.) It could also require us to buy, say, solar panels and electric cars, because it deems those to be a good thing like health care insurance is a good thing.

You see the problem here. There is really no end to it, which is why it was a line that should never have been crossed.

So yes, Obamacare is costing hundreds of billions of dollars and would continue to until its complete failure. But it’s real cost is the loss of American liberty. And precious few seem to care.

Alas, Republicans fighting on Democrat ground

Republicans however, will not fight this on the grounds of freedom, the high ground and the right ground. They allow Democrats and the media to define the terms and put Republicans on the defensive on bad ground.

Republicans are doing what they always do, and part of it is the swampy D.C. mentality. Republicans end up abandoning conservative principles and going with Democrat-lite. They are willing to expand government, just less so. They are willing to raise taxes, just not as high. They are willing to trade rights for securities, just not as fast. But inexorably this moves in the same direction: More government control, more “free” giveaways, fewer American freedoms.

The health care coverage debate is a perfect example.

Democrats built it on the Democrat ground of heavy-handed government control and giveaways, and dared Republicans to come after it. To boil it down, in Obamacare, Democrats gave more Americans more free stuff that was not their’s and that we cannot afford — at the cost of lost freedoms — and Republicans now want to take some of that free stuff and restore those freedoms.

Meanies.

This of course is rough politics for Republicans, as so many Americans have lost the sense of liberty, self-reliance and personal responsibility. Too many are willing to trade a lot of liberties for a little security. But part of the reason for that is that no one is making the case for this and other issues on the grounds of freedom.

But in reality, Republicans aren’t even making the freedom case — or do so rarely. They want to make sure enough Americans get enough free stuff so they can be re-elected.

Taking away an entitlement once in place is just never done, and Democrats knew that in 2010. A big part of Obamacare is the entitlement portion. But that is only a problem if Republicans fight this on the grounds of coverage and giveaways, and not on the grounds of essential liberties.

Republicans hold every nationally elected office of power and there is one window for fixing the Obamacare debacle. If it does not happen now, Obamacare will be a permanent fixture of our health care system until it totally fails, and sucks the healthcare system into its death swirl.

The final step will be nationalized healthcare.

And the result will be an even greater loss of freedoms, and precious little in the way of securities. The worst of trade-offs.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

GOP leaders unveil changes to healthcare bill

Nearly 200 State Lawmakers Are Pushing for Changes to GOP Obamacare Repeal Plan

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.