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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Illegal Immigration, Identity Theft, AgJOBS, War Funding and Amnesty

Follow up to the previous piece by FaultLine USA, with the names and contact information for your Senators.

There has been a battle going on in the U.S. Senate over the bill to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not over the funding, but over a bill introduced into the funding bill that would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Many have asked what illegal immigrants and identity theft has to do with an emergency war funding bill and it is a legitimate question.

According to Admiral Mike Mullen, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the emergency war funding bill must be passed by Memorial Day or the Defense Department would have to delay paychecks beginning June 15, 2008.

Politics being what they are today, knowing the president cannot veto the war funding bill without endangering the troops overseas, that made this the perfect opportunity to attached an amendment to the bill which would grant temporary legal status to an estimated 1.35 million illegal-alien farmworkers over the next five years. This number jumps to at least 3 million when children and spouses are factored in.

The Amendment is called AgJOBS and was attached to the war funding bill by Senators Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, and Larry Craig, Idaho Republican.

Not only would this bill, if successfully passed through the Senate, Congress, and signed by the president, grant temporary legal status to 3 million illegal aliens, but a clause in the bill also would have made illegal aliens that have committed identity theft, immune to prosecution for crimes such as stealing someone's Social Security number.

In researching this, I came across something else that was interesting.

In 2005, under the same conditions, the AgJOBS bill was attached to another Iraq war spending legislation, but failed to pass, but one specific Senator had some harsh words about attaching such a bill to war funding.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, on April 18, 2005, said, "This is not the place for this bill. I believe it is a mistake to pass this bill on an emer- gency supplemental that is designed to provide help for our military, fighting in extraordinary circumstances."

Evidently Feinstein was against it before she was for it.

Another clause in the AgJOBS bill provides tax-fraud amnesty, too.

Using Texas, which ranks 2nd in the nation for identity theft complaints, as just one example we see from Identity Theft 911:

Approximately 880,400 Texans became victims of identity theft in 2007. This is roughly equivalent to every citizen in Austin, Edinburg and Midland having their identities stolen in a single year.

According to Lt. Mark Elbert of the Brownsville (TX) Police Department, identity theft and illegal immigration go hand in hand and identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes today.

If the AgJobs bill had passed, hidden in plain sight within an emergency war funding bill, many of those responsible for causing Texas residents an estimated $435.7 million and 3.5 million hours in 2007, would be immune from prosecution.

The battle over the "extras" in the war funding bill that have nothing to do with funding the war has been long and tiresome, but eventually Majority Leader, Harry Reid was forced to strip the AgJOBS amendment out of the emergency war funding bill, which was only one hurdle since he left in a number of other controversial amendments.

Democratic leaders were forced to jettison provisions to award work permits for immigrant farm labor and seasonal workers just hours after beginning debate Tuesday on legislation to add domestic programs to President Bush's war request.

Harry Reid still put other "extras" up for a vote before approaching votes on the actual emergency war funding, in an attempt to get domestic funding attached to war funding before he would deal with military operations.

Reid brought up the domestic add-ons in an unusual move designed to win their adoption — over opposition from the White House and GOP conservatives — before turning to legislation providing $165 billion (€106 billion) to conduct military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into next spring.

This latest push for amnesty was even opposed by Feinstein's Democratic colleagues, one of which was the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., who said, "No matter how one characterizes this enormous amendment, it still amounts to amnesty."

This is not the first time that these types of bills have been introduced and have either failed or been withdrawn.

In May of 2006 and 2007, the Senate attempted to pass legislation which some believed would give comprehensive mass amnesty to illegal aliens, that failed. and in September of 2007, the Senate tried to push through the DREAM Act which would have given in-state college tuition for young illegal aliens. That too failed.