AMNESTY, A NEVER ENDING SAGA
The 1980-1992 El Salvadorian Civil War created thousands of illegal entries along the southwest borders. Some were legitimate refugees but most entered for economic reasons, such as jobs. There were also criminal elements, suspected members of the MS-13, a very violent gang affiliation who also entered the U.S. illegally. All who requested political Asylum due to fear of death or persecution were usually granted a stay of deportation by Immigration Judges, suspected criminals or anyone “with a wish” to remain in the U.S.
The First Amnesty IRCA was passed in 1986 and opened the “floodgates of illegal immigration and crime upon the nation. There were insufficient law enforcement agents to control the Borders, interior cities, labor sanctions or fraudulent admissions.
The arrival of illegal aliens from China also became a national problem.
The Chinese Asylum bill was passed by Congress in 1989 due to the (one child per family) and forced sterilization policy in China to control population growth. Human trafficking organizations in China soon had an “endless” supply of people who were loaded on "rusty" sea going freighters to container cargo ships. The criminal cadres supplied information on obtaining public assistance, names of Immigration lawyers to false document sales. The average price for ocean passage to the United States was $30,000 per Chinese national smuggled into the United States. When apprehended, Chinese Nationals were given a Notice to Appear, bonded out and disappeared into society with little fear of being found by authorities.
Extortion was a common factor with all alien smugglers regardless of country. Smuggling fees had to be paid by employment or reprisals included the threat of torture or death. Violence directed against law enforcement officers was also escalating. On September 6, 1989, U.S.B.P Special Agent Keith Connelly was killed in a "hail of gunfire" during the arrest of alien smugglers in Fresno, California. Special Agent Ted Jordan was also seriously wounded during the incident. Both were enforcing criminal statutes of 8 USC 1324 long after the 1986 Amnesty and were my partners on a Naional task force investigation.
The U.S.B.P. Honor Roll of Agents, Pilots killed on duty from 1986 is long and very personal. Legal Immigrants were not the problem. Illegal Aliens from many countries,Armed Smugglers bringing in Narcotics, Human Traffickers, Kidnappers, Contraband Transporters/ Backpackers, Safe House Operators created the lethal encounter. All were guilty of the offense of Illegal Entry U.S. without Inspection, a misdemeanor offense under 8 USC 1325 before Felony charges were initiated. Amnesty established a ‘open door” for organized crime cadres that made millions of dollars yearly smuggling people.
The first and only Amnesty has never really ended despite political proposals of another guest worker plan for an estimated 20 million in 2006 by the U.S. Senate. The continual influx of illegal aliens since 1986 is a known factor in Washington, D.C. with Law Enforcement never a factor in Congressional decisions, bills or amendments.
In 1994 Congress approved a temporary rolling Amnesty for 578,000 Illegal Aliens under Section 245 (i)
There was also a 1996 Citizenship USA program which required the Immigration Service to reduce the two year period of time for immigrant applications to six months in many areas of the United States. The taxpayer funded Citizenship USA was geared to provide new voters prior to the 1996 elections and was directed by Vice President Gore. The normal criminal background checks and fingerprints checks were not done or done in haste to meet the scheduled political goals. . 1.3 million immigrants benefited from the program including 80,000 new naturalized citizens that had criminal backgrounds found on fingerprint cards that were submitted. Politics and the Immigration Service are forever intermingled it seems and it doesn’t matter which party is in power.
In 1997, the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act allowed one million people legal status. In 1998, the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act was created which allowed additional legalization.
The late Amnesty Act of 2000 was rather remarkable in politics. This Act was an Amnesty for 400,000 illegal aliens residing in the U.S. who claimed they should have been granted Special Agricultural Worker status under the fraud filled 1986 IRCA. The Life Act Amnesty was the best example of political lack of common sense.
This Act, a re-instatement of Section 245 (i) allowed Amnesty for 900,000 illegal aliens who might have been qualified as Special Agricultural Workers in 1986 if they had presented documentation, I-705s prior to the deadline for admissions. Usually a deadline in a sensible society means "that's it" end game or close of business, no more applicants accepted at any Office. The U.S. Government has a very liberal immigration Policy and accepts more legal immigrants than any nation in the world with restrictions which is commendable. On illegal immigration issues, over stay visas, criminal sections of the law, elected officials have sought to reward law breakers for decades with no restrictions.
Amnesty has continued for over twenty years for Agricultural Workers, Guest Workers by Congressional authority and year after year, the American people are led to believe there is a “shortage of laborers” in the United States. The H1 B "needed foreign worker" Visa program has been in effect long before I patrolled the Rio Grande in 1972. Needed skills could be anything from an experienced sheep shepard, agricultural worker to technical fields in science. Sponsors were required to prevent fraudulent entries, overstays.
The total strength of the U.S. Border Patrol was more or less 2,000 Agents on both the Mexican and Canadian Line. Immigration Criminal Investigators were also few in numbers state to state nationwide but the laws of the nation were enforced by authority of the President and Congress. We still had fatalies in the desert, smuggler gunfire exchange, and criminal felons fleeing Mexico and the U.S.which was a part of the job. We were outnumbered dai ly, but we didn't face millions of illegal aliens yearly that enter now with a Presidential and Senate Welcome. Making a determination between "Friend or Foe" is as difficult on the Southwest Border with masses of people as the daily military situation in Iraq. If shot at, someone may be seriously trying to kill you, but if you return "fire" you best be 100 per cent justified or people that have never "walked in harm's way" condemn all actions before basic facts are even known.
Politicians on their own agendas often disregard the history of this nation, fail to read “Bills they enact into Law” and their oath of office as Civil Servants. They are placed in positions of authority by the will of the people, majority taxpayers and voters, not the New World Order Mandates, Special Interest Groups or foreign support from any nation.
Personal LEO Journal 30 years, FAIR Amnesty stats. Case Agent UC Op Shorty 1988-1989 Anti-Smuggling Unit
© 2006 John W. Slagle
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John W. Slagle is a U.S. Navy Aviation Veteran, Commercial Pilot, Multi-Engines rated and was a Firefighter, Engineer Lt. prior to United States Border Patrol service spanning 30 years. Duties included Agent/Medic, Special Tracking and Rescue Unit, Intelligence Officer, Sector Pilot to Criminal Investigator.
Slagle spent 12 years in undercover operations nationwide as a Special Agent, Anti-Smuggling Operations involving organized human trafficking, narcotics, certified Master Gun Smith and second degree Nidan black belt Goshin Iaido.
Amnesty has continued for over twenty years for Agricultural Workers, Guest Workers by Congressional authority and year after year, the American people are led to believe there is a “shortage of laborers” in the United States.