Dumb and Dangerous: America’s Fast Pass for Saudi Arabia – Michelle Malkin.

Dumb and Dangerous: America’s Fast Pass for Saudi Arabia – Michelle Malkin .

incompetentIt’s business as usual in the post-9/11 world. Your federal government is back to pandering to wealthy travelers from Saudi Arabia. In the eyes of our massive homeland security apparatus, the comfort of Saudis is a higher priority than the safety of American citizens.

And thanks to reckless, feckless bureaucrats who fear being labeled “racists,” “xenophobes” and “Islamophobes,” political correctness remains the handmaiden of terror.

According to a new report released this week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security plans to bestow “trusted traveler” status to travelers from Saudi Arabia. Yes, the home of 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers will soon enjoy the exclusive privilege of new entry shortcuts into the U.S.

Fox News points out: “Only an exclusive handful of countries enjoy inclusion in the Global Entry program: Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the Netherlands. According to the IPT, some officials are questioning why Saudi Arabia gets to reap the benefits of the program, when key U.S. allies like Germany and France are not enrolled.”

Saudi suck-up Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, hailed “the bond between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and pledged to work with the government to facilitate “legitimate trade and travel.”

This foolish move is astonishing but not unprecedented. As I noted in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration had created its own fast-pass system for Saudi elites called “Visa Express.” Thanks to this GOP idiocy, three of the 9/11 hijackers skipped the usual consular interview process and bypassed long lines in the hot Saudi sun.

Throughout the jihadist-coddling Saudi kingdom, applicants could simply file their visa paperwork through travel agencies and courier companies for a small fee — without having to appear in person or submit to extensive background checks. The U.S. embassy in Riyadh bragged before 9/11: “Applicants will no longer have to take time off from work, no longer have to wait in long lines under the hot sun and in crowded waiting rooms, and no longer be limited by any time constraints.”

Investigative reporter Joel Mowbray obtained the shocking, shoddy applications filed by the hijackers — whose omissions about where, when and what they planned to do when they arrived in the U.S. should have raised blood-red flags. But after the Saudi-dominated 9/11 jihad crew murdered nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children on our soil, Bush administration officials bent over backward to assure touchy Saudis that no changes would be made “in determining visa eligibility as a result of the (9/11) attacks.” Visa Express was expanded.

 

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...

Map of the territory and area covered by present-day Saudi Arabia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moreover, State Department employees were banned from communicating with foreign governments about their citizens’ visa applications, making it virtually impossible to verify vital information. The Bush State Department official in charge of implementing the “Visa Express” program that helped enable 9/11 hijackers and their colleagues was not punished. Instead, she received “cash prizes for ‘outstanding performance in the 12 months from April 16, 2001, to April 15, 2002′ — a period during which at least five of the 9/11 terrorists received visas that should have been denied according to the law,” as Mowbray noted, “and during which September 11 happened.”

Since that time, consular screening has remained an abject joke. There is still no operational tracking system to detect and deport hundreds of thousands of visa overstayers, including untold numbers of illegal aliens from jihad-friendly Middle Eastern countries. Law enforcement training for consular officials is scant. And Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., stated the obvious about Obama’s Fast Pass 2.0: “I think you have radical Wahhabism in certain elements in Saudi Arabia, and I think to be more lenient there than in other places would be a mistake.”

Twelve years after a Saudi-dominated cabal of young male Muslims committed mass murder in the skies and brought down the Twin Towers, your government refuses to do the unapologetic national security profiling necessary to prevent another domestic attack by foreign jihadis. Instead, they’re searching your grandma’s knitting bag, your Marine’s prosthetic limbs and your toddler’s bags packed for Disneyland — while waving Saudi “trusted travelers” through the fast lane. Deadly deja vu.

Obama’s Tyrannical Executive Orders – Tea Party Nation

Obama’s Tyrannical Executive Orders – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

A September 24 Wall Street Journal editorial warned that President Obama is moving to control the Internet by executive order. “Any day now, the White House will issue an executive order on cyber security, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who said last week that the measure ‘is close to completion.’”

It noted that “the White House intends to go ahead with its order in the face of vociferous opposition on Capitol Hill.”

“According to leaked versions of the draft, the executive order would impose security standards for 16 critical industries” and that “private companies have innovated and invested heavily to protect themselves without regulatory prodding. What they need from the government is an information-sharing program and liability protection.”

This is just one more executive order that would, along with others, impose a totalitarian control over every aspect of life in America on the pretext of a national emergency. We had a national emergency on 9/11 and no laws were abrogated, no Constitutional freedoms denied.

A Homeland Security Department study, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States 1970-2008”, listed Americans who are “fiercely nationalistic”, “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty” as potential terrorists.

Jeffery T. Kuhmer, writing in The Washington Times in March, noted that “On March 15, the White House released an executive order, ‘National Defense Resources Preparedness.’ The document is stunning in its audacity and a flagrant violation of the Constitution.”

To understand how extensive this is, the Western Center for Journalism published a list of “Obama’s Worst Executive Orders” asserting that some 900 Obama executive orders had been initiated when in fact Obama has signed 139. However, added to active EOs from previous administrations, the Center is correct in its fears that he is “creating a martial law ‘Disney Land’ of control covering everything imaginable.”

Executive Order 10990 allows the Government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

Executive Order 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

Executive Order 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels, and minerals.

Executive Order 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

Executive Order 11001 allows the government to take over all health education and welfare functions.

Executive Order 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

Executive Order 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

Executive Order 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate and establish new locations for populations.

Executive Order 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways, and public storage facilities.

Executive Order 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issues over a fifteen-year period.

Executive Order 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

Executive Order 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute Industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

Executive Order 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when the president declares a state of emergency, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

These executive orders are a blueprint for the takeover by the government by White House fiat, by-passing Congress. By declaring that “international tensions and economic or financial crisis” or a “national emergency” exists, it puts all powers of governance in the hands of one man, Barack Hussein Obama.

Do you want to live in such a nation?

(c) Alan Caruba, 2012

EDITORIAL: More TSA lies – Washington Times

A TSA officer screens a piece of luggage.

A TSA officer screens a piece of luggage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EDITORIAL: More TSA lies – Washington Times.

Obnoxious agency is caught fibbing to Congress again

Frequent flyers are no fans of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The blue-gloved bureaucrats are experts in making trips to the airport as unpleasant as possible. As a joint congressional panel revealed Wednesday, the agency’s biggest failing is its inability to grope the truth.

Earlier this year, the House Oversight & Government Reform and Transportation & Infrastructure committees got wind that the TSA has 5,700 pieces of security equipment worth $184 million gathering dust in a Dallas, Texas, warehouse. For example, a total of 492 explosive trace detectors that cost $30,000 each have been sitting in storage for more than a year. When congressional investigators were dispatched to learn more about what was going on, TSA did everything it could to stall them.

The congressional auditors finally arrived on Feb. 15 to find a warehouse crew had been busy working from 5 a.m. that morning to shove as much of the embarrassing horde as it could out the back door. The TSA had provided the committees with a written inventory that undercounted the equipment on hand that day by 1,300 items. “Congress was misled,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, the Oversight chairman. The California Republican is threatening a criminal inquiry into the incident if the agency fails to come clean about what it has been doing.

The warehouse shenanigans racked up an estimated $23 million in depreciation costs for taxpayers as the pricey equipment lost its value while boxed away on a shelf. A $500,000 cargo scanner has a useful life of only seven years, and some of the higher-tech scanning devices became obsolete before the TSA gets around to deploying them. That’s not a bad thing in every case. Fourteen pornographic “advanced imaging technology” machines were locked away in the Dallas facility. America would be a safer place if every single one of those devices were consigned to the dark corner of an abandoned building.

We are told that these X-rated x-ray scanners are needed because an al Qaeda operative failed in a 2009 attempt to detonate a bomb in his underpants. The scare was renewed May 7 with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s announcement that a sleeker, more comfortable set of combustible undies had been captured in the hands of Islamists overseas. TSA’s ultimate boss, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, insisted her agency’s invasive contraptions would have discovered the dangerous dainties.

Government Accountability Office counterterrorism expert Stephen Lord knows from field testing whether that statement is true or not. He would not say in an unclassified session whether the scanners would have caught the new bomb. “We’ll take that, and I’m going to predict it’s going to be, ‘No, they couldn’t,’ ” said Mr. Issa.

To sum up, TSA is buying millions in equipment that it isn’t using, throwing away taxpayer funds. Some of the equipment it does use invades privacy without identifying any real threats. This mess is the result of the agency’s hasty creation in the wake of the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. After a decade, TSA has proved itself mismanaged and ineffective. It’s time to pull the plug.

The Washington Times

Is Fast and Furious the Next Watergate? – Tea Party Nation

Is Fast and Furious the Next Watergate? – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

When suspects in a crime are interrogated, they often develop memory loss. When the crime is running guns to drug cartels on both sides of the border, the crime involves the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol officer, Brian Terry, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, Jaime Zapata, and countless Mexican citizens.

Katie Pavlich has written an extraordinary expose, “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and its Shameless Cover-Up” (Regnery Publishing). A reporter with extensive contacts inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) she has meticulously documented a story that should result in contempt of Congress action against Attorney General Eric Holder and possibly Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano as well.

It is an appalling story of arrogance, stupidity, and the intimidation of ATF agents who dared to question and expose the operation. It is a story of deception at the highest levels of our government. Both Holder and Napolitano exhibited memory lapses before a congressional committee. Both knew about a federal government authorized gun-running operation to Mexico called “Fast and Furious.”

Pavlich reports that “Fast and Furious was closely followed by Department of Justice officials. On multiple occasions, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke met with Phoenix ATF Director Bill Newell to discuss the progress of the Fast and Furious operation. ‘There were DOJ attorneys and prosecutors who were involved in this since the beginning, giving advice,” testified ATF Special Agent Peter Forcelli.

As Pavlich details it, “Operation Fast and Furious wasn’t a ‘botched’ program. It was a calculated and lethal decision to purposely place thousands of guns in the hands of ruthless criminals.”

The operation was designed to attack the Second Amendment right of Americans to purchase and bear arms, a right considered so essential to the nation that it followed directly after the First Amendment rights of free speech, freedom of the press, the prohibition of the establishment of a nationally sanctioned religion, and the right of Americans to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

We are in the grip of an administration that would restrain and erase those rights, and which engaged in a reckless and ruthless operation to achieve that goal. It is an administration that is moving toward the confirmation of a United Nations treaty that would override and eliminate the right to own and bear arms.

The facts regarding Holder’s and Napolitano’s testimony are clear:

“Eric Holder was sent five memos, personally addressed to him, in the summer of 2010 that detailed Operation Fast and Furious.” Holder claimed he first knew about the program in February 2011.

“Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has feigned ignorance when questioned about Fast and Furious. She claims she only found out about the program after Brian Terry was murdered.”

“She visited the White House with Eric Holder to visit President Obama just a day before Holder testified on Capitol Hill about Fast and Furious, leaving the reason for her visit blank.”

Pavlich writes, “These are the facts: There are still 1,400 Fast and Furious guns missing and ATF agents are not actively trying to track them down. Ten thousand round of ammunition were sold to cartel-linked straw buyers under the watch of the ATF. Eight hundred of the original 2,500 weapons sold through Fast and Furious have already been linked to criminal activity.”

The program, observers believer, was the deliberate effort to blame the violence in Mexico and in some cases in America on the gun shops, but those shops were intimidated into participating in Fast and Furious out of fear that ATF would take away their licenses.

After questioning ATF and Justice Department witnesses, Sen. Charles Grassley (Iowa, R), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a January 31 letter to ATF officials saying, “As you may be aware, obstructing a Congressional investigation is a crime. Additionally, denying or interfering with employee’s rights to furnish information to Congress is also against the law.”

On May 3rd Rep. Darrell Issa, (CA) Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent every member of his committee a 64-page draft contempt order against AG Holder, along with a 17-page memo outlining the history of the scandal. Only one attorney general has been found in contempt, Janet Reno in 1975.

Fast and Furious is redolent with memories of the Watergate coverup.

On March 23, 2011, in a Univison interview, Obama said, “First of all, I did not authorize it” and when further pressed said, “Eric Holder did not authorize it. He’s been very clear that our policy is to catch gunrunners and put them in jail.” The facts strongly suggest otherwise insofar as Fast and Furious literally authorized a gunrunning program under the aegis of ATF.

As Pavlich noted, “Many people in ATF saw what was happening and tried to warn the bureau, but the new corrupt and arrogant culture of management had become too powerful and intimidating. Field agents who spoke up were punished for having an opinion and daring to voice it. Whistleblowers had their reputation, careers, and finances shattered.”

This culture of corruption is endemic to the Obama administration and as more and more examples become known it has been in full panic mode to suppress the truth. No matter what the outcome of the testimony of two of its top appointees, the only way to save America is to vote out President Obama in November and ensure that Mitt Romney has a Republican Congress.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal – Katie Pavlich – Townhall Conservative Columnists

Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal – Katie Pavlich – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

Katie Pavlich

Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal - Katie Pavlich - Townhall Conservative ColumnistsOperation Fast and Furious is the deadliest and most sinister scandal in American history. A scandal so big, it’s worse than Iran-Contra and makes Watergate look like a high school prank gone wrong.

In the early days of the Obama Administration, President Obama claimed his goal was to stop the trafficking of guns from the United States into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels. He claimed gun dealers in the United States were responsible for sending guns to Mexico. Both of his claims were lies.

In order to push his lies and policies built around them, with a goal of implementing harsher gun control laws and reinstating the assault weapons ban, President Obama packed his administration full of anti-Second Amendment zealots. After all, personnel is policy.

In my new book, Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Coverup, I document the conspiracy of senior Obama officials to subvert the Second Amendment, which led directly to the murders of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, I.C.E. Agent Jaime Zapata and countless, faceless lives in Mexico. It debunks the Obama administration’s lies, denials and excuses. This administration was willing to use humans as collateral damage to push a political agenda, and had no shame in doing so. Now, the administration has no shame in covering up their reckless actions.

Since just moments after Brian Terry was killed in the Arizona desert on December 15, 2010 by Mexican cartel thugs, carrying AK-47s provided to them by the Obama Justice Department through Operation Fast and Furious, the FBI, Homeland Security, ATF, Justice Department and the White House have been engaged in a full scale cover-up.  These are simply names of government agencies, but who are the people behind the cover-up?

I unravel a tangled web connecting President Obama, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano and a number of advisors and political appointees behind Fast and Furious. These officials have deep loyalties to each other and their anti-Second Amendment ideology dating as far back as the Clinton Administration. In fact, many key Fast and Furious players  have deep ties to Chicago and helped craft the 1994 Clinton assault weapons ban legislation. 

If the majority of American people knew Fast and Furious like they know Solyndra or the GSA scandal, they would be outraged. Despite very few exceptions, the media has been complicit in the cover-up of Obama’s bloodiest scandal by ignoring and refusing to report about it. Why? To protect the President. This scandal, one that has left hundreds of bodies in its wake, would be deadly to the administration. This is the scandal that will bring President Obama down in November, so long as the American people know its details.

Over the weekend, GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney officially made Fast and Furious a general election issue. His advisors are now directly pointing to the scandal as an example of how the Obama Administration used in its first term to “provide cover for potential efforts to restrict Second Amendment rights.” In the book, I provide the documents and interviews to prove it.

The Obama administration is acting guilty, not innocent, in its actions to continually stonewall and deny the truth. Any American who believes the President, the Attorney General of the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and a long list of other government officials responsible for this reckless program are not above the law, need this book.

Operation Fast and Furious wasn’t a “botched” program. It was a calculated and lethal decision to purposely place thousand of guns into the hands of ruthless criminals. The operation was a coordinated and planned effort not to track guns, but to arm thugs south of the border for political gain. Eric Holder should be removed from office for incompetence, dishonesty and charged with perjury. My sources, documented in the book, say Janet Napolitano may also face charges of perjury and potentially obstruction of justice. It is time for President Obama to take responsibility, denounce the operation and fire those involved.

You can buy a copy at Amazon.

Obama’s war on American law enforcement – Tea Party Nation

Obama’s war on American law enforcement – Tea Party Nation.

What happens when you have the Party of Treason in charge of the nation?  Well, among other things, Americans go to the back of the bus when it comes to who the government wants to protect.

 What has happened now?

 On Wednesday, Janet Napolitano, the Secretary for Homeland Security informed a House Committee that all illegal aliens taken into custody by local law enforcement and turned over to Immigration and Customs will be given a toll free number to call to report if their civil rights have been violated.

 Conveniently the voice menu prompts will be in six languages.

 The new detainer form (the form that is required to be used when an immigration hold is put on someone suspected of being an illegal alien) requires that all immigration detainees be given this new form.

 Why?

 This is simply another way to get local law enforcement to quit asking anyone about their immigration status.  This is a way to stop not only the arrest, incarceration and deportation of those who are in this country illegally, but also to stop the deportation of those who have committed crimes.

 Do you know what happens when an illegal alleges the police have violated their rights?  Among other things, they can get a visa to stay in this country legally.  For cops, the message is being sent loud and clear.  They are being told if you arrest illegals, the Department of Justice will investigate you and will try to send you to prison.

 The recent case of Jesus Diaz is a good example.

 Diaz was a Border Patrol agent who apprehended an illegal alien drug suspect.  The suspect began to struggle with Diaz, after Diaz had put handcuffs on the illegal alien.  Diaz did exactly what he was trained to do.  He lifted the handcuffs up, which gave him leverage and allowed him to control the criminal. 

 I have had this technique demonstrated on me.  It is not a painful technique and it is very effective.   The Mexican government complained after Diaz was cleared of wrong doing and Diaz was indicted by the US Attorney, was convicted of violating the civil rights of the illegal and has now been sentenced to two years in Federal Prison.

 The illegal alien, who was caught with 75 pounds of Marijuana, was given immunity from prosecution.

 How long do you think it will be before left wing lawyers are telling illegal alien clients who have been arrested, if the cop violated your civil rights, file a complaint.  The cop will be prosecuted and you will not be.

 The Obama regime is making war on law enforcement and by extension the American people.  A society survives on the rule of law.  While too much government becomes oppressive of the rights of the people, there are certain rules and laws that society must abide by for there to be a free society.

 By making war on law enforcement, the Obama regime is trying to break down the order of society.  Why?  They want to remake America into their vision of what this country should be.

 The problem is their model has been tried before.  The end result has been poverty, tyranny and usually mass murder.

Arizona Sheriff Fights Drug Cartels, but Whose Side is Obama On? – Katie Pavlich – Townhall Conservative

Arizona Sheriff Fights Drug Cartels, but Whose Side is Obama On? – Katie Pavlich – Townhall Conservative.

Earlier today, I had the privilege of sitting down with National Sheriff of the Year Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to discuss his reaction to Operation Fast and Furious and his ongoing fight against ruthless drug cartels. After our conversation, it became clear the Obama Administration is fighting him with lawsuits and by arming the very cartels he and his deputies are trying to combat in the Arizona desert.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is fighting what he describes as the most ruthless criminals in North America, on American soil in Southern Arizona. In his county, cartels use look-out posts, or “spotters,” to detect and move around law enforcement, and shootouts with cartels members are a normal occurrence.

“We still have these look-out posts, intelligence gathering locations where they sit on top of a mountain or in a cave. At least 100 of them just in one smuggling route throughout our county and we have multiple routes,” Babeu said. “How have we arrived to this point where this has become okay from the federal government’s perspective?”

These spotters are working for ruthless, violent criminals who are armed to the teeth with AK-47s and .50 caliber sniper rifles, partially thanks to the Obama Justice Department and its Operation Fast and Furious. These cartels have destabilized Mexico and 42,000 people have been murdered since 2006, with 22,000 of those murders happening in the past 18-months. It is quite the coincidence that at least half of the murders in Mexico came at the same time Operation Fast and Furious was being implemented and carried out. But this is just the beginning. Years from now, our law enforcement officers and innocent citizens will face the barrels of guns put into the hands of the most vicious criminals in North America—by our own government.

“It’s not going to end, there are at least 1500 guns out there and we have no clue where they are,” Babeu said.

While Sheriff Babeu and his deputies are doing their best to fight these cartels with limited resources, the Obama Justice Department has been arming the enemy with weapons Babeu’s deputies don’t even have.

“Outrage and betrayal. This has never happened before in the history of our country. We may have given armaments and weapons to our allies who may have later become our enemy, but we’ve never given them directly to our enemy,” Babeu said when asked about his initial reaction to Operation Fast and Furious.

Babeu isn’t only outraged about the program, but also about how the Obama Administration has handled the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Terry was killed with a gun linked to Operation Fast and Furious.

“He’s a hero [Terry]. He was a police officer and a marine. He was murdered and what does our government tell his brother and his mother and his family? Even a sorry and an apology wouldn’t take away the responsibility or minimize the pain but they haven’t even apologized to their family. This is outrageous that our country could be a party to this.”

Up to this point, the Obama Administration officials have denied involvement in the program. President Obama denies authorizing it, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano deny knowing about it until April 2011, despite evidence suggesting otherwise. Why? Because they don’t want to be held responsible for the lethal consequences of the program.

“It is insanity that they could try and rationalize this and still withhold and try to cover up information that implicates them. What I learned just as a regular police officer is that any body who is involved in assisting other people in crimes, that drive the get away car or give guns to people who know they’re going to commit crimes, and even if they didn’t know they would end up killing somebody, guess what we call those people? Accomplices, and they’re charged as well with the same crimes as the people who pulled the trigger.”

In the end, someone must be held responsible for these crimes within the United States government, not only for the crimes committed in America with guns deliberately placed into the hands of violent criminals through Operation Fast and Furious, but also to serve justice for the crimes committed in Mexico as a result of this program.

“These are the most violent criminals in North America and we facilitated and gave weapons, weapons that my deputies don’t even have, to these cartels,” he said. “It’s more than insane, it is horrific to think that our own government did this.”

The Cash-for-Visas Program – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

The seal of the old United States Immigration ...

Image via Wikipedia

The Cash-for-Visas Program – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

As part of his warmed-over jobs plan, President Obama is repackaging “Buy American” stimulus subsidies to help hard-hit homegrown businesses. At the same time, however, Congress is pushing to expand a fraud-riddled investor program that puts U.S. citizenship for sale to the highest foreign business bidders.

Call it the Buy America Cash-for-Visas plan.

As I first reported 10 years ago, the EB-5 immigrant investor program was created under an obscure section of the 1990 Immigration Act. The law allows 10,000 wealthy foreigners a year to purchase green cards by investing between $500,000 and $1 million in new commercial enterprises or troubled businesses. After two years, foreign investors, their spouses and their children all receive permanent resident status — which allows them to contribute to U.S. political campaigns and provides a speedy gateway to citizenship. The program is set to expire in 2012.

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration subpanel entertained calls to save the EB-5 law. Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren is sponsoring a bill to salvage the immigrant investor visas. The legislation (sponsored by open-borders Democrat John Kerry and Republican Richard Lugar in the Senate) also creates a second program with lower barriers to entry that would provide “start-up visas” for foreign entrepreneurs. They would be granted unconditional permanent-resident status if they create a government-determined number of jobs.

And there’s the rub. Obama’s make-believe math on stimulus jobs saved or created — coupled with the snowballing $535 million, stimulus-funded Solyndra solar company bankruptcy scandal — tells you all you need to know about Washington’s credibility in picking economic winners and losers.

If the feds can’t be trusted to invest government subsidies wisely in American companies, how can they possibly determine which overseas investors will be successful here? And if top U.S. loan officials have demonstrated such sloppy, politically driven disregard for financial due diligence on risky half-billion-dollar enterprises, how can immigration officials be trusted to better protect the national interest?

Answer: They can’t. In fact, the benefits of the EB-5 economic development plan have gone to former Immigration and Naturalization Service officials who formed lucrative limited partnerships to cash in on their access, and to shady foreign fraudsters.

Whistleblowers told me how immigrant investors paid token fees to these partnerships. The partnerships secured promissory notes for the remainder of the foreign investments, which were forgiven after investors received their permanent green cards. Former INS employees, working for these partnerships, aggressively lobbied their old colleagues to accept such bogus financial arrangements. As a result, according to an internal U.S. Justice Department investigative report, “aliens were paying $125K” instead of the required $500,000 to $1 million minimum, and “almost all of the monies went to the General Partners and the companies who set up the limited partners.”

In 2007, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the “program between 1995 and 1998 was frequently abused when would-be immigrants were allowed to pay a small amount in cash for a green card, signing a promissory note for the balance. The note didn’t come due for several years — long after the two-year conditional period built into the EB-5 visa had ended and permanent residency had been granted.”

An earlier Baltimore Sun investigation found “only a tiny fraction of the money ever made it to the companies seeking assistance.” Many of the distressed U.S. firms that the program intended to help have closed because they never received promised funding.

Instead of allowing the troubled program to sunset, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has “streamlined” the EB-5 immigrant investor green card process — guaranteeing processing within 15 calendar days for foreign business “projects that are fully developed and ready to be implemented.” The same expedited rush for government-directed investments gave us Solyndra. What’s worse in this case is the sordid peddling of the privileges of citizenship.

Twenty years ago, when the program’s failures were first exposed, Rep. John W. Bryant, a Texas Democrat, protested on the House floor: “This provision is an unbelievable departure from our tradition of cherishing our most precious birthright as Americans. Have we no self-respect as a nation? Are we so broke we have to sell our birthright?”

Apparently so.

EDITORIAL: Big Sis and freedom’s demise – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Big Sis and freedom’s demise – Washington Times.

Liberty under assault in response to 9/11 terrorist attacks

At a Politico breakfast at the Newseum on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took her critics to task.

“Big Sis” insisted that the likes of Matt Drudge have been wrong to focus attention on the gradual destruction of civil liberties and privacy in this country since the Sept. 11 jihadist attacks on America.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey also released Tuesday suggested, on the surface, that Americans might be buying into the various Big Government schemes peddled as a response to terrorism. A plurality of 47 percent had no problem with forcing people to carry a national ID card. More than 70 percent supported the 24/7 use of federal surveillance cameras to track and record every movement of people and their vehicles.

Ms. Napolitano likely took comfort in knowing 58 percent of respondents backed electronic strip searches and the groping of private parts as a precondition for boarding airplanes. Surprisingly, when the question of using the same measures was applied to buses, trolleys and other forms of mass transit, the idea lost by a 6 percent margin. Perhaps that’s because 44 percent of those participating in the survey identified themselves as “not employed.” About 69 percent hadn’t taken more than a single trip by airplane this year, suggesting that what happens at the airports was of less direct concern for them.

Those looking to aggrandize the all-powerful leviathan state have been relying upon such parochial impulses to expand their agenda. Some forces on the left and even the right have exploited the fear of a possible attack to chip away traditional American values of independence and drive them into the welcoming arms of a nanny state. Their schemes purport to bargain away a little freedom for a bit of safety. That is always a bad deal.

As we near the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it’s worth noting that the Transportation Security Administration has yet to catch a single terrorist. We’ve allowed countless women, young children and men to be sexually assaulted by blue-gloved thugs, with nothing to show for our loss of freedom. What the Drudge Report has done is keep millions of readers up to speed on a fact Big Sis would rather you forget: Our government frequently does more damage to our way of life than any terrorists could ever hope to do.

MILLER: Obama’s immigration shake-up – Washington Times

MILLER: Obama’s immigration shake-up – Washington Times.

White House grants amnesty to anyone but convicted felons

President Obama is using his executive authority to grant backdoor amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the administration’s immigration-enforcement efforts would ignore “low-priority cases.” That means most criminal aliens can stay, and only convicted felons will get the boot.

This new case-by-case-basis interpretation of immigration laws will give illegals a work permit to stick around in the United States, taking jobs away from the 9.1 percent of Americans looking for work. Congressional Democrats, who couldn’t get their laissez-faire immigration bill passed last year, applauded the White House move.

“I am especially pleased about the impact these new policies will have on those who would benefit from the Dream Act. These young people are American in all but paperwork,” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said in a statement, referring to an amnesty bill. “We lose a lot by sending them back to countries they do not know.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi outpandered Mr. Reid with praise of the decision to deport only known criminals “instead of children who call the United States home, and immigrants, such as veterans.” The San Francisco Democrat also came out with her “hope that today’s action by the administration will result in the suspension of immigration proceedings against gays and lesbians who have petitioned for their spouses.”

The White House spin is that it’s impossible to deport all illegals, so it will go only after those who have been convicted of a crime or happen to be a known security risk.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents now have a checklist with 19 guidelines to determine whether an illegal alien should be allowed to stay in the country. These include having lived in the country since childhood, being married to someone who is mentally ill, having a spouse who is nursing, having non-specific ties to the community and family relationships or being a high school graduate.

Basically, it’s a free pass as long as you don’t get convicted of a serious crime.

When House Republicans return next month, they need to push back against this presidential power grab. The Appropriations Committee should withhold funding from Homeland Security and Justice Department bureaucrats unless they return to enforcing existing laws through detainment and deportation.The GOP should refuse funding for agencies that give work permits to illegal aliens under Mr. Obama’s new dictate.

It’s important to return to the principles of the Secure Communities program, which helps local law enforcement keep dangerous and repeat offenders off the streets.

The president shouldn’t be allowed to loosen immigration laws in order to boost his standing among Hispanic voters for his re-election campaign. His new policies are far to the left of the American public.

Mr. Obama might as well stand at the border with a sign saying, “Come on in. Do whatever you want, just don’t get caught.”

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

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