Jewish World Review Feb. 7, 2003 / 5 Adar I, 5763

Michelle Malkin

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The Hillary amendment | Hillary Clinton made headlines a few weeks ago with her macho talk about national security. Watch her lips move:

"Our people remain vulnerable," she complained at a Manhattan conference on homeland defense, "nearly as vulnerable as we were before" the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Clinton -- just call her "Border Hawk Hillary" -- further asserted that "our approach to securing our nation is haphazard at best . . . Somewhere along the line, we lost our edge. We let our guard down."

While her lips moved, her hands were busy helping Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., craft an amendment to subvert federal immigration laws. It's buried in the Congressional Record of Jan. 21 and was passed successfully as part of the Senate omnibus appropriations bill. Senate Amendment 233 forbids any federal funds appropriated under the act from being used to remove, deport or detain illegal aliens who happen to be related to victims of Sept. 11.

The amendment does not apply to illegal alien family members who have felony records or are terrorists (how thoughtful). But it's the laundry list of illegal alien categories that Clinton and Corzine protect from deportation that is most revealing.

The Hillary amendment will prevent the Department of Homeland Security from taking any action to deport spouses or children of Sept. 11 victims who: crossed the border illegally; overstayed visas illegally; evaded prior deportation orders illegally; stowed away on a ship illegally; smuggled other illegal aliens; used fraudulent documents; falsely claimed U.S. citizenship; voted illegally; have a communicable disease or who failed to present documentation of having received vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases; have a physical or mental disorder and behavior associated with the disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others; or are likely at any time to become a public charge.

The illegal alien relatives of Sept. 11 victims certainly deserve sympathy. (Both political parties have shown plenty in allowing them to collect government benefits under the USA Patriot Act signed into law by President Bush.) But how will we ever be able to restore order in the broken deportation system when any politician can handcuff federal immigration authorities from enforcing the law with a stroke of a pen? Compassion is one thing. A free pass is quite another.

Alas, the Hillary amendment is the tip of the iceberg. Democrats and Republicans alike are supporting dozens of "private relief" bills seeking to sabotage deportation efforts and award legal permanent residence to illegal alien "constituents." Every time a private relief bill passes, the number of available visas for that year is reduced by the number of illegal alien recipients granted legal status through the special legislation.

Federal lawmakers pressure immigration officials into releasing illegal aliens while their private bills work slowly through Capitol Hill. If the legislation is turned down (which is rare), it doesn't matter. The intended beneficiaries are on the loose, adding to the more than 300,000 fugitives from deportation that the federal government has yet to track down. Just last week, Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., introduced H.R. 393, which would exempt from deportation a Mexican national caught trying to smuggle her illegal alien boyfriend (a gang member convicted of felony firearms possession and deported to Mexico after serving his sentence) back into the U.S.

Federal immigration law expressly forbids Pastor's special relief recipient, Alejandra Arias Garcia, from being released from detention. But the INS district in Phoenix ignored the law at Rep. Pastor's behest and set her free -- to the cheers of the illegal alien lobby -- last week.

How can we crack down on terrorist-linked aliens and deportation fugitives with fake papers and expired visas if our elected leaders go running to the feds every time some other politically connected constituency demands special treatment and new immigration-law loopholes for their alien population?

Selective and haphazard enforcement has, of course, been the hallmark of the Clinton (both of them) legacy. As Terry Jeffrey of the newsweekly Human Events reported last week, former Clinton INS commissioner Doris Meissner authored a last-minute directive that gives immigration officials carte blanche to ignore any part of the immigration law they desire under the guise of "prosecutorial discretion." The memo has yet to be rescinded.

"Our vigilance has faded at the top, in the corridors of power in Washington . . . where leaders are supposed to lead," Sen. Clinton inveighed last month. For once, Mrs. Clinton, we agree.

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JWR contributor Michelle Malkin is the author of, most recently, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores". To comment, please click here.

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© 2002, Creators Syndicate