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Endgame for Millions of Immigrants

A local Catholic businessman, concerned about passage of immigration reform told us recently, “At least we have the consolation that it is not possible to deport 12 million people undocumented people. A solution for comprehensive immigration reform must be found, it will be found.”

Unknown to us all, the administration began to deport the 12 million people in 2003 and declared in government documents that they will have completed the job by 2012.

The government publicized very little their document, “Endgame: Office of Detention and Removal Strategic Plan, 2003-2012; Detention and Removal Strategy for a Secure Homeland,” which was posted on the Department of Homeland Security web site, but later removed. The Houston Catholic Worker has obtained a copy.

Why was the document removed from the web site?

In April 2006 the anti-immigrant, restrictionist “Center for Immigration Studies” which works closely with FAIR ((Federation for American Immigration Reform) published a paper, “Attrition Through Enforcement: A Cost-Effective Strategy to Shrink the Illegal Population.” In lock-step Homeland Security changed ito these hitleresque policies in the same month, putting out a press release on April 20, 2006, announcing what they ironically called “Comprehensive Immi-gration Enforcement Strategy.” By administrative decree they replaced the hoped-for “comprehensive immigration reform” legislation with harsh measures against immigrants.

The authors of “Attrition Through Enforcement” had noted, they said, that advocates of comprehensive immigration reform contended that deportation of twelve million people was “unworkable.” They recommended instead a war of attrition which would make life so miserable that people would want to leave. Thus it would not be necessary to deport all 12 million. Their program:

1. Stepped-up immigration raids

2. Elimination of jobs for the undocumented by match-checks with social security numbers and verification of immigration status.

3. End all possibility of obtain-ing driver’s licenses.

4. A campaign to pass state and local laws that would discourage immigrants from living in those areas.

5. Increasing cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to identify and deport people.

The huge increase in deportations was not publicized by the U. S. government until after the fact. Citizens gradually became more aware of the massive stealth immigration raids all around the country when they resulted in the children being left behind when workers were deported.

People asked us, where did this sudden increase in hostility and hatred for immigrants come from? How could this poisonous, nativist atmosphere have developed?

Legislators Turn to Racist Group

Anti-immigrant sentiment has been fueled for many years by, FAIR. In the 1980s FAIR built a watchtower to spy on Casa Oscar Romero in Brownsivlle, where homeless Central American refugees were being received.

FAIR was the leader in mobilizing opposition to comprehensive immigration reform, to the Dream Act last year, in influencing the administration adopt the Attrition through Enforcement policy, and in going state by state to legislators to lobby for cruel anti-immigrant laws.

Tom Barry, a senior analyst at the Americas Policy Program, recently wrote that “the war of attrition is already leaving a trail of divided communities and split families in its wake. Detentions and deportations are shattering immigrant communities and families as restrictionists applaud and call for even harsh-er measures.” He also notes that FAIR is “spearheading the attrition war on the state level, working closely with a new group called State Legislators for Legal Immigration,” which is trying to impose their agenda state by state.” It was FAIR that wrote the inhumane law in Oklahoma with state representative Randy Terrill..

FAIR, presents itself as a non-profit, research organization and is invited to Congressional hearings. It appears to be more like a political action group, lobbying at all levels, mobilizing fear and hatred to win.

We have been pleased to hear, contrary to FAIR’s represen-tations, that polls have indicated that for the American people in this election year immigration (in the negative sense) is not the number one issue, but rather the economy and the war.

We are not directly involved in politics, but politics is being affected by a destructive spirit loose in our country, which FAIR has been fomenting. A Wall Street Journa l article revealed their background. Jason L. Riley wrote there on 3/21/2004 of the irony of those who loved President Reagan following a racist, nativist group:

“The Federation for American Immigration reform and the Center for Immigration studies…push a cultural agenda abhorrent to any self-respecting social conservative.” And, we might add, to Catholics and other people of good will.

“FAIR’s founder, John Tanton, opened the first Planed Parenthood chapter in northern Michigan, accepted more than $1.5 million from the Pioneer Fund, a white supremacist organization devoted to racial purity. Board members of FAIR actively promote the sterilization of Third World women.”

“CIS, an equally repugnant FAIR offshoot, is a big fan of China’s one-child policy and publishes books advocating looser limits on abortion and wider use of RU-486.”

The people who have been frightened by John Tanton’s terrible words about immigrants might be more inspired by the words Riley quotes from President Reagan, who spoke about a shining city that’s “teeming with people of all kinds” and has “doors open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, March-April 2008.