Thursday, July 28, 2011

Immigration

As we know locally we complain about illegals but in Arizona and the other border states it is an amazing war going on there. I Picked this Up from the Eastern Arizona Courier and I think it is an story that rings true. I know when I worked at the Wicomico County Jail and Immigration would come in and pick up illegals they would all be flown back to their county - not just Mexico but Europe, China, etc.

Government overspends accomplishes little
By Mike Bibb
columnist
Published on Sunday, July 24, 2011 10:49 AM MST
I'm not an economist or certified accountant, so I look at things involving money a little differently. Nor am I a lawyer, which might help to explain my complete lack of understanding of some legislation enacted by our elected representatives. Still, with all my years of accumulated ignorance, every now and then a story comes along that challenges my best efforts in even trying to comprehend it.

Usually, I fail.

Case in point. During the summer months since 2004, the federal government spent approximately $86 million taxpayer dollars to commercially fly 116,000 illegal immigrants back to Mexico. I'm assuming they must be flying first class since that works out to about $741 a ticket. When they arrive at the airport in Mexico City, they are then given free bus passes to travel the rest of the way home.

This year, another $9-$11 million will be added to the tab, or about $83,300 per day for the 120-day period.

Are you beginning to appreciate my dilemma?

Called the Mexican Interior Repatriation Program, it is a three- to four-month annual summer mission conceived as a humanitarian effort to save lives of thousands of border crossers. "Without this program, many of these migrants would perish in the desert," insists Tom Homan, ICE deputy assistant director.

"Migrants?" I thought they were a cabal of drug mules, human smugglers, gun runners, murderers, thieves, gang members and whatever else is in the mix. Sure, no doubt there are many ordinary individuals seeking to improve themselves by heading north, but I'm equally positive there is a substantial percentage whose ambitions do not include farm work, landscaping, pool maintenance or motel housekeeping.

Even more baffling is the fact that this program is voluntary. If an illegal doesn't wish to return to Mexico then he/she doesn't have to get on the plane. I suppose they can continue to reside in one of our detention centers until finally tiring of eating sandwiches and yearning for a more nutritious homemade taco.

So, how many lives have actually been saved by this program? Your guess is as good as mine because no one is keeping records. Even with the available free plane ride, border deaths in Arizona have remained fairly constant the past decade with about 200 a year perishing in the heat. A record 249 died in the desert in 2010. As of July this year, 82 bodies have been recovered.

Meanwhile, as the Border Patrol is busily apprehending one illegal, two or three more are getting away.

I realize the government is in the business of spending money, not making it, but is it too much to ask how nearly $100 million can be spent ferrying "migrants" to their casas in Mexico and no one has any idea if this is a worthwhile solution to the problem of people dying in the Arizona desert? Furthermore, by what rational logic should we continue to throw good money after bad? According to a July 2010 Government Accountability Office report, there are no measures in place to evaluate the success or failures of the plan.

If this is true, then why is MIRP allowed to continue unmonitored? Where is the government accountability? (That's an oxymoron if ever there was one.)

Here's a couple of crazy ideas I'll toss out for consideration: Since the death rate hasn't gone down in spite of the expensive repatriation flights, then I would guess that maybe the program is a bust and it's time to cut bait. Or, how about simply dividing the number of dollars spent flying folks home since 2004 (approximately $100 million) by the number of corpses found in the desert from 2004 to 2011 (around 1,500). That figures out to about $66,600 per body.

I know it's basic grade school math, but maybe these simple suggestions could give some astute government bean counter a pretty good idea of how well this boondoggle is working.

Our country is $14 trillion dollars in the hole and teetering on the brink of financial calamity, yet we routinely continue to pay for dozens of nonsensical operations like this. Unfortunately, getting rid of an established government program is almost as difficult as finding shovel ready jobs.

But for us mortals, let's look at this way — if a $1 bill was equal to one second, then 14 trillion seconds would equal about 448,000 years. If $1 bills were stacked atop each other, there would be four stacks of bills reaching to the moon, each about 240,000 miles high or a single stack 960,000 miles high. If $1 bills were laid end-to-end they would circle the earth 55,458 times. If a jet plane traveling at the speed of sound, 720 miles per hour, was spewing out a roll of $1 dollar bills, it would take 196 years before the jet used the last of the 14 trillion dollars.

As former Sen. Everett Dirksen famously quipped, "A billion here, a billion there — and pretty soon you're talking about real money." I believe that's exactly what the policy planners in Washington are thinking. Only now, it's a trillion here and a trillion there.

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