The LA Times is reporting Border fence’s slow progress panned.

Nearly a year after Congress passed legislation calling for the construction of 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, about 15 miles have been built, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Some Republicans and anti-illegal immigration groups have recently criticized the lack of progress, but Homeland Security, which had committed to putting up 70 miles of fencing by Sept. 30, said the project was back on track after being slowed by environmental, hiring and design issues.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), a longtime fence supporter, said in a letter to President Bush last week: “This lack of progress is unacceptable, especially when adequate funding is available to earnestly proceed with fence construction.”

Bush signed the Secure Fence Act last fall in hopes that bolstered enforcement would lead the then-Republican-led Congress to pass broader immigration overhaul.

The act calls for fencing in five areas along the 1,952-mile border. The longest stretch — from east of Calexico, Calif., to Douglas, Ariz. — would be about 300 miles long. Other large segments would be built along the Rio Grande in Texas. There are about 90 miles of fence, most of it in California.

Homeland Security set a timetable that calls for 300 miles of fencing and 150 miles of vehicle barriers to be built by the end of 2008. Congress allocated $1.2 billion for border improvements this year. The administration requested $1 billion for 2008.

But construction couldn’t begin, officials said, until more effective fencing could be designed, contractors hired and environmental issues addressed. Outside Yuma, for instance, the fence is being built with small holes to allow movement by the horned lizard.

The Secure Fence

Let’s take a peek at the “secure fence” with thanks to the Los Angeles Times.

Just judging from the name of the bill, one knew right from the start without even looking that the fence would be anything but secure. But this boondoggle is really far worse than even I expected.

But “great progress” is being made in spite of that darned that horned lizard. Why a full 15 of 700 miles of fence has already been built.

Oklahoma Illegal Alien News

KTUL News is reporting Hispanics Moving Out Of Oklahoma Before New Law Takes Effect.

Tulsa – Tens of thousands of Hispanics have left the Tulsa area. And, a law designed to crack down on illegal immigration hasn’t even taken effect yet.

Francisco Trevino runs Tulsa’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He says the exodus hurts a lot of people working in a lot of fields. “I think restaurants, construction, lawn care they do everything we don’t want to do,” he says.

Arkansas is about to adopt a law like Oklahoma’s. Kansas is considering the same thing.

Virginia Illegal Alien News

The Washington Times is reporting Hispanic lawmaker seeks end to ‘sanctuary’

Virginia’s only Hispanic state lawmaker is crafting legislation that would cut off state funding to any locality providing sanctuary to illegal aliens.

“Providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants in essence encourages illegal immigration, and makes Virginia a destination for illegals,” said Jeffrey M. Frederick, Prince William County Republican.

The aim is to stop Virginia counties, cities and towns with policies that ignore a person’s immigration status while providing public benefits and services. “Illegal immigration is costing taxpayers a fortune, and it is harming the quality of life of our citizens,” Mr. Frederick said. “It’s time we require our local governments to obey the law.”

Arizona Illegal Alien News

The Daly Dispatch is reporting ID theft could rise with new law; high-quality fake documents expected

Hundreds of operations in the Phoenix metro area churn out fake green cards, Social Security cards and driver’s licenses, and authorities say illegal immigrants are the chief customers.

But the new employer-sanctions law, which prohibits employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and takes effect in January, is anticipated to increase the demand for fake documents, especially those that use authentic numbers. That would then create a need for more identity theft in Arizona, already the state with the highest identity-theft rate in the nation.

Authorities say customers can buy a fake green card and a Social Security card for as little as $70 on the street. Add a driver’s license, and they can cost between $140 and $160. Those prices buy documents with randomly generated numbers. Buying fake documents made with government-issued ID numbers and a matching name stolen from someone else costs three to five times more.

Colorado and Texas Illegal Alien News

KJCT News is reporting Tancredo calls for removal of Laredo Border Patrol chief

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, a strong critic of illegal immigration, says the director of the Border Patrol in Laredo, Texas, should be fired.

The Colorado Republican said Carlos X. Carillo’s recent remarks in a town hall meeting “were diametrically opposed” to the Border Patrol’s mission. On August 15th, Carillo, speaking in Laredo, said the patrol’s mission is not to stop illegal immigrants or criminals but to focus on terrorists and keep them from entering the country.

U.S. Government Hires Illegal Aliens

The Deseret Morning News is reporting Use of illegal government workers assailed.

If President Bush is serious about getting tough on U.S. employers who hire illegal immigrants, he can start with his own administration, which employs thousands of unauthorized workers, says the top Republican on the House immigration subcommittee.

“Let’s clean up our own house, let’s especially clean up the federal employment of all those working for the federal government,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee’s immigration subcommittee.

According to the 2006 audit by the Social Security inspector general, 17 of the 100 worst employers using employees with non-work numbers were government agencies: seven federal agencies, seven state agencies and three local governments. That means the government knows who those employees are, but usually does not go after them.

Campaign Trail Illegal Alien News

SouthCoast Today is reporting Romney targets illegal immigration in new radio ad.

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney criticizes “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants — and by implication Republican rival Rudy Giuliani — in a new radio ad that was launched Tuesday.

Romney and Giuliani have jabbed over illegal immigration in recent weeks. The former Massachusetts governor says Giuliani promoted New York as haven for illegal immigrants. Giuliani aggressively denies it, insisting that he cracked down on lawlessness of every kind. “Legal immigration is great,” Romney says in the new ad. “But illegal immigration, that we’ve got to end. And amnesty is not the way to do it.”

Immigration News Recap

All of those articles were in the news in just the past week. Here are the states mentioned or involved (some only peripherally)

  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • Kansas
  • Iowa
  • Virginia
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • California
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Texas

Even if by some miracle the Secure Fence is completed on time and within budget, it is clearly a complete waste of $2.2 billion. So why then are so many senators, congressman behind this project? And why are so many states like Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Virginia, and Kansas passing or considering legislation to crack down on the hiring of illegal aliens?

The one word answer is “Jobs”.

In spite of what anyone in this administration says or what the purported unemployment numbers are, jobs are not easy to come by. High paying jobs even less so. People are fearful over jobs and fearful over a recession as shown by a recent Wall Street Journal / NBC News Poll. The poll results shows America’s Economic Mood:Gloomy.

More than two-thirds of Americans believe the U.S. economy is either in recession now or will be in the next year …. concerns about health costs, job security and the gap between the rich and poor have left Americans downbeat about the road ahead.

Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture Blog challenges the published unemployment rate in Real Income Fails to Rise for most of the 2000s.

So Congress and the Administration is striking back: by wasting billions building a fence that one look should be enough to convince anyone that it can’t possibly work.

But the real story here is about rising protectionist sentiment not only in the U.S. Congress but at the state level as well. And the issue of the Renminbi (China’s currency) as well as the trade deficit with China keeps festering. Tariffs, trade wars, currency disputes, and economic fences are all hallmarks of deflationary times.

Mike Shedlock / Mish/