Time for the West to Be Realistic

AMERICAN THINKER — In September 2015, the photo of a three-year-old Syrian child lying dead on a Turkish beach next to his mother and five-year-old brother, who had all drowned, as had over 2,000 others, was a poignant picture. Everyone recognizes the need for humanitarian assistance to a reasonable degree for those trying to escape from the brutality of the war in Syria and barbarous Islamist terrorism.

While recognizing the moral problem involved, the countries of Europe are confronted with the pragmatic problem of responding in the context of 4.6 million Middle East refugees seeking asylum and 13.5 million people needing assistance inside Syria. The numbers will grow as the civil war in Syria continues and ISIS, the Islamic State, still exists.

There are three factors involved. The first is the unwelcome straightforward issue of the number of would-be migrants, genuine refugees, from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, and Eritrea, who can realistically be accepted by European countries and, to a lesser extent, by the United States. A second is whether those migrants, mostly Muslim, can be satisfactorily integrated into Western democratic societies. Already in 2015, more than 1 million people came to Europe by sea, and another 34,000 by land. A third problem is the fear that some of them may be Islamists or jihadists prepared to cause harm, rather than genuine refugees.

By coincidence, these factors were discussed on successive days, February 3 and February 4, 2016. On the first day, the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, said that migration into European by people, almost all Muslims, is a serious threat to Western values, culture, and identity. It is now clear that a considerable number of those seeking asylum are not genuine refugees fleeing war. Tougher laws are needed to prevent migrants from entering Europe simply because they are in search of a better life. The West should try to some extent to help those in distress or who are being persecuted but not those people who are not really in need.

War With China Just a Matter of Time as Beijing Plans South China Sea Buildup

WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — China toned down vitriolic rhetoric in response to the recent passage of a US warship near a disputed island in the South China Sea.

Chinese government-controlled media outlets, however, seized on the transit of the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur on Jan. 30 within 12 miles of Triton Island in the Paracels archipelago with stepped up threats to deploy missiles and warplanes on some of its 3,200 acres of newly-created islands.

Analysis of official Chinese statements after the unannounced warship transit shows Beijing backed off from more threatening rhetoric used after an earlier warship passage in October.

Sanctuary Cities Endanger – National Security and Public Safety

THE SOCIAL CONTRACT — Of late, immigration has become the hottest issue for the United States and its citizens. The perfect storm of the very vocal position of presidential candidate Donald Trump about the issue of illegal aliens and the crimes they commit and the senseless murder of Kathryn Steinle, just days after Trump went public about illegal immigration, thrust immigration onto the front page of newspapers across the United States and into the “A Block” of television news programs.

Leading the outrage was the discovery that the alleged killer of Kathryn Steinle, Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, is an illegal alien from Mexico, who had reportedly been previously deported five times and had multiple felony convictions in the United States. He had been in ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) custody after serving four years in prison for unlawful re-entry.

The U.S. Marshals Service had turned him over to the custody of local law enforcement in San Francisco because of an old criminal charge of sale of marijuana, and that although a detainer had been lodged by ICE, local SF officials, because of existing sanctuary policies, ignored that detainer and set him free.

This case ignited a firestorm. However, this issue of “Sanctuary Cities” is decades old, and while the news media decided that this specific case warranted close scrutiny, similar crimes involving criminal aliens have been committed almost every day for many years.

Democrats Angry Obama Hasn’t Completely Thrown Open Our Borders

THE HILL — House Democratic immigration reformers are vowing to continue pressing the Obama administration on deportations after a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that apparently failed to placate their concerns.

Johnson has been under fire from the Democrats since early last month, when DHS arrested more than 120 undocumented Central Americans with plans to send them home.

The DHS chief met last week on the topic with several Democrats, including Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who have led the chorus of lawmakers condemning the process with charges that immigrants seeking asylum are being denied sound legal protection.

While all sides are being tight-lipped about the closed-door discussion, the Democrats suggested that differences remain.

“The vast majority of Democrats made clear to the president … [the] concerns we had,” Lofgren said after the meeting, referring to a recent letter House Democrats sent to Obama urging a halt to the deportations. “And I think some of those issues are going to be addressed, … and some, we’re going to require additional discussion.”

Lofgren said the arrests have created a culture of fear and uncertainty in immigrant communities nationwide — a message the Democrats delivered to Johnson.

“It’s not as apparent to every American, but it’s 24/7 in the Spanish language press, and we need to own that issue because it was not intended,” she said. “And so there’s a need to make clear what the policy is, and what the policy isn’t.”

Gutiérrez was also very guarded about the meeting, expressing concerns that spilling details in the press would create “an environment [not] conducive to resolving the problem.”

FBI Confirms ‘Ongoing’ Investigation Into Clinton’s Server

DAILY CALLER — FBI officials confirmed in a court filing Monday they are continuing to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using her private email server while at the Department of State, according to Politico.

The FBI’s General Counsel James Baker said in public statements and congressional testimony that the FBI “has acknowledged generally that it is working on matters related to former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server.” Baker said he could not disclose more, as to not compromise the FBI’s law enforcement work.

Monday’s one-paragraph letter is perhaps the most clear example of the FBI going on the record about its “ongoing” probe into the Democratic presidential contender.

The FBI made the disclosure in a letter dated Feb. 2, but filed in court Monday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the Department of State.

The news comes on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, which Clinton is widely expected to lose to her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Virginia Lawmakers Push to Hold Sanctuary Cities Liable for Illegals’ Crimes

WASHINGTON TIMES — It’s unclear whether any Virginia jurisdictions qualify as sanctuary cities, but the state legislature is determined to make sure none of them stray across the line, with Republican senators and delegates pushing to withhold money from those that refuse to cooperate — and even considering making them have to pay restitution to those harmed by illegal immigrants within their borders.

The House cleared a bill Monday that would require prisons and jails to honor all requests to transfer illegal immigrants to federal custody, as long as they aren’t asked to hold the aliens beyond the time they’d normally be released.

Senators meanwhile debated — but put off until later this week — votes on bills that would have allowed the state to strip grant money from sanctuaries, and that would have given private citizens hurt by illegal immigrants the chance to claim damages.

New Texas Open Carry Law Goes Off Without a Bang — or Problems

FOX NEWS — Open carry in Texas began not with a bang, but a whimper.

The new, and somewhat controversial law allowing licensed gun owners to carry their firearms openly in public took effect Jan. 1. Predictions that the law would cause panic or even put the public in danger have, so far, proven to be off-target.

“We do not have anything interesting to report,” Cpl. Tracey Knight of the Fort Worth Police Department said to a local newspaper, the Star-Telegram. “Two calls so far, no issues. We have no concerns and we have had no problems.”

Critics believed a public unaccustomed to seeing guns carried openly would call police out of fear. But no such complaints were filed in January in Tarrant County, where Fort Worth is the county seat.

Border Control Is Just One Part of Enforcement

CAPS — Most of the discussion about stopping illegal immigration focuses on what we should do to control the border, and that usually refers to our southern border with Mexico. This focus misses a key reality, namely that an estimated 40 percent to 60 percent of illegal aliens now residing in the United States did not sneak across the border to get here. In fact, they arrived with temporary legal visas. They became illegal residents when they overstayed those visas and failed to return home.

And what is the government doing about this situation? Two decades of neglect tell the story. In 1996, Congress recognized the problem of visa overstays and authorized laws to establish a biometric entry-exit tracking system. Biometrics include fingerprints and other personal identity markers which can’t be altered. Little followed from these laws.

The issue came up again after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the U.S., when it came to light that some of the attackers were illegal aliens, having overstayed visas. The 9/11 Commission Report stated that a biometric entry-exit system was “fundamental to intercepting terrorists.” Again, not much happened.

In 2004, Congress passed legislation directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to move forward with the entry-exit project. It was delayed repeatedly. In 2007, Congress told DHS to have the system up and running by 2009. When that deadline passed, there was nothing to show but a few pilot projects.

Christie Says Marco Still Backs Amnesty: ‘He’S Not for Enforcing the Law’

POLIZETTE — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s on-again, off-again embrace of liberalized immigration reform will definitely be “on” again once more if he becomes president.

Christie made his comments on “The Laura Ingraham Show” one day before New Hampshire voters head to the polls for the first-in-the-nation primary. Christie rejected his GOP presidential rival’s argument that he would enforce immigration law.

“The problem is that he’s not for enforcing the law, and there’s nothing in his record that proves he is,” Christie said. “In fact, what’s in his record is that he signed on for an amnesty bill that would allow for legalization and citizenship for people who came here illegally. And he ran away from it as soon as the heat got hot. But you can be sure he’ll run right back to it if he’s elected president of the United States, because his big donors, that’s what they want.”

Christie was referring to a 2013 bill that Rubio sponsored with seven other senators that would have offered a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. It passed the upper chamber, but died in the House of Representatives. Rubio has been trying ever since to square his participation in that effort with intense opposition among Republican voters.

Cartels and Jihadists: Misconceptions and Provocative Suggestions

INSIGHT CRIME — In this analysis of the similarities between Islamic terrorist groups and Mexican cartels, David Martínez-Amador explores how the strategy to confront the former has influenced that of the latter.

During the six-year presidency of Felipe Calderón, Mexican intelligence agencies underwent a leverage process unprecedented in Mexico-United States bilateral relations. The hope (and hope it was) was to finally build an atmosphere allowing for the sharing of data without the usual distrust. Ultimately it happened, but under the guidelines proposed by the United States. Although it was frustrating, it brought about a homogenization in the strategy against drug trafficking. And this was serious.

What do I mean?

In concrete terms, I mean the United States applied in Mexico the same methods, procedures, and tactics it uses to address the Middle East: the strategy known as “Suppression of High Value Targets.” The US military seeks to nullify the heads of terrorist organizations, similar to the strategy in Mexico of decapitating cartel leadership. By the end of Calderon’s six-year administration, this strategy resulted in 25 out of 37 criminals being “taken out of circulation” (nine killed and 16 detained). It is this strategy, originally designed for the volatile situation in the Middle East, which we should thank for the mutation of large cartels into highly volatile micro-organizations.

This article was originally published by Plaza Pública. It was translated, edited for clarity, and reprinted with permission, but it does not necessarily reflect the views of InSight Crime. See Spanish original here

In the design of the “suppression of high value target” strategy, the US attempted to frame the Mexican insecurity phenomenon into pre-existing parameters in which it did not fit. One of these references was the dynamic used for the al-Qaeda organization. As expected, using these references in a rigid and literal way led to the overlooking of differences that resulted in devastating effects.

Can the Mexican People Clean Up the Corruption in Their Country?

REFORMA: JESÚS SILVA-HERZOG MÁRQUEZ* — It is important to remember, as Carlos Puig did recently, that none of the members of the presidential cabinet have presented their “3 x 3” [statement of assets, tax return and investments.]. None. Not even the Secretary of Public Administration. Despite the scandals, the presidential team has decided to keep that information to themselves. It is true, they have no legal obligation to present it. However, given the circumstances it could be an important contribution to restoring – or perhaps it would be better to say establishing – trust.

Demand for these in-depth reports makes sense: to establish the propriety of public institutions, it is essential to know the financial circle and the relationship network of those who speak on our behalf and circulate checks from our communal account. To know what they arrive with and what they leave with. To identify in advance the relationships that could distort their judgment. In the same way that doctors display degrees and diplomas in their offices to show the credentials of their professional authority, public officials should display their interests and relationships to ask for trust. Only by using such instruments could trust in public institutions be built.

“We Might as Well Abolish Our Immigration Laws”

CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES — On February 4, the Washington Examiner carried a story detailing a secret directive ordering Border Patrol agents to immediately release — without processing for deportation — aliens apprehended along the frontier, simply upon their assertion, without verification, that they have been in the United States since prior to January 2014.

The directive was revealed by a Border Patrol union official testifying before Congress on the renewed surge of illegal aliens on our southern border, with numbers that exceed those who came during the 2014 summertime surge. Center for Immigration Studies’ Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan also testified.

The article in the Examiner, by the way, was headlined “Border agent: ‘We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether'”. As one of my friends, a fellow retiree, promptly responded in our email exchange over the matter, “Memo to the Patrol Agent: We already have.”

In a prior blog post, I speculated that with his term of office winding down the president might feel like a free agent, virtually unfettered in his attempts to completely dismantle immigration enforcement as a part of his “legacy”. This would be particularly true if he is not invested in the outcome of the next election, which to date seems to be the case — witness his recent hosting of Democratic Socialist candidate Bernie Sanders at the White House, despite Sanders being the prime opponent of the president’s own former secretary of state.

Sanders First Regarded VA Wait List Scandal as Partisan Effort to Undermine Agency

WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), now a Democratic presidential candidate, was slow to take seriously reports in 2014 of the use of fake wait lists by Department of Veterans Affairs employees.

As the New York Times reported, Sanders, then chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, initially indicated that the controversy was being fueled by a partisan effort to undermine the government agency.

Sanders defended the VA amid reports, which first came to light in April 2014, that staffers at the Phoenix VA hospital used secret wait lists to conceal the long periods of time that veterans were delayed before receiving care. Dozens of veterans died waiting for appointments, according to whistleblowers, and the scandal eventually led to the resignation of then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“There is, right now, as we speak, a concerted effort to undermine the VA,” Sanders said in May 2014. “You have folks out there now–Koch brothers and others–who want to radically change the nature of society, and either make major cuts in all of these institutions, or maybe do away with them entirely.”

American Legion Threatens Legal Action Against Bernie Sanders Campaign if It Doesn’t Stop Using Emblem

THE BLAZE — “The American Legion Constitution prohibits the organization from endorsing political candidates or parties,” John Raughter, American Legion national spokesman, wrote in an email to the Valley News.

Sanders’ campaign didn’t immediately return a request seeking comment.

The American Legion has twice complained to Sanders officials since Jan. 22 about the use of the emblem in campaign materials. A Feb. 1 letter from the American Legion obtained by The Associated Press warns that “any further communication about it will be through our trademark attorney in the appropriate forum.”

An earlier report in a New Hampshire paper said that Sanders had used the images of pastors and veterans in his fliers.

Mexican Cartel Uses Hitler Approved Ovens to Dispose of Innocent Victims on a Massive Scale

BREITBART — PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila– The Mexican Los Zetas cartel used a network of oven facilities to cover-up the systematic mass extermination of innocent people during the 2011-2013 period when the cartel had complete governmental control over most of the Mexican state of Coahuila. From the then-governor of Coahuila, down to the city jails, Los Zetas had complete control of every aspect of governmental process and of the lives of Mexican citizens–including news media. Their atrocities in Coahuila have remained largely unreported and undocumented by any governmental agencies; local, state, federal, or international.

After Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project launched and began to see success in exposing various factions of the Gulf cartel in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, we grew increasingly aware of the need to help bring a platform to people in Los Zetas territory who had experiences of which we knew they wanted the world to hear. It seemed as if we would never break through the barrier, as we didn’t know and trust any sources in the region whom we could utilize as a starting point to build out from.

Our access to information in the Gulf Cartel territory in most of Tamaulipas grew to an unprecedented level, but Los Zetas controls the western portion of Tamaulipas around Nuevo Laredo and the state of Coahuila and getting our foot in the door seemed impossible. That changed. People from the region began contacting us and we had to take a chance and trust them. We didn’t know at the time if they were corrupted people luring us into Mexico for the cartels to capture us or if they were good people who wanted to risk their lives and help their communities. We had to take the chance. We did it and we lucked out–or we were blessed.

Pressure on Obama-Puppet Lynch to Step Aside in Clinton Email Probe

THE HILL — Loretta Lynch is on the edge of the spotlight, about to be dragged to the center.

If the FBI finds sufficient evidence to launch a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton or one of her top aides for mishandling classified information, Lynch’s Justice Department will have to decide whether to press ahead.

Even if no evidence of wrongdoing is found, Clinton’s many critics are unlikely to take the word of an appointee of President Obama’s and will doubt that justice has been served.

Already, top Republicans are calling for a special prosecutor to be brought in and evaluate the situation.

No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn (Texas) took to the floor of the Senate last week to call for a special counsel to be appointed “because of the conflict of interest by asking Attorney General Lynch to investigate and perhaps even prosecute somebody in the Obama administration.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) agrees that Lynch ought to consider a special counsel, a representative said, to reassure the country that decisions are made “without regard to any political considerations.”

The Justice Department, however, has so far declined the request.

The Next Administration’s Immigration Crisis

FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE — Immigration has finally emerged for the elections and the debates – particularly among the Republican candidates for the presidency. Donald Trump opened the floodgates about this issue when he talked about building a wall on the U.S./Mexican government and deporting the criminals entering the United States from other countries. During several debates Senators Cruz and Rubio have come to verbal blows over immigration accusing each other of being weak on immigration.

But immigration must be more that a slogan for a campaign and real solutions must be devised and then implemented. National security must be much more than a “sound bite”.

However, it is my view that most journalists and most supposedly “scientific” polls continue to suppress any meaningful discussion about immigration and its true significance. Pollsters and journalists claim the fear of terrorism is usually placed at the top of the list of concerns for Americans, followed by the economy. Immigration is often characterized as being considerably further down the list of issues Americans want addressed.

Immigration is a critical element in our war against terrorism.