When is “less crime” considered “bad news” by the press? When the crime is illegal immigration.

The Border Patrol — backed up by large numbers of National Guardsmen — reports a 24 percent drop in arrests along the Mexican border. Now the mainstream media is asking “what went wrong?”

In Georgia, where a tough, new immigration law just took effect, the local press is on the verge of a meltdown. Pundits celebrated when a Clinton-appointed judge struck down Hazelton, Penn.’s local ordinances keeping illegal immigrants from doing business in that town — a law that resulted in immigration criminals leaving town in droves. Open borders advocates were particularly disturbed by the fact that the success in Hazelton inspired cities across the country to consider similar legislation. (The federal judge’s ruling against Hazelton law is being appealed).

In Massachusetts, the MetroWest Daily News reports the “disturbing” news that more illegal immigrants are leaving the commonwealth than arriving. Local travel agents are selling twice as many one-way tickets to Brazil this year than last. Brazilian illegals are opting for the “do-it-yourself” amnesty plan: Going home.

It turns out that treating illegal immigrants like they’re doing something, oh, illegal, has the effect of encouraging them to actually obey the law.

In a rational world, this would all be good news. But in the bizarro world of border security, the only true crime is to enforce the law. And the true horror of enforcing immigration laws is that it actually works.

Mark Krikorian from the Center for Immigration Studies will tell anyone who’ll listen that the practical, workable solution for border security is “attrition through enforcement.”

Forget Sen. Lindsey Graham’s amnesty. The Congressional Budget Office’s best guess is that the McCain/Kennedy/Bush plan will only reduce the flow of illegals by an anemic 25 percent.

What works is enforcing existing laws, or even just the threat of enforcement.

“At the time of the 9/11 attack, the largest group of illegal immigrants from the Middle East were from Pakistan,” Krikorian says. “In the wake of 9/11, basic enforcement was stepped up. It became clear in the Pakistani community that the government was serious and things like expired visas were no longer going to be overlooked. As a result, a huge percentage of illegal Pakistani immigrants chose on their own to go home.”

So, if we know that even mild enforcement works, why aren’t federal authorities doing it? Unfortunately, it’s a question that answers itself.

In Marlborough, Mass., the school system is trying to crack down on parents from nearby towns sneaking their kids into its schools. Marlborough taxpayers are flattered by the attention, but they’re not too thrilled about picking up the tab for students who aren’t legal, taxpaying residents.

They’ve come up with the common-sense solution of requiring all students to provide complete documentation — easy-to-get things like drivers licenses, gas bills, and rental agreements. The hold up? Such a policy might also keep illegal aliens out of the classrooms, too. That’s against federal law.

To appease the feds, the school system plans to categorize all illegal alien families as “homeless,” so their kids can stay in the system. “Relax,” the Marlborough School Committee is telling the Bush administration, “the only kids we’re kicking out of class are the American ones!”

That’s it! Let’s start deporting U.S. citizens! That’s the one border security program the “Grahamesty” advocates can support.

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