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"Other than Mexican" and "Special Interest OTM Apprehensions"

JINSA Report #: 

April 6, 2006

The Senate is likely to vote on an immigration reform bill tomorrow. Particularly in the south, but increasingly in the north, we must reinstitute American laws and American control of America's borders. And crucial to the debate and the security of our country are the phrases "OTM" and "Special Interest OTM Apprehensions."

Google the phrase, "Other Than Mexican," and you get 55 million hits. "OTM" is a catch phrase for an immigration problem that, while tracked diligently by the U.S. Government and others, remains almost entirely without a solution and thus contributes to American vulnerability to terrorism.

First, the process. Mexicans trying to enter the U.S. illegally are often simply processed at the border and sent back. But Mexico won't allow us to send citizens from other countries back through Mexico, and under U.S. law, they're entitled to a formal deportation hearing. The immigration service lacks beds to hold them, so the vast majority of OTMs are released from custody and asked to voluntarily return for their court date.

Second, the numbers. The Washington Times reported last year, "Of the estimated 465,000 fugitive absconders (people caught then released on their own recognizance into the U.S. but failed to return for their deportation hearing; different from people who enter illegally and are never caught) currently living in the United States, 71,000 are thought to be 'other than Mexican' - among whom terrorists lurk... federal agents in Texas have detected a threefold increase in non-Mexican numbers this year. The U.S. Border Patrol had detained 98,000 non-Mexican nationals across the country by early June, but about 70 percent of them were released immediately owing to lack of detention facilities."

Most of the OTMs are OL - Other Latin - but "Special Interest OTM Apprehensions" are defined as emanating from countries that would seek to do harm to American interests; terrorist supporting (and exporting) countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria and so on. This week, FBI Director Robert Muller announced that the Iranian-backed Hezballah had succeeded in smuggling operatives across the Mexican border into the U.S. Mr. Muller claimed the FBI had dismantled the smuggling ring, identified the people who had been smuggled in and "addressed" them. Or at least "addressed" those we knew about. Or something.

A word about immigrants: we like them - our families were immigrants - and immigration ensures our future. We vastly prefer the immigration demonstrations rolling across the U.S. right now to the angry French riots. Ours are generally because people believe their economic future is better here and feature lots of high school students taking an impromptu "Spring break." Theirs are generally because the future looks bleak and "twenty-something" students demand a secure economic future they are unlikely to get.

But our generally positive feelings about immigrants cannot be a substitute for a bottom-line - it is the obligation of the American government to control who enters our country and under what circumstances.

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