Confirming the worst fears of those who oppose President Bush’s plans to change immigration laws, U.S. Border Patrol officials report a 15 percent increase in the use of fraudulent documents at the world’s busiest land border crossing.

Immigration-reform groups point to the finding at the San Ysidro border crossing with alarm – suggesting that putting what some see as an amnesty program on the table represents an invitation for more illegal immigration.

The alarming increase in illegal migration prompted this editorial reaction from the San Diego Union-Tribune: “It has been nearly three weeks since President Bush proposed ‘temporary’ legal status for millions of illegal immigrants residing in the United States. Already, San Diego is starting to see the unintended consequences at the San Ysidro port of entry.”

More than half of those caught using phony documents say the president’s offer of de facto amnesty motivated them to attempt to sneak into the United States, the report added.

“This surge in unlawful attempts to cross the southern border is precisely what U.S. border enforcement officers and immigration policy experts predicted,” said the paper’s editorial. “By proposing to forgive millions of illegal aliens their trespasses against this country, President Bush has encouraged even more illegal aliens to join those already here.”

Meanwhile, an immigration reform group said Bush would save the American taxpayers a lot of money if he shut off the magnet that draws millions of illegal aliens across our border – simply by enforcing laws that prohibit companies from hiring illegals.

“The illegal immigrant population would simply disappear,” said Jim Studenraus, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “Overnight, Americans would start being attracted into those businesses. Now, would some employers have to offer maybe 50 cents or a dollar more an hour, maybe provide medical benefits? Yes.”

Staudenraus says in the long run it would be cheaper for American taxpayers if they did not have to pay for social services at schools and prisons filled with illegal aliens.

The Union-Tribune said the White House is not learning the lessons of 1986, “when Congress granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. The amnesty did absolutely nothing to discourage future illegal immigration. In fact, the number of illegal immigrants has increased exponentially since then.”

A recent New York Times poll indicates that two-thirds of Americans oppose a temporary worker program for illegals.

While Bush has claimed his program is not an amnesty, it “expects temporary workers to return permanently to their home countries after their period of work in the United States has expired.” Immigration-reform groups say that is an unrealistic expectation and the program is a de facto amnesty proposal.

“There has never been a temporary worker program in the United States, Europe or anywhere else under which all of the workers returned to their native countries,” said the Union-Tribune editorial. “Indeed, many illegals who have crossed this nation’s borders didn’t do so to spend a mere matter of years in the United States before returning home. They planned to be here permanently.”

FAIR, meanwhile, contends Bush’s plan would threaten homeland security, grant amnesty for lawbreakers, establish a back-door immigration program and threaten the jobs and wages of American workers.

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