on the Border
A token gesture...
[J. F. Kelly, Jr.] 12/8/05
George W. Bush finally paid a visit to the battlefront to see
for himself what all the fuss was about. I’m referring,
not to Iraq or Afghanistan, to but to our own besieged southern
border where the undermanned and outwitted Border Patrol gamely
fights a dangerous and losing battle to secure it against daily
incursions by illegal aliens.
the president’s visit was carefully choreographed to
keep him out of harm’s way and away from messy confrontations.
For a more accurate assessment, he should accompany Border
Patrol agents at night and witness the growing violence they
are subjected to at the hands of increasingly desperate border
crossers that include in their numbers smugglers of people
and drugs and almost certainly terrorists as well. Also, he
could have visited with property owners near the border whose
ranches, back yards and neighborhoods have been repeatedly
trashed by the steady flow of illegals heading north to jobs
that Americans won’t take as long as illegals can be
hired to do them at shamefully low rates of pay.
J.F. Kelly, Jr.
Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive
who writes on current events and military subjects.
He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]
The president’s visit was, in fact, a waste of time,
designed primarily as a token gesture to the majority of Americans
that are just fed up with the federal government’s failure
to defend our borders. Mr. Bush frankly does not want to take
on the illegal immigration issue, with all its political correctness
baggage. He doesn’t want to alienate the business community
by depriving it of the cheap, exploitable labor it is addicted
to. Nor does he want to alienate Hispanic voters by having his
policies labeled racist by pro-immigration activists. And he
doesn’t want to damage relations with Mexico. He would
far rather that the problem just go away until he is safely through
his second term.
But it won’t go away. Approximately 11 million illegal
aliens live in the United States, equivalent to the entire population
of Guatemala. And that number is growing each year by an amount
greater than the population of Miami. The federal government
hasn’t a clue as to what to do with them that doesn’t
involve some form of amnesty, albeit disguised as something else.
The public, however, knows exactly what it would like to do with
them. In a recent TV poll by CNBC, respondents favored sending
them home by a lopsided vote of 82% to 18%. Americans overwhelmingly
want action on securing the border against those who would cross
it illegally and they want it now. They are, moreover, increasingly
determined to make politicians pay for their inability or refusal
to deal with this problem.
After years of dithering by politicians and
blathering by journalists and immigration activists about America’s rich immigration
history and melting pot traditions, the president and congress
have apparently awakened to the reality that they finally need
to do something about illegal immigration before the voters turn
against them. However, don’t expect rapid results because
their hearts are not really in this, especially the president’s.
What we will get, then, is an assortment of
competing proposals on which there will be little agreement.
It is now fashionable
for politicians and pundits to declare that any measure designed
to address illegal immigration must include immigration reform
and some sort of guest worker program. But this is disingenuous.
What is needed first and foremost is immediate action to get
control of our borders and to stop—not merely slow—illegal
border crossing. Waiting for agreement on immigration reform
and a guest worker program would be like waiting for a glacier
The paramount task here is to insure the integrity
of our borders and to enforce the laws already on the books.
There are ways
to do this. If the Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies
are unable or unwilling to enforce these laws, the National Guard
or, if needed, the active military should be utilized. The double
fencing in the San Diego sector has been demonstrably effective.
More is needed. Even the pro-immigration activists who say that
fences don’t work know that they do. Moreover, they decrease
the numbers of Border Patrol agents needed and they reduce death,
injury and property damage in the areas where they installed.
Fences keep honest people honest.
As lawmakers and the White House mull over their
proposals, they will do well to keep the opinion polls in mind
and to stay
focused on what the public is demanding. It isn’t extensive
immigration reform, or providing businesses with a continued
flow of cheap labor. The problem that needs fixing first is border
security and the fact that our laws regarding it are simply not
being enforced. Unless we can enforce existing laws, why even
bother with new ones? CRO
2005 J. F. Kelly, Jr.