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Bush on the Border
A token gesture...

[J. F. Kelly, Jr.] 12/8/05

President 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.

Actually, 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.

J.F. 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 to melt.

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

copyright 2005 J. F. Kelly, Jr.



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