Thursday, February 10

THUMBS UP FOR POLAND; THUMBS DOWN FOR U.S. BORDER PATROL

For those of us totally disenchanted with President Bush's dodgeball game in dealing with this country's porous southern border with Mexico and an illegal immigration problem that is totally out of control, two pieces of recent news add fuel to a fire that is already raging:

First is the news that the Bush Administration's late-to-the-game spending restraint (missing in his first term) will include funding cuts for the U.S. Border Patrol and a 180 degrees reversal of the president's commitment to add 2,000 additional border patrol agents in 2006. This about face fell hard on those (and they are legion) who feel the whole notion of "homeland security" is so much song and dance absent hard and fast solutions for stopping the huge influx of illegals streaming into our country from Mexico and elsewhere. And, and Bush must know this, the president's "Guest Worker" program is not being accepted as the right cornerstone in building a barrier to illegal entry. Indeed, and contrary to his repeated pronouncements, that proposal is tantamount to an amnesty program for the millions already in this country illegally (a veritable gift-wapped present to El Presidente Vicente Fox) who send back billions of dollars in remittances to their native country each year of money earned here in our homeland.

Second is the news (and I argue that it is not a non sequitor in the context of the immigration reform issue) that the president has asked Congress for $100 million for our ally Poland, as part of the president's "Solidarity Initiative" designed to reward those countries who have helped us in Iraq. The initiative calls for $400 million to be earmarked for allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, of which Poland would receive one-fourth of the funds. Poland has provided 2,500 of its troops to the war in Iraq. And for that we in the United States should be grateful. But in an era of much-needed fiscal belt-tightening, and in which the president has committed to halving the national debt and cutting a total of 150 programs from the federal budget, why in that maelstrom of difficult choices does the president seek money for allies (when the U.S. is bearing the brunt of lives and treasure lost in the Middle East), while at the same time backtracking on a popularly-received commitment to the U.S. Border Patrol and this country's security here at home?

In the woof and warp of budget give and take, is that the kind of prioritization we want from a Commander-In-Chief who just earned a second term in office on the strength of his commitment to fighting terrorism? Doesn't protecting this nation's borders against hordes of illegals and the terrorist infiltrators that must be among them deserve front-burner attention and funding? We the People say so; but the president stonewalls.

Poland doesn't have a border security issue. We do. Poland has NATO and a strong U.S. troop presence in Europe to protect it. Truth be known, we fund European security. That's no secret. They owe us. Besides, doesn't being an ally in the war on international Islamic terrorism mean putting your own skin into the game -- treasure and troops? Meanwhile, Mexico, which has not helped one iota in the war on terrorism and has, in point of fact, been a vocal critic of the United States, gets the paddy cake treatment. No wonder Presidente Fox has become so brazen in motivating his nation's poor and lawless to emigrate to the United States that he has published a "How To" guide on doing just that. Fox has read the tea leaves. Bush is soft on this issue and remains so, as do many elected officials in both parties, who vote to fund a Department of Homeland Security, but paradoxically refuse to address the appalling ease with which illegals find ways to enter our country and remain.

We get it, We the People -- the myriad problems that illegal immigration fosters in untold costs (particularly to our border states), rampant crime, and a renting of the social fabric -- and all apart from its all too obvious clear and present danger to U.S. homeland security. So if we get it, why doesn't the president?

This is one conservative Republican who has a bone to pick with George W. Bush.