Saturday, July 30

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN POROUS BORDERS FIGHT

Samantha Levine of the "Houston Chronicle's" Washington Bureau reported in the newspaper's July 29th edition (registration required) that U.S. Representative John Culberson (R-TX) has introduced legislation -- H.R. 3622 -- that would permit border states (e.g., Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California) to "establish armed militias to catch people trying to illegally cross from Mexico and Canada." These militias would be known as the "Border Protection Corps."

As Ms. Levine writes:

The bill, which he called a "thunderclap," is more than a solitary, symbolic gesture by the Republican lawmaker: It has 46 Republican co-sponsors.

It comes as the White House, Congress and local officials are becoming increasingly immersed in efforts to find the best way to secure the borders and perhaps also establish a "guest worker" program to let immigrants stay in the United States as temporary legal residents.

Gov. Rick Perry indicated he is open to Culberson's idea.

"Illegal immigration has become a pervasive problem in this country, and it is a drain on our economy," Perry said. "Regardless of the mechanism, the federal government must provide a stronger presence along the border and must provide substantially more funding for border protection."

Then there is this piece in today's "Houston Chronicle" by Jacques Billeaud, reporting that several law enforcement agencies in Arizona "have launched special units devoted to fighting human smuggling, an unusual move because immigration has long been the province of the federal government."

Mr. Billeaud continues:

Local and state authorities have long pursued cases against immigrants who violate Arizona law, but they previously haven't been able to arrest smugglers, unless they committed state crimes.

Political pressure has been mounting for the state to do more since the federal government tightened enforcement of the borders in Texas and California in the mid-1990s and a heavy flow of illegal immigrants began coming through Arizona.

Last year, Arizona voters approved a law that denied some government benefits to illegal border-crossers. State legislators then passed the law that would allow local and state police to arrest immigrant smugglers but didn't provide any additional money for police. Some local officials have said it will be of limited use because they don't have the time or money to build cases against smugglers.

Both initiatives suggest that the "Minuteman Project" is having its intended effect and this writer salutes that organization!

The Bush Administration (like the Clinton Administration before it) can continue to keep its head buried in the sand vis-a-vis this nation's porous borders and the national security problems they pose, but, more and more, indications are that border security and immigration reform are moving to the front burner on the national political scene and something must be done and that something is not misguided (but deliberate) Kennedy-McCain authored amnesty for illegals.

What this writer would like to see is an end to the "Sanctuary City" laws that hamstring local police from questioning suspects with respect to their immigration status.

Much needs doing, but at least a seismic shift is occuring in Washington now from patent indifference to a reluctant admission that illegal immigration is out of control. The key is to keep the solution-making out of the hands of the liberals.