HOLE IN THE FENCE? MORE LIKE HOLE IN THE HEAD!
I was sucker-punched by the Houston Chronicle (registration required for online edition) this morning and by now ought to know better.
An Op-ED piece by Wayne A. Cornelius (entitled: "The hole in the push for a border fence") published in the print edition's "Outlook" section lured me in and had me in agreement that a fence running along our country's contiguous border with Mexico, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, is not necessarily the best answer to border security, and even though I am a full-fledged supporter of the TRUE Enforcement and Border Security Act of 2005 and have signed an online petition giving it my endorsement.
So just how was I caught with my guard down by the left-leaning Houston Chronicle -- the newspaper of America's 4th largest city that fully support's Houston's Sanctuary City status? A number of paragraphs into Cornelius' column, I was under the impression that his was only a case against a fence as the answer to the need for heightened border security. I certainly didn't think that he was one of those open borders', bleeding heart apologists for border jumpers.
But, here's how he concluded his argument:
For Latin Americans, sealing the border would be a huge symbolic affront. What democratically elected government in the region could afford to embrace Washington's policy agenda on trade, security or other issues while the United States was literally walling itself off from its Latin American neighbors?
In Mexico, fencing the border would create a political firestorm. Mexican President Vicente Fox is Bush's strongest ally in the free-trade wars, but if the border fence were built, he would have no choice but to distance himself from U.S. policies. And for the three men competing for Mexico's presidency in 2006, acquiescing to the fortified border would be political suicide.
Immigration restriction groups and their GOP allies in Congress have largely manufactured the wave of anti-immigration hysteria and cynically tout border sealing as an idea whose time has come. A politically weakened Bush, eager to change the subject from indictments and management failures, apparently sees immigration reform as an area where he might score a quick accomplishment.
Since January 2004, the president has promoted his concept of a guest worker program. To get Republicans in Congress to vote for it, he may be tempted to endorse a border-sealing quid pro quo. It's time for the Bush administration to pound the stake into this wrongheaded scheme before it does lasting damage to U.S.-Latin American relations and further distracts attention from the issue that should be at the center of our debate over immigration reform: how to create more legal-entry opportunities for immigrants.
Read that last sentence again: ... how to create more legal-entry opportunities for immigrants. Let me tell you the one big way to do so is AMNESTY for the 11 to 12 million illegals already afoot in our land. Another is a very liberal "Guest Worker Program" to funnel in so-called "cheap labor" that isn't all that cheap when you factor in huge taxpayer subsidies for the broad social safety net that illegals avail themselves of once here. Indeed, were they paid so cheaply, then how is it possible to send so damn much money home to Mexico in remittances?
The wrongheaded professor must be aware of a recent survey that shows that 40% of adult Mexican nationals would prefer to live in the United States. Does he want to oblige every last one of them? And what about the "Other Than Mexicans" (OTMs) from the other Latin American countries? Is it our job to take them all in as well?
With all due respect, the professor from UC San Diego has a hole in his head. God forbid if we were to offend el Presidente Vicente Fox's corrupt government that has produced a "How To" guide to encourage Mexican nationals to illegally emigrate to the United States and whose government has set up "staging areas" to marry up emigrants with coyotes (i.e., human smugglers) and to supply them prior to their border-jumping.
Mexico "distance itself from U.S. policies" (!) -- as if that's not already the case! While our president has been indifferent to the problem of illegal immigration, it is not a de jure policy of our federal government to allow border-jumping; rather, it is a de facto dereliction of duty by the chief law enforcement officer of the country. Besides, the Mexican government is already hell-bent on incessantly interfering in the internal affairs of the United States. Rather than cater to Vicente Fox, President Bush should get tough with him and, for starters, put him on notice: Mexico either closes down its "staging areas" or we hit them with surgical military strikes.
The Houston Chronicle is always working its agenda and I should have picked up on that immediately. Live and learn. But, I've clued my readers in to what they and the liberal academic community are up to!
CORRECTION (11/21/05): I just became aware that the Houston Chronicle no longer requires free registration to access its on-line edition -- a caveat I've been in the habit of advising my readers. According to the Chronicle's Dwight Silverman, who was kind enough to write to me, "registration is (only) required to post in our forums, or use some of our other features, such as e-mail a friend and breaking news alerts." Thanks for the heads-up, Mr. Silverman.