Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Americans Want a Tougher Stand on Illegal Immigration

Everything is secondary to the War on Terror, so I won’t be breaking with President Bush over his day-late-dollar-short plan for dealing with illegal immigration. But I think he is wrong. In fact, I would venture to say that his base thinks he’s wrong on this issue and I suspect the majority of Americans think so, too.

We don’t trust politicians, be they Democrats or Republicans, to deal forthrightly and decisively with illegal immigration. Instead, we get a lot of lip service. The bottom line for us is, secure the border first, then we’ll talk about everything else. But secure it first.

That doesn’t mean sending down 6,000 or so National Guard troops to pull support duty (no interdiction allowed) for the beleaguered Border Patrol. We ought to be employing the military-—active duty, as well as the Guard and Reserves—-along both the Mexican and Canadian borders right now. And their mission should be active and clearly defined: Guard the border; stop and apprehend any groups or individuals trying to cross it illegally. Sure, the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the military from engaging in law enforcement activities within the United States. If this Reconstruction-era law applies in the case of border security, we should change that statute. After all, the ultimate duty of the armed forces is to protect the country from invasion. With a war on and reports of Islamic radicals trying to cross over from Mexico as well as Canada, it takes little stretching of the imagination to determine that the military needs to be involved.

We need a security fence. A similar fence is working in Israel, just as the one built to keep East Germans and Czechs inside the Iron Curtain worked when I was with the U.S. Army on border patrol in the mid-‘70s. A barrier system will work here, as well. Coupled with passive detection devices, listening and observation posts and patrols, it can drastically reduce the number of illegals entering this country.

We need tougher penalties for border jumpers. Instead of turning them loose, we should arrest them, put them on trial and assign them to construction details upon conviction. They can build the very fence that will keep them out. That would be a good use of taxpayer money. Not to mention poetic justice.

Finally, we need to hold U.S. firms accountable for hiring illegals, so that we can dry up any incentive for illegals to come here in the first place. We need to amend U.S. anti-discrimination laws that send mixed messages to American companies, indicating that if they profile people based on race or national origin, based their having an invalid Social Security number, they can be prosecuted on civil rights grounds. And we need to start withholding federal funds from states and cities (such as my hometown of Houston) whose police are prohibited from enforcing immigration laws.

Once we have plugged our leaky borders, then we can talk about what to do about the illegals who are already here. Anything is on the table for discussion, from amnesty to guest worker programs to court-testing the citizenship claims of children born in this country to illegal aliens—-but only after the borders are secure.

At the end of the day, the president’s position on illegal immigration is not likely to persuade conservative voters to go for a Democrat Congress or any of the likely Democrat presidential contenders on the horizon today (especially if it is Hillary). But, still, President Bush ought to get on the right side of this issue. The American people are telling the president and the Congress quite plainly that they want a border solution first and talks on all the ancillary issues later. It is a reasonable position and he should give it greater thought.

As for the Congress, it is there where Republican-lites (on immigration as well as a lot of other issues) are likely to find the conservative base has deserted them. Other than the fact that the hate-crazed Democrats will in all likelihood try to impeach President Bush if they gain control, most of us don’t see the difference between an Arlen Specter and some liberal Democrat. There are a lot of RINOs out there for whom our patience is gone. Trent Lott, Lindsay Graham and the more obvious goofballs such as Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee, take note.


At 3:37 PM, Blogger Publius said...

But, immigration is the story of the day for some, and should be the story for all even more so that Iraq because lets face it the troops are not coming home anytime soon. I don’t believe the Republicans are going to lose the House because it is only House Republicans that are actually listening to the American people. They have said, we will seal the border and then we will deal with those who are here, but the Border first. The President and the Senate want them to cave, if they do the Republicans lose the House too, if they don’t it will only be the Senate. Maybe then the Senate will realize how the American people feel and not just the opinions of big business.
No, Republicans are not going to vote Democrat, but they might not come out and vote at all.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Shane Briscoe said...

I agree with you 100 percent. Only the House Republicans are listening to the people. The President and the Senate (with a few exceptions) are wrong on this issue. I frankly don't know what to do about the Senate. People like DeWine of Ohio are not conservatives, but their opponents are way left. I guess a lot of people will stay home and the Senate will be in Democrat hands. We need to start making changes among Republican incumbents IN THE PRIMARIES. I am tired of Lott, Graham, McCain, Specter and a host of other washed up phony conservatives. We need some people with strong principles who can stick together.


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