Is the "Border Security first" argument just another excuse not to pass reform?
The “Border Security First” Argument: A Red Herring Undermining Real Security
Opponents of comprehensive immigration reform argue that we need a fully secure border before we can systemically overhaul our immigration laws. Ironically, the “border security first” mantra is actually thwarting progress on border security.
The argument to delay broader immigration reforms until the border is secure relies on the following dubious assumptions:
1)Congress’s current “operational control” standard—implying absolute control of the border—is realistic and achievable.
2)The American public will reject practical legislative reforms unless and until the border is fully secured.
3)The administration has failed to demonstrate adequate commitment to border enforcement to justify broader reforms.
The evidence belies each of these points, and this brief examines them in turn. It also shows—as the Center for American Progress has done before—that the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, met and exceeded stringent enforcement benchmarks that “border security first” supporters laid out in legislation that failed to pass Congress in 2007.
Some grandstanding lawmakers suggest that nothing short of “total control of our southern border, our northern border, and our natural ports of entry” will suffice to declare our borders secure. But no serious expert believes it is possible to seal our borders.
The “operational control” definition Congress adopted in 2006 sets the bar at an unattainable level: “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.” Yet even the Border Patrol’s current interpretation of this unrealistic congressional operational control standard does not contemplate an impermeable wall. The Border Patrol defines it as the ability to detect, identify, classify, and then respond to and resolve illegal entries along our U.S. borders.” But as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano explains, operational control is a “very narrow term of art” that “does not reThe final argument the “border security first” crowd raises is that President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security demonstrates a lack of commitment to immigration and border enforcement that undermines public confidence in any changes to immigration law. The numbers tell a different story.
The final argument the “border security first” crowd raises is that President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security demonstrates a lack of commitment to immigration and border enforcement that undermines public confidence in any changes to immigration law. The numbers tell a different story.
The Obama administration deported 392,862 people during fiscal year 2010—nearly half of these deportees were convicted of a crime. Over the last two years they have deported more than 779,000 people, which is an 18 percent increase from President George W. Bush’s last two fiscal years in office.
- 9 years agoFavorite Answer
Yes, we have continued to pour money into 'border security', there are now more agents with better technology on duty than ever before. It's the new 'war on drugs' for the 21st century.
- Maricopa CountyLv 69 years ago
What has been obvious for years, is that nobody really wants a real amnesty, why should they? The current de-facto amnesty works perfectly for everyone.
The entire illegal-alien-industrial-complex of end-users; La Raza, Maldef, Lulac, the Catholic Church, et al doesn't want an amnesty for illegal aliens because they would lose the victim class they service…and raise hundreds of millions of dollars on—from both charitable contributions and tax payer dollars.
Business doesn't want an amnesty because they don't want a bunch of new regulations to follow. There is virtually no enforcement of our employment laws now. The status quo works just fine for business. They just want to keep the new workers (and the equally important new consumers those workers become with their first paycheck) coming in. Business’s only concern is how is to keep the stream flowing in rough economic times.
Encouragement vs. Discouragement
There is nothing more encouraging to people desperate to flee the world’s many hell holes of grinding poverty, government corruption and no hope, than leaving the borders unsecured by not enforcing our immigration laws and chatting up an amnesty, regardless of the euphemism used; pathway to legalization, come out of the shadows, comprehensive immigration reform, et cetera. These terms all connote amnesty and everyone in the world knows it.
It is the talk of amnesty that gets everybody what they want; people risking what little they have to come to America because they expect there is going to be an amnesty. And, they’re coming. And in big numbers, too.
At the current rate of influx of legal immigrants and illegal aliens combined with their birth rate, there will be 500,000,000 people in America in just 39 years.
: Richard M. Stana, director of homeland security and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office (which is responsible for “auditing agency operations to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively”), told the Senate Homeland Security Committee yesterday that the federal government can actually prevent or stop illegal entries into the United States along only 129 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.
- Anonymous9 years ago
We don't need reform we need the current laws enforced so illegals can't work and have to self deport.
There is no appetite for reform at all and when republicans have the white house in 2012 it will be dead. Till at least 2020.
- Anonymous9 years ago
I want to attack the source, the fading generations that hire them. Attacking the user aka illegals worker is like attacking the user but not the source in the war on drugs. They come here because they know white people over 40 hire them. We have an illegal employer problem not a illegal work problem.
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- Liberal FascistLv 79 years ago
Only 15 million more deportations to go. No Amnesty
- George LLv 79 years ago
don't confuse people with the facts.
however, the real reason immigration reform won't pass is that there is no real consensus on it, one way or another.
- Anonymous9 years ago
Cartels threaten to kill Texas Rangers, ICE agents
BROWNSVILLE — A new law enforcement bulletin warns that members of drug cartels have been overheard plotting to kill federal agents and Texas Rangers who guard the border, officials in Washington reported Thursday.
The bulletin, which was issued in March, said cartel members planned to use AK-47 assault rifles to shoot agents and Rangers from across the border. It did not name the cartels.
The information was released at a hearing before a panel of the House Committee on Homeland Security. The Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management addressed “The U.S. Homeland Security Role in the Mexican War Against the Drug Cartels.”
U.S. Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas, talked briefly about the bulletin at the hearing. He said this and other findings he cited “are acts of terrorism as defined by law. The shooting of Special Agent Zapata and Avila is a game changer, which alters the landscape of United State’s involvement in Mexico’s war against drug cartels.”
He was referring to Jaime Jorge Zapata, 32, a Brownsville native and special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was killed on Feb. 15 while on duty in Mexico. Injured in the same attack was Special Agent Victor Avila. Members of the Zetas criminal organization are suspected in the attack.
Tom Vinger, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Thursday in a statement: “DPS constantly keeps our officers and our law enforcement partners informed of any intelligence that suggests possible threats to their safety. However, we cannot comment on specific law enforcement bulletins.”
In a response to the threats, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official said, “Out of an abundance of caution, we routinely share information that could impact our frontline personnel in order to ensure that they are aware of any and all threats.”
The news comes at time when ICE reportedly is having a difficult time recruiting agents willing to work in Mexico, said Luis Alvarez, assistant director for ICE International Affairs, who testified at the hearing.
Although cooperation with the Mexican government has been “excellent,” Alvarez said, “it is getting more and more difficult (to recruit) because of the increase in violence.”
“It is a difficult work environment. They are constantly looking out for their safety, their surroundings. ... They are concerned about their families from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep,” Alvarez said.
At the hearing, a picture of the vehicle in which Zapata and Avila were riding was displayed. McCaul described it as a “highly secure vehicle.” More than 80 rounds from AK-47 rifles were fired at the SUV.
“This demonstrates how violent the situation has become down there. … It looks like something out of a ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ movie. This is real, and that is what is happening in Mexico,” McCaul said.
In response to the attack, ICE has brought back its agents from Mexico for additional training, Alvarez said.
“We have provided them with some defensive driving tactics so they can carry out their mission and be prepared for whatever they are going to withstand down in Mexico,” he said.
McCaul said Zapata and Avila pleaded for their lives in Spanish and identified themselves as U.S. federal agents. The attackers responded by firing a barrage of bullets.
“I know agent Avila said that (there were) 10 guys with AK-47s,” McCaul said. “What can you do in that situation? Totally out-gunned and out-manned.”
The U.S. government has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for the attack on Zapata and Avila. The Mexican government has offered a reward of up to 10 million pesos — equal to roughly $837,000.