Well, the Senate has voted in a triple-layered border fence. The fence will only be 370 miles long, but it’s a start. After President Bush’s speech about the illegal immigration issue on Monday, there has been a lot of speculation about just what the government will do to secure the border.
In his speech, President Bush stated that 6,000 National Guard troops would be sent in to supplement the border patrol until such time as the border could be secured. However, the role of the National Guard troops is limited to that of support: operations and infrastructure. The National Guard will not be given authority to arrest or turn back illegal immigrants, because it is feared that such actions would violate posse comitatus. Of course, there remains the question of whether National Guard troops securing an international border and turning back an invasion of foreign nationals is a case of posse comitatus (posse comitatus was originally written after Reconstruction to prevent the US military from being used against US citizens), but I guess it’s better to play it on the safe side…especially with the liberal judiciary we have these days.
When it comes to border security, though, there are other considerations that no one seems to want to bring up. For one thing, everyone is talking about what kind of new laws to write, when, under existing law, illegal immigration is, in fact, illegal. The problem is not an absence of law on the subject, the problem is that politically correct policies have made existing law unenforceable. For another thing, no one seems to want to bring up the issue of disease. So many people are freaked out about the bird flu and about how many millions of people will die if the H5N1 virus mutates, but no one seems to want to talk about communicable diseases brought into the US by illegal immigrants. There was a TB outbreak in Los Angeles a short time ago, mainly found among the Spanish-speaking immigrant communities. This is why we need a fence…at the least, a fence with a door, so we can check to see just who it is that is coming into America. After all, that’s how it was done in the past. The Statue of Liberty doesn’t symbolize everyone coming to America with zero accountability. Ellis Island was an immigrant processing center – new immigrants were checked for diseases to make sure that they weren’t going to start a major outbreak in one of our major cities. With illegal immigration, there is no check, thus making us all the more vulnerable.
And, of course, there is the issue of terrorism, which very few of our politicians are wont to bring up. Just the other day, a man admitted in court that he had tried to smuggle Iranians into the United States…and this isn’t the first time that US authorities have caught Iranians trying to get across the Mexican border. It definitely begs the question: if we’ve caught these, how many haven’t we caught? How many terrorists got away with it? After all, we have thousands of people sneaking across our border every day.
Teddy Kennedy, in his criticism of the 370-mile fence, said that it looked to him like it was a “down-payment” on a fence spanning the entire border.
We can only hope so.