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Illegal Immigration, al Qaeda and a Manufactured Crisis

May 14, 2006

Listening to some on the right, you’d think we lefties were taking to the streets to protest attempts to increase border security. But border security isn’t the contentious issue. Pretty much everyone’s in favor of it. What to do with the illegals who are already here is the sore spot. I say make the border as airtight as we can make it; spend the money, do it right. But summarily deporting 11 million people is fraught with problems: humanitarian, practical, economic… I just don’t think it is a viable strategy.

So if you can’t just kick them all out, that brings us to issue number two: status. Because letting them stay must involve an opportunity to earn citizenship. The alternative – establishing a permanent underclass of non-citizen workers – just doesn’t seem like all that good of an idea. Let them earn it: Work, obey the law, pay taxes, go through the procedure. Naturally people who started this process before coming here (as you’re apparently supposed to do) would be first in line, but the way forward should be open to all.

Well, not all. If you’re able-bodied but not working? Outta here. If you’re in trouble with the law? Buh-bye.

All of these seem like good ideas that I could get behind. But you know what bothers me about the whole thing? It smells like political opportunism. Like a diversion. Remember back in early 2003 when the president kept talking about how dangerous Iraq was? And lots of us were saying “uh, okay, but where did this come from all of a sudden?” In hindsight many of us now know we were being lied to. Clearly we’re not about to invade Mexico, but I have that same kind of feeling: the urgency of this issue is manufactured.

Think about it. Sure there are good reasons for us to be securing the border and establishing sensible immigration policies. But does anyone really think al Qaeda operatives are streaming over the Chihuahua/New Mexico border, locked in the backs of freezer trucks or jogging through the desert hoping their water doesn’t run out? C’mon. Foreign terrorists have resources available to them that poor Mexicans don’t. Is it a good idea to secure the border? Of course. Is it possible that some evil-doer may enter the country that way? I guess so. But the whole border “crisis” thing feels like a ruse.

Maybe it’s meant to arouse our distrust of foreigners, or needle our fears that our own economic struggles can be laid at the feet of “freeloading” poor people. Maybe it’s just meant to divide us, I don’t know. What I do know is that the 9/11 commission’s recommendations involve a long, long list of things that we aren’t doing – none of which are being trumpeted as crises requiring full-time national attention.

To recap:

  • Everyone’s in favor of increasing border security.
  • Deporting all illegal immigrants isn’t practical.
  • Let those who are already here earn citizenship.
  • Osama bin Laden (remember him?) probably has better options than dodging the border patrol while running through the desert with a plastic jug of water and his pregnant sister.
  • The urgency of the whole thing seems politically motivated.

UPDATE: Submitted for your consideration: last year president Bush said we just couldn’t afford the 10,000 new border patrol agents that the National Intelligence Reform act called for. But this year we can afford to send 10,000 National Guard personnel to patrol that same border. My take on this is that he a) doesn’t really care about the border and b) is only doing this to score political points for the upcoming mid-term elections. Draw your own conclusions.

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  1. I will have to warn you some of this will sound very sarcastic… but, lets take the deportation issue, this is very simple. The ONLY way to get 12 million illegals out of the country is this way, They must have commited a crime, or have caught the governments eye for some reason. Granted this will not get all IllgeALS out of the country but its a start. Also take emotion out of it, tou knew the risk when you crossed illegally, you got caught being where you were not supposed to be now get the EFFFF out!!!

    “It smells like political opportunism. Like a diversion.”
    I respect your opinion here but….WARNING contains some sarcasm.. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ANYTHING COMEOUT OF D.C. THAT WASN’T? but as i recall this is something that has been talked about since 9/11 why it has taken this long to get acted on is beyond me but the important thing is that it is NOW…

    Is it a good idea to secure the border? Of course. Is it possible that some evil-doer may enter the country that way? I guess so. But the whole border “crisis” thing feels like a ruse.
    -perhaps crisis is too strong a word to use, but the fact remains that we have -I’ll say 20 million people, just because 13 million over 20+ years seems low- in the USA AND WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW THEY GOT HERE.

    C’mon. Foreign terrorists have resources available to them that poor Mexicans don’t.
    -And what makes you think that one of those resourses couldn’t be hiring a poor mexican migrant to waltz over the border and try to implement whatever crazy plan the terrorists have cooked up? Unlikely yes but was it not 4 years ago that jets flying into buildings seemed crazy also?

    I do however believe that the politicians are going about this the wrong way, both parties are seeing this issue as a potentiol new voting bloc. The democrats see them as potential “victims” who need “saving” and the Republicians don’t want to upset their base. Which is why I will go on record as saying at the end of the day, the will cave to the Dems and give them EVERYTHING they want!! I’m betting a beer BTW!!


  2. Have you lost your mind? You say, “Listening to some on the right, you’d think we lefties were taking to the streets to protest attempts to increase border security. ”

    I said & I quote, “some idiot”. Now seeing as you always proclaim to be so good about what I think rather than what I actually say, are you saying I meant to say some idiot Democrat?

    I assure you I just meant some idiot.

    As far as I was concerned the idiot was telling you to go to hell as well as I know your stance on this issue is not far from mine.

    Why this ridiculous need to slime me in some way at every turn and try and put words into my mouth?

    In the same post I said if the President screws this up he will lose the rest of any support he has. Tell me Scott was that a Democratic attack as well? I’m bashing the President there, I would think you would be happy when a rightie does that.

    For once Scott try and just read what I write and not try and read more into it. And if you link to me, try a little harder for honesty please.

    There are plenty of legitimate stories where I do bash Dems… try and pick one of those next time.

    Ok?


  3. Sorry, Fred! I’m just so used to your vicious and totally unfair attacks on the left that I sometimes miss it when you’re ambiguously attacking “idiots” instead. 🙂


  4. I make an observation about an IDIOT attacking anyone as a racist who disagrees with him or his policy choices.

    He learned how to label persons to the betterment of his cause from liberals I am sure anyway, you people have made that practice into an art.

    Look at you labeling me as making vicious and totally unfair attacks without anything to back it up as usual.

    Maybe I’ll start coming here and calling you names every day.


  5. Bring it!

    Besides, if I was too thin-skinned to endure a little name-calling I wouldn’t ever visit your blog where it happens regularly.


  6. last year president Bush said we just couldn’t afford the 10,000 new border patrol agents that the National Intelligence Reform act called for. But this year we can afford to send 10,000 National Guard personnel to patrol that same border. My take on this is that he a) doesn’t really care about the border and b) is only doing this to score political points for the upcoming mid-term elections. Draw your own conclusions.

    You forgot to include option c. Which would be that the funding is already in place for the National Guard just as it is EACH AND EVERY YEAR.
    if they had to find funding for 10,000 additional border agents at an annual average pay of 45,000 dollars http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos160.htm#earnings, that is an additional
    $450,000,000 in ADDITIONAL funding.
    But by using the National guard, where the average wage is say 25,000 and is already funded, the Government DOES not need to come up with the extra money.


  7. So that’s like, what, eight nanoseconds the war in Iraq it would have taken to cover the border patrol agents? I’m not buying that this was all just president bush being a frugal shopper.


  8. Fair enough, however take the war out of the equation, and answer this question though, I am assuming that you have never had to employ anyone- If you have my apolgies- However the one thing that everyone seems to forget, is thats lets say for the sake of this debate, that Congress appropriates the additional 450 Million dollars.

    OK great the President has his 450 Million, but now where does the “manpower” come from? It’s not like there is a waiting list for people wanting Government jobs, with 10,000 names that magically appears. So your mission is this, tell me where the 10,000 people come from and how long it would take to build a list of applicants, screen the applicants, train the applicants, and deploy the applicants to the border, and then tell me why using the National Guard is such a horrible Idea?


  9. I didn’t say it was a horrible idea; I said it was politically motivated, as evidenced by the fact that appropriating the funds to actually start hiring the 10k people that were called for didn’t seem so important only a few months ago.

    No matter how you slice it, refusing to fund the border patrol positions last year only to deploy the national guard to the very same task this year to me seems like either acute shortsightedness or shameless political opportunism. There are other explanations, but they don’t seem as likely to me.


  10. I guess I see it differently, I see it as GW or Congress (whomever) seeing that there is an issue that needs to be resolved down on the Border (you know that Security thing and all) and the Quickest -notice I did not say the Best- way to help secure the border is/was deploying the National Guard.

    Besides GW (and everyone else in Washington) Are….Wait for it……..
    POLITICIANS. So therefore it stands to reason that Politics play a part in EVERY and I do mean EVERY decision they make!!!

    BTW you NEVER did answer my Questions in my previous post!



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