Thursday, May 19, 2011

Da Fence Department

The President devoted a portion of his El Paso remarks (May 10, 2011) to a report on his efforts to secure the border.  His rationale is this: You said we could pass legalization if we secured the border.  I did it.  Now give me amnesty.

Bush had the same mentality.  It took him six years to get to that point, but he started talking about the fence in his second term as bait for his amnesty plan.

So, let’s look at this statement by Obama: “The fence is now basically complete.”
And let’s look at the fence from the most recent document on the Border Patrol website:

New Mexico
Texas (Not the same scale as the other maps)
Source link:
The green lines are the completed sections.  The yellow are under construction.  The red lines are “Planned/Under Contract,” whatever that means.

So, we’ve completed the 700 miles Bush promised us would be done in 2008 before he left office.  But aren’t you worried about the huge gaps?  The border is not secure.  Anyone with half a brain can see that the coyotes will simply move down the line.

And that isn’t a long trip.  They’ve spent tons of cash beefing up El Paso, but you wind up with this scenario just 60 miles south.

The Nightline special on Fort Hancock Texas is still up on the Internet here.  You should spend eight minutes and watch what it looks like where the fence comes to an end:

I love the comment from the rancher who says, “We grew up with livestock, and obviously we misunderstood how fences work.  We thought they had to be contiguous and surrounding the areas; didn’t know you could just put up a little piece and it’d work.”

And the Feds have given up on the virtual fence, after spending a billion dollars on it.

Needless to say, the border is not secure.  Besides, Obama himself admits that many simply overstay a visa.  The fence won’t stop them.

Obama’s remarks on securing the border, May 10, 2011, El Paso
"And I want to say I am joined today by an outstanding Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, who’s been working tirelessly on this issue.  (Applause.)  Our commissioner who’s working diligently on border issues, Alan Bersin, is there, and we appreciate him -- Bersin.  (Applause.)

"So they’re doing outstanding work.  And in recent years, among one of the greatest impediments to reform were questions about border security.  And these were legitimate concerns.  What was true was a lack of manpower and a lack of resources at the border, combined with the pull of jobs and ill-considered enforcement once folks were in the country.

"All this contributed to a growing number of undocumented people living in the United States.  And these concerns helped unravel a bipartisan coalition that we had forged back when I was in the United States Senate.  So in the years since, “borders first, borders first,” that's become the common refrain, even among those who were previously supportive of comprehensive immigration reform.

"But over the last two years, thanks to the outstanding work of Janet and Alan and everybody who’s down here working at the border, we’ve answered those concerns.  Under their leadership, we have strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible.   They wanted more agents at the border.  Well, we now have more boots on the ground on the southwest border than at any time in our history.  (Applause.) 

"The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents -- more than twice as many as there were in 2004.  It’s a build-up that began under President Bush and that we’ve continued, and I had a chance to meet some of these outstanding agents, and actually saw some of them on horseback who looked pretty tough.  (Laughter.)  So we put the agents here.

"Then they wanted a fence.  Well, the fence is --"


THE PRESIDENT:  "The fence is now basically complete."

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Tear it down!

THE PRESIDENT:  "Then we’ve gone further.  We tripled the number of intelligence analysts working at the border.  I’ve deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the skies from Texas to California.  We have forged a partnership with Mexico to fight the transnational criminal organizations that have affected both of our countries.  (Applause.)  And for the first time -- for the first time we’re screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments to seize guns and money going south even as we go after drugs that are coming north.  (Applause.)

"So, here’s the point.  I want everybody to listen carefully to this.  We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement.  All the stuff they asked for, we’ve done.  But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there are still going to be some who are trying to move the goal posts on us one more time."

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  They’re racist!

THE PRESIDENT:  "You know, they said we needed to triple the Border Patrol.  Or now they’re going to say we need to quadruple the Border Patrol.  Or they’ll want a higher fence.  Maybe they’ll need a moat.  (Laughter.)  Maybe they want alligators in the moat.  (Laughter.)  They’ll never be satisfied.  And I understand that.  That’s politics.

"But the truth is the measures we’ve put in place are getting results.  Over the past two and a half years, we’ve seized 31 percent more drugs, 75 percent more currency, 64 percent more weapons than ever before.  (Applause.)  And even as we have stepped up patrols, apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 percent from two years ago.  That means far fewer people are attempting to cross the border illegally.

"And also, despite a lot of breathless reports that have tagged places like El Paso as dangerous, violent crime in southwest border counties has dropped by a third.  El Paso and other cities and towns along this border are consistently among the safest in the nation.  (Applause.)  Of course, we shouldn’t accept any violence or crime.  And we’ve always got more work to do.  But this progress is important and it’s not getting reported on.

"And we’re also going beyond the border.  Beyond the border, we’re going after employers who knowingly exploit people and break the law.  (Applause.)  And we are deporting those who are here illegally.  And that’s a tough issue.  It’s a source of controversy.

"But I want to emphasize we’re not doing it haphazardly.  We’re focusing our limited resources and people on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes -- not just families, not just folks who are just looking to scrape together an income.  And as a result, we’ve increased the removal of criminals by 70 percent.  (Applause.)

"That’s not to ignore the real human toll of a broken immigration system.  Even as we recognize that enforcing the law is necessary, we don’t relish the pain that it causes in the lives of people who are just trying to get by and get caught up in the system.

"And as long as the current laws are on the books, it’s not just hardened felons who are subject to removal, but sometimes families who are just trying to earn a living, or bright, eager students, or decent people with the best of intentions.  (Applause.)

"And sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself.  But that’s not how a democracy works.  What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform.  That is the ultimate solution to this problem.  That's what I’m committed to doing.(Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, we can!  Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT:  "Yes, we can.  We can do it.(Applause.)

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