Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Securing Our Borders

How?

It's a simple question without any simple answer. At least no answer that I have heard.

Securing the borders is phrase often heard in the ongoing immigration debate. It seems that most, left, right and middle, agree that no immigration reform can be achieved without first stemming the constant tide of illegals. But I can't recall anyone saying how it will be done.

And notice I said borders, not border. This issue is not just about Mexico. Recall that before 9-11, Y2K bomber Ahmed Ressam came across the Canadian border. Scaremongers would have us worry about terrorists walking across miles of desert instead of trekking through the northern woods or more conceivably smuggling themselves in through one of the thousands of uninspected shipping crates.

So how do we do it?

How about the military? The most likely scenario is using the National Guard. At least the parts of the Guard that are not already in Iraq. The problem here is training. The Guard is in no way shape or form trained for such a policing action. Immediate deployment to the border would lead to the inevitable tragedy of someone being needlessly killed. The subsequent navel-gazing and investigations would neuter the effort before it had a chance to be effective.

So we train them? Not a bad idea, but it will take money and time. I know the current government is not too worried about fiscal restraint but we are talking millions if not billions of dollars of redirected funds. Also, months if not years of complete reorganization before an effective unit could be deployed. Can we wait?

How about a fence! I'm going to cut some slack on this one and talk only about the southern border. That would be a fence rougly 700 miles long. I hate to break it to you, but Home Depot now has stores south of the border. Even the poorest immigrant can scrape together the pesos needed to buy a pair of wire cutters. In my part of the world, we have a hard enough time maintaining a couple of miles of fence to keep out wild hogs and they don't have the resourcefulness of a father desperate to find work to feed his family.

Those are the two most common shoot from the hip solutions I hear in punditry these days. To me, neither is plausible.

So prove me wrong. If someone out there has a plan that's practical I want to hear it. Link them folks and let's discuss.

3 comments:

Sara said...

What was the proposal in that movie about the rival speechwriters? The Friendship Ditch? Probably a bit too much like the moat around the castle.

I don't have an answer. I wish I did, because I hate coming to the conclusion that a problem can't be solved. But there are just far too many ways to get to this country if you really want to--the Cubans and Haitians (not to mention untold drug dealers) have been proving it's possible by boat for years, and we haven't even discussed the people who come here on tourist visas and just never leave. It's not like the 9/11 hijackers had to sneak in here through the scorching desert or the frozen tundra or were smuggled in a box on a ship.

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