Many Reasons to Doubt Border Security Enforcement After Passage of Immigration Reform

Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) Jim Gilchrist, MMP Exclusive – In the debate about comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans want assurances from the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership that border security will be tightened as a prerequisite for providing a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Democrats argue that the $18 billion spent on immigration enforcement makes the border more secure than ever. But is this the whole story?

In his only visit to the border in May 2011, Obama proclaimed: “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,” he said in El Paso.

Among those disputing Obama’s pronouncement was Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who noted that Mexican cartels have increased their presence inside the U.S., the data on spillover crime and violence is “underreported” and that between 70 and 90 percent of Texas’ 1,200-mile border with Mexico is still not under operational control.

Undeterred, the Obama administration points to an undisputed record of deportations since 2008. Again, that’s not the whole story. The administration’s record related to securing our southern border and the agenda of Democratic leadership in Congress raises doubts about future intentions…

  • Although DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano claims the border is secure, a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued in December 2012 concluded that the Obama administration has failed to evaluate Border Patrol’s security measures over the past two years, effectively rendering any recordable data to determine if the border is secure unreliable.
  • President Obama has not signed on to the idea of an independent commission to rule on whether the border is secure before undocumented immigrants are given a chance to move towards citizenship. This and his reluctance to make immigration reform conditional on border enforcement raises suspicions.
  • The latest statistics from the U.S. Border Patrol suggest the flow across the nation’s southwest border jumped by 9% in 2012, hardly indicating that border security has been tightened, especially considering that 40% of illegal entries go undetected due to visa overstays.
  • Chris Crane, president for the union for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, told a House committee recently that agency morale is sagging in part because the country is allowing illegal immigrants to stay: “Agents cannot make arrests because of overstayed visa,” Crane said. “It’s not illegal anymore. … The agency is falling apart… morale is at an all-time low.”
  • In Las Vegas, Obama rebuffed Republicans who accept amnesty, contingent on securing the border. His tone suggested that the defeated do not dictate terms.
  • President Obama is expected to drastically cut budgets of DHS’s immigration enforcement and border security related bureaus.
  • Influential “Gang of Eight” Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) let it be known that the only purpose of the “comprehensive immigration reform” effort is mass legalization and increases in future legal immigration. Border security is not something the Democratic leadership is taking seriously.
  • The 287 (g) program that allowed local police to coordinate with federal officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they arrest has been discontinued for 2013 in favor of a friendlier, less comprehensive Secure Communities program. While the latter automatically checks inmates’ fingerprints against the ICE database and flags certain illegal aliens for further action, the problem is that the database is only half the size. Without 287(g), there would be a lot of people getting released who would fly under the radar.
  • Obama will shut down the Air Force’s Air Defense Radar Systems along U.S./Mexico Border on March 15, 2013. This means the southern border of the United States of America will be more vulnerable to attack from low flying aircraft, low altitude missiles, and other infiltrations such as human trafficking and drug smuggling.
  • Author and commentator Michelle Malkin notes, “Not one of the past federal amnesties was associated with a decline in illegal immigration. Instead, the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. has tripled since 1986.”

More doubt on how border security will be handled after passage of comprehensive immigration reform is raised by the Obama administration’s track record of picking and choosing which elements of our immigration laws it wants to enforce through “prosecutorial discretion.” Will this practice suddenly disappear after reforms are passed into law?

And let’s not be fooled that drone technology can handle the job of border enforcement. At enormous cost, border drones helped seize a paltry 66,000 lbs. of drugs and apprehend only 143 people in 2012. In fact, the drone program for border surveillance has cost over $270 million since 2005 with shameful results to show for it.

Bottom line: President Obama, Democratic leaders and their activist allies can spin border security and enforcement any way they like, but there is ample room for doubt. With the stakes so high, are we merely to trust that everything will turn out all right, when their own words and deeds betray their true agenda every step of the way?