By Teresa Welsh |
One of the federal government's most important responsibilities is to secure the borders of our nation. Today, violence along our southern border has been on the rise as Mexican President Felipe Calderon leads a courageous war against the drug cartels. Too often we hear of gruesome murders and acts of violence south of the border. And clearly that violence is spilling into U.S. territory.
Yet despite this reality, the Obama administration claims that it has secured the border. While it is true that security has much improved along our southern border, no law enforcement expert believes that we have done enough. In fact, most believe that much more still has to be done to ensure that our border cannot be penetrated by drug and human traffickers and by terrorists seeking to do harm. The sad truth is that the Obama administration has failed miserably to do its job to protect our citizens and guarantee the security of our homeland.
To be sure GOP presidential candidates seem to realize that more needs to be done and have correctly argued time and again that to finally secure the border we need a combined approach that includes more boots on the ground, increased use of innovative technology like unmanned aerial reconnaissance, and fencing.
It is over the proper use of fencing that a passionate debate has generated among them, which seems to be more inspired by politics than by law enforcement and national security considerations. The crux of the debate lies on whether building a two-tiered fence along our 2,000 mile border with Mexico is essential to a comprehensive border security plan. Some have argued, like Rep. Michele Bachmann, that the border won't be secured if "every mile, yard, foot and inch" of it isn't fenced.
But, on this one, I think the congresswoman is wrong. I agree with Governor Perry's assessment that building a fence along the totality of our southern border would be excessively costly, would take a long time to erect, and, at the end -and most importantly- would not contribute to make the border less vulnerable. Fencing, as most experts agree, should be strategic and focused on metropolitan areas.
Building a 2,000 mile wall sounds like great way to make the United States impenetrable. Calling for its erection surely pleases an anti-immigrant fringe in the nation during an election cycle. The fact of the matter, however, is that this is just another "bridge-to-nowhere" type idea, conceived by politicians in Washington who are clueless about the realities of the border, and that won't do anything to make us safer.
About Alfonso Aguilar Former Chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship.
Donna Wiesner Keene Washington Liaison for TheTeaParty.net