A Nation In Distress

A Nation In Distress

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Border Security And Congress

From The American Thinker;

April 10, 2011

Border Security and Congress

By Elise Cooper

It is the Federal Government's job to secure the border, and it needs to step up and do its job. There are some in Government who recognize that border protection is a national security issue and are leading the fight to ensure that America's Southwest border becomes secure.

Securing the border must be a bi-partisan effort. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) summarized the view of many of those I interviewed in a speech last April,

"Border security is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue; it's an American issue. Every American, no matter which party they belong to, or where they live, is deeply concerned about restoring law and order in our border communities. These communities have suffered enough. President Obama needs to immediately deploy the National Guard and send a clear message to the drug cartels: We will fight you, we will stop you and we will never waiver in our commitment to securing our border."

By allowing the border to be penetrated by increasingly violent people who threaten the lives of US citizens, the area has become a warzone. Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wants all Americans to recognize the seriousness of this growing problem, not just those living in the Southwest. He is very concerned that illegals entering America engage in acts of violence, and return home. He noted that some of those in Government need to understand that those crossing the border are no longer just the job seekers and need "to marry up the reality of what's happening on the border with what is the political philosophy of those living in Boston and NYC."

In San Diego, CA, the border areas have become secure because the manpower was moved to the front lines, and fences used as barriers were built. The improvement was due in large part to Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, whose attitude was "we are Americans who pay taxes and have as much right to be protected as anybody in this land. We forced the Federal Government to move their enforcement up to the border." He would also like to see troops stationed on the border since, "the number one responsibility of our armed forces is to defend your frontiers. We don't do it here because of some misguided politically correct notion. American resources are sent around the world to protect people; yet, in our homeland Americans can't get the same protection."

Both Pete Hoekstra, the former ranking member on the Intelligence Committee and Congressman Mike McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Security Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, believe that Mexico and the United States must do more to curtail the violence and secure the border. Hoekstra would like to see a fence built with the latest technology possible and then to have "layers upon layers of security behind the fence." McCaul told American Thinker that he was informed that the technology piece would not be fully implemented until 2024.

McCaul also introduced legislation that would designate the six Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. The proposal would enable prosecutors to levy up to 15 additional years of prison time on each conviction for providing "material support or resources" to the six cartels, and a federal death sentence if deaths resulted from the cartels' actions. This is not without precedent since President Clinton designated the Columbian group, FARC, as a terrorist organization. McCaul explained that terrorism involves intimidating civilian populations through kidnappings and assassinations. The cartels have killed and targeted US law enforcement, used gruesome tactics including decapitations and burning or burying people alive. According to McCaul, there has been a recent sweep where 450 drug cartel members were picked up within the United States. He believes that it comes down to "a question of political will for both the Mexican and US administrations. Do they have the political will to win?"

Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, was among those that requested President Obama to extend the National Guard deployment beyond June 30th, a request that was first initiated by Congresswoman Giffords. Congresswoman Miller also introduced legislation requiring homeland security to secure the US borders within five years. Many of the Congressional figures believe that protecting the border must have an "all of the above approach" that includes additional border guards, pedestrian fencing, vehicle barriers, unmanned aerial vehicles, new technology and sensors.

To help pay for border security Jonathan Payton, a former Arizona State legislator, is trying to place a referendum on the Arizona ballot. Approximately $18 million a year is currently collected from a 2% levy on traffic tickets. He would like to see these additional funds used to secure the border to help fund border substations, technology, and more patrol agents working directly on the border.

The bottom line is that the border situation is deteriorating quickly. Americans need to wake up and support these Congressional figures that have come up with plans to secure the border. Congressman McCaul summarized everyone's feelings stating, "we need to put the spotlight on this issue and give it the attention it deserves. This is not halfway around the world. It's right in our own backyard and we need to make sure Americans look upon it as a national security issue."

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