Tag Archives: Border Patrol

The Wall is too costly, obsolete and utterly unnecessary

OK, I now intend to get ahead of the president of the United States, because I pretty much know what he’s going to say when he speaks a little later to his fellow Americans.

He’s going to say we need to build The Wall along our southern border to stop what he says is a horde of terrorists seeking to enter the country illegally. He is going justify the $5.6 billion expense by saying that the alternative is “open borders,” which no sane American wants. Donald Trump is going to foment fear among Americans by declaring that we have to stop this phony menace and he is considering whether to declare a national emergency to do that very thing.

The Wall is a fantasy cooked up by a first-time political candidate in June 2015 when he rode down an escalator and declared his intention to run for the presidency. It drew cheers and hosannas from the faithful.

The Wall won’t do what Trump intends for it to do. It won’t stop illegal immigrants from seeking to enter the country. It won’t stave off any illicit drug traffic. It won’t deter bad guys from doing harm.

As others have noted, we have technology these days that we can deploy: drones, electronic surveillance equipment to name two weapons at our disposal. We can hire more Border Patrol officers and deploy them at entry points identified as most troublesome by federal, state and local authorities.

The threat of terror is overhyped in the extreme. The president is using phony numbers to illustrate what he calls a national crisis. He has told his administration to follow his lead. They are telling falsehoods. They are demagoguing the issue, frightening Americans.

The Wall is a phony remedy to a problem that exists, but not to the extent that Donald Trump keeps insisting that it does.

He will go on the air tonight to tell us our nation is in dire peril from the hordes of rapists, murderers, drug dealers, sex traffickers and international terrorists who, more than likely, are “radical Islamic extremists” packing bombs and assorted weapons of mass destruction.

All the while, part of the federal government remains shuttered. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are in danger of missing mortgage payments, child support payments or credit card payments because they are furloughed — without pay.

Why? Because the commander in chief wants to build a “big, beautiful wall” that won’t do a damn thing.

Knock off the ‘open borders’ demagoguery

I am going to declare a form of rhetorical war against those who keep insisting that those who oppose building The Wall along our southern border favor “open borders.”

Open borders . . . shm-open borders.

The nation’s demagogue in chief, Donald Trump, keeps harping on that mantra. He is wrong to say it. His true believers are wrong to buy into it and repeat it. Trump is wrong to push for The Wall. He is wrong to suggest that The Wall is the only way to make our nation more “secure” from undesirables seeking to enter this country illegally.

What’s more, he is wrong to demonize every single illegal immigrant in the manner that he’s done. He is wrong minimize the asylum-seekers who are fleeing repression, corruption and personal threats to their lives in their own countries.

It is the “open borders” canard that sends me into orbit.

To suggest that those who oppose The Wall somehow favor a security-free border gives demagoguery a bad name.

I am one American who opposes The Wall. Do I favor stronger border security? Of course I do. So do many other Americans who believe as I do. We want the nation to be a place that enforces immigration laws strictly but also is a welcoming place for those who seek freedom and a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

We can protect this country by enhancing existing security measures: drones, electronic surveillance, more Border Patrol officers.

The president simplifies a complex issue by dividing us into two camps: those who favor The Wall vs. those who oppose it.

I am sickened by the demonization and demagoguery the president keeps spewing, not to mention the parroting of that hideous rhetoric by his allies in Congress and those rank-and-file Americans out here in Flyover Country.

We all love this country. We all want to protect it. We simply differ on the best way to do it.

The Wall is a boondoggle, pure and simple.

What is so wrong with a ‘pathway to citizenship’?

The 2018 midterm election might be setting an unofficial record for demagogic statements and rhetoric.

One of them goes something like this: Democrats want to grant immediate citizenship to illegal aliens. Hmm. Really?

Here is what I understand is the talking point that Democrats are pitching and it has next to nothing to do with what their Republican foes keep saying about them.

They say they want to grant a “pathway to citizenship” to those who entered the United States illegally. Does that equate in any fashion to granting immediate citizenship? Not to me.

One of the most-watched Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate, Texan Beto O’Rourke, has been vilified as someone who favors “open borders,” one who says we have “too much border security” and someone who favors allowing illegal immigrants to vote.

Yes. I actually heard that last thing stated on a Fox News interview O’Rourke conducted with talking head Sean Hannity.

What I believe is the truth is that O’Rourke and other progressive candidates want is to grant a reprieve from deportation for illegal immigrants. Then he has suggested a form of screening of those immigrants, seeking to determine the reasons they are here. He and others want to allow them the chance to apply for citizenship or to seek permanent resident status.

Why, I must wonder, is that such a bad thing? Why is it preferable in the minds of many others to just round ’em up, keep ’em restrained and then deport ’em without giving them a chance to build new lives in the Land of Opportunity?

The xenophobe in chief keeps implying that every illegal immigrant is here to do harm. Yep, grandma and grandpa, along with their small grandchildren, as well as married couples have sneaked into our country to commit terrible, heinous, despicable crimes against unsuspecting Americans. That’s how the demagoguery goes.

It is untrue. It is a lie fomented by those with ghastly motives.

Do I favor “open borders”? Do I favor an absence of border security? Do I want to grant anyone permission to enter this country without the proper documentation? Of course not. Neither do politicians seeking election to important public offices.

None of that will stop the demagogues from continuing their campaign of lies.

Open borders? Really?

When I hear and read the term “open borders,” I conjure up a definition of, well, totally open borders.

They are borders without guards carrying weapons, without any surveillance, without any restrictions for those seeking to cross them.

Yet the political climate has been poisoned by rhetoric that alleges Democrats across our country favor “open borders.” The Republican demagogue in chief, Donald Trump, is leading the chants against Democratic Party loyalists, contending they favor no restrictions on immigration.

So help me, I haven’t heard a serious politician say anything approaching what Trump and other demagogues are suggesting. They aren’t saying that we take down the Border Patrol stations, letting anyone walk into this country unrestricted.

What these so-called “open border” proponents are saying is they don’t want to build a wall along our nation’s 2,000-mile southern border. They contend it is too expensive, too unwieldy, too fraught with legal difficulty as the government seeks to condemn private land.

They aren’t favoring “open borders.” I am one who opposes the wall but supports strengthening border security using lots measures available to us: more Border Patrol personnel, more drone aircraft, greater surveillance technology, more support for state and local law enforcement agencies, rapid deportation policies.

Open borders? That’s the stuff of demagogues.

Signs of cracking among the ‘base’?

I am heartened to learn of some second thoughts among Donald J. Trump’s most ardent supporters regarding this ghastly policy of “no tolerance” along our southern border.

It’s the policy that allows U.S. Border Patrol and immigration agents to seize young children from their parents as they enter the United States illegally.

Trump blames a “Democrat bill,” which doesn’t exist, for the policy.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Bible — as stated in Romans 13 — gives the Trump administration all the authority it needs to invoke this intensely cruel policy.

Now we hear from, say, the Rev. Franklin Graham, one of the president’s most ardent supporters. Graham has declared his opposition to the policy.

Oh, and then former first lady Laura Bush has weighed in with an op-ed column in which she declares the policy “immoral” and said it “breaks my heart” to learn of children being put in cages along our southern border.

The current first lady, Melania Trump, has waffled a bit, calling on “both sides” to cease this humanitarian crisis. I understand the first lady’s difficult spot. But “both sides” aren’t required.

Only one side is needed to fix it. That would be the president, who can end this hideous policy with a phone call and a signature.

Border ‘crisis’ appears to be overcooked

I’m going to speak from the cuff here, but I believe it needs to be said. Donald Trump’s decision to deploy National Guard troops to our southern border appears to me to be a solution in search of a problem.

The president keeps hyping an immigration “crisis” along our border with Mexico. He is implying that the border is being overrun by illegal immigrants. He suggests that the only way to stem that deluge of people sneaking in is to send in ground troops; they need to patrol the border, shoring up security already being provided by Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, local police and electronic surveillance equipment.

When did it get to this point? What is the president trying to prove with this initiative?

I don’t get it. I cannot fathom when this matter escalated to a point that requires a virtual militarization of our border with one of our nation’s closest allies.

Barack Obama deported a record number of illegal immigrants during his two terms as president of the United States. George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks, giving the federal government another agency responsible for protecting us against potential terrorist entry.

Trump takes office after campaigning on a promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” and forcing Mexico to pay for it. Mexico won’t pay a dime for the wall.

Why in the world is there this need to send National Guardsmen and women to the border when we have plenty of civilian resources available to do the job of catching people who are trying to sneak into the United States illegally?

This looks to me to be a made-up crisis.

Border security, yes; the wall, no!

Well now, that wasn’t so hard, was it Congress?

Federal lawmakers have approved a stop-gap budget bill that keeps the government operating through September. They have avoided a federal government shutdown that some in Congress — and the White House — had feared might occur at the end of this week.

Here’s the thing, too: The budget contains zero money for a “big, beautiful” wall along our nation’s southern border, which Donald Trump had insisted be included … that is, until he backed down and withdrew his demand.

The bill allocates $1.5 billion for enhanced border security. Hey, that’s not a bad load of dough to protect our borders against illegal immigrants and assorted criminals and, yes, potential terrorists. More Border Patrol agents and better surveillance equipment can go a long way toward making us more secure along both of our lengthy land borders.

It also sets aside $15 billion in defense spending to fight terrorism, with $2.5 million of it contingent on the president developing a strategy to fight the Islamic State. I like that idea, too.

Let’s get busy with longer term deal

Congress isn’t done. Not by a long shot. How about lawmakers hunkering down immediately to start working on a longer-term arrangement that keeps the government functioning well past the next deadline?

Believe it or not, September will be upon us before any of us knows it. Congress, though, likely will spend the bulk of the summer spread out on recess. Members will go home, or perhaps travel on those infamous “fact-finding” junkets to exotic locations in the South Pacific, South America or the south of France.

But I’m heartened to know that the wall gets no taxpayer money, given that the president’s efforts to get Mexico to pay for it have fallen flat.

Trump’s loud talk produces diminished illegal immigration

Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly gives Donald J. Trump ample credit in the fight to stem illegal immigration into the United States of America.

U.S. officials report a dramatic decline in illegal crossings along our southern border. Kelly’s reasoning? The president’s loud and persistent complaints about illegal immigration somehow has deterred people from coming into the country without proper documentation.

I kind of understand the secretary’s logic. Moreover, I am willing to give the president great credit for talking a good game.

Kelly more or less echoes the thoughts expressed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who, according to USA Today, said the following: “This is a new era,” Sessions declared during last week’s trip to Nogales, Ariz. “This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch-and-release practices of old are over.”

I beg to differ with the AG on whether the previous administration’s policies somehow were more lax than, say, those of earlier administrations. President Obama became known as the “deporter in chief,” as his administration caught and deported record number of undocumented immigrants during his two terms in office.

Now, about that wall.

I give Trump all the credit in the world for whatever impact his loud and boisterous rhetoric has had on those seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Here is my question of the day pertaining to this issue: Does a precipitous decline in illegal border crossings now render “the wall” that Trump wants to build irrelevant?

I live in a border state, albeit we’re a good distance from the southern border. I’ve ventured along the border twice in the past few weeks and haven’t witnessed anything approaching a “horde” of criminals crossing the border.

Perhaps if the president keeps harping out loud about what he intends to do when his administration’s border officials catch illegal immigrants, then there might be even less need for a wall.

I’ve heard already from too many immigration experts who tell us that a wall won’t stop illegal crossings. Desperate individuals can  be quite creative in looking for ways over, under or around such barriers.

If Secretary Kelly is willing to give the president’s rhetoric for stemming the flow of illegal immigration, I am more than happy to accept it as a contributing factor.

Keep talking, Mr. President.

Publicity stunt makes valuable point about a wall

A member of Mexico’s congress has performed a masterful publicity stunt that illustrates something quite nicely about Donald J. Trump’s desire to build a “beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Braulio Guerra climbed a portion of the wall that’s already been erected. He sat atop it and then boasted about how easy it was to scale it.

He sat 30 feet above the ground.

Hmmm. How does he do that?

The congressman’s point is a valid one. It is that anyone who wants to scale a wall, or tunnel beneath it will find a way. A wall doesn’t protect us any better than what U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies already are doing to ensure our nation’s safety.

In a video he distributed, the congressman said, “It would be simple for me to jump into the United States, which shows that it is unnecessary and totally absurd to build a wall.”

I won’t belabor the point that walling us off from our neighbors is patently in-American on its face. Yet the president of the United States keeps insisting that we’re being inundated with criminals of all stripes who are invading the United States for the sole purpose of preying on Americans.

My wife and I recently visited the border region and witnessed up close a tiny part of what the Border Patrol is doing to protect Americans. Officers are stopping every northbound vehicle at points along the Rio Grande Valley. They quizzed us briefly about our destination, then sent us on our way.

Did they stop anyone? Yes. We witnessed them pulling a motorist over, presumably for more, shall we say, “extreme vetting.”

Can we stop every single illegal immigrant from sneaking into this country? No. We’ve never been able to stop all of them.

A wall won’t do it, either.

Good job, Border Patrol

DEL RIO, Texas — The U.S. Border Patrol is on the job.

We are glad to report that they stopped our vehicle as we made our way home.

The first stop occurred on U.S. Highway 83 just north of Laredo. We pulled up to the station, were greeted by an officer. He asked, “Are you citizens?” Yes, we said. “Him, too?” the officer asked with a broad smile, referring to Toby the Puppy. Oh, yes. “Thank you for y our service,” he told me, noticing my Army ballcap. I should have thanked him for his service as a Border Patrol officer. The young man has a tough job.

We proceeded on our way.

We turned west at Carrizo Springs on U.S. 277, then headed north out of Del Rio.

That’s when we got to the second stop. We pulled over.

The officer approached our rig. “How you doing? Do you have a long ride home?” he asked. Yes. I told him we were en route to Amarillo. He told us to travel safely. Off we went.

The fellow in the vehicle ahead of us wasn’t quite so fortunate. The officers pulled him over. We didn’t stay long enough to see what they were asking him, although — and please forgive the profiling here — he did look to be of Hispanic descent.

My wife and I have some experience going through what the president would call “extreme vetting.” It occurred at David Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. You haven’t lived until you’ve been given the third, fourth and fifth degree from an Israeli airport security agent. They give all outbound passengers a thorough going-over as they ask you the same set of questions many times … looking to get a rise out of you, looking for signs of irritation, seeking a possible flaw in the answers you give.

OK, we didn’t get that kind of treatment as we coursed our way from the Rio Grande Valley.

We also are acutely aware of the extra attention being paid along our southern border, particularly since the election of the president. In truth, though, our nation’s border cops have been doing a difficult job for as long as we’ve shared lengthy borders — on both sides of this massive nation.

We have been given a brief glimpse of the job they do and the alert level they must maintain. I know they don’t catch all of those who seek to sneak into the country illegally. But we’ve got about 5,000 miles of border — north and south — to protect.

Thank you, folks, for your service.