Tag Archives: Border Patrol

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.

They stop everyone coming north from border on I-35

LAREDO, Texas — About nine miles or so north of Laredo you see a line of motor vehicles pulling off the northbound lanes of Interstate 35.

Big ones, little ones. Long-haul trucks, economy cars, mini-vans full of kids and assorted family members. They all stop as they leave this city of nearly 300,000 residents for points north.

What gives? The “porous border” at this one stop at least isn’t quite so porous.

What are the authorities looking for? As my dear mom used to say: I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

They’re looking for illegal immigrants. They’re looking for human cargo. They are on the hunt for drugs, weapons, you name it.

Now, this particular stop-and-search station doesn’t mean the border is air tight. I get that there remain many other points of entry for illegal immigrants to sneak into the United States of America.

There has been this sort of screening for some time. It’s just that when you see it, you look at the long and growing line of vehicles backing up, you appreciate the difficult job that our Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers — as well as our state andlocal police agencies — must perform.

Donald “Smart Person” Trump perhaps has done one thing as he has continued to rail against illegal immigration and keeps yammering about building a wall that he suggests Mexico will pay for; it is that he has elevated our border officers’ alertness.

I am hoping they remain alert.

Trump still in front … but only for now?

Of all the moments worth mentioning from Thursday night’s Republican Party Top 10 debate, one — in my mind — stands out dramatically.

It involves Fox News moderator Chris Wallace and, you guessed it, Donald Trump.

I give Wallace great credit for seeking a specific answer to a specific allegation that Trump has leveled at Mexico’s government, which is that the Mexican government is “sending” illegal immigrants across the border, into the United States, where they are raping and murdering Americans.

Twice last night he sought some specifics from Trump, who early in the morning after the debate remains — I’m betting — the GOP frontrunner.

When he failed to provide specifics to the first question, Wallace gave him another 30 seconds to specify what proof Trump had to back up his allegation.

Trump finally said he’d “been to the border last week” and talked to Border Patrol officers who told him “that’s what is going on down there, whether you like it or not.”

So. There you have it.

Border Patrol agents told him. That means it’s true, yes?

It was an entertaining and edifying exchange between a loudmouth entertainer seeking the presidency of the United States of America and a moderator seeking some detail in one of the more outrageous allegations that has come from a candidate’s mouth.

And yet, this guy somehow is getting away with this stuff?

I’m going to stand by my belief that Trump’s candidacy likely died when he made light of Sen. John McCain’s Vietnam War record. Events such as what we heard when Chris Wallace asked him twice to provide proof of a claim that Mexico’s government is “sending” illegal immigrants into the United States only highlights Trump’s unfitness for public office.

The big question remains: When will the GOP faithful realize it, too?

Obama is 'deporter in chief'?

Well, what do you know about this?

The Obama administration has broken its own record for the number of illegal immigrants deported in a single year. To think that critics believe President Obama is “soft” on illegal immigration.

http://www.panhandlepbs.org/blogs/state-news/2014/10/03/obama-administration-breaks-own-deportation-record/

Soft squishiness has produced angry protests from the Latino community who want the president to act on immigration reform.

I happen to agree that there should be some action — executive action, if necessary — to further the case for reforming national immigration policy. However, to suggest that the administration has looked the other way while people flood across our “porous” southern border is to resort to demagoguery.

In 2013, the Immigration and Naturalization Service deported 438,421 illegal — or undocumented — immigrants. That beats the former record set the previous year. What’s more, the deportations include 198,400 immigrants with criminal records. How is it, then, that critics keep harping on the feds’ inattention to the crime wave that’s sweeping into the country from Mexico and points south? I guess it’s because they’ve gotten quite good at distorting these issues for their own gain.

As the Texas Tribune reports: “The statistics are not likely to draw praise from Republican lawmakers. Despite the administration’s record-breaking deportations over the past several years, conservative lawmakers have criticized the president for what they consider his lax enforcement policies, which they say lure illegal crossers.”

Whatever. I’ll consider the deportation push to be a poke in the eye of those very critics.

I’ll also consider it time for the president to act where he can legally to start fixing the immigration problem. If Congress won’t act, then it falls on the president to, as the Tribune reported, “to expand relief to more of the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally.”

Time to pony up on border emergency

Republicans in Congress have been griping about Barack Obama’s so-called imperial presidency.

They want the president to consult more with them before acting.

OK, then. The president — and Congress — have a serious border emergency on their hands right here in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. It involves the mass migration of thousands of children and adults from Central America.

To help fight the problem believed to part of an international human trafficking ring, the president has asked Congress for more than $2 billion in emergency money to beef up detention facilities along the border and to bolster border security.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/06/29/obama-to-request-billions-to-deal-with-border-crisis/?hpt=hp_t1

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has asked the president to do more. So has Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another Republican.

The question of the day: Will GOP lawmakers consent to the request or will they continue to dig in their heels, contending that the United States can’t afford the money and, thus, keep sniping away at the administration for its “failure” to protect the border against illegal immigration?

CNN.com reports it this way: “A White House official told CNN the money will go to securing appropriate space for the detention of children but also stemming the tide of immigrants. The government hopes to increase its ability to investigate and dismantle smuggling organizations as well as quickly return children and adults to their home countries if they do not qualify for asylum.”

For his part, Obama is sending stern messages to governments south of Mexico. “Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it,” Obama said to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

Can he do more? Sure. First, though, he needs the resources, meaning the money, to pay for the stepped-up efforts to stop the illegal immigrant flow. The funds can come from Congress.

Will the legislative branch put it up?