With all the trillions of dollars we're borrowing from the Chinese to fund our soldiers to make wastelands the world over safe for...well...nobody, why don't we bring them home and maybe use them to secure our borders?
We have a full-blown war going on in Mexico, led by drug and human smuggling cartels originally set up years ago in Columbia, and a Mexican government seemingly incapable of stopping it, a government so corrupt that many -- including our envoy to Mexico -- believe it's a major part of the problem. The response when WikiLeaks exposed our government's suspicions? The Ambassador resigned. Seems our government didn't want to upset President Felipe Calderon. Ambassador Resigns Meanwhile, over 35,000 Mexicans have died in Calderon's so far unsuccessful war against the cartels.
Janet Napolitano, whose responsibility it is to keep our Homeland safe, says our borders are safer and more secure than ever before; however, those who live near one, especially in the Southwest, who find the spent AK-47 shells in their back yards and who hear the gunshots in the night, disagree. Ask the residents of Green Valley, AZ, one of the earliest and largest planned retirement communities, situated along Interstate 19, known locally as Smugglers Alley. Or ask the ranchers who live within a hundred miles of the border. They find the detritus of smuggling activities on their land every day, and they fear being shot like Robert Krentz, who died on his land, shot by an illegal who simply walked back across the border.
And what happens when a landowner catches illegals on his land and holds them at gunpoint waiting for a law enforcement official to pick them up? One guy did it, over and over. He caught hundreds of illegals on his property. One would think this country would be proud of this man's activities; instead, he got sued in a Phoenix court and lost. He has to pay the illegals and their U.S. lawyers, sponsored by Open Border groups, over a hundred thousand dollars. Seems he caused these illegals emotional pain and suffering by restraining their free movement.
And what do we do when government officials catch illegals? Do we deport them or stick them to rot in our over-crowded jails? Well, our Justice Department has changed its policy on deportment; it wants to slow or stop deportment proceedings, and it's suing state government officials to block their enforcement of federal immigration law.
If our borders are safer and more secure than ever, as Napolitano says, then why have National Parks along our southern border been closed to American citizens due to dangerous smuggling traffic across that border? And why won't the Department of the Interior let Border Patrol agents enter those parks without permission to seek out and destroy the smugglers?
The funny (sarcasm full and screaming) thing about these closures, about all the Park Service signs warning hikers or bikers trailing in Southwest Forest Service lands? Both instruct folks who see illegal activities to dial 911. Who answers 911 calls? The same sheriffs sued to block border enforcement.
Is this a Catch 22 or what? More important, is this serious border enforcement?
Oh sure, Napolitano assigned some National Guard troops to border enforcement, but not nearly enough to do the job, and those she sent, she instructed not to do anything but report illegal activities they see. And what about those federal agents assigned to drug enforcement coordination activities in Mexico? They report inefficiencies due to understaffing, inability to understand Spanish and fear for their lives. (Arizona Daily Star) Indeed, President Obama even barred these enforcers from carrying weapons. (Agents Disarmed) So these enforcers push paper, and they're frustrated. Maybe that's why ICE gave Napolitano a vote of No Confidence.
Yeah, no kidding.
Sure, we've made some progress along our southern borders. We've scared many of the illegal immigrants back to Mexico, and yes, we see the daily reports of captures of massive amounts of smuggled drugs and the victims of human traffickers, but our Government Accounting Office, the agency charged with monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of our governmental actions admits that the Border Patrol can only stop illegal entries along 129 miles of our 1,954-mile Mexican border. And our 3,918-mile long northern border, the GAO says, is virtually wide open. (GAO Report)
We tried building a fence along our southern border, but environmentalists -- tree huggers to some -- blocked that project. They worried coyotes, javelina and rattlesnakes would not migrate.
President Calderon blames the United States for the drug cartel activities. He says drugs are moving north across our borders and guns are moving south to the cartels. And there's no question the drugs are moving into the United States. There's huge demand for them, and the money involved in that trade is staggering. As for the guns, however, very few have been traced to the United States, and some of those that have been identified as originating from our country have been tracked to a BATFE program to smuggle them there. You remember those buffoons: the Ruby Ridge and Waco screw-ups. (ATF Smuggling Operation; CBS Report; Report 3; KVOA Report) Indeed, some of these BATFE rifles killed a couple of our agents working south of the border.
The Feds don't want state officials to ask for ID. Yet you and I must show ID when we make a purchase at Best Buy. The Feds say state requirements to show ID illegally profile Hispanics. Yet, who is crossing our borders? Most are Mexican, but also a number of Guatemalans, Hondurans and Latinos from other Central American countries. Not many white grandmas from Norway sneak across the U.S. border.
Recently -- actually just a couple days ago -- Larry Dever, the Sheriff of Cochise County, one of the Arizona border counties suffering the most smuggling activity spoke out. "Janet Napolitano says the border is more secure than it's ever been. I've been here for 60 years, and I'm telling you that's not true."
Dever also says, "The senior supervisor agent [Border Patrol] is telling me about how their mission is now to scare people back. I had to go back to my guys and tell them not to catch anybody, that their job is to chase people away. They were not to catch anyone, arrest anyone. Their job was to set up posture, to intimidate people, to get them to go back." (Fox News)
You think the smuggling and violence in Mexico isn't spilling over onto U.S. soil? The Border Patrol set up Operation Detour, an education program now provided in Southwestern schools, intended to convince middle-and-high school kids not to become cartel mules. Cartel members like mules for an obvious reason: Somebody else gets caught. So they use American teenagers, juveniles, often paid big bucks or intimidated to cooperate by kidnapping or other forms of extortion. American teenagers crossing the border, dressed in wild colors, tank tops and driving U.S. vehicles are less likely to be nabbed than somebody wearing a sombrero who doesn't speak English. (Operation Detour)
And now the Mexican cartels -- Is it politically incorrect or profiling to call them "Mexican" cartels? -- are threatening Border Patrol and ICE agents. The Monitor
So again, why don't we stop spending our money defending deserts overseas where there's no imminent U.S. threat and have our troops do something useful in our country -- like secure our border?
Are our government's efforts to block enforcement of federal immigration laws, closing down some of our National Parks and the resulting increase in smuggling activities and border violence all part of Change We Can Believe In? Gee, it's too bad securing our border isn't as vital a U.S. interest or as imminent a danger as the deserts of Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan.