by J. F. Kelly, Jr. | Coronado

Everyone knows that border security in this country is a joke. The southern border is a giant portal through which drug and human smugglers move their illegal cargo almost at will. These operations have become profitable business for Mexican criminals and the Mexican government is unwilling to stop them. So, for that matter, is Washington.

Our federal government simply hasn’t the will to do what is necessary to secure our border for fear of alienating Hispanic voters and being branded as racist. It, therefore, confines its efforts to talk of immigration overhaul and the occasional well-publicized raid on U.S. businesses that are thought to knowingly hire illegals. These enforcement efforts take place mostly in the interior, far from the border, inconveniencing U.S. citizens when the principal focus should be the border itself. Enforcement efforts are hampered by excessive political correctness and avoidance of racial profiling which almost ensures failure.

Many of our southern border areas have become virtual war zones where violent crime abounds. Ranchers, farmers and other residents of these once-peaceful lands routinely have their property trashed, vandalized and stolen. Local law enforcement to date has been largely powerless to confront this problem because immigration enforcement is a responsibility of the federal government. But the federal government has utterly failed to discharge this responsibility, to the detriment of public safety.

The principal agency responsible for border security is the U.S. Border Patrol. It is unsuited, undermanned and under equipped for this critical mission. Its occasional busts and seizures are reminiscent of the victories we achieved on our way to losing the Vietnam War. If the federal government were serious about stopping the drug and human smuggling, it would militarize the border. Almost any other country would. If a nation cannot control its borders, it cannot adequately protect its citizens, which is its prime responsibility.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, during whose administrations illegal immigration soared, deserve the principal blame for allowing the situation to get out of control, but it’s too late for blame. It’s now President Barack Obama’s problem. His response is to urge an immigration overhaul which provides a path to citizenship for those who entered illegally and who would presumably become reliable Democrats. Opponents consider this a form of amnesty.

Since Operation Gatekeeper pushed illegal border crossers away from the San Diego region, toward the remote desert areas to the east, Arizona has borne the brunt of the influx and the associated crime it brings. Arizonans demanded help from Washington but got little. They have finally had enough. Despite warnings from the president himself, Arizona’s legislature passed the nation’s toughest anti-illegal-immigration law, making it a state crime to be in the country illegally. Gov. Jan Brewer, refusing to be intimidated by presidential bluster, signed the measure into law. She did so, she said, because of Washington’s failure to act. “Decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation,” she was quoted as saying. Brava, Gov. Brewer!

The president huffed that it was the state that was misguided and that the law would undermine “basic notions of fairness that we cherish in America.” How about fairness for the residents of the border states and other victims of the dangerous and unacceptable conditions cited by the governor? How about fairness for those who wait long and patiently to enter legally?

The mainstream media referred to the unprecedented law as anti-immigration legislation and warned of racial profiling. But the law simply makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally, permitting state and local law enforcement to act. It is anti-illegal-immigration law, not anti-immigration law and the governor has pointedly warned against indiscriminate racial profiling.

This legislation, which will be challenged in federal courts and may be ruled unconstitutional, should nevertheless send a message to Washington. If the federal government cannot or will not discharge its prime responsibility to protect Americans, then the states will act. CRO

copyright 2010 J.F. Kelly, Jr

J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California.

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