The big news this week in the other war that is not going so well – against illegal immigration – was neither new nor reported very widely. It was big only by the numbers.
The Congressional Research Service, in an analysis actually released in December but only now gaining attention, apparently estimates the cost of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexican border to be $49 billion.
Okay, that's for a double-walled steel fence, including maintenance, calculated over a 25-year period. Top-of-the-line stuff, like government toilet seats and hammers built to specifications that require instrument calibration and cost accordingly. Not that cheapjack chain-link stuff used by you to keep the neighbor's dogs from eating your children or the Israelis for most of their fence on the West Bank (which seems to have worked as intended, even though not fully completed).
Like most people, including the Members of Congress for which the study was done, we didn't read the report, itself. Why bother? If Congress goes the way it seems intent on going, Mexico will be running the U.S. by the time any fence gets built anyway.
Government just can't think outside the box, one reason being that many people in the government are but boxes. The President and the Congress (and the government of Mexico) don't want no stinking fence, so just rack up another excuse to kill it rather than trying to think it through.
Politically, most members of Congress have convinced themselves that being decisive and tough on illegal immigration was a loser in the 2006 elections. They're wrong about that, but let them sleep with their fantasies a bit longer. As soon as amnesty legislation rears its head again, soon now, honest polls will again indicate what most Americans want, probably also measuring the immense frustration of not being listened to for so long.
Our views, which we think mirror those of most Americans, including legal immigrants, are hopefully worth restating as we face the legislative process yet again.
We want progressively effective border security, whatever the methodology.
We want our immigration, employment and tax laws enforced.
We want no one, neither illegal immigrants nor the employers who facilitate them, to be rewarded for breaking our laws.
We want to encourage the legal immigration that has made this country what it is, while preserving the standards, character, culture, language and identity of this country and its ability to move forward with economic and social stability.
We cannot accept amnesty, no matter by what euphemism called or what sleight-of-hand implemented. That is wrong. It sends the wrong message to immigrant and citizen alike, it discards principle as its first victim and it portends a self-defeating end to a nation of laws.
Last week, it was reported that a National Guard unit was overrun and forced to retreat along the Arizona/Mexico border, in a known drug-smuggling corridor. No follow-up on that unsettling little brief; it's not Iraq.
This week, a Justice Department audit indicated that some criminal illegal aliens, beneficiaries of the infamous catch-and-release program designed by gentlemen trout fisherman (now ended, we are told) had to be re-arrested six times. That was for 2004.
Our immigration system is broken. It can't be fixed in a feel-good-about-grandma-in-charge 100 hours where the charlatans outnumber the statesmen. It's not a pretend problem for a pretend Congress. Would the adults please step forward and identify themselves? Perhaps in hour 101 after the children have had their fun.January 11, 2007
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