Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Border Security


Senate Just Proved It Can't Be Trusted On Border Security

Immigration Reform: The Senate on Tuesday voted against tough border security measures that it promised to put in place years ago. Tell us again why we should trust them to secure the borders later after granting amnesty first.

n a pair of votes, the Senate turned down a border fence it promised to build seven years ago and a biometric entry-exit system it promised to put in place 17 years ago. The history of these previous efforts to secure the nation's borders is illuminating.
In 2006, Congress passed the Secure Fence Act, requiring 700 miles of double-tiered fencing get built along the Mexican border. Though the fence would only cover a fraction of that border, President Bush told Americans: "This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform."

"We have a responsibility to secure our borders," he added. "We take this responsibility seriously."

Seriously? A year later, Congress quietly passed a law that largely neutered the fence requirement, and today, only 36 miles of it have been built.
Yet when Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., introduced a bill requiring that just half the original 700-mile fence get built before illegals gain amnesty, and the other 350 before they can gain citizenship, it went down in flames, with Sen. Marco Rubio and a few other Republicans voting against it.

Shortly after rejecting Thune's fence, the Senate turned down an amendment introduced by David Vitter, R-La., that would have required a biometric entry-exit system at every land, sea and airport of entry before today's illegals get green cards.
Congress promised to create this system way back in 1996 — part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act — to better track those entering and leaving the country. But it too never was built.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., gave the game away in explaining his opposition to this prudent idea. "I want biometrics as far as the eye can see, in as many ways as possible, post-9/11, to protect this nation," he said. "But to make it a trigger, in light of how much it costs and how long it takes, I just think goes too far."
So there you have it: Since the Senate is desperate to get amnesty done as soon as possible, it can't let little inconveniences like securing the border or tracking people coming into the country get in the way.

As we've said many times in this space, border security has to come before any effort is made to grant legal status to today's 11 million illegals. For good reason: Failure to do so will only encourage more to cross the border, in the justifiable belief that once here they, too, will get citizenship without having to wait in line. We're already seeing illegal crossings increase even before the law is passed.
Plus, putting border security first would give those here illegally now an incentive to see security done quickly, creating a lobbying force that would be impossible to ignore.

History already proves that putting the carrot ahead of the stick doesn't work. The 1986 immigration law also promised to close gaps in the border in exchange for amnesty. But as soon as soon as Democrats got amnesty on the books, they started putting roadblocks in the way of enforcement.
The result was that just three years after the bill's passage, illegal border crossings had actually increased, and today the number in the country illegally has climbed fourfold.

A few days ago, Rubio said immigration reform had to ensure "that we will never have another wave of illegal immigration again." But with the Senate turning down every meaningful border security measure, that's the only thing we can guarantee will happen again if this bill becomes law.

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