Tags: Border | Security

Border Security

Sunday, 15 May 2005 12:00 AM

"Recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions, and emerging threat streams strongly suggests that al-Qaeda has considered using the Southwest Border to infiltrate the United States. Several al-Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pave their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons."

Admiral Loy warned that the U.S.-Canadian border has vast and difficult terrain that could provide good passageways for terrorists to sneak into our country and wreak havoc.

No longer is curbing illegal immigration only a way to stop poverty-stricken people, who seek greater opportunity, from entering our country. Illegal immigrants break our laws by doing so and do a disservice to immigrants who have entered our country legally.

Breaking the law is bad enough, but curbing illegal immigration is a national security matter in this Age of International Terrorism. We must control our borders and know who is coming into our country.

My father was an immigrant, as was my father-in-law. It would be difficult for one whose family has benefited from this country's open-door policy on immigration to demand that the door be shut to future immigrants. My life was enriched by getting to know immigrants from Iron Curtain countries who searched for freedom and liberty and were thankful that they found it in our country.

However, we have immigration laws and they must be obeyed. Even California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, an immigrant himself, recently said we have the resources to control our borders but our leaders appear to lack the will. He stressed that controlling immigration is first and foremost a federal responsibility: "We have the money to do it. It is not a lack of money. When we can afford the war in Iraq, we can afford to control our own borders."

Jerry Seper of the The Washington Times reported in his March 30 article, "500 New Agents to Patrol Arizona Border," that the Border Patrol captured more than one million illegal aliens last year.

The presence of the Minutemen at the Arizona Border should have sent a signal to our leaders in Washington that our country is growing restless and its citizens want to see the federal government decisively act to control our borders. We need more border control agents and we need to equip them with the latest technologies to identify people who try to enter our country illegally.

The announcement at the end of March that 500 new U.S. Border Patrol agents would be assigned to the Arizona-Mexico Border certainly was welcome news, but we more aggressively must train and deploy new agents.

The 9/11 Commission urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to add 2,000 new agents annually over five years beginning in Fiscal Year 2006. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Robert C. Bonner believed it would be difficult for his agency to train that many agents so quickly, but agreed that the agency needs more agents.

Another important preventive measure that should be implemented would require state and local governments and private sector institutions such as banks to stop accepting the Matricula Consular cards issued by the Mexican government as standard identification. (We recently had a heated debate in Congress over the standardization of state-issued driver's licenses. The President signed the national driver's license bill into law on Wednesday, May 11.)

The Center for Immigration Studies' Mark Kirkorian recently wrote in National Review that "perhaps even more problematic than inconsistent license rules is the spreading acceptance of consular registration cards, chiefly Mexico's ‘matricula consular' card, which functions as an illegal alien ID; when accepted by U.S. jurisdictions as a valid ID for everything from bank accounts to air travel, it represents a de facto amnesty." The FBI views these cards to be a risk; the Treasury Department approves their use.

Morton C. Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute, made a candid point that our federal elected officials, particularly those who are conservative, should heed. Mr. Blackwell agrees that the issue of immigration is complex. He also said that many Americans – particularly the conservatives that overwhelmingly supported President Bush in the last election – quite tenaciously believe that our borders need more protection and that they will vote on that issue in the next election. Failure to control our borders would risk splitting the Conservative Coalition.

Controlling - not stopping - immigration is a matter of national security. It is a difficult task but it is truly the most important strategy at the front lines in the War against Terrorism. Lose this battle and there could be more opportunities for 9/11 to be repeated.

Winning this battle starts at the front lines by exercising more control over who enters our country. This is a difficult task but one that certainly is well within our capability. (Using the military to patrol our border may strike some as an attractive option, but it is preferable to have the Border Patrol improve its capability. Conservatives traditionally have looked askance at the military performing domestic law enforcement functions even if it involved national security.)

Smart politicians realize the importance of this issue and would not be surprised to hear more calls for increased border security in the next election. This is an issue that may be good politics but it is much more than that; our national security is at stake.

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"Recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions, and emerging threat streams strongly suggests that al-Qaeda has considered using the Southwest Border to infiltrate the United States. Several al-Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pave their way into the...
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2005-00-15
Sunday, 15 May 2005 12:00 AM
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