Tags: Bush | Plan | Slap | Border | Patrol | Agents

Bush Plan a Slap at Border Patrol Agents

Friday, 13 February 2004 12:00 AM

There isn't a day in the life of a Border Patrol agent that isn't fraught with danger, but to hear President Bush discuss the issue of illegal immigration, you'd think he didn't know that.

A few weeks back, Bush flabbergasted his conservative base by telling Americans he favors a sort of "guest-worker" program, in which "willing workers" can be mated with "willing" U.S. employers. The "willing workers" he was talkinga bout are the millions of aliens who broke our laws by sneaking into this country. That's against our laws anyway, but it's especially a big no-no, you would think, during a time of war, heightened security and an unprecedented threat of terrorism.

But as I document in my new book, "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," this phenomenon is nothing new. And no one group knows that more than our courageous Border Patrol agents.

The president, with his proposal, may have disillusioned conservatives who, in recent years, have been part of a Republican Party that dismissed their concerns over illegal immigration in favor of providing cheap abundant labor. Sept. 11, 2001 changed that attitude for a time, but time heals wounds. And it diminishes memories.

Disillusionment, however, is something a person can live with. Being dead isn't. And dying is increasingly a concern among Border Patrol and Immigration agents who risk their lives daily to keep out those "willing workers" and other lethal characters sneaking into America during a time of war.

Not every "willing worker" is violent, of course. I'd even say most aren't.

But some are. And the fact is, by the time our Border Patrol agents can tell the difference, it may be the last thing they ever learn.

Through the years, scores of border enforcement agents have been wounded and killed in the line of duty, doing exactly the opposite of what many of Washington's lawmakers are advocating. After Bush offered his proposal, Democrats countered with one of their own that's even worse than the White House proposal.

But it really doesn't matter which plan is considered or enacted. Either is no good for the country, and both have needlessly endangered the thin green line of Border Patrol agents manning their posts along our national boundaries.

President Bush should know better. As the former governor of a state whose borders are overrun daily by illegal aliens, he should be more sympathetic to federal, state and local authorities trying to stem the tide. In days past, he himself no doubt had trouble dealing with the problem. Democrats have always taken the side of the alien – legal or illegal – because they see votes and don't much care who they harm to get them.

But both parties are disrespecting the men and women who are the nation's first line of defense (and in many communities, the only line) against threats to our country.

Border Patrol agents are already some of the most assaulted of all federal agents. In researching "Illegals," I witnessed the daily hostility aimed at agents by Mexican nationals who, just yards from the border, taunt agents, throw rocks at them and, occasionally, even shoot at them.

Agents, on the other hand, must put up with this dangerously disrespectful treatment, lest they be held accountable instead of their attackers. For sometimes simply defending themselves, agents are often held responsible if – Heaven forbid – an illegal alien is harmed in the process.

It's insane and it's self-defeating. But that's the reality of law enforcement along our borders. And it's getting worse by the day.

Now, politicians once again want to reward law-breaking illegals by giving them opportunities and benefits for which they are not entitled. In doing so, they disrespect every law-abiding, taxpaying American citizen.

Worse, they slap hard-working Border Patrol agents in the face in the process.

Just the sort of motivation they need during a time of war.

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There isn't a day in the life of a Border Patrol agent that isn't fraught with danger, but to hear President Bush discuss the issue of illegal immigration, you'd think he didn't know that. A few weeks back, Bush flabbergasted his conservative base by telling Americans he...
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Friday, 13 February 2004 12:00 AM
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