Thursday, November 17, 2005

Mr. President: “Build That Wall!”

Virgil Goode, VA 5th Congressional DistrictGates of Vienna is fortunate in its Congressional Representative. In his newsletter this week, the Honorable Virgil Goode has announced his co-sponsorship of a bill designed to seriously halt the flood of immigration from Mexico that is wreaking havoc on our social services and cultural infrastructure.

He says what the citizens of this country already know: we must stop the flood of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States. We must effectively seal our southern border and we must enforce our laws. The sovereignty of the US has become a joke; it will take strong measures to re-establish respect for our laws regarding citizenship and residency in our country. From New York to Colorado to Florida, the judicial system and immigration policy colludes in a "catch and release" program, even letting criminals go. This must cease. From the Goode Newsletter:
    The safety of the United States and the integrity of this nation’s immigration laws are at the heart of legislation introduced last week by Congressman Duncan Hunter of California and me. The bill is known as the TRUE Enforcement and Border Security Act. This legislation requires the construction of a land barrier and necessary infrastructure along our international border with Mexico and addresses many of the inadequacies in the enforcement of America’s illegal immigration laws.
In other words, he and Congressman Hunter want a fence between the borders of Mexico and America.

But that’s just for starters. As he points out, this move is one that is backed by a majority of Americans. And while he doesn’t say so, you can bet it will be a big, gigantic issue in the 2006 elections:
    Over the past few years as it has been demonstrated that the flood of illegal immigration poses a growing threat to our national security, the number of Americans calling for tougher immigration laws and stricter control of our borders has grown. A poll by the Pew Research Organization in 2003 found 80 percent of Americans believing that we should restrict the number of immigrants coming into our country to live more than we do now. Two polls in the Rasmussen Report this year found close to two-thirds of Americans believing that current immigration is a threat to our national security and to our economy. It is estimated that there are at least 12 million illegal immigrants in the U. S. Some estimates put the figure as high as 20 million.
In other words, we’re long past the time when we even know how many people have come across, or even where they’re all from.

Gates of Vienna has copied and formatted the information from Congressman Goode’s office about The TRUE Enforcement Act of 2005. It’s a comprehensive, tough piece of legislation. Those whose oxes are gored — e.g., localities who provide sanctuary laws will be financially penalized — are going to be screaming about this. But that is as it should be: this is a showdown between two views of what America is and is going to become. Here are some of the highlights, beginning with the opening section (note that the sponsors’ names are at the end of each item):

Title I — Federal State, and Local Law Enforcement

Federal Enforcement — Cornyn/Kyl
  • Adds 10,000 new border patrol officers, 1,250 immigration investigators, 500 adjudicators, 2,000 worksite investigators and provides anti-fraud training
  • Creates a new Assistant Attorney General for Immigration Enforcement and adds 250 litigators, 250 U.S. attorneys, 250 Immigration judges over five years to facilitate litigation in courts, removal/deportation processes, employer sanctions enforcement, alien smuggling/trafficking enforcement, etc.
That is just the first sub-section of Title I. You can go to the whole document to read the others, which lay out effective methods for preventing visa abuses.

Moving down to Title II of TRUE, we find visa reforms with teeth. For Gates of Vienna, this is the heart of anti-terrorism reform because it calls other countries to account. As it stands, the US is either treated with contempt for its supposed hegemony, or sneered at for its lax and trusting attitude. That needs to change and this piece of legislation may begin to turn the tide:

Title II Reform and Alien Status

Limitations on Visa Issuance
  • Denies visas to countries with worst records in accepting deported nationals — Barrett
  • Eliminates judicial review of visa revocation for aliens who improperly received visas — Cornyn/Kyl
  • Suspends Visa Waiver Program until entry-exit system is fully operational — Tancredo
  • Adopts Jordan Commission recommendation to eliminate preferences for adult brothers/sisters and adult sons/daughters — FAIR
  • Increases income requirement for sponsorship of new immigrants to 225% federal poverty level
  • Eliminates Visa Lottery Program — FAIR
This is a very comprehensive bill, with workplace enforcements and penalties for those who try to get around them.

Don’t forget that Mexico has made itself an adversary in this process. It is aggressively promoting Mexican illegal immigration and has set up public relations departments in its consulates to promote bi-lingual education for Mexican children who go to school here.

In the long run, Mexico wants its “territory” back — flooding us with immigrants and overwhelming our resources is only part of it. The remittances sent back to Mexico each year come to over sixteen billion dollars. No wonder we get no cooperation from Vincente Fox.

In the most recent edition of City Journal, Heather McDonald lays out the case against Mexico, and a damning one it is:
    Diplomacy may be the art of lying for one’s country, but Mexican diplomacy requires taking that art to virtuosic heights. Sitting in his expansive office in Mexico’s Los Angeles consulate, Deputy Consul General Velázquez-Suárez gamely insists that he and his peers observe the diplomatic duty not to interfere in America’s internal affairs, including immigration matters. “Immigration is an internal discussion,” he says. “We have to respect that regardless of whether it pleases us.”
Remember that diplomats are nothing more than politicians squared. As Ms. Mc Donald says,
    Mexican officials here and abroad are involved in a massive and almost daily interference in American sovereignty. The dozens of illegals milling in the consulate’s courtyard as Velázquez-Suárez speaks, and the millions more radiating outward from Los Angeles across the country, are not a naturally occurring phenomenon, like the tides. They are there thanks in part to Mexico’s efforts to get them into the U.S. in violation of American law, and to normalize their status once here in violation of the popular will. Mexican consulates are engineering a backdoor amnesty for their illegal migrants and trying to discredit American immigration enforcement—activities clearly beyond diplomatic bounds.
Eighty percent of Mexicans who come here are illegal aliens. The number may even be higher than that. The government of Mexico aids and abets its citizens in this disregard of our sovereignty by publishing pamphlets explaining how to get around the laws and how to stay away from the border guards. It also issues “consular cards” which are a form of ID which illegals can then use to get American drivers’ licenses, etc.

This Mexican onslaught amounts to usurpation and has become a clear and present danger to the borders themselves. Ms. McDonald quotes a poll conducted among Mexicans:
    Mexicans view migration to the U.S. as a fundamental human right… no laws should stop it, they believe. In addition, nearly 60 percent of Mexican respondents polled by Zogby in 2001 said that the southwestern U.S. really belongs to Mexico. Only 28 percent disagreed.
On the other hand, Mexico keeps a tight border on its side. The Mexican government is very particular about who may enter and who may stay:
    Mexico’s own immigration policies are the exact opposite of what it relentlessly advocates in the United States. Its entry permits favor scientists, technicians, teachers of underrepresented disciplines, and others likely to contribute to “national progress.” Immigrants may only enter through established ports and at designated times. Anyone not presenting the proper documentation and health certificates won’t get in; the transportation company that brought him must pay his return costs. Foreigners who do not “strictly comply” with the entry conditions will face deportation. Steve Royster, who worked in the American consulate in Mexico from 1999 to 2001, presided over several deportations of Americans who had overstayed their visas. “They were given a choice: accept deportation or go to jail,” he says.
It’s time for change regarding our immigration policies. Sadly, President Bush not only hasn’t led our country in this regard, he doesn’t even seem to be willing to follow good advice. Thus it is up to Congress to staunch the wound. Congressman Goode’s proposal of a fence on our border, and the TRUE Enforcement Act of 2005 are crucial to our sovereignty and our safety.

Think about it: 80% of Americans want enforcement at the borders while 80% of Mexicans think much of the territory in the Southwestern part of this country belongs to them. And their government is pushing them toward this view.

We may be in for a rough ride, but it's a relief to know that Congress is willing to pick up the reins and get in the seat our President has vacated.

Cal Thomas, writing today, says the same thing:
    Conservatives, and the Bush administration, if it wants to save itself, should get behind the TRUE Enforcement and Border Security Act introduced by Representatives Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Virgil Goode, Virginia Republican.


John Sobieski said...

I did some rough numbers a few months ago deriving an estimated cost per mile for Israel's fence (real fence) and wall complex. I cannot remember the number and I will try to locate Israel's costs and total fence/wall length. From that, you can calculate the cost for a southern border. Just multiply by the number of miles you want to build.

Anyway, the number, I think, came out to 20 billion or thereabouts at the high end. Now, for those who say that's too expensive, let me remind you that we have spent over $300 billion on the Iraq war.

Food for thought.

Dymphna said...

You've made my point! Illegals currently send 16 billion a year in remittances back to Mexico. Wouldn't take long to make the wall pay for itself.

That doesn't even count what they cost our social infrastructure. Read the City Journal article. Amazing..

Papa Ray said...

Well, I think that "The Wall should have been a seperate bill.

It would stand a better chance of passing IMHO.

About the wall, there has been a movement to build a wall for awhile in Texas. There are several problems that have to be resolved.

One is that the border in Texas follows the river and it is as corkscrewie as anything anyone has ever seen. That means instead of a fence about 800 miles long for just the Texas border it would be more like 1800 miles long.

The fence would have to be built in the middle of the river so as livestock and animal life could have access to the water from both sides. Besides there would be a revolt if it was built on the Texas side. I don't think the Mexican government would allow us to build it on THEIR side either.

You have to remember that the cost is just not for the "Wall" it is for at least two roads (improved enough that floods would not block or destroy them)and the construction camps (later turned into base camps for the Military and Border Guards). Also, airstrips would have to be built and maintained in all weather. Then of course the hangers and storage buildings for all of this.

In other words it would be a build up of resources and facilities like we have done in Iraq.

The cost of the fence has been estimated at 1.2 to 1.8 million dollars a mile, which I am sure was just for the fence and electronic equipment and ONE road.

IMHO the fence will never be built except perhaps in populated areas. Building a fence across some of the most isolated and rough country you have ever seen would be a monumental undertaking.

I have left several considerations out, just to keep this brief.

Just to fly the river you would need fuel dumps, airstrips and all the trappings. Helicopters don't have very long range even with extra tanks. And Helos are the only thing that can land in that type country.

Just food for thought.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Dymphna said...

Papa Ray--

That wall is a separate bill. He introduced it in May, I think, but I'll check.

This one, the TRUE Act, has 40 co-sponors so far...I hope that's the right #. It changes.

Dymphna said...

When I last looked at the current legislation, the wall bill was older than the TRUE Act, but perhaps they've been combined...

Redneck Texan said...

Well you beat me to it Papa.

Have you ever heard a wall proponent's respond to your excellent point about the border being in the middle of a constantly changing meandering river?

That seems to be an idea stopper.

I guess we could straighten the river out with some kind of massive civil engineering project that would dwarf the building of the Panama canal, and have two concrete lined channels with a wall in the middle.

I minefield would be cheaper.

North Korea does not have a wall on its southern border, and people wanting to get to the other side take the long way around.

Defense walls are for defnders that are unwilling to shoot the invaders out in the open. The Alamo had walls too, and even though we shot every Mexican head we saw popping over the top, even that failed to stem the flow.

AbbaGav said...

First, from my cynical Israeli point of view, I have to point out that you can build the wall, but only if you leave the disputed territories of California, New Mexico and Texas outside the wall, while providing a corridor of free passage via rail for family visitation to migrant working communities in upstate New York.

I'm also worried about the negative side effects of building a wall. It might hinder the outflux of outraged American citizens trying to escape the totalitarian government that they fear brought down the Twin Towers in order to start at least 2 illegal wars to trim the population of young poor American males and enrich Halliburton by approximately 823 million dollars, less expenses. If you seal off Mexico, then the "Michael Moore" freedom train will only be able to run to Canada.

Hmm. I guess all my opinions are cynical now.

moderationist said...

A wall would be a joke. They would pour in over the Canadian border plus plenty of other ways. The only solution is a national ID swipe card with a national database. All the whining about our freedoms and illegals is by those who oppose the only solution.

Charlie Gardner said...

"IMHO the fence will never be built except perhaps in populated areas. Building a fence across some of the most isolated and rough country you have ever seen would be a monumental undertaking."

Substitute the word "canal" for "fence" and you're one of those naysayers who never believed the Erie (or Panama) Canal could be built; change it to "railroad" and you're doubting the feasibility of the intercontinental railroad. Thank goodness the doubters and the skeptics have usually lost out to the determined optimists in this nation's history, or these monumental tributes to American ingenuity and hard work would never have been built. This project is not a matter of resources but of willpower- if Teddy Roosevelt were still around and in the White House, he'd have the thing built 20 feet high of steel and concrete.

Rick Moran said...

I have been consistently opposed to a wall for practical reasons - too expensive both in construction and infrastructure costs.

I'd be more amendable to building one if one could show that Mohammed Atta et. al. would have been denied entry into the US because of it. Not true, of course. Any terrorist or group of terrorists wouldn't even be slowed down.

So all in all, it would probably give us a feeling of security, I doubt whether it would be worth it.

As far as what it says about the country that we have to build a wall around her...let's just say it would depress me.

Rick Moran

Dymphna said...

one-eyed midget --

Thanks for your optimism, which seems to be lacking in these comments.

I ask that people read the whole TRUE Act. It is a serious and comprehensive beginning to the problems our country is facing. To my mind, the only thing lacking is the need to get serious with the Mexican government's contemptous use of us without any reciprocal help.

As far as Mohammed Atta goes, look at the section dealing with visa reform.

We have the technology and the money to build a wall, the question is whether we have the will.

The world has changed and we must change with it. The great immigrant sea change, taking place in the whole world for the last 30 or more years, is not one from which we're exempted.

That said, we need to intelligently control and channel that wave so our newcomers are are assimilated. We are fortunate in that our national character does not find the "foreigner" repugnant as so many Old World cultures do. However, in our naive American expectations, we presume they're here because they like America, want to become Americans, and strive to emulate what is good, while adding their flavor to the thing.

The multi-culti death traps set out by the pc mandarins make that harder to achieve, as do their socialist do-good entitlements, which keep people poor and more likely to ghettoize.

We have to work smart and we have to recognize what needs changing in our expectations.

Fence, schmence...whatever works. Facing a southern neighbor who is making claims to land previously ceded to us means we either do something rigorous by way of response or we whine "Indian-givers" and simply hand the "disputed territory" back. That may bother the landholders in those regions of the Southwest, but hey...

What strikes me about this situation is how the parallels between this and the Palestine-Zionist entity conflict. Three guesses who the bad guys are.

Might as well order your black hat now, folks.

bordergal said...

The most quoted cost estimate that I've seen for the wall is 8 billion.

We have promised 15 billion to Africa, we spend 2 billion a year in Egypt, we're sending money to SAUDI ARABIA for GWOT assistance, and so on.

I bet a group of average citizens could squeeze wall money out of the federal budget without too much trouble. I'll even volunteer to be on that particular committee.

Papa Ray said...

Well, one last comment. If the wall was already built, with roads and every kind of electronic sensor known to science.

It still won't stop someone from breaching it one way or the other.

So, your sensor # 12345 says a breach has occurred, you bring up the matching camera and yes, there are your illegals already headed out into the desert. So...

Now what? You use a loud speaker to tell them to stop and wait for the authorities to come and give them a ride?

Even if you have a helo base every hundred miles (which of course there won't be) with a waiting copter, by the time you get there they will be long gone.

They know how to defeat thermal detection and they sure are not going to stand up and wave at you.

Redneck Texan had the right idea, a mine field, marked of course with fences to keep out the kids. But even then they would go under it or over or through it in some way.

People that need money to feed their kids are very resourseful.

Coyotes' would just blow a path through the mines.

There would be deaths and lost limbs and the hate of the "Gringos" would grow each passing day.

Then we could get down to fighting the coming war of civilizations. Starting with the Mexican-American war, number II.

Papa Ray
West Texas

blert said...

This aggressive immigration is warping California politics.

And that's just for starters.

This policy, really a non-policy, is bad for both countries since those leaving Mexico are the very ones who are capable of transforming that society.

As it stands, Mexico is just a maternity ward cranking out poverty. For those involved, sending their children North IS their retirement plan.

Dymphna said...

Jeff -- thanks for the tip! I made it into my latest post.