Here are four federal officials expressing their opinions about the border surge. See which ones you agree with.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi thinks the United States should embrace the aliens because they’re Americans who represent an “opportunity.”
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee says President Obama shouldn’t be blamed for the influx because the border is “under control.” Accordingly, Jackson Lee welcomed the illegal immigrants with lollipops.
However, Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera has a different perspective than Pelosi and Jackson Lee. Cabrera thinks that when aliens unlawfully enter the United States, they should expect to face “mandatory detention, mandatory removal,” instead of easy entry into the interior.
And National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 spokesman Hector Garza is on board with Cabrera. Interviewed at a Texas bus station overflowing with illegal aliens as well as overcrowded with food stations and medical care units, Garza said that the surge represented “border insecurity, at the best.” According to Garza, agents spend 70 percent of their time processing paperwork instead of securing the border.
Garza added that the aliens would soon be released to “a city near you.” Only the lucky municipalities get a heads-up on when the aliens might arrive. With little if any forewarning, they’ve been dropped off in, among other states, Illinois, New York, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Nebraska.
Perplexed Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman said that he’s “getting nowhere” in his efforts to learn anything about alien children’s background. Heineman charged the White House with knowingly running “a secret operation” against state residents’ wills and contrary to their best interests.
On Capitol Hill, progress — if it can be called that — to slow the crisis inches ahead. House Speaker John Boehner formed a working group headed by Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, to develop recommendations. They include immediate National Guard deployment, more temporary immigration judges to expedite removal proceedings, and perhaps most important, a dramatic change in the 2008 law that requires aliens from noncontiguous Central American countries to be allowed a hearing, a drawn-out undertaking. Mexicans and Canadians who enter unlawfully, however, can be deported immediately.
The group didn’t discuss the sensible idea to withhold or reduce federal aid to the sending nations until they stop advertising the lax U.S. immigration laws which encourage illegal immigration.
The House wants its bill signed before the August recess. Then, the true and perhaps insurmountable challenge begins.
Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee who will draft the final bill, declined to say how much the GOP would spend, but confirmed that it would be less than Obama’s requested $3.7 billion. Rep. Matt Salmon described gap between the White House and the working group as “planets” apart.
Even though the surge and Obama’s indifference toward it outrages, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the House bill, “too broad,” will not get his support. Reid incoherently insisted that the border is secure and added that if the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform had passed, no border crisis would have developed.
Reid’s fuzzy on the details. The Senate legislation only provided for a “plan” to secure the border several years after the bill became law. But if Reid doesn’t endorse the House bill, Reid won’t allow a vote on it and the ball game is over.
If Congress can’t get its act together, that’s more fodder for the coyotes to spread the word that U.S. immigration laws are meaningless. The illegal invasion could drag on months or even years with Americans looking on helplessly as its sovereignty slowly but steadily erodes.
Joe Guzzardi has been on the Arizona/Mexico border, traveling with Border Patrol Agents. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.