Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) showed little patience with immigration opponent Iowa Rep. Steve King’s suggestion that because a foreign national might be involved in the Boston marathon we should forgo immigration reform. We have no information regarding the bomber in Boston and no suspects.
But King inadvertently reminds us that immigration is a national security issue. That we have tolerated massive illegal immigration means we have tolerated unsecured borders. The drug-related crime that spills over the border into Texas, New Mexico and other states is one way that manifests itself. Obviously, terrorism is a significant concern when just about anyone can get into the country if he or she really wants to.
The list of border mechanisms the Gang of 8’s plan would impose include the basic requirement to have a plan. It is remarkable we didn’t do this long ago. In the Senate Summary, the Gang of 8 states, “We will establish the following goal for border security — to achieve and maintain effective control in high risk border sectors along the Southern border.” To do that the bill would within 180 days of passage require the Department of Homeland Security to put forth a plan that includes “Surveillance and detection capabilities developed or used by the Department of Defense; Additional Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers at and between ports of entry along the Southern border; Fixed, mobile, and agent portable surveillance systems; and Unmanned aerial systems and fixed-wing aircraft and necessary and qualified staff and equipment to fully utilize such systems.”
Until that plan is submitted, not even provisional status will be granted to those here illegally. And lawmakers such as King who’ve been heckling for a fence will get it under the Gang of 8 bill: “180 days after the date of the enactment of the bill, the Secretary shall establish a strategy, to be known as the ‘Southern Border Fencing Strategy,’ to identify where fencing, including double-layer fencing, infrastructure, and technology should be deployed along the Southern border.”
Critics of the plan will say this is only a report, it won’t be done, future lawmakers won’t carry through, etc. But then that is the purpose of Congressional oversight and, yes, elections. Moreover, since passage to Green Card status is dependent on border security objectives being met the bill would incentivize Democrats to push forward on border security.
The amount of detail on resources, metrics and timetables on border security is rather staggering. Unless the Dems plan to defy the law I don’t see how this isn’t a tremendous boost for the item that immigration reform opponents have been complaining about, a lack of border security.
Perhaps in a fantasy world this type of border security could be passed on its own. But there are Democrats in the White House and in the Senate and, moreover, the problem of the 11 million already here. So if a bill can achieve significant border security in exchange for recognizing reality — well isn’t that a good deal? I’d think so but wait until the “amnesty” hysterics get going. At some point the insistence on obtaining what is not possible should suggest a gross lack of responsibility to obtain border security when we can. I doubt they’ll get a bill this good again.