Secure the Southern border
By: Rep. Lamar Smith
Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the southern U.S. border is “as secure as it has ever been.” This surprising statement came only a few weeks after an Arizona rancher was shot and killed on his own property by a suspected illegal immigrant.
Many citizens in Arizona and other border states thought the tragic death of an U.S. citizen on his own property would finally wake up the Obama administration to the growing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Though Napolitano may not want to admit it, the southern U.S. border is far from secure. Illegal immigration, drug smuggling and drug-related violence continue to threaten Americans across the country. Since President Felipe Calderon took office three years ago, there have been more than 28,000 violent deaths on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexican border due to drug cartel violence.
More than 900 U.S. Border Patrol agents have been assaulted this year. This includes the murder of Robert Rosas, who was on patrol near San Diego, Calif..
Drug cartel violence is a serious problem in Mexico. An Investor’s Business Daily editorial noted last month, “Beheadings, stonings, car bombs and terrorist attacks speak to a lust for power every bit as implacable as that of the Afghanistan’s Taliban or insurgents in Iraq.”
Unfortunately, the Obama administration continues to promote policies that fund the violence along the border.
Marijuana, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, is the “top revenue generator for Mexican drug trafficking organizations, a cash crop that finances corruption and the carnage of violence year after year.”
But rather than enforce federal drug laws that prohibit marijuana use, the Obama administration issued a directive to prosecutors not to investigate medical marijuana dispensaries in the 14 states that allow them. These dispensaries are often fronts for illegal marijuana distribution.If the Obama administration really wants to address drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, it needs to cut off the cash crop for Mexican drug cartels. That means enforcing all federal drug laws—including those that outlaw marijuana.
Drug trafficking and drug-related violence isn’t the only problem along the U.S.-Mexico border. Lax border security is a serious national security risk.
So far in 2010, 447,731 immigrants have been apprehended trying to cross the Southwest border illegally. Of those, 50,912 are from countries other than Mexico -- including terrorist-sponsoring countries like Syria, Pakistan and Yemen.
We already know terrorists exploit weaknesses in the U.S. immigration system to come here. Several of the 9-11 hijackers had overstayed their visas and should have been deported. It is no surprise that terrorists are trying to exploit weak border security on the U.S.-Mexico border to enter the United States undetected.
In addition to national security concerns, illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border hurts U.S. citizen and legal immigrant workers. Last year, 556,041 individuals were apprehended while trying to enter the U.S.
According to T.J. Bonner, the head of the U.S. Border Patrol Council, for each illegal immigrant apprehended, two illegal immigrants enter successfully. That means an estimated one million people succeed in crossing into the United States illegally each year. That’s roughly the population of cities like Dallas; San Jose, Calif., or Detroit.
While millions of Americans are struggling to find work, there are an estimated seven million illegal immigrants in the U.S. workforce. Legal American workers should not have to compete with illegal immigrants for scarce jobs.
Worksite enforcement could help make those much-needed jobs available for U.S. citizen and legal immigrant workers. But under President Barack Obama, worksite enforcement administrative arrests are down 77 percent.Real border security means stopping the flow of illegal drugs into the United States and putting an end to illegal immigration. The Obama administration can do much more to protect American lives and jobs.