Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 7, 2013

U.S. negligence in securing the southern border puts us all in danger

By JAMES H. (SMOKEY) SHOTT
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— Do you have locks on the doors to your home and/or business, and do you lock them? Do you lock your car when you park it at work, at the mall, and other places? Do you insist that people who come to your home knock on the door or ring the bell and be invited in before entering? Would you be offended or angered if people set up housekeeping in your basement or outbuilding without your permission? Would you order them to leave and call the police to have them removed if they refused?

If so, you are among the scores of millions of sensible Americans who understand why we must strengthen border security and revamp our dysfunctional immigration system. And that must be done before taking any sort of action to give illegal immigrants legal status of any description.

The administration wants us to believe that the border is really not so bad: “I can tell you having worked that border for 20 years, it is more secure now than it has ever been. Illegal apprehensions are at 40-year lows,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said. Please forgive some cynicism, but that could be achieved by ordering the border patrol to apprehend fewer illegals.

But as it turns out, she’s just wrong. Customs and Border Protection released data showing that arrests are actually up 13 percent compared with the same time last year when the number was 170,223. It is 192,298 this year.

This begs the question of where Ms. Napolitano — who “worked the border” as U.S. attorney for the district of Arizona, the state’s attorney general, and its governor — gets her information. But perhaps it’s not the source of information that is madam secretary’s problem; instead it is her perverse perspective. In 2009, she said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that entering the country illegally is not a crime. No, really. That’s what she said. That statement should have sunk her as Homeland Security secretary.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said her state’s border with Mexico is still not secure and called for additional resources to improve border security. Following what she termed an “extensive” aerial tour, she said the border with Mexico continues to be “a gateway” for drug smuggling and unlawful crossings. She called for more fences, drones, border patrol agents and National Guard troops.

“The ranchers will tell you, if you sit down and talk to them, that they’re fearful, that the border patrol is too far north,” Brewer said. “They need to get closer to the border because they let (illegal immigrants) go so far (into the state), and then they just sort of blend in. They’re destroying their land and destroying their cattle, they’re destroying their water. They’re frustrated.”

Texas Senator John Cornyn agrees: “People are coming from around the world through what they know is a porous border to come to the United States without us knowing who they are, what their motives are,” he said. “This is a national security problem.”

The Boston Marathon bombing reminded us that the threat of terrorism is very real. And the negligence of the federal government in handling border security provides no assurance that along with people looking for work and a better life, and the drug cartels and thugs looking for markets and victims, there are not also terrorists slithering across the border while the government is busy not paying attention.

About the only people who do not acknowledge the disgraceful state of border security are those in Washington like Napolitano whose responsibility it is to secure it. A March poll of 1,014 adults by ABC News and The Washington Post reflects that eight-in-10 Americans support stronger border security.

But of course the “everybody who disagrees with me is stupid” crowd demurs. They not only think lax border security is a good thing, but also believe that those who think we should actually control who comes into the U.S. are racists. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that 22 percent of liberal participants hold that view.

These folks believe that it is racist to control who gets into the U.S., and that the country would be better off if we just opened the borders and let anyone in who wants to come in. They may also believe that if you disagree with Barack Obama about anything, you are also a racist. It has been found that these beliefs were arrived at using a very high level of third grade playground logic.

Perhaps since the feds won’t block illegal immigrants from crossing the border we should round them up and send them to live with those 22 percent who hate secure borders and love lawbreakers.

The feds get a big fat F in “paying attention to important things.” They’ve allowed millions to expend minimal effort to illegally enter our country; they designed and carried out the deadly “gun walking” fiasco known as Fast and Furious; they ignored numerous warnings about rising danger in Benghazi that ultimately killed four brave Americans; and did not pick up on clear indications of radicalization of the accused Boston Marathon bombers. And next year Obamacare takes effect.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.