Securing The Border

Yesterday President Obama asked for $3.7 billion in emergency funding to address what clearly has become a crisis along America’s southwestern border.  The crisis is a huge influx of unaccompanied teenagers and children — estimated to number more than 52,000 since October — who have flooded across the border.

The $3.7 billion requested would be used primarily for two purposes.  $1.8 billion would go to providing food, shelter, and health care for the immigrants, who currently are housed on military bases, in Border Patrol facilities, and in other temporary quarters.  Another $1.6 billion would be used to hire immigration judges and expedite the immigration process.  The remaining $300 million would assist the central American countries from which the minors have come.  The Administration, which contends that many of the minors are escaping drug cartels and sex-trafficking rings, proposes to use drone aircraft and other means to try to improve the security situation in those countries.

We’ll have to see the details, but what seems to be lacking from the Administration’s proposal is any real focus on or commitment to physically securing the border so that people cannot cross in the first place.  If 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been able to make it to U.S. soil, our border obviously is porous.  How many adults have reached American territory and, unlike the minors, eluded capture?  If we cannot control who enters our country, we have serious security problems — and if we don’t address that fundamental issue, the flood will continue and the billions of dollars requested by the Administration will simply be the first of a series of stopgap measures.

I agree with providing humanitarian aid to the minors who have come to our country, but we cannot be a permanent refuge for any child or teenager who crosses the border — and then ultimately wants to seek asylum for the parents who may have sent them across the border for that purpose in the first place.  There’s something fishy about the suddenness of the influx of unaccompanied minors across the border, and we also need to understand why the recent surge of immigrant minors has occurred.  Have crime and living conditions in Mexico and central America really deteriorated so dramatically that it could explain a huge increase in children simply deciding, on their own, to begin the long trek north?

Ron Gone

Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has announced that he won’t be spending resources to contest Republican primaries in any states that haven’t yet voted.  It’s just another reason why Mitt Romney is now described as the “presumptive” Republican nominee.

Paul always seemed like somebody’s batty uncle.  Now that he’s called a kind of end to his campaign, he can go back to the House of Representatives, where he has served for years and accomplished virtually nothing.  (Of course, the people who support Paul probably think that is a good thing.  When you take a libertarian approach to the issues, you don’t want the federal government doing much of anything.)  Still, Paul was entertaining, and his views clearly resonated with a quirky core of voters.  Accordingly, he deserves a bit of farewell doggerel:

Bring all troops home, so Ron Paul said,

And while we’re at it, shut down the Fed

Time to get government off our backs

Which means we end the income tax

And there’s one other thing we hate

Yes, that would be the welfare state

We’ll also strongly protect our borders

While we all become gold hoarders

So anti-government Ron is done

Now he’ll head back to . . . Washington?

Crossing The Border

Yesterday we drove north on I-87 and crossed the border into Canada.

Crossing the border was no big deal, which I found mildly surprising.  You drive up to the customs checkpoint and border crossing and wait in line.  (Interestingly, you wait behind a painted line, just like there are when you go through customs in airports.  There must be some kind of uniform painted-line rule among the brotherhood of international customs officials.)  When it was our turn we drove up to the booth where the customs official sat, he looked at us, he examined our passports, and he asked us a few questions.  The questions were pretty basic:  Where are you from?  Where are you going?  When was the last time you were in Canada?  Are you carrying any firearms? Why are you coming to Canada?  Our answers must have been acceptable, because he waved us through.

After we crossed the border into the province of Quebec the road number changed, and the signs were, for the most part, entirely in French.  We followed the instructions of our GPS, looped around the outskirts of Montreal, and then headed due west to Ottawa.