John Fund looks for middle ground on Immigration

Monday, July 24, 2006
In his recent oped Borderline Insanity John Fund makes some good points.

In trying to reconcile two dramatically different bills addressing illegal immigration, Congress is in danger of forgetting an important lesson of life on the southern U.S. border: whatever legislators do has to recognize the reality on the ground. In part, that means understanding that the millions of crossings every year by illegal aliens will be curbed only if the problem can be made manageable. Right now, with Border Patrol agents trying to apprehend potential busboys and gardeners along with terrorists and gang members, the problem is too big for any law enforcement agency in a democratic society to tackle.

Those who believe an enforcement-only approach to the flow of illegal aliens--the basic approach of the House-passed bill--is sufficient should recall that in 1969 President Richard Nixon visited the Mexican border to declare a "zero tolerance" policy on drug smuggling. Operation Intercept deployed thousands of additional Border Patrol, Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service agents along the 2,000-mile border and subjected every passenger and cargo vehicle to a thorough search, creating a nightmare for millions of legal commuters and truck drivers. The unworkable program was soon moderated, but the resources were shifted to Nixon's vaunted "War on Drugs." For the past 37 years, billions have been spent to halt the flow of drug trafficking. Anyone who thinks the program has been successful in stopping the flow is likely under the influence of one of the substances Nixon was trying to stop.

The truth is that there is so much money to be made in smuggling both drugs and people across our southern border that even the tripling of the size and budget of the Border Patrol in the past decade has done little to stem the flow. Even without any new legislation this year, the Border Patrol is set to grow by more than half over the next six years.

Years ago I had a discussion with a relative who worked for the DEA in Central America and Mexico. I asked him what he thought needed to be done to stop the flow of drugs. I expected him to say more men and guns, but he surprised me and said more education here in the United States. He said we can control what happens here in this country a lot easier than we can control the Latin drug trade.

Fund discusses a compromise being worked on by Pence of Indiana. I have heard that some hardliners don't like it...but I have to say if Mike Pence, Republican from Indiana is not far enough to the Right for you..then you are the one who is out of the mainstream.

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