Just as federal spending is no barometer of success in fighting poverty or improving schools, and it’s no fit gauge for measuring success in securing our borders and enforcing existing immigration laws.
What will the government do with this extra $4.4 billion anyway? Virtually all of the useful security provisions in the bill — beefing up the border patrol, building border barriers, expanding detention facilities for illegals — are already on the books. In large measure, the new bill simply reiterates the security requirements contained in last year’s Secure Fence Act. And Congress has already appropriated the funds for those measures.
The administration has already stated that it has both a plan and all the appropriations it needs to significantly improve border security and enforcement over the next 18 months. So what can the initiative possibly do with an addition $4.4 billion showered upon it, other than waste it?
The Grand Bargainers offer us the false metric of spending in the hope that it will give Americans a false sense of confidence that, this time, politicians really mean it when they say they’re going to enforce the law.
Americans, though, are not likely to fall for this nonsense. The mood on the street is “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…”
They remain adamantly opposed to a Grand Bargain that grants immediate amnesty to 12 million people unlawfully present in the country. Poll after poll shows they want Congress to get control of the border first. Not throw money at the border, mind you. They want it under control.
To win the confidence of the American people on this count, Congress will need to establish true metrics: say a significant reduction in the number of illegal entries and illegal overstays of visas, as well as high rates of actual deportations for those ordered removed by a court of law.
For Congress to regain the confidence of the American public on the immigration issue it must first adopt meaningful metrics like these. It must then show the public that these standards are being met. Until we are convinced that the borders are secure and enforcement is certain, any plunge into wholesale amnesty is premature.
In the meantime, Congress, spare us your posturing. And spare us another $4.4 billion in wasteful spending. It just makes the cost of instant amnesty all the more outrageous.
— James Jay Carafano is senior research fellow on national-security issues at The Heritage Foundation.