An overview of the plan’s 18 action items sheds some real-world light on the shortcomings of our border-security effort:
1. Immediately deploy operational units of the U.S. Military to the Arizona/Mexico Border to assist the US Border Patrol to deny illegal entry into the United States between the ports of entry.
This is such an obvious measure that the fact we’re not doing it is itself an indictment of our governing class’s lack of commitment to defending America’s sovereignty. Military backup for the Border Patrol needs to be a permanent, systemized effort, not a short-lived episode of political theater.
2. Authorize the use of force by governmental officials in the interdiction of vehicles and all aircraft (including ultra lights) illegally crossing the U.S./Mexico Border.
This is all we have right now on much of the border — vehicle barriers or Normandy barriers. They’re better than nothing (though obviously only for ground vehicles, not aircraft), and smugglers do have to stop while they cut through them (which happens a lot), but smugglers also need to know that the Border Patrol can use force if necessary.
3. Enforce all existing immigration laws, both with law-enforcement agencies and within the judicial branch. Implement Operation Streamline across all Border Patrol Sectors on the U.S./Mexico border.
Almost all illegal aliens apprehended by the Border Patrol are given “voluntary return” — they don’t challenge their removal to Mexico, and, in return, we don’t prosecute them for the federal crime of entry without inspection and don’t register their removal as a formal deportation, which would limit their ability to return legally in the future. Operation Streamline is an effort in a few, relatively remote parts of the border to criminally prosecute everyone who’s apprehended, jail them for a few weeks, and then return them — meaning they’ve paid both an immediate price for their crime as well as the longer-tern one of having a criminal record.
4. Establish Forward Operating Bases (FOB) immediately adjacent to the U.S. border with Mexico. (We suggest at least one FOB every 12 miles). Work with affected rural residents to establish FOB locations and determine the need for additional sites.
These Forward Operating Bases for Border Patrol agents are imperative, because in some cases, the local headquarters office where agents gather before each shift is an hour-and-a-half drive from the border itself. The handful of FOBs we do have are converted shipping containers that can be moved quickly depending on changes in illegal traffic. I asked one rancher who has a base on his land, and who provides it with its water, whether the agents considered it hardship duty to be there; he said that, on the contrary, there’s a wait list to work at these FOBs, because Border Patrol agents tend to sign up for the action, not for commuting from a distant location.
5. Enhance the “Pursuit and Apprehension” policies for Law Enforcement to ensure deterrence and protect U.S. residents and State authorities from potential harm. In the first instance, authorize the Border Patrol, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies to use these enhanced policies to enforce existing laws and to interdict all border incursions.
6. Add at least 3,000 Border Patrol field agents in Arizona by 2012. Ensure additional incremental equipment is part of Field Agent deployment. Make available concomitant resources within the Department of Justice to meet the increased demands on the legal system from these additional agents.