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The Corner

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That Ain’t Hay, It’s The USA



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Kate McMillan has an interesting juxtaposition:

A top Department of Homeland Security official reportedly said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.

That would be John Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As he sees it:

The law, which criminalizes being in the state illegally and requires authorities to check suspects for immigration status, is not “good government,” Morton said.

I gave a speech for the Goldwater Institute in Tucson a few weeks back, and several people came up from the border to see me. Like many letter writers I’ve heard from since, they told tales of living in remote properties where every night illegals cross their land. They lie awake at night frightened for their children and listening for footsteps in the yard. In effect, the sovereignty of the United States of America no longer applies in this territory – and John Morton and the Department of Homeland Security are entirely cool with that.

On the other hand:

FRANKLIN, Vt. — This is one sleepy border crossing.

At the Morses Line Port of Entry, on the U.S.-Canada border, the border station is located smack-dab in the middle of a Vermont dairy farm.

On average, 2 1/2 cars pass through an hour. The pace is so slow that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who man it have been known to fill out their days by driving golf balls in an adjoining meadow, shooting skeet or washing their cars.

As (I’d wager) the only National Reviewer ever to use the Franklin crossing, I would say that’s a fair description. But that was until the stimulus came along!

The government, which got $420 million from the federal bailout to modernize land ports like this, wants to spend about $7 million to build an expanded station. To do it, the government says, it needs an adjoining 4.9-acre parcel now used to grow hay and corn.

Owners of the Rainville dairy farm were told last week that if they won’t sell the hayfield for $39,500, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use eminent domain to seize it.

“The arrogance of it is breathtaking,” said Brian Rainville, 37, whose parents and two brothers run the 220-acre farm and milk 80 cows on it. “Why are we being asked to make that kind of sacrifice when they can’t demonstrate a public need?”

The public need is national security, according to Customs and Border Protection… “Our airports, seaports, and land ports of entry are all part of an interconnected security network to facilitate entry and exit to and from our country,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “When we fail to fortify one, we weaken the entire system, putting our national security at risk.”

So what? On the southern border your national security is “at risk” as a matter of policy. Why can’t a Vermont dairy farm get the same deal?

(PS Bonus points if you spotted that the title of this post comes from the 1941 Republic Picture Sis Hopkins, in honor of the impending centenary of the great Frank Loesser.)



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