The Corner

‘The Border Security Ruse’

For a brief moment, I thought the Wall Street Journal had published an editorial on immigration I agreed with. It’s titled “The Border Security Ruse” and I thought it would be about the efforts to add increasingly stringent border enforcement provisions as a way of buying Republican votes for the amnesty, pointing out that they were only included for political purposes and would never actually be implemented. Alas, the Journal was complaining that the promotion of enforcement-first amendments was the eponymous ruse, a “trick” by the inhumane and anti-growth folks on the “restrictionist right”  to prevent amnesty for no good reason.

But more attention on the border-security ruse — in my first meaning — is warranted. The latest attempt at providing political cover for pusillanimous Republican senators to vote for amnesty comes from Corker and Hoeven. Their proposal would leave the basic, flawed architecture of the bill in place, amnestying the illegal population up front and promising more enforcement in the future. The marquee element of this latest ruse is to roughly double the Border Patrol by adding 20,000 agents and finish the 700 miles of fencing already required under current law. It also includes a 90 percent apprehension rate for border infiltrators, but all its provisions are “goals” rather than requirements and would thus not have to be met before the amnesty beneficiaries could upgrade to green cards (and eventual citizenship).

This is utterly phony. Even Senator Corker alluded to its phoniness when said this morning on MSNBC that “for people who are concerned about security, once they see what is in this bill, it’s almost overkill.” There is no way to successfully recruit and train 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents in a short period of time — at least not without cutting a lot of corners. The Border Patrol certainly needs to grow — it’s considerably smaller than the NYPD. But doing it properly takes some time; it took about a decade to add the last 10,000 agents, so how long would it take to add 20,000 more? They just pulled this number out of their, uh, hats as a way to dazzle the yokels “who are concerned about security.”

The Corker-Hoeven amendment is a sham, pure simple. Anyone who votes for it is announcing that he thinks the American people are gullible fools. I just hope they’re not right in that assessment.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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