Politics

Immigration reformers watch an illegal alien hop the border fence

Immigration reformers watch an illegal alien hop the border fence

“Gang of Eight” senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) were taking a tour of the U.S. – Mexico border on Wednesday when a woman raced up to the 18-foot border fence, climbed over it, and became an “undocumented American” right before their eyes.  She was promptly arrested by the Border Patrol.

McCain snapped what looks to be a smartphone photo and sent it out via Twitter:

 

Senator Schumer discussed the incident with reporters, including the Associated Press:

“You can read and you can study and you can talk but until you see things it doesn’t become reality,” said Schumer, who toured the border for the first time. “I’ll be able to explain this to my colleagues. Many of my colleagues say, `Why do we need to do anything more on the border?’ and we do. We should do more.”

[...] The senators’ tour Wednesday – by both ground and air – allowed them to review manned and unmanned drones and different types of fences. They also watched as vehicles going to and from Mexico were scrutinized by border agents at the checkpoint in Nogales.

“In so many ways, whatever your views are on immigration, Arizona is ground zero,” Schumer said. “What I learned today is we have adequate manpower, but not adequate technology.”

So the Senate is incapable of understanding the concept of border security until Senators personally visit the border?  Does that principle apply to everything else they legislate?  Countless Border Patrol and ICE agents have testified before Congress, but now that Chuck Schumer has personally watched an illegal alien climb over a fence, someone will finally be able to make the Senate understand how we ended up with 11 million illegals.

Also, the problem is not a lack of adequate technology.  Schumer just watched an artifact of centuries-old fencing technology slow down an illegal alien long enough for the Border Patrol to apprehend her.  If the fence had been a bit more formidable, she wouldn’t have been able to climb over it.  Those fences are now augmented by surveillance drones, a new technology that should be able to greatly multiply the effectiveness of Border Patrol teams on the ground, just as they enhance ground combat teams in theaters of war.

What border security lacks is funding and effective Administration management – not the current Homeland Security regime, which spends most of its time insisting there is no effective way to measure its performance.  And instead of enhanced funding, the Border Patrol just lost 4,000 agents due to “sequestration cuts,” while the remainder of the federal government goes on merrily spending gigantic sums on bureaucrats, fraud-riddled public programs, and luxuries for the ruling class.

Schumer’s “Matrix” theory of border security (“no one can be told what the Matrix is”)  neatly sums up the immigration crisis: a lot of people feigning ignorance of an obvious, easily-understood problem, and ignoring the pleas of people who actually live on the border.  Washington politicians pretend that border security and illegal immigration are inscrutable mysteries, when the issues are actually quite straightforward… as they suddenly discover when they’re actually standing on the border, watching someone clamber over a fence.  The physical challenges of securing an enormous border should be underestimated, but the situation is not ethically or conceptually confusing.

Those pretending otherwise know exactly what they’re doing.  Roll Call reports the political prognostications of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who used to be governor of Arizona, and confidently predicted that immigration would turn her home state Democrat blue:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Arizona will follow its Southwestern neighbors and move from swing-state status to Democratic stronghold as the border state’s demographics continue to change.

On Tuesday, the former Arizona governor told reporters that she is confident her home state will take after Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado in gaining Democratic voters in the coming cycles.

“Arizona will be behind them,” Napolitano said during a discussion hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think it will be more purple over time, but ultimately blue.”

[...] Earlier this year, McCain warned that states such as Arizona will flip to Democratic majority if GOP leaders can’t gain the support of Hispanic voters by delivering on an immigration overhaul.

Napolitano said Tuesday that she agrees with McCain. Changing demographics in Arizona are beginning to persuade those previously wary of revamping the system for granting citizenship, the secretary said.

Opposition to giving illegal immigrants a way to become citizens gained traction in the early 2000s in Arizona, when border entry in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, was substantially restricted, Napolitano said. That lockdown funneled illegal border crossings to Arizona, and more than half of the apprehensions of illegal immigrants were occurring in the area near Tucson, she said.

“People lost confidence in the rule of law, that it was under any sort of control,” Napolitano said. “And I think that caused some real political pushback. And people were legitimately concerned about what was going on.”

But now there won’t be any more “pushback,” because the “undocumented American” population is so large that amnesty is politically irresistible.  Obviously, Napolitano wants to be understood as saying legal immigration is shifting those demographics in Arizona, but both she and McCain are openly conceding that the enormous illegal population is a primary political concern, which must be addressed with a “pathway to citizenship” – which must, logically, conclude with the enfranchisement of a large number of new voters.  Everyone admits that decades of large-scale illegal immigration have reshaped American politics.  The Twenty-Teens are obliged to deal with a problem that would not exist if politicians of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s had done their duty on the border.  Reformers like Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul speak of border security “triggers” for their naturalization proposals precisely because they don’t want to dump the same problem on the 2020s, but Napolitano and other officials are openly stating they cannot meet such conditions, and don’t really want to try.

Too bad Chuck Schumer didn’t visit the border sooner, so he could understand a problem that evidently defies mere verbal description.

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