Jonathan has a thoughtful post about the problems that should be discussed in the immigration debate. It is worth your time to read the whole thing. However, Iíd like to discuss the 2nd paragraph.
ďYou also have to add likely enforcement costs into the equation. These include grand abuses of civil liberties, national ID cards (which will be completely ineffective for their ostensible purpose), rampant criminal extortion of employers, etc. How does anyone propose to track down all of those illegals — house-to-house searches?Ē
Any discussion of enforcement must, by necessity, take in to account the application of force. This is an issue that everyone seems to be ignoring, willfully or otherwise. The reason why is probably because our border guards are already outgunned and certain to lose if there is a confrontation.
Those of us interested in law enforcement issues have noted with alarm the growing number of incursions by heavily armed bands of smugglers on to US soil. The reason why this should be taken seriously by everyone, no matter their interest in law enforcement, is that some of these gangs are using bribed units of the Mexican military as muscle. Sometimes border guards and civilian law enforcement officials have actually been fired upon, although no one has yet been hurt.
Iím having trouble understanding why this isnít getting more airplay. So far as I can tell, reports have been made professionals in good standing that military units of a foreign power routinely violate our borders. Even if it turns out that there isnít anything to them, why isnít there an investigation of some kind in the works? Why isnít this a big deal?
One of the primary responsibilities of any government is to protect the citizens from foreign threats. That is, after all, why the government agency in charge of our military is called the Department of Defense. As this news article from San Antonio points out, that simply isnít being done. Local residents in a high-traffic area favored by smugglers are becoming increasingly uneasy. Death threats are routine, and the locals are arming themselves against trouble.
If there are more confrontations then it is only a matter of time before someone pulls a trigger. What happens if it turns out that bribed Mexican army units used their weapons to shoot and kill a few sheriff deputies or border guards on our side of the border? I think that discussions of guest worker permits and amnesty will suddenly seem hopelessly naÔve, as will the common wisdom currently being bandied about that the border is simply too large to lock down. After all, the Soviets managed to do a pretty good job even though they had more territory to cover.
The political climate of the United States means that it is absurd to think that our border guards will plant mines, string barbed wire and shoot whole families trying to cross. But political climates change, and they change fastest when the electorate suddenly realizes that their elected officials are doing a piss poor job of protecting innocent voters.
One of the reasons why the situation has gotten so out of hand is that the Federal agencies tasked with guarding the border are swamped. I mean, at least 11 million illegal aliens! My home state of Ohio has the same number of people! Considering the numbers involved it is a wonder that they manage to do as well as they have. But it also means that they canít focus on the really dangerous criminals when faced with a seething horde of relatively harmless ones.
The biggest problem I have with most of the articles concerning this issue is that the authors seem to assume that we have plenty of time to figure out what to do. There isnít any sense of urgency, which is certainly something to be strived for when discussing solutions which will take years to start to work and will probably be with us for many decades. I just canít shake the feeling that something might happen which will take the decision out of our hands.