I was shocked to see news coverage yesterday of President Obama in El Paso making fun of those who don’t agree with him about illegal immigration. I never expected to hear him being so insulting or making statements so totally deceptive.
Mr. Obama said that people who have different ideas about border security do not just want a border fence; they want a moat, and maybe alligators in the moat. Funny? Maybe, but at someone else’s expense. Mockery – trying to make oneself look bigger by making someone else look smaller – is really the lowest form of humor. And as the Pinal County (AZ) sheriff said during an interview,* unauthorized entry across our southern border is not a laughing matter for area residents who are not safe in their own homes.
The president’s attempt at a joke seemed to be in the speech to deflect attention from the deceptive statement that the border fence is almost complete. As of Jan. 22, 2010, 643 miles of a planned 670 miles of fence have been built, so the statement is factually true. But the specific numbers were not mentioned, nor that the entire southern border is about 2000 miles long. Stating that the border “fence is basically complete” without any statistics implies that the entire border is protected.
Of course, that is far from true. On February 15, 2011 Richard M. Stana, Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, testified before the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security concerning a study done by the General Accounting Office. That study found that only 873 miles of our southern border had some degree of operational control at end fiscal 2010. “Operational control” does not necessarily mean there is a fence in those locations. It can be anything from border fencing, to the ability of border patrol agents to apprehend individuals right at the border, to being able to detect and follow and apprehend illegal entrants up to 100 miles north of the border.**
Even in the world of politics the president showed a lack of integrity by implying that he alone has done everything either political party wanted for border security and has secured the vast majority of our southern border. In El Paso, Mr. Obama conveniently included a few of the years before he became president when quoting statistics about the number of border agents, apprehensions, etc. “Convenient” because the increases in those areas occurred in large part before Mr. Obama was elected.
The US is in a financial crisis, so it is hard to justify spending more on border security. But there are a few factors that make it imperative, including:
> The state of Arizona is raising funds to build their own fence to close gaps in fencing the feds have built.
> The federal government has put up signs in southern Arizona that say it is unsafe to travel in that area.
> Mexican drug cartel violence has moved north into the US.
Contact your members of Congress and ask them to pass legislation and fund programs that will truly control travel across the entire US-Mexican border.
* “Your World With Neil Cavuto” May 11, 2011
** “BORDER SECURITY: Preliminary Observations on Border Control Measures for the Southwest Border” General Accounting Office, Feb. 15, 2011