Monday, December 10, 2007

Does Dick Day think the Surge is working ?

How should a politician respond when the President of the United States announces Operation Jump Start requesting National Guardsmen to report for duty?
And how should a politician react when the operational commanders announce that the success is now being achieved?

The primary mission of Operation Jump Start is to assist U.S. Border Patrol in preventing illegal border crossings and searching for illegal immigrants crossing the border. 6,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen (including some from Minnesota) have been deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border.

And the results are encouraging.
On Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said : “First of all, if you look back on fiscal year 2007, apprehensions at the border were down a little over 20 percent for the fiscal year, which combined with other indicators, strongly demonstrates to us that we are seeing fewer people that are attempting to cross.
One of the metrics, by the way, that kind of suggests we are having an impact on illegal migration is that apparently remittances are down. Remittances, as you know, are the payments that people send back to their home country. And at least some people interpret that as a sign that people are either going back on their own or they're at least prepared to go back and therefore they're beginning to bank more of their money.
We are on pace to double the size of the Border Patrol. We're at about 15,000 or will be at the end of this year, end of the month. And we have also dramatically ramped up interior enforcement efforts. …”

U. S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said “For the first time, we’re getting ahead of the criminal organizations” (which would include drug smugglers and illegal immigration rings.) Aguilar also said the number of Border Patrol agents will rise to 18,300 at the end of next year.

That sounds like good news … but not if you are a politician who is mounting an election campaign on a Strong Borders, Strong Future theme.

One of the things that military generals have been accused of throughout history has been the tendency to 'fight the last war' assuming that the wars of the future would look much like those of the past. Unfortunately, history suggests there is some truth in that accusation.

And politicians fall into the same trap -- running the next election based on the past.

The Republicans fell for the Tancredo Trap and suffered badly in 2006 elections. Immigration is a decisive issue. President Bush’s plan is a lot different than Tancredo’s. Tancredo is running to replace Bush but polls indicate that he is not getting support. Other leading candidates seem to realize that there is a broader problem that goes beyond just “walling off the border”. Rudy Giuliani can visualize a path to granting legal status to illegal workers. Mike Huckabee has voiced compassion for illegal immigrants and as governor of Arkansas offered taxpayer-financed scholarships to the children of illegal immigrants. John McCain has spoken passionately and sponsored legislation.

Why is Dick Day following Tom Tancredo and not the other leading Republicans ?

Dick Day followed an advocacy group to the Mexican border. As a State Legislator it is surprising that Day didn’t also contact some of the local governments. For example, the Eagle Pass Texas City Council passed a resolution against the border fence and is refusing to allow the federal government to build the wall on river-front city property. Eminent Domain is a big issue and Homeland Security is right in the middle of it. There are also economic concerns that impact the border communities … Day should have also contacted members of the Texas Border Coalition which is made up of elected officials from the cities of Brownsville, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, El Paso, Harlingen, Hidalgo, Laredo, McAllen, Mission, Rio Grande and Roma Texas.

Immigration is a complex issue. And any politician that can so easily be enticed by advocacy groups exhibits extreme naiveté.

Photo ops may make good campaign propaganda but anyone wanting to be a US Congressman better open his mind to all sides of the issue and not become beholden to advocacy groups … especially when the Surge is working.


First District Resident said...

Funny that you would say the surge is working. According to the Star Tribune, on the night that Day was on the border, the Border Patrol apprehended 42 people and that was just in one little part of the border.

The question that many people have is do Democrats support securing our border or do they support the idea promoted by Latino groups, such as La Raza, that do not believe we should have any kind of border at all.

Alexis said...

Perhaps one reason that remittances are down is that the tighter border makes it more difficult for undocumented workers to move back and forth to visit families in Mexico or Central America. This creates an incentive to try to move the family to the U.S. rather than to just send them money. So less money going south may mean that more families are going north.