The Incredible Disappearing Border Fence
Do you know the story of
Incredible Disappearing Border Fence? It`s an object
lesson in gesture politics and homeland insecurity. It`s
a tale of hollow rhetoric, meaningless legislation and
bipartisan betrayal. And in the
run-up to the Iowa caucuses, it`s a helpful learning
tool as you assess the promises of immigration
enforcement converts now running for president.
Last fall, Democrats and
Republicans in Washington responded to continued public
outrage over border chaos by passing the
"Secure Fence Act."
question the timing? You should have. It`s no
coincidence they finally got off their duffs to respond
just before the
2006 midterm elections. Lawmakers vowed grandiosely
to keep America safe. The law specifically called for
"at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the
installation of additional physical barriers, roads,
lighting, cameras and sensors" at five specific
stretches of border totaling approximately 700 miles.
GOP leaders patted
themselves on the back for their toughness. President
Bush made a huge to-do in
signing the bill into law. Never mind the lack of
funding for the fence and the failure to address many
other immediate reforms that could have been adopted
strengthen immigration enforcement, close
deportation loopholes and provide systemic relief at
the border without the need for a single brick or
On the very day the bill
was signed, open-borders politicians were already moving
to water it down. Texas Republican Sens.
Kay Bailey Hutchison and
John Cornyn pushed for "flexibility to choose
other options instead of fencing, if needed." [Bush
signs bill for U.S.-Mexico border fence,
Associated Press, October 26, 2006] Six months after
passage of the Secure Fence Act—now interpreted by
Washington as the Flexible Non-Fence Act or, as I call
it, the FINO (Fence in Name Only) Act—700 miles shrunk
"somewhere in the ballpark" of 370 miles. A
14-mile fence-building project in
San Diego was stalled for years by environmental
legal challenges and budget shortfalls. The first
deadline—a May 30, 2007 requirement for installation of
an "interlocking surveillance camera system"
along the border in California and Arizona—passed unmet.
GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, one of the few Republican
presidential candidates to walk the talk on border
blasted the Bush administration for suffering from "a
case of `the slows` on border enforcement."[Border
Fence Construction Not Moving Fast Enough for Rep.
Hunter, By Eleanor Stables, Congressional Quarterly
July 9, 2007]
More than a year after the
law`s passage, the citizen watchdog group Grassfire
reports that just five miles of double-layer fencing has
been built in the first 12 months of implementation of
Border Fence Funding Hoax of 2006 and 2007]
Five lousy miles. The Government Accountability Office
claims 70 miles were erected—but most of that fencing
failed to meet the specifications of the law.
Is Congress up in arms?
Will there be accountability? Don`t make me snort.
Instead of demanding that the law be enforced, the pols
are sabotaging the law. As part of the omnibus spending
package passed this week, House Democrats incorporated
Senate Republicans` provisions to remove the two-layer
fencing requirements and the specific target list of
GOP Rep. Peter T. King,
who sponsored the Secure Fence Act, told the
Washington Times: "This is either a blatant
oversight or a deliberate attempt to disregard the
border security of our country. As it`s currently
written, the omnibus language guts the Secure Fence Act
almost entirely. Quite simply, it is unacceptable."
bill shrinks border fence, By S.A. Miller and
Stephen Dinan, December 18, 2007]
But so totally, totally
Republican Leader John
Boehner tried to blame the
House Democrat majority: "The fact that this was
buried in a bloated, 3,500-page omnibus speaks volumes
about the Democrats` unserious approach on border
security and illegal immigration," he said.
"Gutting the Secure Fence Act will make our borders less
secure, but it`s consistent with the pattern of behavior
we`ve seen all year from this majority." But it`s
Republicans who`ve been gunning to undermine the law
while the ink was still fresh.
To add insult to injury
and homeland insecurity upon homeland insecurity,
failed to adopt a
ban on federal aid to sanctuary cities that
prevent government employees and law enforcement officers
from asking about immigration status; voted to stall
implementation of stricter ID standards at border
crossings; and miraculously found enough money to
$10 million in "emergency" funding for
attorneys of illegal aliens.
Next time you
hear a leading presidential candidate try to woo you
nine-point immigration enforcement plan or his
secure ID plan or his
Secure Borders platform, point to the Incredible
Disappearing Border Fence. Poof! That is what happens to
election-season homeland security promises. Why
would theirs be any different?
Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of
Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.
here for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click
here for Michelle Malkin`s website.
Michelle Malkin`s latest book is "Unhinged:
Exposing Liberals Gone Wild."
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