Good News, Bad News on the Border

The Good News is that Michael Chertoff has announced that there will be no more “catch-and-release” on the border, for Other Than Mexican immigrants. I don`t actually believe this, but it`s a sign that administration, if it hasn`t seen the light, is feeling the heat.

WASHINGTON — Nearly all non-Mexican illegal immigrants caught sneaking into the United States are being held until they can be returned to their home countries, the Bush administration said Wednesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said this marks the end of the so-called “catch-and-release” policy that for years helped illegal immigrants remain in the United States unhindered.U.S. Ends `Catch-And-Release` at Border By LARA JAKES JORDAN The Associated Press, August 23, 2006

The bad news involves the previous good news about Bush sending the National Guard to guard the border, which is a good idea, if some other President was doing it.

But here`s how it`s playing out, because the National Guard is being sent out unarmed, and now the Border Patrol has to guard them.

Several veteran Border Patrol agents in Arizona told The Washington Times they were issued standing orders to be within five minutes of National Guard troops along the border and that Border Patrol units were pulled from other regions to protect the Guard units — leaving their own areas short-handed.
The agents, who refer to the assignment as “the nanny patrol,” said most of the Guard troops are not allowed to carry loaded weapons, despite a significant increase in border violence directed at Border Patrol agents and other law-enforcement personnel over the past year. A new role for the undermanned Border Patrol — The Washington Times

Of course, the military has a very bad habit of taking away soldiers guns and ammunition even in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Apparently their fear of either an “accidental discharge” or an “incident” is stronger than their concern for the soldier`s need to defend himself against an actual actual enemy. [See here, here, here, here, here, here and here for more horror stories about disarmed soldiers, as well as advice about what to do if you`re in that situation.]

So it`s “good news” that Secretary Chertoff has decided to end the “catch and release” policy for persons “Other than Mexican” on the border, but will we see a story in a few months that parallels the the “No-ammunition” story?

It seems likely to me that we will.