I know border security hucksterism when I see it — whether it’s from Democrats or Republicans. Longtime readers will remember that when pro-shamnesty President Bush and the GOP backed a Secure Fence Act in 2007, I called it what it was: The Fence in Name Only. Sadly, the call was all too right.
Today, the president will sign a $600 million border security measure passed by the Senate yesterday. It’s another election-year gesture in the wake of Arizona’s SB1070 backlash against federal immigration non-enforcement.
Stewart Baker at the Volokh Conspiracy breaks it down:
It funds about 1000 new Border Patrol agents, adding to the 20 thousand already on the force. That’s a continuation of Bush Administration policies, which roughly doubled the size of the Border Patrol from 10 to 20 thousand over eight years. A five percent increase in border staffing won’t make a big difference, but it’s better than the Obama administration’s initial budget, which proposed to cut the size of the force by one percent. It also adds around 250 new officers at ports of entry – the legal crossing points from Mexico. That makes sense. As illegal crossings get harder, smuggling through the ports of entry will increase, and these officers will be needed.
The bill adds money for a couple more drones, again following Bush Administration policy. Drones have value, but I can’t help wondering how much these will add. The real problem in using them has been the extreme reluctance of the FAA to allow UAV flights along the border (or anywhere else, for that matter).
…Much was made of the fact that these increases were “paid for.” That’s true, sort of. It looks as though a lot of it was “paid for” by canceling hundreds of millions of dollars in fence-building and air security spending.
Same old, open-borders business as usual.
From the White House blog: “I have made securing our Southwest Border a top priority since I came to office.”
Tell it to the ranchers under siege in Arizona, pal.
Here’s the AP coverage of the Obama signing event, with Clownitano looking over his shoulder.