Ok, that’s not exactly what Sen. Jim DeMint is calling his new piece of legislation to finish what the cosmetic Secure The Fence Act was supposed to do. He’s calling it the Complete The Fence Act. My title’s better, don’t you think? Anyway, as I mentioned last night, conservative Republican Senators are going on the immigration enforcement offensive–and DeMint’s bill is part of the campaign. I know some of you are very cynical about this latest push. And believe me, I can’t blame you. But many of the Senators involved in this effort were leaders of the vital movement that stopped the McCain-Kennedy-Bush shamnesty.
So: Si, se puede?
If the GOP wants to salvage its credibility on homeland security and the rule of law: Yes, they must.
DeMint Introduces “Complete the Fence” Bill
Sets 2010 Deadline for Completion of 700 Miles of Physical, Pedestrian Fencing on Southern Border
Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced the “Complete the Fence Act” that will require the completion of 700 miles of reinforced pedestrian fencing along the nation’s southern border by December 31, 2010. The bill also requires the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to report to Congress by June 2009 on fence construction progress and how it plans to complete the full fence by the 2010 deadline.
“Americans demand a secure border and the first step is to complete the fence,” said Senator DeMint. “Our nation’s borders are fundamental to our national security and our sovereignty, and we can’t delay any longer. If we want to have a legal immigration system that works, we must have a secure border so we know who is entering and leaving the United States.”
In September 2006, Congress overwhelmingly passed and the President signed a bill that required 700 miles of reinforced fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The “Complete the Fence Act” will require DHS to complete the 700 miles fence by December 31, 2010, using only reinforced pedestrian fencing, not vehicle barriers or “virtual” fencing.
In direct conflict with the requirements set by Congress in 2006, DHS Secretary Chertoff has recently attempted to count vehicle barriers that stand only a few feet high and can easily be walked around as part of total fencing completed. DHS claims to have completed 302 miles of fencing by counting 134 miles of vehicle barriers. DHS has actually only completed 167 miles of physical, pedestrian fencing.
Last week, at a U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee hearing, U.S. Border Patrol officials admitted that the “virtual fencing”, which was to account for nearly 300 miles of the 700 mile fence, is not working as promised and will not be operational for at least 3 more years. The technology encountered numerous problems that included: software integration, synching cameras with the radar systems, trouble identifying objects among desert trees, rain interference, and easy targets for drug traffickers to disable.
“Border security cannot wait any longer and we cannot depend on failed virtual fencing or vehicle barriers that won’t stop pedestrians,” said Senator DeMint. “We must keep our promise to America and build a real fence to secure our borders immediately.”
“Over half a million new illegal immigrants enter our nation every year. But this is more than an immigration problem. The southern border is where the majority of cocaine is smuggled in, and where heroin, marijuana and crystal meth flood into our country. It’s where the disgusting and immoral practice of human trafficking happens, with thousands of people sold into modern day slavery and prostitution. And most importantly, the border is a national security threat that leaves America vulnerable to terrorists and weapons of mass destruction,” said Senator DeMint.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: The nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center estimates that about 850,000 illegal immigrants enter the U.S. each year.
TERRORISM: The Office of National Drug Control Policy released an unclassified counternarcotics strategy for the southwest border in 2007, stating: “Since the events of September 11, 2001, the Southwest Border has assumed even greater significance. The threat of terrorism looms large wherever criminals regularly exploit gaps in homeland security. Terrorists could conceivably attempt to enter the United States or smuggle weapons of mass destruction (WMD) across the Southwest Border by utilizing routes and methods established by drug and alien smugglers.”
DRUG SMUGGLING: According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 65% of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. comes through across the Mexican border. DEA also reports that large amounts of heroin, crystal meth and marijuana are routinely smuggled at the southern border.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: The U.S. State Department estimates “about 17,000 people are being “trafficked” from Mexico into the United States each year. That number includes migrant workers, and women and children brought into the United States for purposes of commercial and sexual exploitation.”
Meanwhile…National Guardsmen are being pulled off the southern border prematurely in New Mexico:
The state said there will be a six month gap of vulnerability at the border when feds pull National Guard troops.
Sate homeland security said the National Guard on the border will leave in July, six months earlier than expected. Officials said border agents won�t take over until December at the earliest, leaving more than 180 miles of border virtually unwatched.
The original plan was to have the National Guard watch the border until 6,000 new agents could be properly trained.
Border patrol officials said that won�t happen until December, but state officials said that�s not stopping the feds from pulling the plug early.
State officials said the feds are not saying what�s behind the early withdrawal of guard troops from across the country.
The state said the withdrawal leaves the New Mexico border vulnerable.