Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fence Me In. For The Love Of Pete, Fence Me In.


What is 37,000 about?.  Well.... it's about
* 4,000 more than the number of US casualties in the ENTIRE Korean War.
* Twice the population of the county I live in.
* Six times the number of US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.
* 2,000 more than the student populations of Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Occidental College, and the University of Hawaii. Combined.
* The number of deaths along the U.S. / Mexico border in the last 4 years.

First, I want to make it clear that this piece is NOT an attack on ANY man, woman, or child, Hispanic or otherwise. It is solely directed at POLICY, not people.  I understand the desire and promise of a better life and better opportunities for one's family in America.  I have a brother-in-law from Mexico City & Cancun.  He now lives in Georgia.  Legally.  And the process took FOREVVVVER.  So I understand the lure of crossing the border illegally.  I do.  But that doesn't make it okay.

For years now, we have been overly lenient & lax on border security, and as the results of our laziness become worse and worse year after year, we continue to fail in protecting our border and we refuse to see it as a problem of the same magnitude as the other wars we are currently fighting overseas. Our leaders couldn't care less about the number of undocumented, illegal immigrants entering the U.S. every day.  Mind you, none of us actual citizens can ENTER or LEAVE the country without more than one form of identification, but the millions jumping the border? No prob.

President Obama spoke last week in El Paso, Texas, regarding the border, its security, and how America's immigrant issue should be addressed. He pointed out plenty of immigrants who have made HUGE contributions to not only America, but the world, and our way of living.  But here's the thing.... he failed to point out that those immigrants came to America LEGALLY.  While he doesn't see any distinction between Ellis Island and jumping the Rio Grande, I do.  His speech was rife with sarcasm towards those who believe border security is a serious problem for America, to the extent that he joked about building a moat across the border and stocking it with alligators....... less than 24 hours later, two border patrol agents were killed while chasing a group of illegal immigrants along a portion of the border that is greatly lacking in security.  An upcoming blog will break down his speech in detail and highlight numerous mistakes he made in the statistics he presented. I say "mistakes" because I don't want to say "lies". Most of those stats are addressed here, too.

"As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than protecting our national security." Barack Obama, April 13, 2012

Really? Is that why his trip to El Paso last week was his FIRST visit to the border since he was elected?  Is that why when Arizona proposed a plan to build a secure border fence itself with its own funds, the White House intervened twice and stopped it?  Is that why not one governor from a U.S. border state was allowed to attend President Obama's closed-door meeting regarding the border a few weeks ago (But AFL-CIO big boss Richard Trumka was there... Just sayin'.)? 

We're fighting a war halfway around the world in Iraq.... for someone else.
We're fighting a war halfway around the world in Afghanistan.... for someone else.
We're fighting a war halfway around the world in Libya.... for someone else.
We're NOT fighting a war that is raging on our own soil.... for ourselves. Why is that?

Why are we ignoring the battle that's taking place in our own backyard and on our own soil? There is a MAJOR war going on along the border and we have made a conscious decision to turn a blind eye...  to the tune of thousands upon thousands of lives lost.  We refuse to build a border fence. We refuse to deploy the number of troops (National Guardsmen) necessary to protect dangerous spots along the border (this year 12,000 have been pulled from the Arizona border, despite Gov. Jan Brewer's request for an extension of their services).  We refuse to use ALREADY ALLOCATED funds to increase security (we actually cut Homeland Security funding for border security by $1.4Billion).  We refuse to deport illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes in America, including MURDER. Yeah... I said murder.

You don't think we're in a war on the border?  Maybe this will change your mind.

*  Just in the last 4 years, 37,000 people have been KILLED along the US / Mexico border, on both sides (Reuters).   30,913 of the 37,000 deaths were execution-style murders, according to a Mexican government database. Mass graves are discovered more and more frequently, containing HUNDREDS of bodies of both Americans and Mexicans.

*  In that same amount of time, the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan, where we're FIGHTING A WAR, is 8,80037,000 civilians dead here...8,800 civilians dead there.

33,686 people were killed in the Korean War. The entire Korean War.

15,273 of those 35,000 murders occurred in 2010. 

* In 2009, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) RELEASED, as in set free, not deported, 890 illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes including rape and murder, some of them repeat offenders, onto American soil and made no effort to document their names, fingerprints, nor record in any way their identities or criminal records. According to the Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General, many of these illegals were considered the "most egregious criminal aliens who pose a significant public safety risk". we set them free.  To kill again. (The release was ordered by ICE Chief Jim Moran under President Obama's instruction.)

*  The murder rate in Ciudad Juarez, just over the border, increased 40% from 163 in Feb. 2010 to 229 in Feb. 2011.  One month. 229 people. Dead. Including Americans.

*  According to the US State Dept, 111 Americans were killed last year in Ciudad Juarez.  That's just the number of deaths that were reported; many deaths go unreported each year.

*  Drug cartel wars have claimed the lives of 6,000 people in Ciudad Juarez in just the last two years.

*  May 12, 2011: 2 Border Patrol Agents, Hector Clark & Eduardo Rojas, killed while pursuing a group of illegal immigrants in Arizona. 
*  May 9, 2011: 13 killed on the U.S. side of the border in Falcon Lake, TX (about 50 miles from the border).
*  April 5, 2011:  2 Americans: Kevin Romero, 28, and Sergio Salcido, 25, murdered while waiting to cross the border.
*  April 2011:  177 bodies found in a mass grave; deaths attributed to Zeta drug cartel.
*  March 7, 2011: 18 people killed in Abasolo, Mex. 150 miles south of McAllen, TX.
*  Feb 28, 2011:  Associated Press reported at least 28 killed along US / Mexico border over the weekend.

*  Feb 15, 2011:  1 killed, 1 injured.. ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, 32, killed; Agent Victor Avila injured in San Louis Potosi shooting.
*  Dec 14, 2010:  1 killed: Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, 40, murdered near Arizona border.
Should I go on?   

*  US Dept. of Justice has deemed Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations as the greatest drug trafficking threat to the US, to the tune of TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars a year in drug, weapons, and related trade.

*  Reporters Without Borders reported that in 2010, more journalists were killed in Mexico than in any other country in the world.

There's the humanitarian angle...
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of migrants die trying to cross the border each year by drowning, heat stroke, dehydration, hypothermia, etc. Just TODAY, 513 migrants were discovered, packed like sardines in two semi trucks, trying to cross the border. Each had paid $7,000 for the opportunity to jump the border in conditions so poor that officials believe a number of them would have died if kept in the truck trailers much longer. Some more numbers for you:
417 migrants died while trying to cross the border in 2009
500+ migrants died in 2005.
1,954 migrants died between 1998-2004.... That's just on the American side.
1,452 migrants died on the Mexican side of the border while trying to cross in a 4 year period of time, according to the Mexican Secretariat for Foreign Affairs.
And those numbers are of bodies found; they don't include the hundreds, maybe thousands, of those never discovered.

We're willing to risk American lives and spend American dollars in the name of a humanitarian crisis in Libya, but we aren't willing to address the one that exists on our very soil???? THAT'S who we want to be?

There's the economic angle....
Considering the current condition of our economy and the debate over federal funding and spending, I give you a 2002 report by the Center for Immigration Studies: Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes (okay, well at least that part pleases me), creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.
And that was 2002.... Nine years ago. Factor in inflation and how drastically the prices of EVERYTHING have increased, and yeah...

Rewind to the part about the number of convicted criminal illegals who are released from prisons onto US soil.... before they're released, while they're in custody, our tax dollars are paying for them to be there.  And those we actually DO deport, we pay for their incarceration, too.  The US deported 393,000 illegal immigrants in 2010 at the low, low price of $12,500 per person. That's almost FIVE BILLION DOLLARS. If we deported the currently estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.... almost $138 BILLION.  Can we afford to deport every illegal immigrant in the US? No. Can we strengthen border security to decrease the number of illegals coming into the US and committing crimes? We have to. Otherwise, we continue to spend billions and billions of hard earned American taxpayer dollars to house them in US prisons. According to the GAO (Government Accountability Office), it cost America $1,149,000,000 (billion) to house criminal aliens in 2009. Not only do tax dollars pay for incarceration, tax dollars also pay for any and all costs pertaining to prosecuting criminal illegals.
Want to know what it actually costs per inmate per year to house some of these criminal aliens?
*California: $34,448
*New York: $29,523
*Florida: $14,828
*Arizona: $14,093
*Texas: $12,168
(66% of Americans make less than $45,000 per year.)

.......We're fighting tooth and nail over the lack of funds available for programs that benefit LEGAL American citizens like Medicare, but not a single person is discussing the MULTIPLE BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars we spend incarcerating and deporting illegal immigrants???  At a time we're fighting over how to care for our own, we're ignoring the amount of money we spend on caring for someone else's.

Incarceration might be the lamest expense Americans suffer because of the government's blase' attitude towards illegal immigrants, but it certainly isn't the only way tax payers are footing the bill for them.  Healthcare...Medicaid....Social Security...WIC....HUD housing... All those programs that are part of the current funding debate? Maybe if we limited those programs to LEGAL US citizens, there would be no need to debate funding cuts or increases.... Just a suggestion.  Maybe these numbers will make it a little more personal for you:

$1,117 ... The average amount a LEGAL US CITIZEN paid in taxes in 2010 to pay for services received by ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.
$52 BILLION ... What American taxpayers spent on educating children of illegal immigrants in 2010.
51% of illegal households receive at least one form of tax funded government assistance.  This translates roughly to about 1.4 MILLION households. NOT people; households.
28% of illegal households receive TWO OR MORE forms of tax funded government assistance.

Not only do illegals benefit from US taxpayer funded programs, they get to decide which politicians that may or may not support those programs are elected. Colorado recently discovered that over 12,000 ILLEGAL immigrants are registered to vote in the state. 5,000 of them voted in the 2010 election in which the Senate seat was narrowly won.  By less than 5,000 votes.  Hmm....that's pretty interesting, no?  And if they have *discovered* 12,000, how many more might there be?  Another perk for illegals comes with the Obama-praised DREAM Act that (among other things) grants in-state tuition for universities in several states for illegal immigrants.... not for American citizens born in AMERICA, but for illegal immigrants.

And then there's al-Qaeda.....along with other terrorist organizations.
I'm hoping you have read enough by this point to consider the importance of contacting your elected representatives to stress concern over border security.  If not, maybe this will do it:  DOZENS or more of Iraqi nationals are apprehended every year trying to illegally enter the U.S. through Mexico; some of whom have admitted belonging to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah.  In particular, an apprehended Hezbollah fundraiser acquired a Mexican visa through the consulate in Lebanon, entered Mexico legally, and tried to enter the U.S. stuffed in the trunk of a car. According to US Representative Silvestre Reyes (Texas), America has intelligence regarding al-Qaeda using Latin America as a way of illegally entering America. And just last month, an I.E.D. (Improvised Explosive Device) was discovered along Hwy 77 in BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS. TEXAS!!! Not Baghdad. Texas.  On May 5th of this year, a tunnel was found on the Arizona / Mexico border (Surprise! The part that is least guarded!) that measured 15 feet deep and 250 feet long, complete with electricity, running water, and a ventilation system. Hmm........  Wonder if there's a "All Terrorists & Cartels Welcome!" sign at the Arizona exit point.

Like I said, by no means am I attacking individuals.  Well.... maybe the criminal ones.  I absolutely understand the desperation that drives people to risk their lives crossing the border illegally. The 513 people discovered yesterday; what they were willing to endure to get here breaks my heart. The conditions they suffered were horrendous.  But would they have been subjected to such if we had stricter border security and they knew it was harder to cross the border into America illegally?  Who knows...

Don't get me wrong, I am honored that my country is one in which others seek refuge; a better life; bigger opportunities.  And I think it's GREAT that others can escape here from poor conditions in their own countries. If we had the means, I would say bring it on!  Let's take care of every one from every corner. But we're doing it now when we don't have the means. And we're stepping on our own to take care of others. Our economy is in the tank. Unemployment is up for the 5th week in a row. Gas continues to climb. Food prices are soaring. The dollar is under massive strain... And every American feels it. How long can we sacrifice our own to give to others?

By the way, guess what Mexico is currently doing on its southern border.....
Building a fence to keep out the Guatemalans. Huh... how 'bout that?

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