Saturday, March 21, 2009

New Alarm Over Border Security

(This is the first in the 12-part Borderlines series titled "Aliens, Drugs, and Crime: Making the Connection.")

President Bush’s “war on terror” established the ideological rationale for the immigrant crackdown. But the campaign to detain and deport immigrants got its policy legs from two previous (and continuing) wars: the “war on crime” and the “war on drugs,” both launched by President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s. The new emphasis by the Obama administration on tracking down and removing “criminal aliens” indicates that the ongoing immigrant crackdown will be driven more by the imperatives of the crime and drug wars then by the ideological fears and fervor of the war on terror. Removing “criminal aliens” from America’s streets will be a new priority for the Department of Homeland Security, says DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. President Obama’s requested 2010 budget includes $1.4 billion for collaborative programs to deport “criminal aliens” – a 40% increase from the current DHS budget. The recent alarm about the possibility that horrific violence associated with the U.S.-supported drug war in Mexico will spill over the border has been met by administration assurances that DHS and the Justice Department will deploy more law enforcement personnel to the region. Secretary Napolitano has promised to put more “boots on the ground” to secure the border against the compound threat of illegal immigrants and drug trafficking. Immigration restrictionists have jumped on the issue of drug-related violence in Mexico to renew their demands for more border security in the form of an extended border fence, more Border Patrol agents, and the deployment of the National Guard. On March 9 thirty anti-immigration Republican congressional representatives signed a letter to President Obama requesting more border fencing. “Contiguous fencing is an effective and proven enforcement mechanism that will serve to directly reduce cross-border traffic and drug violence by closing the smuggling corridors exploited by drug cartels,” stated the letter. Cong. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus, and Cong. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), were the lead signatories of the letter.

Next: The Rise of Criminal Aliens Photo: Mexican Army Displays Marijuana Seizures in Chihuahua

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