Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
- Community Blog
Border Security Bill: Too Much, Too Late for Escondido
On a recent trip to the emergency room at Palomar Medical Center, my husband and I were stunned. The place was virtually wiped out. When my children were growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, there was always a five-hour wait to see a doctor. Last month, we got in right away.
Most of the people in the waiting room were Spanish-speaking. I figured it was due to the fact that 40 percent of Escondido's population is Hispanic or Latino. But after last month's late-night visit, I remembered reading an article in the North County Times in 2008, about how illegal immigrants were finding it hard to get work. Many of them were thinking about returning to Mexico.
I now believe that the ER was empty because a significant number of illegal immigrants have, in fact, gone home. I've noticed that there are fewer day laborers on the street, not only in Escondido, but in Rancho Bernardo too.
So what does this mean to our president? In typical Obama style, he has spent lavishly on the Southwest Border Security Bill--to the tune of $600 million. The new law pays for 1,000 more Border Patrol agents to be deployed to critical areas, more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, new communications equipment, and greater use of unmanned surveillance drones. The Justice Department also gets more money to help catch drug dealers and human traffickers.
Is all of this warranted when a large number of illegal immigrants are already going home? I agree that action is needed to stem violence at the border, but Sheriff Joe Arpaio's suggestion would be much more effective in solving today's illegal immigration problem. He advocates having the U.S. Border Patrol cross the line into Mexico, to aid the military in fighting the drug cartels. If needed, he also suggests having our own military deploy in a "mutual program of benefit for both countries."
The new law should have been signed decades ago, when 12 million illegal immigrants were finding ways to sneak across the border. I blame both parties for losing control. For eight years, George W. Bush expressed the need to secure the border, but failed to do so, as has every other president, all the way back to Ronald Reagan. But Obama may be throwing too much money at a problem that has, to some extent, been solved by the recession.
Fewer jobs means fewer illegal immigrants, and $600 million is a frightening amount of money to spend at a time when America is in serious financial straits. It is coming too late, and proves that Obama is just another out-of-touch politician.