Friday, January 15, 2010

Border Fence - the cause is right

With this being an election year, the status of the border fence (and other border security issues) should be one of the more visible issues presented to our candidates. Especially those going to Washington. And let's not forget, every single Representative (along with a third of the Senate and quite a few Governors) is up for re-election (or replacement).

Those who wish to destroy us have managed to promote a myth so far and wide that even a lot of otherwise reasonable and rational people have come to believe it. That a fence does not work, because it can be breached or bypassed. Look at any auto salvage or auto repair business and what do you see? A fence. Look at any military installation and what do you see? A fence. There is also a similar myth that a fence only keeps us in. Where does this come from? Law abiding people don't sneak across a border or jump the fence. They come and go through the gate. This, of course comes from our enemies, and is aimed at those who have not given this much thought.

And there is some proof that the fence, only about 20% (or less) complete, is already providing some protection. And, of course, it is the same evidence that our enemies would point to, trying to persuade us to stop defending ourselves. As an example:
Incomplete Border Tunnel Found In San Diego (Dec 2009)
DEA said Mexican authorities discovered an incomplete tunnel from Tijuana, Mexico running across the border. It was over 1800 feet and as much as 90 feet deep. This took a great deal of effort (two years) and expense (millions of dollars) to build, and would not be necessary were it not for an effective border fencing system they had to bypass.

From time to time, there are stories of checkpoint personnel or other Border Patrol personnel taking bribes to help smuggle people or contraband across the border. Again, if the fence were not providing any protection, these bribes would not be necessary, and again, this provides proof that the fence is beginning to work.

But, it is not like people have completely forgotten the subject. A recent (Nov 2009) Washington Post Poll showed 61 Percent of Republicans and Republican Leaning Independents Say GOP Puts ‘Too Little’ Emphasis on Illegal Immigration, (The poll asked respondents their opinion about the degree of emphasis the Republican Party puts on eight issues: gun rights, same-sex marriage, abortion, federal spending, taxes, the environment, illegal immigration, and the economy and jobs.)

Meanwhile, the news page for the Border Patrol is choked with trivial stuff, causing articles to scroll off of the page quickly. However, a periodic update link was helpful.

I discovered this article (5 Jan 2010), showing that attention given the border provides a good return on investment, among the many listed. Excerpt:
The statistics of the Yuma Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol do not tell the entire story but the go a long way to explain the significant improvements in security over the last five years.

Back in 2005, there were 138,000 arrests along the Yuma Sector's 126 miles of border they are responsible for, Beeson noted. But in 2009, those arrests were down to just 7,356. That is a 94 percent decrease in illegal activity.

The Yuma Station was the busiest of all 146 Border Patrol stations in 2005, Beeson reminded his hushed audience. "Vehicle drive throughs" (failure to stop) at the border was 2,700 five years ago while last year it dropped to 109.

"We've made a significant impact on illegal activity all along our sector. We say, we have 'operational control' over all 126 miles. So that's the ability to protect, classify, respond, and resolve all cross border threats."

But Beeson gives credit where it is due and praises the efforts of the National Guard who were temporarily stationed at the border in 2006. The Guard helped significantly with the Border Patrol's tactical infrastructure which included vehicle and pedestrian fencing, lighting, and all weather patrol roads, Beeson said.

"From the time the Guard showed up illegal traffic dropped precipitously. The Guard gave us a big leg up with our infrastructure."

Coupled with that beefed up infrastructure was a substantial increase in personnel, jumping from 358 agents in 2005 to 977 agents last year, Beeson noted. They also have a very strong air branch now, including helicopters and fixed wing aircraft deployed on a regular basis to support their ground surveillance.

They also received mobile surveillance systems, trucks with radar and cameras that can scan the whole area and greatly helped the Yuma Sector gain control of the border, he added.

The border is a very remote, harsh desert climate, Beeson said. Along with arrests they performed 19 rescues. In addition, they had 6,951 apprehensions of Mexican Nationals crossing illegally and 405 apprehensions of other nationals in 2009.

Just a note, on that last line: "other nationals."
Smugglers? or Terrorists?
The article doesn't say.
But without the fence, absolutely no one would know.
We must remain steadfast.

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