Another Bad Idea On The Border

David Simmonds

WOAI in San Antonio is reporting that along a four-mile stretch of the Rio Grande, anyone entering the U.S. illegally will be “arrested, fingerprinted, booked, tried and sentenced up to six months in jail“. In what is cleverly called Operation Streamline, simply deporting people crossing the border looking for work will not happen until they spend time, at taxpayer expense, behind the gray bars. This should really help to patch up relationships with Mexico, eh?

This whole issue of illegal immigration has been universally ignored by the surviving presidential candidates, as no matter what postion is taken, about one-half of the U.S. population is in opposition. This newest plan was announced by the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley sector, presumably with the blessing of the White House, as a trial balloon to see how it floats. No serious attempt at employer sanctions has been put into place, nor a serious attempt to increase the guest-worker quotas. Instead, they will be picking the lowest hanging fruit, rounding up those with the least power.

I see several problems with this plan. First, incarceration is expensive at around $30,000 per person per year. Second, I don’t like the possible response from Mexico. Most people aren’t aware of it, but foreigners traveling in Mexico are supposed to have their tourist cards on then at all times. I could see that requirement suddenly enforced, with clueless, law-breaking, money-spending tourists being arrested and detained in Vallarta and Cancun at the whim of the local cops. And third, I just don’t like the way it looks and who it targets. I have declared for a long time, if you want to stop the flow, go after the dough…the employers who do the hiring. Although, ideally, an expanded guest-worker program should be addressed, with humane and protective standards in place. Throwing people in jail who are looking for back-breaking work is a bad idea and should stop now.