WHATEVER IT TAKES: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, BORDER SECURITY, AND THE WAR ON TERROR
By J.D. Hayworth, Regnery, $27.95, 256 pages
A few weeks back, "uniformed drug traffickers" confronted Texas sheriff's deputies on the U.S.-Mexico border. Texas authorities had tried to stop three SUVs near El Paso, but the SUVs immediately fled south. The authorities gave chase, where what appeared to be the Mexican army was waiting for them. They were armed, wore uniforms and their Humvee was allegedly topped with a .50 caliber machine gun.
A bona fide Mexican standoff ensued, but no shots were fired. This time.
So ended the second such incident in the same county in the last three months. It won't likely be the last. "The border is a veritable war zone," writes Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth in "Whatever it Takes." In the Tucson sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, "Border Patrol agents are routinely assaulted, shot at, or rammed by smuggler vehicles. It is so bad that researchers studying desert wildlife on public lands along the border must be accompanied by park personnel."
In his book, Mr. Hayworth takes a long, hard look into all aspects of illegal immigration -- and doesn't blink. Eminently readable, he has delivered the red meat for anyone who's ready to put illegal immigration on the barbecue. On a subject just made for racial demagoguery, he is refreshingly clear:
"Illegal aliens invade our country with the active encouragement of a foreign government and [illegal immigration apologists] tell us the question isn't 'how do we get them to leave,' but 'how can we make them feel welcome?' We act like a bunch of defeatist wimps unwilling to stand up for our culture, our borders, our security, or our own laws."
While it's unlikely that the left will be cribbing policy prescriptions from the pages of his book, Mr. Hayworth writes for anyone concerned about the threat posed by illegal immigration. Perhaps it's too much to ask for a six-term congressman to offer a truly nonpartisan examination of the problem, but he doesn't withhold criticism of his colleagues on the right.
"Republicans," he writes, "are scared of being branded as heartless, bigoted, or xenophobic." Later: "They'll let the American people get the shaft just so they won't feel the heat."
The left and the right are both wrong on illegal immigration according to Mr. Hayworth. The left is wrong for all the predictable reasons -- from squishy do-goodism to rank anti-Americanism. The right, in order to avoid being branded with the above adjectives, is willing to entertain ideas history has proven ineffective, or worse.
Fear, and the mistaken idea that pandering to Hispanics will win votes, paralyzes them. Pandering, Mr. Hayworth writes, is a losing proposition for the right because the left is much better at it.
"WhateveritTakes" sprints through the issues, quickly summing up the dangers illegal immigration pose to America. In order to confront these threats, Mr. Hayworth advances policy prescriptions based on two basic principles: We must not reward lawbreakers, including illegal aliens or those who hire them, and we must not create incentives for even more illegal immigration.
How does one translate this into action? He has several suggestions -- more Border Patrol agents and better technology on the ground. He has a plan that would authorize the secretary of defense to assign members of the armed forces "to assist the Department of Homeland Security in the performance of border protection functions."
The demand for cheap labor in the United States should be strangled by making it difficult for employers to hire illegals. Violent illegals should be deported, not "idiotically" released back into society.
Those are just a few of his ideas, sure to be unpopular with the amnesty crowd. The section on "anchor babies," or children born to illegal aliens in the United States, is a belated Christmas present to those ready to play the race card. (He has a great chapter on that, too. The hypocrisy and demagoguery of the pro-illegal crowd knows no limits.)
"Whatever it Takes" is not a politically correct book. Mr. Hayworth doesn't believe that the country has any more time to be coy about the problem. When illegal immigration goes unchecked, America's security is compromised and people die.
PC is actually killing people. Right now, unprotected borders are costing America billions of dollars a year and the occasional Mexican standoff. But that's nothing in comparison to what could happen with a couple of guys, a bomb and a mission from God.
Chris Jolma is a Washington writer.