- Putin tells Merkel that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war
- San Antonio mayor to Obama: Give amnesty to illegals with legal families
- NYPD disbands unit that spied on Muslims to go after ‘real bad guys’
- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
- Joe Biden to Boston bombing survivors: ‘America will never, ever stand down’
PERLEY: Obama builds the crisis, not a fence
Failure to act on illegal immigration just politics as usual
It’s been nearly 100 years since poet Robert Frost wrote “Good fences make good neighbors.” The New Englander’s meditation on the value of respect for home and property as a prerequisite for an orderly society was common sense. But what was reasonable then and still is for most Americans today doesn’t seem to hit home at President Obama’s 21st-century White House.
In the ongoing chronicle of our broken southern border, Arizona’s Republican Sen. John Kyl charged late last month that in a recent one-on-one meeting, Mr. Obama told him if he takes steps to secure the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico, Republicans would be less likely to support comprehensive immigration reform, and therefore he would not do so. Politics: 1, national security: 0.
Additionally, Fox News reported last week that federal agents have discovered lookout bases set up by Mexican drug cartels in the hills of southern Arizona to monitor the activities of U.S. law enforcement officials. The lookouts are resupplied with food and water by delivery drivers so they can remain on watch for long periods of time.
Fellow Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain described how he and Mr. Kyl late last month visited the border region, where agents told them, “The drug cartel guys are up there right now watching us.” By keeping tabs on Border Patrol personnel, the drug smugglers can signal their companions when it is safe to drive their loads through, Mr. McCain said.
So, it has come to this: Mexican drug cartels have established forward bases on American soil right under the noses of border agents. If the president is unwilling to secure the southern border, U.S. sovereignty in that arid region becomes an open question.
Mr. Obama announced Monday the deployment of up to 1,200 National Guard troops along the southern border. Arizona is due to receive 524. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a frequent critic of the administration’s border-security efforts, called the measure “disappointing” and far short of the 3,000 troops she said Mr. Kyl and Mr. McCain had requested.
The president’s use of crisis as a political tool is familiar by now. In this case, Rule 8 of activism guru Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” appears operative: “Keep the pressure on.” Mr. Obama’s end goal seems to be citizenship and voting rights for illegals in the United States, estimated at more than 12 million. Historically, Hispanics vote Democratic - Mr. Obama garnered 67 percent of their vote in 2008 - so the party stands to benefit immensely from comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.
Accordingly, the ongoing crisis on the border, whether from drug smugglers or floods of immigrants from Mexico, ratchets up the pressure on border states and hastens the day when Republicans in Congress - resistant to plans for wholesale citizenship for illegals - are forced to knuckle under to the Democrats’ immigration reform bill. However, if the president were to take additional measures to secure the border, the crisis would ease, and his immigration reform strategy would languish.
Following this line of reasoning, Arizona’s new, stricter immigration law, set to take effect July 29, is counterproductive to Mr. Obama’s effort. The administration has announced that it intends to sue the state and overturn the law despite the fact that the measure simply mandates state enforcement of existing federal immigration law. Polling that shows majority public support for Arizona’s law nationwide reflects a sense that the federal government has abdicated its responsibility for border security. The litany of new security measures that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano touted last week in Washington, including the deployment of unmanned surveillance aircraft along the border, does little to refute that fact. Such promises have been made before and have done little to change the facts on the ground.
Few Americans begrudge immigrants from the south the dream of raising families in a safe, prosperous society. But many resent those who pursue that dream illegally. Americans understand that respect for home and hearth is intrinsic to the country’s place as the land of opportunity. The notion that a man’s home is his castle is not a selfish one, but a universal human desire. That notion writ large is enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution, which was established to, among other things, “provide for the common defense.” The Founders recognized that the unique nature of their experiment in liberty requires integrity of national boundaries.
Mr. Obama has an obligation as president to place national security above politics and acknowledge that “good fences make good neighbors.” After all, there is a very good fence around the White House.
Frank Perley is senior editor for opinion for The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
Get Breaking Alerts
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Al Qaeda mocks U.S. in 'extraordinary' Yemen gathering; experts fear CIA caught flat-footed
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Bill Clinton falls off vegan diet wagon but not vegan label
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Solution to Cyprus dispute is no 'mistake'
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama's real wealth redistribution scheme
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obamacare numbers nothing to celebrate
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Unanswered bus-crash questions
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lerner won't face meaningful punishment