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David Beckham understands this. Last year, he packed his family and abandoned his ranch in Arivaca, southwest of Tucson. With illegals banging on doors at night, peering in windows and sleeping in their motor home, they no longer felt safe.

“My wife was scared being home alone during the day,” says Mr. Beckham. “We have guns, but it’s a helluva thing to ask your wife to defend herself while you’re gone.”

The senators should call Mr. Beckham. They should also call his neighbor, Jim Chilton, who sleeps with a rifle beside his bed and won’t talk on his cellphone when out riding for fear the scouts think he’s dropping a dime.

Tell us, Madam Secretary, would you be fine with those conditions in your neighborhood? The new proposal gives your department six months to produce a plan for capturing 90 percent of illegal crossers. Why didn’t you produce this plan a year ago?

Wouldn’t it make sense to reverse the order do security improvements first, and in six months, if they work, talk legalization? David Beckham shouldn’t have to wait one extra day before he can go home again.

Leo W. Banks is a writer in Tucson, Ariz.