I’m sure that some other citizen-journalist has already observed with wonderment how fast our federal government can get something done when it wants to.
After we were attacked in 2001, our troops were in Afghanistan in less than a month. Granted, there are portions of the military which are always ready to go somewhere: they're trained, their equipment is serviced and their gear is packed and repacked. However, the military cannot just get up and go take care of business of its own volition. For such a large scale deployment to happen so quickly, the DOD must, of course, get the go-ahead: some legislation must be proposed, quickly debated and approved by both houses of Congress and by the president.
In the case of Afghanistan, funding was approved by the House---where all funding bills originate—the Senate gave its approval, President Bush gave his approval and on October 7, 2001, a very bloodied and even more PO’d Eagle deployed to take care of Al Qaeda and its brother-in-arms, the Taliban.
Recently, as we know, the US Congress and the president were just as eager to implement tactics “necessary” to win another “war.” (However, it’s unclear to many as to who some members of the Congress believe are its enemies in this matter.) Though the attempt to execute the policies of the Illegal Immigration Compromise (IIC) wasn’t as lightening quick as was that for Operation Enduring Freedom, the push for IIC was speedy enough for attentive citizens to ask, among other questions: “What’s the rush?”
Want a relevant contrast? Here it is. The US Congress passed and the president signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 in October of last year, which, judging from the language of the related White House press release was intended to be a first step for this year’s IIC. (I wish I had read the press release sooner because it shows that President Bush’s position on illegal immigration should not have been a big surprise to us.)
Before the president signed the bill, the New York Times reported—in its usual partisan manner—on the necessary Senate approval of the bill; that the body, by a vote of 80-19
approved the building of 700 miles [now up to 854 miles] of fence along the nation’s southwestern border, fulfilling a demand by conservative Republicans to take steps to slow the flow of illegal immigrants before exploring broader changes to immigration law.
Do take note of the text that I emphasized. The Secure Fence Act requires that
the Secretary of Homeland Security[…] take all actions the Secretary determines necessary and appropriate to achieve and maintain operational control over the entire [US-Canada border also] international land and maritime borders of the United States, to include the following…[SNIP]
[at] least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors
(i) extending from 10 miles west of the Tecate, California, port of entry to 10 miles east of the Tecate, California, port of entry;How long does the government have to secure the southern border in the manner specified? “Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act…,” meaning
(ii) extending from 10 miles west of the Calexico, California, port of entry to 5 miles east of the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry;
(iii) extending from 5 miles west of the Columbus, New Mexico, port of entry to 10 miles east of El Paso, Texas;
(iv) extending from 5 miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to 5 miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry; and
(v) extending 15 miles northwest of the Laredo, Texas, port of entry to the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry.
Okay. There are
ten eleven months left until March April 2008 and the Secretary of Homeland Security must submit a progress report to Congress not later than October 2007--one year after the date of the Act.
How many of the specified measures have been started and how much progress has been made toward completion? According to US Representative Steve King (R-IA) only thirteen miles of the physical barrier have been constructed, with priority having been placed on cameras and ground-based radar, according to the congressman.
Thirteen miles in eight months. Well, at least no one can say that steps have not been taken. :::rolls eyes:::
Contrasting the implementation of Operation Enduring Freedom with the implementation of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (and controlling for the condition already stated), I’d say that we can safely conclude that our betters don’t really want to follow through with the latter. But you knew that already.
The question that remains unanswered—or, rather, remains insufficiently answered is: why not?
AFTERTHOUGHT: I certainly hope that Rep. King isn't referring to the fourteen miles of fence that is already up just south of San Diego and has been there since the 90s.
There has been a stunning decline in the fertility rate in Mexico, which means that, in a few years there will not be many teenagers in Mexico looking for work in the United States or anywhere else. If this trend in the fertility rate continues, Mexico will resemble Japan and Italy - rapidly aging populations with too few young workers to support the economy.
According to the World Bank's 2007 Annual Development Indicators, in 1990 Mexico had a fertility rate of 3.3 children per female, but by 2005, that number had fallen by 36 percent to 2.1, which is the Zero Population Growth rate. [SNIP]
If this trend toward fewer children per female continues, there being no apparent reason for it to cease, the number of young people in the Mexican population will decline significantly just when the number of elderly is rising. As labor markets in Mexico tighten and wage rates rise, far fewer Mexican youngsters will be interested in coming to the United States.The author concludes that illegal immigration from the south is merely a temporary problem. Perhaps. However, some of us may have forgotten this: Mexicans who merely want to work aren't the only illegal immigrants desiring to cross the border.
Again, why are our betters dragging their feet in completing the already-mandatory fence?
UPDATE: Welcome Hot Air readers--and friends.