There is a conspicuous lack of consensus between Republicans and Democrats—and for that matter liberals and conservatives—about what to do about illegal immigration. Some people support amnesty, others mass deportation, and most something that falls somewhere in between.
The one place where there is agreement, however, is on the need to secure the southern U.S. border. It’s not just a matter of immigration, illegal or otherwise, but of combating criminal enterprises and ensuring national security. The porous U.S.-Mexican border is a haven for a host of nefarious undertakings including human trafficking, drug smuggling, and kidnapping. Some reports even suggest foreign nationals from countries decidedly unfriendly to the United States may have taken advantage of the situation to enter and leave the country undetected.
To combat this problem President Barack Obama rightly mobilized the National Guard to assist the U.S. Border Patrol back in June of 2010. Now, pleading poverty, he’s about to reverse course.
Obama, the Washington Times reports, intends—early next year—to “cut the number of National Guard troops patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border by at least half,” this according to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives whose district shares a border with Mexico and who has been briefed on the plan. His justification for the reduction is budget cuts, the kind forced into place by the failure of the so-called congressional super committee to produce a package of spending restraint as part of a deal earlier this year that gave Obama the increase in the debt ceiling he so desperately wanted.
It is beyond belief that the guy who increased the national debt by $4.2 trillion in just about two years is suddenly so concerned about spending that he would jeopardize U.S. border security over a few comparatively measly dollars. It’s also doesn’t ring true that his hands are so tied by the mandatory spending cuts that he couldn’t find a way to come up with the money if he really wanted to. It may be that with all those guns lying around in the hands of the drug cartels thanks to Attorney General Eric Holder’s “Operation Fast and Furious” that it’s too dangerous to keep the guard on the border but somehow I doubt it.
Congress needs to take the lead if Obama won’t and make sure the promised cuts don’t go into effect.