We need a wall of enforcement on the border

Gov. Rick Perry:

A famous poet once wrote that "good fences make good neighbors." However, this author did not have to deal with the realities of homeland security, where a wall is only as strong as it is fortified by law enforcement personnel.

Building a wall along the entire Texas-Mexico border would not only be cost-prohibitive, it would create a false sense of security. And unless the federal government is willing to put enforcement personnel all along such a barrier — something it has refused to do along a border without fencing — it would be no more successful at keeping illegal immigrants out of Texas than the Rio Grande.

Strategic fencing in high-population areas makes sense. But I would like to see the federal government invest in increased border security operations such as Operation Rio Grande rather than a 1,200-mile wall.

With joint law enforcement operations, we have managed to reduce crime in areas patrolled by border sheriffs by up to 60 percent during surge operations. With fixed wing and rotary assets in the air, more law enforcement boots on the ground and a stronger boat patrol presence, we have virtually shut down drug and human smuggling activity during intensive operations. The success of these operations is the reason I will ask the Legislature for $100 million to secure our border.

As I have said repeatedly, you can't have homeland security without border security, and there is no sense in reforming immigration laws if we cannot enforce them. And I have said equally as often that immigration reform without border security is meaningless.


... neither amnesty nor mass deportation is the answer. The first unfairly rewards those who broke our laws, and the latter is not only unrealistic and unenforceable, but it would devastate our economy.


Along with millions of Americans, I think it is wrong to reward those who broke our laws with citizenship ahead of those who have followed the law and are waiting to enter this country legally. And like millions of Americans, I do not support amnesty.

With a more secure border and a reasonable guest worker program, we can allow guest workers to help build our economy without offering citizenship. Many don't even want to become citizens — they just want to provide for their families back home.

Mass deportation is unnecessary. If we enforce the immigration laws in the work place, those here illegally will engage in self deportation. Without the jobs, they will have no reason to stay.

Fences have the effect of channeling those trying to come here illegally. They can be an effective part of an overall enforcement program and make the job of those enforcing the laws easier. I think the governor understates the effectiveness of a border fence, but he is probably right on the expense and the practical problem of paying for it. The Israelis have shown that a fence can be an effective tool in stopping terrorist attacks. They still have to monitor the fence and the check points. A guest worker program will still be a difficult thing to manage, but it gives us an opportunity to at least attempt to manage the border crossings.

There is also much to be done on the other side of the border. President Calderon has made a strong start in reestablishing the rule of law, and destroying the narco terrorist networks. This is a prerequisite to establishing an economy that can support the work force of Mexico and creating a domestic economy not based on revenue from exporting workers.


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