• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Fixing Border Security

    The Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this week that it completed the 500th mile of the congressionally mandated border fence — 170 miles short of its goal. In 2005, then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for the fence. President-elect Obama now says “he wants to evaluate what’s working on the border as he considers whether to continue building the 670 miles of fencing.” While Obama undertakes this evaluation, he should remember that there is no silver-bullet remedy for our nation’s failed immigration policies.

    Illegal immigrants are straining federal and state budgets. Local social services find it hard to meet growing needs. Recent attempts to fix these problems died largely because they tried to accomplish too much. But several practical steps can help to achieve the ultimate goal of making America free, safe and prosperous:

    • Secure America’s Borders: The United States must have a complete border security system — from the point of origin, in transit, at the border, and within the United States — that strengthens all of the activities, assets and programs necessary to secure America’s borders. This includes a thorough examination of border security efforts to determine which ones are working and which are not. While Congress mandated 700 miles of fencing, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should assess the need for border infrastructure according to the priorities and requirements identified by the Border Patrol, not political fiat. This means that additional infrastructure should be built only where it is efficacious. Federal operations should be coordinated more closely so that they complement the efforts of state and local governments.
    • Do Not Accept Amnesty: Those who enter, remain in, and work in the United States illegally are in ongoing and extensive violation of our laws. This has a corrosive effect on civil society and undermines confidence in the immigration process and the rule-of-law principles that govern our nation. Forgiving or condoning such violations by granting amnesty will only increase the likelihood of further illegal conduct. Indeed, after legislation granted a general immigration amnesty in 1986, the unlawful population in the United States quadrupled. Failure to enforce immigration laws is deeply unfair to the millions who obey the law and abide by the administrative requirements that must be observed to enter the country legally.
    • Enforce the Law: We need to enforce the immigration and workplace enforcement laws that already exist. In his July 8 speech in Washington, Obama was right to recognize that immigrants who enter our country illegally are breaking the law. Federal, state and local law enforcement must be allowed to enforce immigration laws in ways that are consistent with their legal authority. In that same month of July, a report by the Center for Immigration Studies found that recent enforcement efforts have succeeded in decreasing the illegal immigration population by 11%. Further reforms must allow sharing of Social Security no-match information in a way that will protect privacy rights while allowing the DHS to target employers who intentionally violate the law by hiring illegal workers and giving the government incorrect information.
    • Strengthen Citizenship and Recognize English as Our National Language: Each nation has the responsibility — and obligation — to determine for itself what legal requirements will be established for immigration, naturalization and citizenship. According to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services report released yesterday, some districts are conducting the oath of citizenship ceremony entirely in Spanish. Immigration reform legislation should recognize English as the national language because clear communication, mutual deliberation, public education, expanding commerce and common civil principles demand that citizens share one language.
    • Reform the Current Visa Programs and Services: Now more than ever our country needs policies that will encourage economic growth. A recent study shows that more than 25% of the tech companies founded in the United States between 1995 and 2005, were founded or co-founded by foreign-born entrepreneurs. Our existing visa policies must be reformed in a manner that appropriately addresses concerns regarding security, sovereignty, citizenship and economic growth. It is also necessary that any improvements in the current visa systems include oversight measures to ensure that visa holders leave the United States when their visas expire.

    History has demonstrated that the Band-Aid solution of amnesty simply serves to incentivize law breakers. It is imperative that the next administration address the many serious problems that plague our border security efforts and threaten to destroy our immigration system. Our border must be secured through a systematic approach and better integrated into the broader homeland security enterprise to ensure that America is free, safe and prosperous for years to come.

    Quick Hits:

    • According to Rasmussen Reports, 71% of U.S. voters say that cigarette companies should not be held liable for health problems that current smokers develop.
    • According to a Pentagon report, the Georgian military suffers from widespread mismanagement and unqualified leadership, and is in need of extensive reforms to become a modern fighting force.
    • Massachusetts’ new marijuana law allows anyone caught with an ounce or less of marijuana to escape without even a fine or citation.
    • The Washington Post is accepting only positive Obama ads for its special inauguration edition.
    • The Heritage Foundation will deeply miss Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and first president of Heritage. He died early this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    30 Responses to Morning Bell: Fixing Border Security

    1. Sarah, Union Gap, Wa says:

      Illegal immigration is a real problem here in Eastern Washington State & our Govenor or lawmakers are not offering a solution. We are signing an inatitive for voters I-409. This will make this state abide by immigration national laws. All we can do is try & try again.

    2. Cypress, Texas says:

      My prediction is that immigration policy under the new administration will remain a myriad of confusion, ignorance, unfulfilled promises, and rudderless. Both parties on an endless quest for Latino voters will surrender their very souls at the altar of expediency.

    3. John, Mechanicsville says:

      I'm sick of hearing about bailing out failed business. How many times and how many airlines have had to file for bankruptcy over the years and they are still flying. This whole process is a giant red herring. Yes, one of the lessons learned from the great depression is that government has to infuse a lot of money quickly to turn in around. What we didn't learn is NOT to give it to failed business, but to give it to the private citizen so they can continue to live decently. Sure it's a handout but the business world will recover faster than the individual person can as there has to be someplace to get a job. Bailing out corporations and unions just line the pockets of members of Congress. It does nothing to stimulate the economy!

    4. Burt Columbus NM says:

      The solution is simple but unpopular with business, jail the people that hire illegals and have their property sold at auction to pay for enforcement. The businesses that make money with cheap illegal labor should pay, not the taxpayers. Anything else is a joke. The U.S. could pour money into a fence, more agents etc it won't do any good. For example the amount of money spent in Luna Co is obscene paying every illegal a $100,000 to stay home would be cheap.

    5. Leo, Gretna says:

      maybe some of the millions trying to protect us from illegals should have been spend protecting us from Wall Street money changers.

    6. Jim, Random Lake, WI says:

      I believe at this point this country and the government has reached a point of no return, the government and its inhabitants have become so corrupt that they no longer work for the people.

      Your vote almost don't mean anything anymore because every politician that gets into office becomes a member of the existing Mafia in the White House and feathers their nest with the play for pay attitude. I hate to be so pessimistic but the only way out of this mess is to purge most of the Al Capones out of the Bod a Bing House in any way possible and start over. Think about it we are getting to the point where we are dictated to by the media, environmentalists, judges that legislate from the bench, our corrupt school/indoctrination system that is turning out kids that can't think for themselves and the list goes on and on. In the not to distant future the Constitution will become an irrelevant document.

      HELLO 1984

    7. LVKen7@Gmail.com - says:

      2 Things today.

      NO need for a border fence.

      Jail anybody that employees them,

      and they will stop coming.

      2. The Devil Made me do it excuse

      can be changed to –

      Cigarette Companies Made me do it.


    8. Dixon Webb says:

      (1) America can not be made secure within a fence.

      (2) The only remedy for illegal immigration is to make it less attractive.

      (3) The only way to do that is to enforce the law with appropriate penalties.

      Case closed.

    9. Darvin Dowdy says:

      The huge mistake that the GOP has made was to assume that the illegal immigration/border problem had "gone away". By nominating a Pro-Amnesty, Transnational Progressive candidate the GOP [especially northern, out of touch w/reality Repub's] doomed our party and set in stone the outcome of 11/4/08. Millions upon millions of Civic Conservatives have become exasperated and simply dropped out of the process. They either Stayed at Home or protest voted for some other candidate. The closer the GOP moves towards Transnational Progressivism, the wider the gap will become between themselves and the "former" Base. DD

    10. Dave H. says:

      Cut off the jobs and services and they will leave , they are leaving Missouri in Droves and moving to other states with No Laws against Illegal Immigration !!!

    11. Ardell Nagle Rexburg says:

      A fence is not the whole solution. It's true we have to inforce the laws that are now on the books, but we need Mexico to take a tougher stance also. In my state every time someone is arrested for drugs almost always they are ispanic. We need to get the ispanics who live here legally to speak up and give us their ideas and educate us on how the illegals are working the system. After all those who are commiting the crimes and here illegally make the rest look bad. We need to stop giving them a free ride. The doctors nurses and clinics that treat these people for free with no documents, turn them in. Maybe they will get the hint.

    12. Barb -mn says:

      I just heard today, the Roman Catholic church is having an "immigration day" on Jan.4? And due to failed immigration policies? It's only failed because the catholic church is appeasing the law breakers. The law breakers self-impose sympathies toward their acts of having children in this country, the children are legal and the parents cry when they get busted?

      It was their choice to come illegally and their consequence put on their own children. Now, the children cannot buy property in Mexico but the illegals can come and go and do whatever is at their convenience on our dollar. There are LEGAL immigrants from Mexico. I wonder how they have the energy to break the laws of America but don't have the energy to come over legally? And in what way is the Roman catholic church doing God's will by appeasing LAW BREAKERS? The catholic church does more of man's will then they do God's and I left the catholic church because of.

      Jesus does NOT appease or sympathize with criminals. He empathizes and inspires them to do the right thing and that being to follow the laws of a CIVIL SOCIETY. That being not to infringe on the lives of others. The catholic church wants everybody's sympathy and money of course, to this expensive illegal act of others. It's wrong.

    13. Rob says:

      Right on the money. And furthermore, let the Border Patrol Agents do their job the way they understand it needs to be done and be consistent, not a border enforcement plan based on political "knee jerks." Bringing back a real quest worker program for qualified workers, and eliminating the things that attract illegals will help out a whole lot.

    14. Delaware Bob says:

      There is no doubt that this illegal immigration has caused more problems that anyone could have ever imagined. These problems WILL NOT go away until each and every ILLEGAL ALIEN is out of this Country and back in their own country where they belong.

      Then you have these so called activist groups that want AMNESTY for these ILLEGAL ALIENS. It would be absolute suicide for this Country if AMNESTY were granted to the 20 million or so ILLEGAL ALIENS. We have more and more people out of work everyday and they want to add another 20 million to this Country? I say, "NO"!

      If AMNESTY were ever granted to these 20 million ILLEGAL ALIENS, you can bet big money that 3 years from now, there would be ANOTHER 3-5 million ILLEGAL ALIENS demonstrating on our soil for AMNESTY. I don't wish to lose my privilege on this site, so I will refrain from using the words that fit here.

      I believe it is time for all 50 States to pass a State law, like Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and a few others. It is time for these ILLEGAL ALIENS to go back to their home country and get out of this Country. The problems they are causing will not go away until the ILLEGAL ALIENS are out of here. I think that is plain to see. NO ILLEGAL ALIEN HAS A RIGHT TO BE IN THIS COUNTRY FOR ANY REASON!

    15. luhut,Indonesia says:

      the long term program is recovery income parcapita personal benefit of neighborhood so they will be setled in own countries. or let me come to USA as immigrant but prepare the good program or knowledge so man power willbe usedfull for all support as middle layer working and base layer worker.

      tank you

    16. Pingback: Morning Bell: Fixing Border Security » The Foundry | crmcourses.com

    17. Dennis Aderholt Soci says:

      Immigration is what built this country, but it was done in a legal manner. the illegals need to go. If you want to come in this contry and be a productive citizen, do it the right way. immigration laws need to be enforced and the borders secured. Obama must see to these issues and the dems must stop turning a blind eye to these needs.

    18. HernandezUSA, CA says:

      "We need the SAVE ACT and E-verify used for every business and NOT Amnesty.

      E-verify does not discriminate against RACE, Religion, SEX or physically capability only your Citizenship and your LEGAL right to be and work in United States. If we can stop Predatory business owners from hiring then the Illegal Aliens will not Stay and return to their native Countries.

      This ISSUE is not about RACE, but Governments Federal/State/LOCAL not doing their jobs, because big and small business owners want cheap workers and no labor laws to bother with.

      Its called GREED!

      Both Liberals and Conservatives need to take some pride in our Country and protect it from all invading nations citizens and corporate greed. Please, NO IMMIGRANT BASHING or HATE Crimes.

      HATE only feeds the single RACE agenda groups for Open Borders and the Media

    19. John Green,USA, writ says:

      Since we already have just about as many of their cicizens as they have left, why dont we just ANNEX the whole country????

    20. Mavis Holcomb, Canyo says:

      We here in Southern Oregon have an illegal immigration problem, too. Many of us here would very much like to see a fence built, and put some of the people who are on welfare to work patrolling it solving a welfare problem too.

    21. W Howard Baker, Bard says:

      This will be a difficult battle as even some Republicans are blinded by cheap labor like Senator John McCain. He is especially sneaky and a liar. The Democrats, of course, are looking for a solid voter base of uneducated, cheap labor.

      One thing that has been left out is the religious visa program. Through this program, which reduces the checks due to the fact that the applicant is, theoretically, a man of the cloth, so to speak, Saudi Arabia has been bringing in to the U.S. militant, remembering that Islam is a theo-political ideology that is based in violence, Wahhabi, the most fundamental sect of all, Imams to preside over the Mosques that they have built. These Imams are so radical that even a lot of Muslims are afraid to go to the Mosque to worship. Since it is ethical under Sharia Law to stockpile firearms in a Mosque with the Imam's permission, it would be a probability that these Mosques are virtual ammo dumps. These Mosques have been built all over the country and please remember that the men in those airplanes on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia and had current American visas.

    22. atlantalisa, Suwanee says:

      I cannot understand why the state officials let this go on. The illegal's come to our states they committ crimes, tax the welfare system, cram the emergency rooms, tear up our stores & enter the schools with language barrier that we have to provide interpreting for and yet, they work hard, they do jobs nobody else wants to do, they are by all means not all bad, they want a better life. But with that being said, they need to be here leagally. My family came here,learned the language, acclimated into the USA because they wanted to be Americans. Bottom line is if you enter our country it should be with papers to be here….

    23. John, Oakland says:

      I am not fond of a fence. A fence that is built, is built to be gone over, under or around. However, since the time and money has been spent, finish the 700 miles, incoroporate other means and let's take a look at it "to determine which…are working and which are not." Clear enforcement of immigration laws is what is needed. Mr. Chertoff himself was caught up because his contractor failed to use the tools provided to employers. One or both men should be subject to fine. That would set an example of someone who does more than give lip service to this being a country of rules and laws. Finally, sir, the national language debate is not worthy of effort. It is understood that by being in a foreign country and not learning the dominant language places limits on one's advancement. If they are fine with that, then keep government out of the matter. People who often champion small government often use the government as their weapon. If people want to pay their fees, file their paperwork, remain honest pay their taxes and obey the laws, then what business is it of anyone else's what language they speak?

    24. Timothy A. Madden, L says:

      It's time we conservatives accepted some responsibility for supporting the United States' policy of an open southern border instead of acting like we had nothing to do with it.

      For decades United States' policy was, "Come on in, illegal immigrants. We'll do virtually nothing to stop you, because our businesses can use your inexpensive labor. Hey! Come in 'amigos'!"

      That was the message sent to Mexico and Central America by our ineffective border security enforcement. It was a message everyone understood, because they are not stupid and, as I learned in Public Administration 101, "pubic policy is what government decides to do — or not to do!"

      Not doing anything to protect our borders for so many years, when we could have, evidenced that our national policy was to invite illegals into our work force wholesale. That was our policy for years. And no one can deny it because our lack of enforcing immigration laws proves it.

      Conservatives voiced no distaste for this policy in decades past and did not aggressively demanded border security until closing the border became an important objective, given the terrorist threat. Some voices may have cried out in the wilderness, but there was no organized conservative response.

      Let's take our medicine like men and women. We must take some responsibility for the open border policy we'd now like to drop on the door jam of our liberal bretheren. That dog won't hunt.

      However, all is not what it seems. Rational conservative idealogy and practical conservative politics might join here in providing a solution to the illegal immigrant problem.

      Shutting down the border is not only a national security priority, it is also the essential element in devising a final-solution to the in country illegal immigrant problem.

      No one can reasonably argue that permitting a million or more undocumented and anonymous aliens into the country is wise policy, especially now that El Quaida extremists pretend to be Latino. The border must be sealed by whatever means neccessary.

      In same fashion, no reasonable person can argue that those alien immigrants, invited through our long standing open-border policy should be hunted down and shovelled back to countries they had the spirit to leave in search of a better life for themselves and their families … just as the Pilgrims, Irish, Italians, Germans, Poles, and Vietmamese did … Who, after all, granted the Pilgrims a right to Plymoth Rock?

      Let's define our cohorts then. I speak now from experience.

      Thousands of illegal aliens have lived and worked in Las Vegas for years. They own their own homes (another example of our permissive illegals policy). Work in the construction, banking, and service industries. Pay Social Security taxes (which many will never get back), property and sales taxes, like other American citizens. They are not gang bangers or welfare cheats. Given their religious, family, and social values, they are natural conservatives. All it would take is sensitivity to their plight to move them to the right.

      And finally, "por favor," I don't need to hear the sophist argument that permitting "illegals" to remain in the United States through amnesty somehow rewards law-beakers."

      Let me pretend for a moment to be the Christ, writing in the sand. "Let that citizen who has never broken the speed limit, run a red light, fudged inventory to lower business income, enforced a morally reprehensible contract, or overlooked potential crimes because of personal interest, (lawbreakers all), let them be the first to cast stones at the illegal immigrant."

      And finally, as far as those who resent and fear Hispanics, demanding they all be deported: I say, their prejudice is obvious.

      Once the criminal population common to every culture is removed, illegal aliens are largely Christian, family oriented, and success motivated Americans, who deserve a legal existence in the United States in order to formalize and justify the unwritten policy of acceptable illegal residency the United States followed for decades.

      These undocumented ones do not require citizenship. Not for some years at least. In fact, a reasonable period of time (seven years perhaps) should pass between formal recognition of residency and opportunity for citizenship.

      Such time frame might permit their conservative values to reconstruct, even though we Republicans destroyed their dreams by sinking "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" in deference to Americans who don't understand their immigrant status.

      It is really amazing that the most insipid RINO conservative, John McCain, who did not understand that banning legal sports betting on NCAA basketball games in Las Vegas could be called the "Mafia Bookmakers' Securities Act" sensed the conservative potential of the Hispanic vote.

      Be that as it may, law abiding, hard working illegals should receive permanent resident credentials once they've passed a background check, if only because we encouraged them to come here and utilized their labor, in some cases for decades.

      As for the gangsters, crooks, welfare cheats, etc., they should be deported ASAP. This will not be easy. Many of the rotters are part of good families, who may not want to give up their brothers, sisters, cousins, neices and nephews to ICE, and the moral conflicts would make good literature.

      Still, such ethical ambivalence is part of progress, and a law enforcement effort to deport gangsters, welfare cheats, and lawbreakers might throw a bone to the Aryans who lust for Draconion but impractical measures.

      I have more policies to accomplish this objective, but I've already drooled a mouthful and await what I hope will be some intelligent response. Let's see what develops.

    25. Lydia, Washington, D says:

      I would like to add to this interesting conversation the fact that this "cheap labor" is only cheap for employers. The rest of us are subsidizing their cheap labor when our tax dollars are used to provide "free" medical care, welfare benefits (WIC etc.), public education (and transportation to and from), "affordable" housing to illegals and/or their offspring. I believe this is a huge confidence trick, and the debate is further skewed by appeals to humanitarian ideals. What is "humanitarian" to one group is, in effect, penalizing an even larger group: American taxpayers. I know I will get flamed for this, but I also believe that legal immigrants should not receive any benefits whatsoever until they have been here long enough to naturalize. Why should people who have been laid off so their employer can hire a cheaper legal immigrant worker have to pay taxes to subsidize the newcomers?

    26. robert colo springs says:

      i believe immigration has been the one biggest failures of the bush administration. the borders chould have been sealed right after 911 with all the politacal capital pres. bush had we could have done this with no problem.

    27. Don McCowen Phoen says:

      Please send me a copy of the Constition.

      Don McCowen

      4119 East Keresan Street

      Phoenix, AZ 85044


    28. Carol, AZ says:

      For those of you who do NOT live on a Border States you must understand

      The fence IS only one of many solutions sicne we have over two thousands of border area. .

      It HAS HELPED TO SLOW the rush to OUR AZ BORDER ..

      It has help the under- man border agents to effectively do their job.and ALSO increased their safety for doing an exceedingly dangerous job.

      Some have been killed, and many wounded..

      For those of you who do not live on a Border State, nor understand the real issues , the blood bath on the TX, AZ borders continues every day.

      Their is at least one kipnapping in PHX everyday for ransom which is related to the drug Cartels hold here inside the U.S. …

      For those of you who do not understand the real issue , our Borders are ont secured and have not been since 911 , when all promises were made to do so.

      The excellent reporting by National Geographic, on "Border Wars" is the only clear, description of what really happenes regarding this rarely discussed issue , from the mainstream press.

      The MX and S. A., Cartels, have out gun us,

      have endless man power and endless .$$$$.

      Their armys' are better epuipped then the MX police and MX military.

      Many within their ranks are X -Mexican police now getting paid more $$$ by the drug Cartels , who's job is to get the drugs across the U.S. Border .

      As the choke points for crossings become increasingly smaller, the fence increased in length , tunnels sealed , submairines for transport destroyed, and increased border security at the crossings using military hardware finally received ,i.e. ( night vision, etc.) interdiction has greatly increased .

      For those of you who do not understand the entitlement dollars in the millions that are gifted to states like CA , NV for, "all programs under banner of "entitlements" that Pelosi is getting from the Federal GOV't under the banner of "cheap LABOR," YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW DEEP THIS DUPLICITY CUTS over illegal immigration…i.e. GREED..

      This would Also, incliuded "Hotel Harry's Read , of NV.

      After all, who do think cleans, all those Casino hotels.?

      And if do you "fine" the businesses that hire them, ( as we now do in AZ)voted on by AZ citizens , enforce E-verify Nationally , which we also voted and passed here for Sates' rights

      which was ..voted on and passed four times, by both party's and blocked by our leadership the problem nationally on many levels would be greatly reduced.

      For " ALL" who have lived here illegally for decades, in the "shadows", they don't get amnesty.

      They get one chance (time limits) to poney-up the money for citizenship , became legal, and do the right thing, in the county they now call home that has supported them.

      That would include paying us back by paying into the system legally for all the entitlemnts cost that have broken the fiscal backs of all border states.

      They maybe poor but they are not stupid.


      Our morgues are spilling over with un-identified men, woman, and children who did cross here in AZ,, were abandon in our hostile desert areas by the "Coyotes"that smuggled them across , taking their money, and leaving them to die.

      These were people with family's, many with small children who were left to died from exposure, lack of water and lack of food.

      Sadly they will never be claimed by anyone since I'D' is impossible.

      But you will never hear about side of the issue .

      Putting a human face on the " throw away humanity," for profit, never dicussed by our mainstream press, or our D.C. leadership.

      Duplicity and deceitt on this issue cuts deep.

      The system must be reformed state by state and not be left-up to D.C. to reslove this issue. Get involved in your state and figured it out.

    29. Pingback: Morning Bell: An Appetite for Real Immigration Reform | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    30. Van Peski, Deming, N says:

      National Sovereignty, " An Infantry Man's View Point". As in taking a hill, or any other defensive position we first prepare our selves mentally, pretending we no longer exist until our objective has been achieved.

      Then prior to mourning our dead, or even celebrating our survival and success, we prepare for a counter attack. Simultaneously pondering the circumstances that allowed us to succeed, while preparing ourselves for those circumstances that would cause us to fail.

      In summation, it is a nations sovereignty that assures said nation of being tenable as a defensive position. To disregard said sovereignty is as despicable as it is cowardly.

      Will omitting the point of law make the point of the bayonet inevitable?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.