President Obama will send up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the Southwest border and seek increased spending on law enforcement there to combat drug smuggling after demands from Republican and Democratic lawmakers that border security be tightened.
But the move also reflected political pressure in the president’s own party with midterm election campaigns under way and with what is expected to be a tumultuous debate on overhauling immigration law coming up on Capitol Hill.
Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican whose opponent in a coming primary has relentlessly criticized him on immigration, said Tuesday that he welcomed Mr. Obama’s move but that it was “simply not enough.”
Mr. McCain called for the introduction of 6,000 National Guard troops to police the Southwestern border, with 3,000 for Arizona alone. In a letter to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, two Obama administration officials said that the proposal infringed on his role as commander in chief and overlooked gains in border security.
That's because none of this has to do with security or illegal immigration. It only has to do with political capital.
Isn't it odd how "illegals" weren't mentioned at all in 2009, but suddenly this past spring, after Arizona passed its "fascist, nativist" immigration law (any "brown ones" suspected of being in the country illegally "must produce papers,"), we're being besieged again down on the border? And politicians opposed to Arizona's racial profiling are now receiving death threats?
Rick Nelson, a senior fellow who studies domestic security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that the additional spending could improve security over the long term but that the National Guard deployment was not sufficient for “an overwhelming change that will change the dynamics on the border.”
“This is a symbolic gesture,” he said. “At the end of the day, the face of border security is still going to be Customs and Border Protection, the law enforcement community. It’s not going to be the National Guard.”
Precisely. Illegal immigration is fundamentally a law enforcement problem, not a military problem, but like our knee-jerk response to terrorism (send in more troops), this has nothing to do with solving or preventing crime or illegal border crossings.
It's only about posturing, posing, and who can look dumber (er, tougher) in the eyes of the voting electorate.
In that sense, there is a bi-partisan consensus on idiocy and immigration.