Saturday, December 31, 2005

“Fixed fortifications are monuments to man's stupidity,” George S. Patton, Jr.

Most Republicans are flocking to support the most recent congressional stupidity of their party, H.R. 4437. This bill recently passed by a desperate Republican Congress seeking the shield of a potent wedge issue in advance of the Abramoff tide that may wash away their majority status.

In Southern California, it would be hard to find a more avid supported of H.R. 4427 than Representative Duncan Hunter (CA-52). Hunter not only championed the bill, but he added his own kicker of an amendment to fund and build 700 miles of fence along U.S.-Mexico border.

Hunter is the genius behind a smaller version of this fence in San Diego county that has had one remarkable consequence. It has forced illegals who historically were able to cross the border to work in the U.S., while living in Mexico, to stay permanently in the U.S. and move further from the border. In other word, Hunter's first fence not only did not reduce the number of illegals crossing the border, it also forced a large number of those illegals to stay full time in the United States.

As General George Patton once said, "Fixed defenses are monuments to man's stupidity." And, make no mistake, Hunters $1.5 billion fence project is both a fixed defense and a monument to stupidity.

The North County Times profiles Hunter's fence.

"The fence proposal was approved earlier this month by the House of Representatives as an amendment to a controversial immigration reform bill, which will now go to the Senate for review and possible changes.

In a Thursday interview by phone just before holding a news conference on the border near Brown Field, Hunter said that the fence will not only help to reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the country, it will reduce the threat of terrorism."

Hunter has no evidence to support either contention, but since when have this generation of Republicans ever been burdened with the need to support their public comments with facts? The facts suggest three things:

1. Increase border enforcement has not reduce illegal immigration. Despite massive increases in border patrol forces and fences, more people are crossing the border than ever.

2. The use of fences and drastically stepped up enforcement at border crossing in more heavily populated areas has resulted in increased loss of life along the border and to a more highly organized smuggling industry.

3. Stepped up enforcement and fences have resulted in forcing illegals to stay in the United States for longer periods as their flexibility to cross the border near where they work in the U.S. has been reduced.

Despite strong Democratic opposition to Hunter's fence and R.R. 4427, I'm going to turn to a conservative Republican to provide the most clear and compelling critique to this foolishness. Let's ask Jack Kemp what he thinks?

"In a recent letter to several members of Congress, I urged my fellow Republicans to oppose such ill-advised anti-immigrant policies and not support an anti-immigration movement that is politically unwise and fundamentally at odds with the best tradition and spirit of our nation and our party.

Immigrants coming to America do so because this is still the city on a shining hill for the poor and persecuted. Most aliens come here out of necessity, looking for work, not welfare, and for opportunities that do not exist in their native countries.

In the long run, the best way to fix our immigration system is not to militarize the border or drive undocumented immigrants further into the shadows..."

Jack Kemp gets it. Just as George Patton understood that building wall and hiding behind fortifications wasn't going to result in victory.

The Republican House is fixated on this foolishness because they understand its emotional impact as a wedge issue. And, let's face it, when you are Randy "Duke" Cunningham's closest friend in Congress and co-beneficiary of (Co-conspirator #1) Brent Wilkes' largess, finding a wedge issue to hid behind has to be priority number one.

(Cartoon credit - Steve Breen, San Diego Union Tribune)