“Comprehensive” Campaigning in El Paso

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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On Tuesday in El Paso Texas, president Barack Obama delivered his latest 2012 campaign speech, presented as a solution for comprehensive immigration reform. Referring to illegal aliens as “undocumented immigrants,” Mr. Obama’s strategy became plain when, as with his budget speech in April, he once again accused Republicans of being the roadblock to comprehensive reform. It is comprehensive reform he apparently believes a majority of Americans are behind. As with many of Mr. Obama’s speeches, it becomes necessary to separate rhetoric from reality.

Early in the speech, the president stated the obvious. “We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants,” he said, “a nation that welcomes those willing to embrace America’s precepts. That’s why millions of people, ancestors to most of us, braved hardship and great risk to come here — so they could be free to work and worship and live their lives in peace.” Later on, he added that “we are standing at the border today because we also recognize that being a nation of laws goes hand in hand with being a nation of immigrants.”

So far, so good. But then it began. The president, in an apparent attempt to obfuscate the difference between illegal and legal immigrants, sought to characterize the debate, not as a difference between those who are law-abiding and those who are not, but as “the politics of who is and who isn’t allowed to enter this country…about who we are as a people, about what it means to be an American…[So] we’ve seen a lot blame and politics and ugly rhetoric.”

This is nonsense. The American public, much to its credit, has long made the distinction between its welcoming attitude towards those who have come here legally, and their ongoing frustration with those who have not. A Gallup poll reveals that a majority of Americans favor securing the border over dealing with illegals currently here, including a majority of Republicans and a plurality of Independent voters. Democrats were opposed. Yet at the same time, solid majorities in all three groups said illegals “cost taxpayers too much.”

Mr. Obama then tried to characterize the current stalemate as one due to the “usual Washington games” which have resulted in “the mounting consequences of decades of inaction.” Furthermore, the president claimed “a massive underground economy that exploits a cheap source of labor while depressing wages for everyone else” makes immigration reform “an economic imperative.”

This claim is disingenuous at best. Washington addressed comprehensive immigration reform twenty-six years ago. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted amnesty to approximately 2.7 million illegals, purportedly in exchange for stricter border control and a greater crackdown on employers who hired illegals. How successful were the second and third requirements of the act? As Mr. Obama himself admitted, “there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.” And while blaming illegal aliens hired by unscrupulous business owner for depressing wages may be true, it is also true that 9 percent of Americans officially unemployed aren’t making any wages at all — and many jobs that could be had by them are being taken by illegals.

But Mr. Obama continued to fudge reality. Noting that “the greatest impediments to reform were questions about border security” the president claimed that “over the past two years we have answered those concerns,” noting that “the Border Patrol has 20,000 agents — more than twice as many as there were in 2004, and that “[those against reform] wanted a fence” which is “now basically complete.” He spoke of “tripling the number of intelligence analysts..deploy[ing] unmanned aerial vehicles to patrol the skies from Texas to California” and forming a “partnership with Mexico to fight the transnational criminal organizations.”  He claimed the measures are getting results, saying “we’ve seized 31 percent more drugs, 75 percent more currency, and 64 percent more weapons than before,” and that “apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 percent from two years ago.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, provides a reality check. As they reported in February, “[O]f the nearly 2,000 miles separating the U.S. and Mexico, only 129 miles are under ‘full control’ of the Border Patrol. The report found that 873 miles are under ‘operational control,’ which is only 44 percent of the entire Southern border.” Furthermore, the “Mexican border with Texas has the most holes, especially between Fort Hancock and Brownsville, where 70 percent to 90 percent of the state line is at the two lowest levels of protection, ‘monitored’ and ‘low-level monitored.’”

As for the fence being “basically complete,” that is purposefully misleading statement. What is complete is 650 miles of the 670 miles called for under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 signed into law by President George W. Bush in October of that year. What remains unfenced is the other two-thirds of our nearly two thousand miles of southern border. Thus, when Mr. Obama accuses Republicans of “moving the goal posts one more time” because they refuse to accept that the border is secure enough to contemplate comprehensive reform, it is nothing more than campaign rhetoric disguised as factual information.

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  • geez

    Obama refuses to enforce the laws of the land as promised. We must put him on the book tour with Carter the Magnificent in 2012. America can't afford Obama's leadership anymore. Wouldn't it be great to have a man in the White House!?!

    • Jim_C

      Uh, huh, sure. And do you think this "man" would dare stand up to the Chamber of Commerce and the business community that depends on illegal labor? If so, I have a bridge for sale.

  • davarino

    Now I think he has told the lie so much that he actually believes his own BS. It will be nice to get rid of this pretender and have a true believer in office. When he leaves in 2012, what will be his legacy? I am suprised he didnt have his picture Photoshoped into the picture showing him shooting Osama. That would be to obvious, but he was in the helicopter manning the machine gun. But he did have the machine gun ground into little pieces after the raid because he hates guns, except for photo ops.

    Anyway, I want to undo this illegal immigration business just so I can go to a McDonalds and order something without having to point at pictures and give hand signals only to get home and have nothing that I ordered. Is that so wrong? Oh and there is the whole jihadist movement sneaking into the country as well but they dont work at McDonalds so at least I could get a hamburger while I am being blown to bits.

  • Steve Chavez

    HISPANICS, those who have been in the U.S. for generations like here in New Mexico, especially Northern NM like Santa Fe, Espanola, Truchas, Chimayo, Las Vegas, Pecos, Chama, and Manuelitas, have voted in every Democrat in every race except for this past November when they helped the Repubicans vote in New Mexico's first female and first Hispanic Governor, Susana Martinez. Martinez was the DA in Las Cruces in Southern NM and grew up in El Paso. She was extremely tough on illegals and her main campaign was based on following the laws that are now on the books! She fought hard in the Democrat-controlled Legislature to overturn the policy by Bill Richardson, half-Mexican (Not New Mexican but Mexico Mexican) to give Driver's Licences to ILLEGALS! She lost by a close vote with some Democrats joining her which was a miracle here in the Democrat Mafia controlled state! The next election should end that stranglehold on the State!

    New Mexican Hispanics, not Mexicans/Puerto Ricans/Latin Americans, DO NOT SUPPORT ILLEGALS! Letters to the Editor, radio call in shows, protests, gatherings, and after a Catholic mass, DO NOT WANT ILLEGALS! Many of the older generations that I know, who are hardcore Democrats, surprisingly get angry about this issue and want ILLEGALS ARRESTED AND DEPORTED!

    So, when Obama is out campaigning on this issue, most of the supporters are illegals, their children, or the Dream Act illegals! There was a high school protest at a Santa Fe high school and New Mexican Hispanics were telling their ILLEGAL fellow students "to go home!" They are angry because the ILLEGALS are slowing down education since they don't fully understand English! ILLEGALS CAN'T VOTE YET HERE IN NM BUT THE DEAD STILL CAN!

  • Steve Chavez

    The News you won't hear about! FIVE MEXICAN ILLEGALS arrested just last week in Santa Fe in major HEROIN RING! Two MEXICAN illegals arrested in Espanola two months ago dealing heroin. Heroin was being sold inside the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper by street corner vendors and reported by the New Mexican which supports ILLEGALS like today's editorial whose writer has a writing style exactly like the "thrill up my leg" MSNBC hosts! (santafenewmexican.com)

    MEXICAN HEROIN has addicted many our own High School students in Northern New Mexico!

    An ILLEGAL Guatemalan man was invited to live in the home of some fellow Guatemalans here in Santa Fe. He continually RAPED their seven year old daughter! He fled, they say back to Guatemala, but I wrote that if he returned to his own village, he would surely receive justice the old fashioned way!

    An ILLEGAL MEXICAN was arrested in Santa Fe for outstanding warrants and he had two jobs: Lowe's and K-Mart! So he was doing jobs Americans WILL do! He gave the employers false ID and used his Bill Richardson Driver's License too!!!!!!!

  • OLJingoist

    He is really putting the screws to himself.
    He is not campaigning to mainstream Americans He's campaigning to all of America's malcontents. He will rabble rouse along with the LSM to create a world of smoke and mirrors amongst them. They will storm around the country demanding and demanding but the people who pay the bills are not listening.
    This poser has committed enough crimes against the American citizen now. He needs to start to answer for these crimes.
    PS If after sieu's displaying the commie flag while wearing their purple on May 1st is an insult wait until the poser wears his purple jacket the next time he campaigns before them. And tells them again he is one of them.

  • tanstaafl

    I think that the President feels that "undocumented immigrants" are actually "potential Democratic voters". How dare they deny Our Dear Leader more unquestioning followers?!

  • John

    The president and most of us have a complete disconnect on the phrase "immigration reform." For me it means plugging up the borders and stopping illegal immigration, stopping crime, drugs and anchor babies of which is helping to destroy the American welfare system and wrecking havoc on our economy, filling our cities with people who REFUSE to learn the language, are angry by flying Mexican flags from the school flag poles, having very dangerous gangs, etc. Not encouraging.

    For him, reform means opening up the borders and allowing any and everyone to cross and take from the American citizens because he'll get votes for it. Because it isn't "faiirrrrr" that they don't live like us. Total, absolute and complete disconnect. And then there's the far left that supports his agenda of immigration.

    We have an uphill battle, but getting the right person in Congress and the White House is key.

  • Soylent Green

    Even in this column repeats the liberal mantra that we all agree that immigration reform is necessary. We do? It is? Will someone ever explain what exactly is WRONG with our immigration policy other than the obvious fact that we don't enforce the laws we already have?

  • Steve Chavez

    MODERN DAY SLAVERY: Africans were brought here in chains to "do the work Americans wouldn't do! Yes, Mexicans, and others, willingly come here but once here they live in squalid conditions, no work clothes, poor health, no recourse against their bosses, poor and dangerous conditions, little food or water breaks, heat and cold, and are threatened with the most despicable comment of all if they don't work like a "slave": "If you don't like it, go back to Mexico" or "I'll call La Migra!" SICKENING AND DEGRADING!

    Who is more likely to hire illegals to turn them into "SLAVES" and who did not give them their deserved "fair pay and fair treatment?" Democrats who support them coming here illegally or Republicans who do not support them in any way? Why would I, a person who has written about "Modern Day Slavery" then hire one?

    I do believe that they are treated like SLAVES and that, along with being here illegally, is one reason I am totally against them!

    I am also insulted that I, and others, are called "racists" if we dare question this policy!

    I am also insulted by Barack Obama telling Americans and Mexicans that Republicans want to put a moat filled with alligators as if we want those illegals to be eaten alive!

    THIS IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT ISSUE SINCE BOTH SIDES ARE WANTING AN ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAWS CURRENTLY ON THE BOOKS NOT WHAT THEY THINK THE LAWS SHOULD BE!!!

  • Amused

    To solve the problem , and to pre-empt ANY attempt at amnersty for those who violated the law and are here illegally , all need be done is for Republicans [since they claim to have the high ground on this issue ] ENACT A LAW WHICH WILL LEVY A $50,000. fine on ANY employer PER ILLEGAL employee found in their employ also fined for any subcontractor found to have illegal immigrants in their employ .This will remove the emotion , the demagoguery , ideology and politics from the issue . WHO has the cohnes to make that LAW ??? Wanna work here , you come in the FRONT DOOR WITH YOUR CREDENTIALS .

    • Jim_C

      PRECISELY. It needn't be $50,000, more like $20,000, which is the approximate cost to the US taxpayer of processing/deporting said alien.

      But nah, I'd rather make mouth noise about "sealing the borders" blah blah blah blah

  • Amused

    Unfortunately , I dont think any , Dem or Rep have the guts to do what is necessarry . Man we wouldn't even have top pay the projected 10 billion or so to transport the illegals back to their points of origin . Then and only then will we be ready to control the borders .

  • Jim

    Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have any intention of closing the border. The Republican's financiers the US Chamber of Commerce and NAM etc fight along side the ACLU and La Raza (Which the Chamber Finances) to keep the borders completely open and illegal immigration as high as possible.
    The Chamber,the ACLU and Holder have entered against Arizona and Utah in those states attempt to protect their citizen. The Pro Illegal Immigration Organizations are trying to wear down the states with abuse of due process tactics.
    They do not care what happens to the Americans.
    The only thing the voter can do is vote out each and every congressman who wavers on the issue or tries to divert the conversation to any consideration but sealing the border by means of a wall just as Israel has a wall..
    No excuses what so ever. Else get used to program.
    How did McCain make it through?