It's Sunday, a time to put your feet up and relax or go out and play a bit...you know, forget about the stresses and problems of the nation for a few hours. So, I'm gonna talk about Illegal Immigration and Border Security and how it's, at least in part, your fault. Those are nice, lightweight issues, the kind you don't have to get too worked up about (now, if that isn't guaranteed to pull in readers, I don't know what is).
The US/Mexican border is nearly 2,000-miles long, more than 100,000 square miles. That's about twice the distance between New York and Miami, so it's a lot of border we're talking about here. Can you imagine trying to stop everyone from crossing the East Coast's Route 95 everywhere between New York and Miami? You couldn't do it...not with walls, not with electronic sensors or the entire United States Army. And despite what the Tea Party says, it's not like no one's trying. Here's some statistics from the Arizona Republic newspaper, in the State where the problem is the worst:
"• Today, there are 22,800 U.S. Border Patrol agents, five times the number in 1993. About 17,000 agents work along the Southwest corridor, double the number from seven years ago. They are supported by National Guard troops, local police and thousands of port officers using everything from drug-sniffing dogs to gamma-ray machines.
• In Arizona, the primary smuggling corridor on the U.S.-Mexico line, there are now more than 3,600 Border Patrol agents, about 10 for every mile of boundary with Mexico.
• The budget this fiscal year for Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency charged with guarding U.S. borders, is about $17 billion, double what was spent in 2003.
• The number of illegal immigrants arrested by Border Patrol has plummeted by almost two-thirds in just five years, a combined result, authorities say, of fewer people trying to cross because of the economy and increased security."
Look at that last bullet-point. The Border Patrol says arrests have "plummeted" by two thirds in five years, yet according to Arizona, illegal immigrants are still pouring through their state, but less people are coming to look for work. The thing is, I believe both those facts.
So, over the last seventeen years we've both doubled the amount of money we spend on border security and and increased the number of Border Patrol agents by 500%- in Arizona, where the biggest problem is, that's an agent every fifty two feet, but it's only getting worse. Why? Two reasons, and they both have to do with money.
I was in my local pizza joint last week, chatting with Brittany, the cute girl at the register (I'm old enough now to chat with cute young girls and be considered harmless by them...sigh.) while I was paying. I told her how sore I was from weed-whacking all day. "Someone's gotta do it.", she said philosophically. "Yeah," I agreed, "but I just wish his name was Manuel instead of Chuck." She laughed and said, "We have a Jose, ourselves." The point is that lots of law-abiding people use immigrant labor, legal or otherwise, to cut grass, empty garbage cans, pick fruit, whatever. And quite honestly, they're not the problem. They work hard and cheaply, are usually polite, keep their heads down and spend money here. You won't find enough Americans willing to do that work and anyway, you won't pay the higher prices they would cause either. We really can't survive without immigrant labor, legal or otherwise.
No. The problem is the drug-runners, the guys with guns coming here and setting up gangs to distribute their product. A guy sneaking in to pick tomatoes isn't gonna shoot a Border Patrol agent, but one who's hauling a couple hundred pounds of pot or kilos of coke is. And why are they hauling all those drugs? So Americans can buy them. We're the problem, not some guy trying to make eight bucks an hour for back-breaking work. A substantial portion of our society wants the bad guys to get across the border.
Back to the Arizona Republic: "Drug seizures continue to increase, though it is unclear how much of that reflects increased trafficking and how much is a result of improved enforcement...According to Alonzo Peña, deputy assistant secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, each year $19 billion to $29 billion from illegal-drug and human trafficking is smuggled from the United States into Mexico, where it is used by drug cartels to finance their violent operations."
Some estimates say 15-20% of Americans smoke pot on a more or less regular basis and 42% at least smoked it sometimes. 16% have done coke. As for meth., it's not huge problem and a lot of it gets cooked here at home; oddly enough the highest usage occurs in the traditionally Red States, maybe because it's cheaper than coke, or maybe because there's shit to do in Minnesota or Arkansas. Still, the point is, if Americans weren't using drugs, or even if at least pot were legally grown and taxed here, the borders would probably be safer, if not actually less used.
So instead of worrying about migrant workers coming here so we can get cheap snap peas and empty garbage cans, maybe we should be looking inward at ourselves. We look on at the killings in places like Juarez, Mexico in horror, but truth is, we're the cause of it. They're killing each to sell us drugs. If you or you're kids are gonna get high (and you both are, come on, admit it), your motto should be "Buy American".
Unconfirmed Sources political satire and
news story parodies as represented above are written as satire or parody.
They are, of course, fictitious.