Below please find a recent op-ed by Len Munsil.
Immigration and Border Security
by Len Munsil
Immigration and border security are issues that beg for effective answers. No other topics have so captured the attention of the American public and Arizona’s citizens.
Janet Napolitano has had nearly 12 years to address this increasingly dire situation–four as U.S. Attorney, four as attorney general, and nearly four as governor. Her election year promises are hollow. Put simply, she cannot be trusted to provide the security our state demands.
I have recently returned from two days on Arizona’s southern border. This was not a photo-op, but an unannounced, first-hand view of the extreme conditions playing out daily as our nation’s laws are violated.
My guide was a 30-year veteran of law enforcement at Arizona’s border, well-acquainted with the terrain. Traveling in an unmarked car, I spoke with locals who have abandoned their homes and fear for their safety. Drug running and human trafficking are rampant. Frenzied driving while attempting to outmaneuver border agents has been the cause of fatal accidents. Identity theft and forged documents have become essential business ventures, facilitating many border crossers in their quest for social security cards, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates.
Meanwhile, Janet Napolitano repeatedly vetoes meaningful legislation to deal with these serious matters, ignoring her responsibilities to our citizens. An estimated 5,000 people cross our borders illegally each day. More than 5 million people have crossed illegally since Janet Napolitano has taken office. In a post 9-11 world, securing our borders is a moral imperative.
A primary focus of government is to provide for the security of its citizens. In the 20th century we liberated Europe twice and put a man on the moon. Do we seriously believe that in the 21st century we are unable to secure a few hundred miles of Arizona’s southern border?
Technological advances exist to ensure border security becomes a reality. The people of our state are already paying increased costs in health care, escalating crime rates and failing schools due to the enormous influx of those illegally entering our country. We are ready to invest state resources on the prevention side, stemming the illegal tide. What is lacking is a governor with the resolve to make it happen.
Napolitano has failed our state. No matter what promises she makes in this election year, she cannot be trusted to provide necessary safeguards. She recently vetoed a bill to provide ground radar. Her veto stamp was applied to funding measures to deploy Arizona National Guard troops.
Enforcement of employer sanctions, effective use of technology, physical walls where appropriate, and utilization of manpower can effectively staunch the illegal flow. Our goal should be to commit resources to the border in time to deter and stop illegal crossings. If we wait until they cross, Arizona taxpayers become responsible for processing, housing, feeding and clothing those in our custody.
Overwhelmingly, Hispanic-Americans support secure borders and oppose illegal immigration. About half supported Proposition 200. While we must secure our borders, we must also be careful in our use of rhetoric. Even as we promote border security we must remember to respect the dignity and humanity of all people. A strong and secure border will deter dangerous efforts to cross the desert, some involving young children, and will ultimately save lives south of the border.
Simple justice requires rejection of any form of amnesty. There can be no policy that allows those who have come illegally to gain an advantage over those who have waited in line to enter legally, from whatever country.
Janet Napolitano has demonstrated a woeful lack of resolve to address this crucial issue. She favors providing drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants, while mocking the effectiveness of a wall with her comment, “You show me a 50-foot wall, I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.”
It is past time for a reasonable and principled approach to securing our borders. The people of Arizona deserve more than record-breaking vetoes and meaningless campaign oratory.