TROOPS ON BORDER?
Minuteman Project Showed How Effective Eyes Can Be
By Fred Lingel
Momentum for serious border control is growing as a congressional report recommends deploying the National Guard and another shows how to reduce the number of illegal aliens already here to virtually zero. The report by the staff of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus stated the obvious: As demonstrated by the Minutemen, it said, troops stationed
on the border will virtually eliminate illegal entry.
The deployment of 36,000 National Guard or state militia troops could “dramatically reduce if not virtually eliminate” illegal border crossings, the report said. It said the Minutemen, who shut down a 23-mile stretch of the Arizona border in April, served as a model for a government effort to reclaim the southern border of the United States.
“The tide of illegal crossings on the borders of the United States is beyond unsatisfactory; it is catastrophic,” the report said. “It does not ebb and flow—it only grows. It is rising without measure and eroding the very fiber of our safety, life and culture.
“As we wage the war on terror in foreign lands, we have all our doors and windows open at home. . . . The insanity of such a policy, or silent toleration of such a policy is almost criminal in itself,” it said. “The Minuteman Project demonstrated that illegal immigration on America’s southern border can be dramatically reduced to manageable levels,”
said the report, released May 24.
The Border Patrol failed “through no fault of its rank-and-file enforcement officers” to protect the United States from the flood of illegal aliens, the report said.
The agency’s uniformed leadership should be pointed in a “new direction” because it is in “total denial of the magnitude of the disaster” and—as currently organized, staffed and supported—“cannot be relied upon” to remedy the situation soon.
“The Border Patrol needs new direction from the Department of Homeland Security if it is to shake off the lethargy from years of undermanned frustration,” the report said. “The patrol needs to empower its outstanding field officers to act as necessary to accomplish the patrol’s mission
. . . to energize its leadership to think outside the box.”
Congress and the states should sustain the success of the Minuteman Project—whose members were lightly armed, had no arrest powers, were not paid and traveled to Arizona at their own expense—with the deployment of National Guard or state militia troops in coordination with the Border Patrol, the report said. Sufficient reinforcements exist in current National Guard units and could be put on the border by governors and the secretary of defense within a month, if the political will exists, it said.
On the same day the congressional report was issued, the Center for Immigration Studies issued a report on how to reduce the current level of illegal aliens to virtually zero.
Said Mark Krikorian, the center’s executive director:
“By deterring the settlement of new illegals, by increasing deportations to the extent possible, and, most importantly, by increasing the number of illegals already here who give up and deport themselves, the United States can bring about an annual decrease in the illegal-alien population, rather than allowing it to continually increase.”
The result, he said, would be a shrinking of the illegal population to a “manageable nuisance.” The decrease would come in large part by sealing off the border to new illegal aliens, he said.
“From 1995 to 1999, an average of 165,000 a year went back home on their own after residing here for at least a year; the same number got some kind of legal status, about 50,000 were deported and 25,000 died, for a total of more than 400,000 people each year subtracted from the resident illegal population,” he said.
But “the average annual inflow of new illegal aliens over that same period was nearly 800,000, swamping the outflow and creating an average annual increase of close to 400,000,” he said. He called for “a strategy of attrition.”