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Border bamboozlement & betrayal.

President Bush picked Scottsdale, Arizona, as the venue for his October 4 signing of the nearly $34 billion Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. "The bill I sign," said the president, "helps us address one of the central issues facing all states, but particularly a state like Arizona, and that's illegal immigration."

Many of the news reports covering the signing reported that the legislation included $1.2 billion for the construction of 700 miles of fence along our border with Mexico. Television news reports on the story (on both American and Mexican networks) were accompanied by file video footage of workers constructing sections of border fence in the San Diego area, giving the impression that the new 700-mile fence is already going up.

Mexico's Foreign Secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, added to the illusion by condemning plans to build any border barrier as completely "offensive" to Mexico and said his country was even considering challenging the United States' right to do so at the United Nations. Many news stories recycled last year's quotes from Derbez' boss, President Vicente Fox, who called congressional efforts to build a fence "shameful" and compared any such barrier to the communist-built Berlin Wall.

Can it be that finally President Bush has shaken off his incredible fixation with abolishing our borders and flooding America with millions of "temporary guest workers" and amnestied illegal aliens? Don't hold your breath. The White House and the GOP congressional leadership believe they have already obtained everything they wanted from the presidential signing and photo-ops along the border: they have placated the restive masses of American voters, who were demanding with increasing bellicosity that their elected officials secure our disastrous borders. At present, we have only about 75 miles of our 2,100-mile U.S.-Mexico border fenced. That's right, 75 miles.

Facing a revolt from angry constituents and their conservative activist base, House Republican leaders gave in last year and voted for the 700-mile fence construction. In the Senate, however, Majority Leader Bill Frist, Arlen Specter, and other GOP leaders continued to side with the Bush White House and the Teddy Kennedy Democrats in demanding "comprehensive" immigration reform that coupled more promises of future border security enhancement with a front-loaded amnesty and guest-worker program. When it became too obvious to ignore that they would be severely punished in the November elections, the White House and GOP congressional leaders opted for political expediency--and survival. On September 14, the House voted overwhelmingly (283-138) for H.R. 6061, The Secure Fence Act of 2006. The Senate followed suit on September 29, adopting the House measure by a vote of 80 to 19 shortly before adjourning. Now they could return to their states and tell concerned voters that they had fixed our border problems. (See House vote #38 and Senate vote #40 in the "Conservative Index," pages 22-31.)

However, as the Washington Post reported on October 6, "No sooner did Congress authorize construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexico border last week than lawmakers rushed to approve separate legislation that ensures it will never be built, at least not as advertised, according to Republican lawmakers and immigration experts."

The legislation the Post refers to is the appropriations bill mentioned above that President Bush signed on October 4. The Post story reported that "shortly before recessing late Friday, the House and Senate gave the Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of projects--not just the physical barrier along the southern border."

Anyone who carefully read the president's signing statement will note that nowhere did he mention 700 miles of fence. He said: "The bill I sign today includes nearly $1.2 billion in additional funding for strengthening the border, for new infrastructure and technology that will help us do our job. It provides funding for more border fencing, vehicle barriers, and lighting, for cutting-edge technology, including ground base radar, infrared cameras, and advance sensors that will help prevent illegal crossings along our southern border. That's what the people of this country want."

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that funds the Department of Homeland Security, told the Post that probably "at least 300 to 400 miles" will be built. Don't bet even on that, if Sen. Gregg and the president's other "comprehensive reform" allies have their way. Remember, this is the same bunch that passed legislation in December 2004 (which President Bush signed) requiring the hiring of 10,000 additional Border Patrol agents (2,000 per year for five years). In less than two months, President Bush had scaled that back to 210 new agents!

Let your leaders know loud and clear that you know about their deception.
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Title Annotation:THE LAST WORD; George W. Bush signs Homeland Security Act of 2002
Author:Jasper, William F.
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 30, 2006
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