September 19, 2008

More funds sought for fence on border

The border fence, a structure made of bricks, mortar and pandering, is only half-built, despite appropriations of $2.7 billion since 2006.

And now the Bush administration is asking for another $400 million to complete the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and even that figure may not get the job done by the end of 2008, according to government investigators.

What is even worse, the $400 million, which requires Congressional approval, had been set aside for other projects, including border surveillance, which are far worthier than the fence, which is a prime example of politics trumping common sense.

“If we run out of money, unfortunately the construction will have to stop,” Jayson Ahern, the deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

The budgetary problems illustrate what a fiasco this has been from the start, a project that would do nothing to alleviate the problem that has sparked so much invective and vitriol among those who use unauthorized workers as scapegoats.

Unauthorized immigrants, their desperation matched only by their ingenuity, will continue to find a way into this country, fence or no fence.

And while it does nothing to alleviate the problem it was intended to solve, it will have the unfortunate consequence of creating ill will between sister cities, such as Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, that have traditionally relied on each other for commerce.

“Most folks who speak about this issue are from places that have a lot less to lose than the state of Texas,” state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, told the Brownsville Herald.

“Let's be clear about something: The state of Texas, out of any state in the nation, has the most at stake in this debate,” he added.

Both presidential candidates have been too timid to touch the issue of comprehensive immigration reform during the campaign, but once the new administration is sworn in, it should tackle an issue that will only get worse until it is addressed courageously and intelligently.

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