In this Forbes article, conservatives once again blame immigrants for the problems of the drug war and an insecure border. Here are a few excerpts along with my response:
"I do believe that the concept out of Washington that the border is as secure as it has ever been is not actually factual," said U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican. "The federal government is probably doing more than it has in recent years but the border ... is still not secure."
Poe, a member of the House Judiciary committee's subcommittee on immigration policy and enforcement, said from the start that he didn't want to combine border security and immigration. But since a secure border is the prerequisite many Republicans have set for immigration reform and the goalpost Obama accused Republicans of moving during his May speech in El Paso, immigration remained the unspoken presence at the hearing on the campus of the University of Texas-Brownsville.
This, despite the fact that:
The violent crime rate in El Paso, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent city, is lower than any other large city in Texas with the exception of Plano and significantly lower than Houston, which is in Poe's district.
In addition, this violence is being blamed on immigrants which is simply unfair and untrue. Most of the violence in Mexican border towns is caused by America's war on drugs and the pressure we've put on the corrupt Mexican government and its military to do something about it.
Homicides commonly go unsolved in Mexico, where more than 35,000 have been killed in drug violence in Mexico since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched his crackdown on organized crime.
As long as we continue to fight this drug war and pressure other countries to go along with us, you will continue to see people fleeing the war torn areas for a better life. Furthermore, you will continue to see black markets in human and drug smuggling as long as the government has outlawed both immigration and drugs. (Which is no different than the soaring crime rates and booze smuggling that happened during Prohibition.)
And finally, if you want to apprehend the real criminals (such as those who trespass on farms and ranches along the US/Mexico border), open the border to the peaceful people who are coming here to look for work and a better life. By allowing the honest people to enter in designated check points, you force the criminals out into the open where they will have nowhere to hide.
This idea that we must have a secure border before we can have meaningful immigration reform is putting the cart before the horse. Meaningful immigration reform (and the elimination of government-created black markets) must happen so that we can have a safe border.