Congress Backing Off On The Fence

by John Hawkins | December 18, 2007 8:30 am

Back in May of this year, I polled bloggers[1] on a number of questions including, “Do you believe that the wall on the border will ever actually be completed?” How did it break down? 10% of them said “yes,” the fence will be completed and 90% of them said “no,” it wouldn’t be.

Well, the Democratic Congress, with the help of a few Republicans, hasn’t blocked the wall yet, but they have deliberately reduced its effectiveness[2],

Congress last night passed a giant new spending bill that undermines current plans for a U.S.-Mexico border fence, allowing the Homeland Security Department to build a single-tier barrier rather than the two-tier version that has worked in California.

…”The fact that this was buried in a bloated, 3,500-page omnibus speaks volumes about the Democrats’ unserious approach on border security and illegal immigration,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “Gutting the Secure Fence Act will make our borders less secure, but it’s consistent with the pattern of behavior we’ve seen all year from this majority.”

The 2006 Secure Fence Act specifically called for “two layers of reinforced fencing” and listed five specific sections of border where it should be installed. The new spending bill removes the two-tier requirement and the list of locations.

…Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas Republican who has led the charge to change the 2006 law, said she wants to give Homeland Security more flexibility and wants local officials and landowners to be consulted.

“Senator Hutchison believes that Customs and Border Protection can better decide how to utilize limited resources to secure the border than a congressman from Maine,” said Matt Mackowiak, Mrs. Hutchison’s spokesman. He said double-tier fencing has worked in San Diego, but it might not be the right solution for the entire fence.

But Rep. Peter T. King, who sponsored the Secure Fence Act, said if the goal was to give DHS flexibility, the senators have failed.

“This is either a blatant oversight or a deliberate attempt to disregard the border security of our country,” the New York Republican said. “As it’s currently written, the omnibus language guts the Secure Fence Act almost entirely. Quite simply, it is unacceptable.”

…Rep. Duncan Hunter, who crafted the language to build double-tier fencing in California, said the changes would be “a significant step backwards.”

“Pulling back from the double-fence mandate is a prescription for failure that will only allow more smugglers, criminals and illegal aliens to enter the United States through our land border with Mexico,” said the California Republican, who also is running for his party’s presidential nomination.

This is why you we were right to fight so hard against the comprehensive illegal immigration bill. It’s because you can be sure that you’ll always get the amnesty, but when it’s time to get the security, the Democrats and RINOS like Kay Bailey Hutchinson will bend over backwards to sabotage border security so that the illegals can keep rolling in.

But this may yet backfire on the Dems because it is mostly their fault and if the Republicans are smart, they’ll use it as a campaign issue in 2008. Let the Democrats be the party that opposes border security next year and let’s see how they do…

  1. polled bloggers:
  2. deliberately reduced its effectiveness:

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