Respect the Border
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Feb 01, 2012
“A nation without borders is not a nation,”
said former president Ronald Reagan,
a true visionary of his generation and a
most valiant leader of the free world during the 1980s.
Border security has digressed in the past 20 years.
Our current president, in his arrogance, recently told
Mexican President Filipe Calderon that “in the 21st
century we are not defined by our borders, but by our
It’s disturbing to me that our bond as a nation now
seems to be leading to porous borders on the southwestern
frontier, where gangs, thugs and drug cartels
run rampant in the streets like the wild west of the late
1890s. Shootings, muggings, rapes and beheadings of
innocent victims are not an exception but the rule of
Not only do we as U.S. citizens have a right to be
concerned about security, we should be up in arms
about what the federal government is not doing to
protect our country.
Most recently, Mr. Obama announced that he
will reduce the 1,200 federally paid National Guard
troops deployed along the U.S.-Mexican border and
give the marquee operation back to the Border Patrol.
There’s nothing wrong with the Border Patrol other
than it isn’t sufficiently armed or trained to battle the
criminal elements that have seized major thoroughfares
into the country.
Mr. Obama, you are wrong.
You, sir, have an obligation to protect these United
States, and you are failing miserably by reducing the
number of troops along the border. You would do
well to increase the strength of security along the border
to protect the law-abiding citizens of this country,
who deserve the security that this would afford.
Thankfully, the administration does have a hint
of good sense by replacing ground troops with Army
National Guard and Air National Guard staff carrying
out surveillance by aircraft, helicopters and unmanned
drones. This hint of commitment to border
security is appreciated and obviously is a result of lessons
learned along the border to date.
I believe border enforcement with boots on the
ground is critical to maintaining the safe and secure
border, though administration officials have said “if
people concentrate on the number of troops on the
ground, they’re sort of missing the point.” Not true,
in my opinion; as a drawdown in National Guard
troops comes, there is somewhat of an increase in
border security officers. But even though that fosters
a mentality of boots on the ground, the point is that
those new boots are somewhat ill-prepared to face
cartels and semi-automatic weapons.
The administration has moved in the right direction
since 2001, which is obviously not all the doing
of the current administration. A decade ago, there
were about 9,000 border agents on duty. Now there
are almost 18,200. Border apprehensions have plummeted
from 1.6 million in 2000 to slightly more than
340,000 in fiscal 2010. But, perhaps because the job
market has been so tough here, the number of undocumented
immigrants attempting to cross the border
A Gallup poll from September 2010 on Americans’
view of government asked a simple question:
“Can you please give me an example of something the
federal government is currently NOT doing that you
think it SHOULD be doing?”
About 15 percent of respondents said the government
should be concentrating on jobs, and 13 percent
said the government should be securing the borders
and addressing immigration issues. Republicans,
more than Democrats, believe the government should
be active in securing the country’s borders.
Putting partisan politics aside, the government
better consider the effect the cartels are having on
border cities and their inhabitants. One of the best
information sources is “Cartel: The Coming Invasion
of Mexico’s Drug Wars” by Sylvia Longmire, a former
intelligence analyst for the Air Force and the state
The book is filled with comprehensive knowledge
about the cartels, their activities and how they recruit
and bring their product into the United States. While
many worry about spillover on the border, Longmire
writes that the problem is already here, and it’s having
a distinct impact upon society.
Insufficient resources dedicated to border security,
coupled with a lack of will to effectively enforce
the law, have allowed nearly a half-million people
each year to cross our borders illegally or remain illegally
in the country after their visas have expired.
Nearly half of all illegal immigrants entering the
United States come through the Tucson, Ariz., sector.
This seems like the right place for border security to
The Government Accountability Office estimates
that the Border Patrol has operational control of less
than half—44 percent—of the southwestern border.
Sophisticated and brutal drug cartel operations are
reaching into Arizona’s border communities. Public
lands have been off-limits due to increased violence.
It’s obvious to me that border security should be
one of the top five concerns for the administration.
This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Security Today.