Down on the border
Illinois’ newest Congressman, Darin LaHood, has argued that the U.S. must put more resources into securing the borders to stop the flow of immigrants coming in illegally. Really? More? Between 2000 and 2010, U.S. taxpayers spent something like $90 billion trying to secure the U.S.-Mexico border -- National Guard troops , border agents, X-ray machines, fences, drug-sniffing dogs, predator drones. The whole thing isn’t fenced yet, but fences don’t even keep metal thieves out of construction sites, and the U.S.-Mexico border is 1,900 miles long. Ever drive down to Orlando with the kids? Nineteen-hundred miles is almost twice that far. We’d get more national security for the buck by building a wall around lower Manhattan to protect the rest of the country from Wall Streeters.
A far more effective barrier against unauthorized immigrants would be made of paper. We have drones and guns galore to enforce entry rules, but no system to track those who don’t go back hom after entering the country via our airports on short-term tourist or educational visas. No one is certain how many of our undocumented immigrants got in that way, but most experts think it’s between a third and a half of all undocumenteds.Sadly, tracking them would require more government employees, who are even a graver threat to America than immigrants. Aren’t they?