Senate to Vote on Fence

Liberals keep telling us that polls show that most Americans want a comprehensive solution to the immigration problem that includes some form of amnesty and a guest worker program. Maybe so. But somehow, it’s hard to find a Congressman or Senator who thinks that his own constituents see the issue that way. Today, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist filed cloture on a motion to vote on the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which provides for construction of 700 miles of fence along the Mexican border. Frist wrote today on his web site:

A nation that can’t secure its borders can’t secure its destiny or administer its laws. And the reality is that America’s borders today are inexcusably porous.

One of the most important and most effective ways that we can stop illegal immigration is through the construction and proper maintenance of physical fences along the highest trafficked, most commonly violated sections of our border with Mexico.

Take the case of San Diego. According to the FBI Crime Index, crime in San Diego County dropped 56.3% between 1989 and 2000, after a fence stretching from the Ocean to the mountains near San Diego was substantially completed. And, according to numbers provided by the San Diego Sector Border Patrol in February 2004, apprehensions decreased from 531,689 in 1993 to 111,515 in 2003.

That’s why I strongly support the Secure Fence Act of 2006 … and that’s why I’m bringing this crucial legislation to the floor of the Senate this week for an up-or-down vote. By authorizing the construction of over 700 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing along our southwest border and by mandating the use of cameras, ground sensors, UAVs and other forms of hi-tech surveillance, this legislation would help us gain control over every inch of our borders – once and for all.

What I’ve never understood is how anyone can talk about immigration policy outside the context of getting control over our borders. If the borders are porous, we can decree whatever policy we want, but who cares? A policy that can’t be enforced means nothing. Which is why a strong consensus has emerged among conservatives, and many others, in favor of enforcement first. It will be interesting to see how the Democrats vote when the chips are down.

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