Friday, March 27, 2009By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer
CNSNews.com) â€“ Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) said the solution to ending the violence along the U.S.-Mexico border would require only one order from the new commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama: send in the troops.
â€œYou can absolutely secure the border with the military,â€ Tancredo said in a conference call on Thursday with reporters and Roy Beck, president of the immigrant reduction advocacy group, NumbersUSA.
Tancredo said he observed a two-week operation a few years ago along the Canadian border with Idaho where 100 U.S. Marines were stationed along the 100-mile stretch of rugged wilderness, along with the use of three unmanned aerial vehicles and three radar stations. The operation was a joint effort among the Marines, the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Forest Service.
â€œI assure you that for the two weeks that that was in operation, nothing came across that northern border that we did not see,â€ Tancredo said. â€œYou can secure the border.â€
But, he said, the Bush administration abandoned the idea of using the military to secure the nationâ€™s borders, an idea Tancredo said is necessary now not only to stop the flow of drugs, humans, and weapons but for the safety and security of the American people â€“ especially if the Mexican government fails and millions of people flee north to escape the violence.
The conference call was held to respond to Secretary of State Hillary Clintonâ€™s trip to Mexico and her claim that the United States is culpable for the violence along the countryâ€™s border with Mexico. Clinton largely blamed high drug consumption by Americans and American weapons smuggled south to arm drug cartels as the culprits.
â€œI have no doubt that there are firearms that make their way into Mexico, but the extent to which that is happening is really a debatable point,â€ Tancredo said. â€œThe huge caches of arms that have been found â€“ the AK-47s and some of the grenade launchers â€“ have not come from the United States.â€
â€œWeâ€™ve asked Mexico for the serial numbers, and theyâ€™ve refused to give them to us because, in fact, they are not from the United States,â€ Tancredo said.
â€œThis issue of â€˜Itâ€™s our fault just as much as their faultâ€™ is a lot of crap, to tell you the truth,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s just another way to go after guns by this administration and also to let Mexico save some face.â€
Tancredo said that in addition to securing the border, Congress needs to mandate the E-Verify legislation that requires employers to confirm the legal status of potential employees.
E-Verify â€œhas worked better than anything weâ€™ve ever come up with, which is why the Democrats are a little leery about continuing it,â€ Tancredo said.
Rather than granting a five-year extension of the program, Congress okayed a five-month extension â€œwith the hope of using it as a hook and get some sort of leverage to get Republicans to back off of their opposition â€“ especially in the Senate â€“ to any sort of amnesty.â€
Using the military to secure the border and extending E-Verify for five years are whatâ€™s called for, Tancredo said, to solve not only the violence of the drug cartels but the flow of illegal aliens into the United States.
â€œWe will be doing more for immigration reform with those two things,â€ he said. â€œIf you simply concentrate on securing the border and continue E-Verify, we will have a much better situation with Mexico.â€
Beck said he did not think the downturn in the U.S. economy would make the immigration issue of less importance to the American people. He said the contrary may be true as Americans come to understand that the millions of jobs held by illegal aliens in this country would otherwise be available to the estimated 12 million Americans who have lost their jobs in recent months.