Obama calls for $600 million border security fund
As controversy over the new Arizona immigration law SB 1070 rages on, the call for immigration reform and added border security is boiling over and can no longer be pushed to the back burner. The Los Angeles Times reports that President Obama has asked Congress for a $600 million emergency fund with which the U.S. can immediately hire 1,000 additional Border Patrol agents, purchase two Predator drones and beef up security along America’s Southwest border. As part of the border security fund, 160 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and additional Border Patrol canine units would also be hired, according to an unnamed senior White House official.
Border security: ‘Urgent and essential,’ writes Obama
President Obama outlined his $600 million border security fund in no uncertain terms to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco in a letter. The request “responds to urgent and essential needs” and should be considered an emergency situation, he says. Violence along America’s border with Mexico is becoming increasingly common. The recent upturn of grisly violence in Mexico’s drug war – a war Mexico seems unable to quell, even with military force – has no doubt weighed heavily on President Obama’s mind. Mexican drug cartels have even threatened American border security in Texas, reports the New York Daily News. Some of the proposed $600 million emergency fund would help provide overrun Mexican authorities with ballistics and DNA analysis, with the hope that the drug war does not spill over into the United States.
Mending fences, breaking inertia
In the words of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, her state is “the gateway to America for drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and crime.” More than any U.S. politician of late – perhaps ever – Brewer has mounted the most furious argument against the federal government’s relative inaction on border security. Securing ineffective border fences, providing additional manpower and getting Predator drones in the air are part of keeping Arizona residents safe, Brewer asserts. She believes that enforcement of Arizona immigration law SB 1070 will have a positive effect on border security and does not see it in racist terms. Mexico is suing Arizona for SB 1070, reports CNN, but border security is an issue that concerns all Americans. People who live in the borderlands have had enough of the government’s inaction; perhaps Obama’s emergency fund is a step in the right direction.
Border security as bargaining chip?