Los Angeles Valley College
Political Science 001 - American Government
Spring 2007 - Revised May 2007
The high tech 'virtual wall' currently is deployed along 200 miles of the border where fencing is not practical or possible. Sensors are placed in likely border crossing areas are being monitored by state of the art aerial and ground surveillance platforms with instant communications to strategically located, helicopter-bound agents. This barrier has already proven valuable but it does require more quick reaction forces, aircraft and ground and air sensors.
At the request of the President border state governors have provided 6,000 National Guardsmen & women to release Border Patrol members from their mundane administrative work and placed them in the field. These members of the Guard are currently serving in administrative and service roles with the Border Patrol. National Guard members will be phased out as new agents fresh from extensive training are integrated into existing Border Patrol units. Early reports indicate that this program has been highly successful.
A temporary 'high tech' fix also under consideration is to use US military forces and aircraft along and near the border to supplement and reinforce the Border Patrol. This would differ from the current use of State Controlled National Guard who are precluded from border patrol search and sweep operations. If the military is to be used the President must temporarily set aside ‘Posse Comitatus’ laws that preclude US military forces from undertaking ‘law enforcement’ roles in the United States. It has been done before and could be done again, but it is a drastic step and would place further pressure on already overcommitted armed forces.
Several states frustrated by the slowness and political machinations of the Congress have taken action on their own. At least five states are denying education and welfare benefits to all who can not produce legal proof of citizenship or legal alien status. Several other states have tied their local law enforcement agencies into the Homeland Security intelligence system to check on the legal status of those apprehended for any crime or even the most minor misdemeanor. In several states the state police and Federal Agencies have mounted joint operations to apprehend illegal immigrants. Some states have gone to the extreme of introducing legislation that would deny the children born of illegal immigrants their citizenship rights. Okalahoma law [under court review] has declared it a civil rights violation for an illegal immigrant to hold a job when there are unemployed legal citizens.
In the seven ‘State of the Union’ addresses of his Presidency Mr. Bush has proposed comprehensive immigration reform but Congress has failed to act. Recently, as the likelihood of any immigration reform coming out of a Democrat dominated Congress grew increasingly remote, the President issued a series of Executive Orders that imposed far reaching border protection measures.