Illusion, or Real Security?
Seven thousand five hundred and twenty one is the number of miles that the U.S. Government is charged with securing along the U.S.-Mexican and U.S. Canadian land borders (“Canada” and “Mexico”). Although the U.S. Government insists that border security has always been a priority, it was the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, that pushed the issue to the forefront of politics from D.C. to LA. This issue has developed into a highly debated and divisive issue across the nation that has sparked hyperbolic arguments and emotions not seen since the era of the Vietnam War. Many argue that the U.S. Government’s efforts in securing the nation’s borders have been ineffective and fruitless. However, refuting those beliefs is the U.S. Government’s willingness to recognize the seriousness of this issue and the U.S. Government’s efforts to further border security measures has produced tangible results. If critics against increased border security measures were to take a step back to look at facts rather than emotionally charged rhetoric and partisan politics, it would force the politicians of this nation to reach across party lines and tap into their abilities, talents, and experiences to reach common ground on the issue of border security. Such a gesture would allow both sides to work together and from this teamwork both sides would yield significant benefits in improving the security of U.S. borders. Most U.S. citizens would agree that since the attacks of September, 11th, 2001, their nation’s security is of great importance to them. The U.S. Government has promised its citizens that it will do everything possible to tighten its security measures along its borders to prevent illegal immigrants, drug traffickers, and terrorists from gaining access to the country. There are many U.S. citizens, immigrants, and lawmakers across the country that believe the security measures enacted by the federal government following 9/11 are too tough, too restrictive, and too futile. This has also in turn become a highly emotional issue, especially along the southern border with Mexico. In March of 2006, 2000 high school students in Los Angeles, California, walked out of their classes to protest and demonstrate against the federal government’s plan to increase security measures along the Mexican border. The students participated in marches, petitions, and even the burning of the American flag. Some went on to remove the American flag from the flagpole of their high schools, and raise the flag of Mexico in its place, with the US flag raised underneath it and rotated upside down. Anna Benitez, a 15 year old, a 9th grade student from one of the protesting schools was quoted as saying “Without immigrants, this country wouldn’t be anything. We’re people. We’re human beings. We’re not criminals. We’re in this country to work (Caldwell).” These actions show how strong the feelings and emotions run in this conflict of border security and the lengths critics of the government’s security plan will go to get their point across. Part of the U.S. Government’s plan to control the flow of undeclared border crossings along the Mexican border is the construction of “hard” or “strong” fences. These fences are 10 to 15 feet high with buried motion detectors along their span and are monitored by surveillance cameras, border patrol agents, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and many other technological advantages (Budget). One would agree that this conglomerate of security measures is more secure than a maximum security prison. Yet, over 1 million people a year attempt to surpass this seemingly impenetrable blockade of hard working taxpayer dollars (Neto). Critics of these measures show that next to defense spending, the budget for border security initiatives has one of the highest growth rates in the Federal Government. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 National Budget increased funding for the U.S. Customs and Border Agency to...
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