Is President Bush's Secure Border Initiative a good plan?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
[Editor’s Note: The Secure Border Initiative was launched in 2005 but cancelled by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Jan. 14, 2011 due to reported technical problems, lack of viability, schedule delays, and costliness.]
Is President Bush's Secure Border Initiative a good plan?
George W. Bush, MBA, 43rd. President of the United States, in a May 15, 2006 "Address to the Nation," presented the Secure Border Initiative as follows:
"First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration - and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists. We are launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We will employ motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world, and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border."
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), in an Apr. 11, 2006 press release entitled "U.S. Customs and Border Protection Publishes Secure Border Initiative (SBInet) Request for Proposal," stated:
"The Secure Border Initiative (SBI) is a vision forward to gain control of our borders using the various components within Department of Homeland Security, such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP. This broad multi-year initiative looks at all aspects of the problem across the board – detection, apprehension, detention, and removal. SBI, addresses these challenges with an integrated mix of increased staffing, more robust interior enforcement, greater investment in detection technology and infrastructure, and enhanced coordination on federal, state, local, and international levels."
David Aguilar, MA, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, in a June 8, 2006 at a White House website online interview section entitled "Ask the White House," explained:
"CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] remains steadfast in its commitment to securing our borders - it is a matter of national security. Through efforts like the Secure Border Initiative, the Arizona Border Control Initiative, and the deployment of National Guard resources to the border, we are consistently minimizing and shutting down vulnerabilities at the border."
Michael Chertoff, JD, Secretary of Homeland Security, in a Nov. 30, 2005 White House online questionnaire entitled "Ask the White House," wrote:
"We must gain full control of our borders to prevent illegal migration and potential security breaches. That is why we have established the Secure Border Initiative, which is a broad, multi-year initiative looking at all aspects of the problem across the board -- deterrence, detection, apprehension, detention, and removal. SBI addresses the challenges we face with an integrated mix of increased staffing, a greater investment in detection technology and infrastructure, and enhanced coordination with our partners at the federal, state, local, and international levels."
Hal Rogers, LLB, U.S. Representative (R-KY), in a Mar. 27, 2007 statement as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security entitled "Priorities in Enforcing Immigration Laws and Temporary Worker Program," made the following remarks:
"Just a few weeks ago, we discussed the Secure Border Initiative with CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection]. We discussed that it is perhaps the integration of effort among CBP, ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], and CIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] into a more efficient and effective system that is yielding real results in DHS’ [Department of Homeland Security] efforts to secure the border, improve immigration enforcement, and reform our immigration system [...]
I know the challenge is enormous; I know the task is difficult. Rest assured, no one wants to see you [Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE, and Emilio Gonzalez, Director of CIS] succeed more than the Members of this Subcommittee. And so, I remain optimistic at the signs of progress we are seeing. The integration of the Secure Border Initiative is certainly making a real difference in the reform of our immigration system..."
Juan Mann, Attorney and Writer, in a Nov. 7, 2005 VDARE.com article entitled "Even Federal Employees Revolt Against Bush’s 'SBI' [Secure Border Initiative] Big Lie," wrote:
"Now Secretary [Michael] Chertoff is bringing the 'Secure Border Initiative' (SBI) propaganda push to a new audience— his own DHS [Department of Homeland Security] employees. It’s not working... Chertoff’s DHS memorandum claims that the SBI 'is built on a foundation of border security, interior enforcement, and a temporary worker program.' Chertoff pays lip service to 'a comprehensive view of immigration that aims for nothing less than to gain full control of our borders.' He goes on to mention the components of 'border enforcement' and 'interior enforcement.' But then he delivers the kicker— 'the Temporary Worker Program.' Astute readers will now realize that the 'Secure Border Initiative' is nothing more than a smokescreen for selling this renamed amnesty program."
Frida Berrigan, MA, Senior Research Associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute, in an Apr. 25, 2007 article from The Albuquerque Tribune "Commentary" section entitled "President Bush needs to Treat the U.S.-Mexico Border As a Line Between Two Neighbors, Not a War Zone," wrote:
"...the heart of President Bush's effort is the Secure Border Initiative. As with so many other pressing issues - from terrorism to oil dependency - the White House is turning to the military-industrial complex for a solution. The initiative is the Department of Homeland Security's plan to erect a 'virtual fence' of monitors, sensors, unmanned planes and communications to help border agents catch illegal immigrants crossing the southern border...
To put military contractors, particularly Boeing, in charge of building the Secure Border Initiative is a recipe for disaster. But the issue of militarizing the border goes beyond questions of accountability. To craft truly effective, humane and 'comprehensive' immigration reform, the president will have to do a lot more than show up once in a while. He has to learn that the border is not a war zone, Mexicans are not combatants, and military contractors are not the solution."
Jerome R. Corsi, PhD, Conservative Political Analyst-Author, in an Apr. 27, 2006 WorldNetDaily article entitled "Bush's PR Strategy to Diffuse Immigration Furor," wrote:
"The Bush administration is in the process of launching a public-relations campaign on border security to disguise its true intention, which is to pass a de facto amnesty packaged as a 'pathway to citizenship.' ...to defuse criticism from the Republican Party conservative majority that the Bush administration is too close to Sen. Ted Kennedy on the immigration issue. ...the Bush administration plans to roll out some nifty new Border Patrol vehicles, possibly along with some helicopters and electronic surveillance gear. The whole point is to get more 'photo ops' for the military hardware on the border so middle-America watching the evening news can see that the 'Secure Border Initiative' is meant to be tough. ...[SBI is] nothing more than a continuation of the status quo."
James Jay Carafano, PhD, Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, in a Nov. 28, 2005 The Heritage Foundation study entitled "Safeguarding America's Sovereignty: A 'System of Systems' Approach to Border Security," wrote:
"Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recently announced the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), a 'vision' for securing America's borders. However, the plan does not appear to deliver the 'transformation' that the secretary touted in a speech announcing the Secure Border Initiative. The current 'layered systems' approach to U.S. border security is inadequate and is still entrenched in the DHS [Department of homeland Security] mindset. A layered defense suggests that the border can be secured by multiple security features, with each layer backing up the others so that no layer has to be perfect...
The problem is that the layered approach does not prioritize investments. Not all layers are of equal value. In fact, investments are often based more on politics than on sound strategy. The most powerful stakeholders and influential advocates tend to get their priorities funded first and best. Meanwhile, the United States has underinvested in the most important components of the system, such as infrastructure (e.g., adequate bridges and roads) at the points of entry."