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Secure our borders now

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It’ll get worse unless we do something about it

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that we’ve got a problem with our borders, and it isn’t going away anytime soon — it’s only going to get worse unless we do something about it.
Fortunately, some of the politicians from non-border states are beginning to get it.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, recently had a tour of the border and concluded that we must provide more resources to secure our border.
As someone who lives in a border state, has immersed myself in this issue, and has had a first-hand tour of the border in the El Paso sector, I couldn’t agree more with Sen. Landrieu.
The federal government is clearly not doing enough to secure our borders, and, yes, we do need more resources.
And when I say borders, I’m not just talking about the U.S.-Mexico border, even though that’s where the biggest problem is at the moment.
I’m talking about complete border security, where our seaports, our coastlines, and, yes, our northern border are also secure.
The latter is an issue because Canada’s entry requirements for foreign nationals are different than ours.
Were the Canadians to adopt similar entry requirements and screening, we could achieve a “Continental Security” system that would reduce delays at border crossing points — which, by the way, would have a positive impact on US-Canadian commerce.
To achieve adequate border security, we have to have more boots on the ground.
Currently, we lack sufficient manpower, optimal air surveillance, and the best technology — all of which is necessary.
We need more people in the Border Patrol.
A little over 21,000 officers has proven to be inadequate. The National Guard is a stop-gap, not a solution.
Better aerial surveillance is a priority.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) currently operates a virtual “Confederate Air Force” that includes military hand-me-downs and aircraft ill-suited for the mission.
CBP must consolidate its fleet to just a few types of aircraft, which would produce a significant reduction in operating costs, and facilitate acquisition of aircraft specifically tailored to the mission.
This would  increase effectiveness while creating savings that can be used to help defray the cost of adding more Border Patrol officers.
We need better technology along our border. When I toured the border last year, I was shocked to learn that many of the ground sensors being used by the Border Patrol in key areas use Vietnam-era technology.
To make matters worse, some of the agents on the ground resort to buying parts from Radio Shack just to make them work!
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently commented on the purported increased security of our borders and threw out a lot of statistics to support her assertions.
While Secretary Napolitano’s claims technically aren’t false, they aren’t true either.
Thus far, the DHS has not been able to accurately estimate the total number of illegal border crossings. Thus, Napolitano’s numbers are meaningless.
A well-written article in the current issue of (“Are U.S. Borders Secure”) focuses on the current lack of reliable information and metrics available to the DHS for operational planning, and concludes, “without them, the policy debate will remain in unfounded claims and immeasurable goals.”
At the end of the day, it’s actions that count.
This administration has yet to demonstrate they’re serious — just ask Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona and Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The border needs to be secured, and it needs to be secured quickly.
But it will take political will!
Then, and only then, can we accomplish meaningful immigration reform.

Allen Weh
Former GOP
gubernatorial candidate