On Borders, Fences, Political Pandering and Party Turnabouts

By Dan Cadman on July 11, 2016

The Democratic party has drafted its 2016 platform for the presidential race. It is, of course, a draft and will remain that way until endorsed (or amended) by the convention delegates, but there's little reason to think it will substantially change.

There are a great many platitudes of all types contained within. To say that it panders is to engage in egregious understatement. It is also astounding how often the draft—intended to be the official document of a national political party—invokes Donald Trump by name. It is as if by repeated mention of the boogeyman under the bed, these progressive parents will be able to frighten willfully disobedient and unruly anti-establishment-voting children into submission. It strikes me as a platform built on fear-mongering and scare tactics, despite the many disturbingly vague promises about the secularist Land of Canaan we can achieve under a Democratic president.

To find the relevant immigration-related portions, look not just at “Immigration” on page 12, but also at “Trafficking and Modern Slavery” and “Refugees” on page 31. Despite a few opening platitudes to placate the moderates of the party, the immigration portion of the document reads more like a post-national open borders manifesto—sovereignty is so yesterday.

The platform continues to beat the drum for amnesty, failing which they are hell bent on continuing the “executive actions” of the Obama administration. One wonders exactly how that will happen if more state lawsuits ensue, resulting in court-ordered injunctions. (I say state lawsuits, because I have abandoned any hope that either chamber of our Republican-majority Congress will ever rise up on its hind legs to do so.)

The leftward lurch of the Democrats where immigration is concerned has had one of our board members, Pete Nuñez, reflecting on that ironic turn of events. He is a man with a wealth of border experience and, for a number of years, the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. Nuñez recalls it was under the Bill Clinton administration that a significant number of serious security measures were implemented along the southwestern border with Mexico, and wonders how it is that the Democrats, whose presumptive nominee is his wife, Hillary, have conveniently forgotten that fact while vilifying Trump for his calls to create a wall. NumbersUSA has created a video noting that fact and is worth viewing; it neatly juxtaposes Trump's remarks with those of former President Clinton's, showing exactly how far the current party has drifted on border security.

Like Nuñez, I too am of an age to remember these measures well, as they happened during my active duty with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Among other things, they involved construction of reinforced border fencing; more advanced technology, including military-grade sensors and FLIR (forward-looking infrared radar) devices to detect border intrusions; and significant additional agent and officer corps resources at key hotspots to apprehend and remove aliens expeditiously.

At the border areas in and around the San Diego Border Patrol Sector, these measures took the collective name Operation Gatekeeper and were popular with the affected local communities, in no small measure because along with the movement of tens of thousands of illegal aliens northward from Mexico to the U.S. came an abundance of border-related crimes and violence—everything from alien, drug, and weapons smuggling, to glue-sniffing burglars and car thieves careful enough to commit their crimes on our side of the border, not their own.

In the El Paso Sector, similar measures were collectively called Operation Hold-the-Line. They were hugely popular there, too, and for the same reasons. Border-related crimes did in fact go down with these efforts, which were understood to be the federal government's efforts not just at sovereignty and border control, but also as its contribution to local community safety. Operation Hold-the-Line was so well-received that the chief patrol agent at the time, Silvestre (“Silver”) Reyes, retired in place, then ran for and won the House of Representatives seat for that congressional district as a Democrat, a position which he held for many, many years. Now that's irony.

Topics: Politics