Category Archives: Borders
By U.S. Reps. David Schweikert, Matt Salmon and Paul Gosar
America is a nation of immigrants.
In our relatively short history, millions have left their homelands and traveled great distances to be a part of a grand experiment called America. Today, we are a melting pot of traditions, cultures and ethnicities – all united by a shared belief in the freedom and opportunity that we call the American Dream.
But we are also a nation of laws and fairness. Ours is a land where people can come, work hard and be successful regardless of where they come from, so long as they play by the rules and earn their way honestly. It is our belief in the rule of law and our belief in opportunity that makes the American Dream possible.
Both of these traditions are intertwined into our history and both must be preserved as we embark on the debate over immigration reform.
There is no question that our immigration system is not working, and debates on how to reform it spurs deep emotions for those on all sides of the issue.
But reform should not be driven by emotion alone. To successfully implement immigration reform, we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal: immigration reform must strengthen America as the flagship of freedom in the world.
Reforming our immigration system must start by streamlining and expanding legal immigration for skilled workers. American businesses are plagued by a shortage of skilled and educated workers particularly in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology.
Currently, only 13 percent of green cards are awarded based on economic considerations. This needs to change. We should be encouraging skilled workers to come to America to help grow American businesses and boost our economy.
Additionally, we need to reform and streamline our temporary work-visa program. To the extent that American businesses find themselves in need of low-skilled labor, we can and should expand this program. Not only will this help our economy, but it will also discourage illegal immigration by offering immigrants legal employment opportunities.
However, any temporary work-visa program must include enforcement mechanisms to ensure temporary workers do not overstay their visas, add to the ballooning cost of entitlements and increase the population of illegal immigrants already in the country.
Which brings us to the most contentious part of the immigration debate: what to do with the 11 million immigrants who have come here illegally? To answer this question, we must return to the two principles that have guided our nation from its inception to this day.
The desire to make a better life for oneself and one’s family is certainly admirable, but we should not reward those who have broken our laws at the expense of the millions of immigrants who have played by the rules and are patiently waiting their turn in line. Simply put, those in our country illegally should not have a unique path to citizenship not available to those who have chosen to abide by our laws and attempt to emigrate legally.
At the same time, there is no benefit to keeping 11 million illegal immigrants trapped in the shadows. In fact, it is in our country’s interest to know who they are and where they live.
Reforming our immigration system to address the status of the 11 million people in our country illegally should focus on normalizing their legal status without access to federal benefits or a special pathway to citizenship.
Finally, real and objectively verifiable border security must be a part of any legislation. If we cannot stem the tide of illegal immigration, we are destined to repeat the cycle of amnesty again and again.
In 1986, Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform, granting amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants, while promising that it would solve our country’s illegal immigration problem. Today, we have 11 million illegal immigrants, and we are on the verge of repeating the same mistakes.
We have an opportunity to learn from those mistakes and reform our immigration system in a way that preserves America’s tradition of fairness, freedom and equality. We hope Congress will not squander that opportunity.
In the spirit of the Statue of Liberty that declares, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” we welcome those who want to lawfully be a part of the American Dream.
But it is up to us to protect that dream, to respect the rule of law and to make sure future immigrants and future Americans have a place to call home. It is up to us to preserve the American tradition of fairness and laws that keep us the most prosperous, strongest nation on this Earth.
Transcript of Thursday’s interview of Mark Steyn on the Hugh Hewitt radio program:
HH: I begin this Thursday as I do those in which we are lucky with Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read all that Mark writes at http://www.steynonline.com. Mark, do you think it’s possible the ball cap bombers are stupid enough to still be in the country?
MS: Well, that’s an interesting question, Hugh. I mean, in theory, they’re, four hours after the explosions, they could have driven north and crossed a sleepy Canadian border crossing and been out of the country. On the other hand, if they are foreign visitors to the United States, since 9/11, there’s been the introduction of a vast range of facial recognition stuff. Everybody who’s not a U.S. citizen has to have his eyeballs photographed, fingerprinted, and photographs taken when they enter the United States. And if that stuff’s going to work, you’ve got to believe that they’ve cross-referenced these pictures with the photographs of people who entered the country recently and have tried to leave it recently. So I suspect the FBI already know the answer to that question.
HH: Now Andrew McCarthy said on this program yesterday, former federal prosecutor of the Blind Sheik, that if you have to go public with the photos, you’re in a pretty bad spot from an investigatory position. Do you agree with that?
MS: Yeah, I think that’s true. And just to go back to what I was saying earlier, I think that means that they’ve run them all through the immense number of new databases and new security checks that have been introduced since 9/11, and they’ve come up empty. And that’s why they’re standing in a room in Boston saying does this still ring any bells with anybody?
HH: Any reaction to the video, Mark, as it was played less than an hour ago?
MS: Yeah, I mean, I think this is an interesting question. I mean, I don’t want to prejudge anything here, and I find it rather weird the way people have been desperate that the killer should fit their particular biases. This guy who wrote this article at Salon saying I hope and pray that it is a white male American. Obviously, the guys in the baseball caps didn’t look like white male Americans. It doesn’t mean anything. They could be native-born Americans of one particular ethnicity or another. They could be a foreign student studying in Boston. But here’s the point. It would be, the idea that this would be a kind of official credentialed, card-carrying member of al Qaeda terrorist attack would mark a real change in strategy for al Qaeda. I remember shortly after 9/11 standing on my town common the Saturday after 9/11, and there was a little sort of town fair and people selling this and that and all the rest of it, and saying to a neighbor of mine, you know, that if I was these guys, I’d blow up somewhere like here next, in other words, to say that nothing is safe. We can not only take out the great iconic landmarks of New York, but you can go to some nowhere town in the middle of Nowheresville, and we’ll kill couple of people there, too. And they didn’t do that, al Qaeda. They’ve gone for big iconic targets, whether it’s in the U.S. or the London Tube bombings. And to do something like this in Boston, where they just, they kill a relatively small number of people, it would mark a change, a real change if this was to be any kind of official al Qaeda act.
HH: And more, we will follow in the weeks ahead. Now I want to switch over to leadership. I wrote a column at Townhall.com today, Mark, after the President’s rant in the Rose Garden yesterday. And I’m mad at the Republicans as well, and in the House, Dave Camp, who leads Ways And Means, is blocking tax reform in order to do a deal with Max Baucus. And I just look around Washington, D.C, and I see a complete collapse of leadership. But yesterday in the Rose Garden was the worst. What did you make of the President’s fit of pique yesterday?
MS: Yeah, it was interesting to me. It reminded me a bit of, in a less dramatic way, of Bill Clinton when he’d been grilled by the Grand Jury, and made the mistake of going on national television afterwards when he was still steamed about it. And he let loose on TV for about three minutes. And for just those three minutes, for the first time, America glimpsed the real Bill Clinton, petulant, whiny, unlikable. And that was exactly the mistake that Obama made yesterday, a glimpse of a side of him that he’s held very carefully under control now for the five years he’s been on the national stage. And so in that sense, I think it was a big mistake. The other thing is I think this just reveals what happens when you elect a guy as national leader who comes from a perfect left wing bubble. The voting precinct he lives in, in Chicago, voted, I think it was 97% Democrat. He’s not used to a world where you have to take the views of your political opponents seriously. And the idea that simply be demagoguing the issue, by virtue of the fact that he demagogued it so effectively, the opposition should have caved and let him have his way, I think he illustrated why in a sense, he’s at odds with the American Constitutional order, which has a big degree of bipartisanship and compromise and reach across the aisle type stuff built into it. This is not a guy who does that kind of thing.
HH: Now the American Constitutional order also calls, regular order is the catch phrase of the day, it calls for the House passing a tax bill, being sent to the Senate, the Senate does what it does, sends it back, you have a conference, they agree or they don’t, if they do agree, it goes to the President and he signs or he doesn’t, and they come back and they have a veto override. That’s regular order. And John Boehner, the Speaker, has said he’s pledged to it. But underway in the House right now, Mark, and I know you’re sitting in for Rush tomorrow, and I hope you hammer the House Republicans, and especially Michigan’s David Camp on this, they are sitting on tax repeal. They’re not doing it because Dave Camp wants to do a big deal with Max Baucus. Why in the world do the Republicans want to do anything with Max Baucus?
MS: No, I don’t get that, and I take what you say. I have a respect for the U.S. Constitution, and I have a respect for Congressional procedure. But there’s no doubt that basically we’re living in a world where Congress and the executive are winging it. That’s what they’ve been, they’ve been doing what they want. The President never offers a budget on time, the Senate never offers a budget at all, I mean, basically, the idea…and then every so often, they’ll dredge up some bit of cobwebbed parliamentary procedure and decide that they’re going to stick to it. But essentially, the Republicans who are the majority in the House have been unable in the last two years to make that majority mean anything. And the disenchantment on the right, the disenchantment on the right is real. I mean, what would be the point? I mean, there’s a fatalism on the right that a lot of people think they’ll lose the House in 2014, but that even if they win the House, big deal. What do they get? What do they have to show for it?
HH: Well that, this comes down to the leadership of House Republicans. I think Cantor and McCarthy and Paul Ryan are doing a fine job, but I think the Speaker is old school, and he lets these committee chairmen do or do nothing as they care, and I frankly have had it with them. I don’t know why anyone gets excited about House Republicans anymore. Do you know anyone, anyone at all in our world of broadcast and commentary who is excited about the House Republicans?
MS: No, but I don’t really know anybody who’s excited about them in the…you know, the people who have to go knock on doors, the people who have to make phone calls, the people who have to ensure that there’s turnout when you don’t have a glamorous celebrity at the top of the ticket like Obama. And I remember a few years ago, Newt Gingrich came and gave a speech in New Hampshire. And this was just before 2006. And he was asked, you know, why has the Republican House been such a disappointment? This was in the Denny Hastert days. And he said well, what you have to remember is the Republicans aren’t used to being in the leadership and running the House. Now at that point, they had been running the House for over a decade.
MS: It was the time of the new Iraq Constitution. The Iraqis are supposed to get the hang of free constitutional responsible government in 20 minutes, but the Republican Party can’t be expected to get the hang of it in a decade. And it sounds pathetic. The one thing one has to admire about the Democrats, they did it when they took over here in my own state in New Hampshire, is they don’t just think it’s about occupying the corner office and having a driver, and having a fancy title on your business card. They use it. From the word go, they’re passing this and they’re passing that. Obama was obvious, the country didn’t want Obamacare. He got out his mallet, and he hammered it down the American people’s throat regardless. The Republicans never show that determination.
HH: No, they don’t, and as a result, they’re going to give up that which they do not use. Mark Steyn, look forward to hearing you tomorrow on the national, the absolutely legal immigration show tomorrow as Mark sits in for Rush. Don’t miss that, America.
By Andrew Thomas
It was, if nothing else, a fitting metaphor for the size and nature of the work before them. On March 27, 2013, four members of the “Gang of Eight,” a group of U.S. senators who have banded together to seek immigration reform, toured the Arizona-Mexico border. It was what Politico termed their “spring break” trip: Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, back in their home state of Arizona, hosting two fellow members of the Gang of Eight, Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Michael Bennet of Colorado.
“In the last several years we have made improvements on the border,” McCain told the press later. The senators spoke of the need for more technology on the border, though they declined to say what future border security measures would be installed as part of their legislation, which was still being negotiated.
As they flew over the border near Nogales, a city that straddles both sides of the international border, they saw something that captured the magnitude of the problem. They saw a woman climb the border fence successfully. Senator McCain tweeted the event and informed the public that the Border Patrol later apprehended her.
Even as such events remind the nation of the severity of the situation, the senators remained confident a deal can be struck for new immigration legislation. One of the few known and certain components of the legislation being drafted is amnesty. The gang has agreed in advance the bill would grant probationary legal status to all illegal immigrants immediately—meaning they can remain in the country legally.
Yet as Republican establishment leaders treat this enterprise as the political salvation of the Grand Old Party, some observers are starting to question the very premise of the efforts. After all, if the political goal, accepted at its practical core, is to secure more Hispanic votes for Republicans, is this legislation truly the path to such success?
The Myth of the Romney Debacle
When we drill down below the conventional wisdom, and in particular when we examine hard polling data from Hispanic Americans, we find things are not as we have been told. The Republican Party’s challenges with Hispanics are of long standing and seemingly not connected to illegal immigration, but instead involve broader issues with the party’s platform and brand.
Consider first the much-discussed exit polls showing low Hispanic support for Mitt Romney in last year’s election. The results of a Fox News exit poll were typical. It found that 71 percent of Hispanics voted for President Obama and 27 percent for Mitt Romney. A Pew Research analysis of multiple exit polls confirmed this margin.
But grand political lessons should not be drawn from a single election. Here, we find Pew’s data much more illuminating, for they compared Romney’s showing to that of past Republican presidential nominees. This was not a one-time debacle because of GOP immigration rhetoric, but rather a long-term pattern of Republican inefficacy.
In 2008, John McCain won only 31 percent of the Hispanic vote. That too was not his fault; it is in fact a typical percentage for Republicans in the modern era. In fact, the average percentage of the Hispanic vote won by a Republican candidate for president for the past nine presidential election cycles, going back to the first Reagan victory in 1980, is just 32.9 percent.
Bob Dole fared the worst, losing to Bill Clinton among Hispanics by 51 points (72 percent to 21 percent). No serious observer would contend that Bob Dole was or appeared to be an anti-Hispanic bigot.
George W. Bush received a greater share of the Hispanic vote. In the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, he lost the Hispanic vote by 27 and 18 points, respectively. But there were important differences. First, he received a higher share of the overall vote than McCain and Romney. Bush was the former governor of Texas, and performed especially well among Hispanics in that state who were his former constituents. And Bush was not running against Obama, a racial minority with whom Hispanic voters naturally found common ground.
In other words, Romney did not nosedive because of tough anti-immigrant GOP rhetoric swirling around him. He merely performed slightly lower than average against America’s first minority president.
Advocates of immigration reform as a brand-fixer for Republicans overlook broader issues that are at work. Hispanics favor a larger role for government than do white Americans or Republicans. And these differences are not going away.
Hispanic voters make political decisions as other Americans do. A Pew Research survey last year asked Hispanic registered voters to name the most important issues facing the country. Fifty-five percent listed education as “extremely important.” This was followed in descending order by a familiar litany of other top concerns: jobs and the economy (54 percent), health care (50 percent), federal budget deficit (36 percent) and taxes (33 percent). Immigration fell between deficits and taxes at 34 percent.
Accordingly, freshman Senator Ted Cruz, a virtual unknown at the start of his come-from-behind campaign in the Lone Star State of Texas registering just one percent in the polls, wrote in the Washington Post last January that the GOP should stand for “opportunity conservatism” by conceptualizing and articulating “every domestic policy with a single-minded focus on easing the ascent up the economic ladder.”
Further, he explained, “Under the Obama administration, the unemployment rate climbed above 10 percent among Hispanics last year and to 14 percent among African Americans. Yet Republicans never talked about this.”
However, Hispanics favor a larger role for government than the population as a whole. A 2012 survey by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Foundation found two out of three Hispanics favored a “larger federal government with many services” over a “smaller federal government with fewer services.” For all American adults, in contrast, 55 percent preferred a smaller federal government with fewer services and only 40 percent supported a larger federal government.
An Allstate/National Journal/Heartland Monitor poll in 2011, echoing Ronald Reagan, offered more confirmation. Forty-two percent of white Americans, a plurality in the poll, agreed that “in the current economic environment government is not the solution to our economic problems, government is the problem.” Only 17 percent of African Americans and 25 percent of Hispanics felt the same.
In a Latino Decisions poll in 2012, 61 percent of Hispanic voters supported Obamacare, with only 25 percent who want it repealed. This contrasts with solid, sustained opposition to the law by a majority of Americans overall and white voters in particular.
Finally, the overwhelming Hispanic vote for Obama reflected a common belief that he and his party would do a better job of addressing the whole range of issues facing the country. Hispanic voters concluded Obama would better handle the economy, the chief issue for all voters of all races in 2012. A Latino Decisions poll, taken on November 5, 2012, the eve of the election, found that, when asked which candidate and political party “do you trust more to make the right decisions and improve our economic conditions,” 73 percent of Hispanic voters chose Obama and the Democrats and only 23 percent selected Romney and the Republicans. Those results mirrored almost precisely the election returns among Hispanic voters according to exit polls.
There is, then, a broader dissonance between the Republican Party and Hispanic voters on issues well beyond immigration. Hispanics prefer bigger government, even as this is antithetical to the core tenets of the Republican Party platform. Even the most committed Republican immigration reformers in Congress are not proposing that the GOP jettison its limited-government stance and rhetoric.
A Path to Lasting Political Success
The assumption that immigration reform will improve Republican political prospects is, then, questionable at best. George Hawley, a political science professor at the University of Houston, recently published a study which further reinforced this conclusion. He found that Republican incumbents seeking reelection to Congress who had supported liberalizing immigration laws did not fare better in the 2006 elections than did Republican Congressmen who opposed such legislation. In fact, Hawley concluded that the reform-minded Congressmen averaged less than 30 percent support from Hispanics—nearly identical to the totals that Mitt Romney gained from Hispanic voters in the presidential race six years later.
Hawley argues that the Republican Party may lose some of its base voters by trying to win over Hispanic voters, who are more in line with the Democratic Party on other issues besides immigration reform.
What, then, are Republicans to do? They risk alienating the base they have, which allows them to remain competitive nationally and win and retain a majority in Congress, by going along with amnesty. Furthermore, they will always be “outbid” by Democratic leaders, presumably, when it comes to accommodating illegal immigration.
A better approach is to be true to core Republican principles and accentuate areas of commonality with Hispanic voters, of which there are many. For example, a vigorous national defense benefits all and offers fertile common ground. Hispanics understand the need for deficit reduction as a way to provide for the needs of future generations, something that accords with love of family.
A “common ground” approach presents a more likely path to long-term political success than turning the Republican Party into the “me too” amnesty party.
By Andrew Thomas
When a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators announced plans in January 2013 to push new immigration legislation, Americans learned that the leaders behind this latest effort to deal with the nation’s broken borders would cross the political aisle. But it did not take long for them to realize that bipartisanship came at a price: amnesty for all illegal immigrants.
Coming together for this purpose was the so-called Gang of Eight. The members of the group were Democratic Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Charles Schumer of New York, and Republican Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona, and Marco Rubio of Florida. Their proposal was the most ambitious immigration package since the 1986 reforms known as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (or Simpson-Mazzoli Act).
The Gang of Eight’s proposal would allow the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in America to remain without fear of deportation. They would be required to register with the federal government and pay a fine and then would receive “probationary legal status.” This would allow them to remain in the country and work.
To gain permanent status, they would have to go to the “end of the line” and could qualify for long-term protected status only after the border was secured and a system put in place to track the status of immigrants who have overstayed visas. The bill also would seek to attract highly skilled immigrants.
Leaders of both parties added to this chorus of bipartisan support. Several Republican leaders in Congress and the media joined in, including Congressman Paul Ryan. To a cheering crowd in Las Vegas on January 29, President Obama threw his weight behind the efforts, stating that “the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Obama’s own plan, contained in a “secret” document nonetheless leaked suspiciously to the media in February 2013, was not substantively much different from the Gang of Eight’s. In fact, while Republican leaders denounce Obama’s approach as too soft on border enforcement and “dead on arrival,” the differences between his approach and the Gang of Eight’s were minor; some conservatives speculated the “leak” was a deliberate attempt to allow Republican leaders to put some distance between themselves and the president. The main distinction between the two plans was whether the federal government will allow illegal immigrants to apply for legal status as permanent residents after eight years have passed (Obama) or after a still-unnamed commission declares the border to be secure (Gang of Eight). In either case, the practical result is immediate legalization, or amnesty by another name.
There is little practical difference between the two plans for an additional reason: Latin American immigrants in the past have had a low rate of naturalization. After the 1986 amnesty law was passed by Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan, most illegal immigrants who qualified for amnesty did not even pursue and obtain citizenship.
Sparring over the proposed reforms quickly began in expected quarters. In testimony on Capitol Hill, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano went so far as to claim the border has never been more secure.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will be a central checkpoint for the legislation, pledged to bring the reforms to a vote and push them vigorously.
But conservative Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee remained skeptical. Pressing their belief the borders still are not secure and that this is just the latest incarnation of amnesty, these leaders have questioned the whole premise of the legislation. Emerging as a prime leader of this opposition is Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. He has shared fears that the efforts will be “amnesty only” and that the promises of beefed-up border security will not materialize, while mass legal status conferred on illegal immigrants will. Sessions declared that supporters of the bill suffer from “a lot of overconfidence,” and predicted flatly, “It will not pass.”
To bolster their view, Sessions and his allies invoke both fairness and a long history of non-enforcement. Immediate legalization for illegal immigrants who would gain “probationary legal status” under the reforms would amount to preferential treatment for those who have essentially broken into the country. Those who played by the rules will not qualify for this coveted status.
Moreover, past promises to toughen enforcement measures have not led to subsequent action by federal agencies tasked with securing the border. Congress passed a law in 2006, the Secure Fence Act, requiring a border fence. Congress has authorized, multiple times, creation of an entry-exit system to monitor those coming and going from the country. Neither the fence nor the entry-exit system has been constructed.
What pressure will be brought to bear on holdout Republicans opposing the push for amnesty? Some inkling of this comes from the rough tactics being used to discredit groups that advocate tougher border security and oppose amnesty. One group aligned with the Gang of Eight, the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, has accused groups such as Numbers USA, the Center for lmmigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform of not being genuinely conservative groups. The latter, hardline groups are being tarred with accusations that they support population-control measures such as abortion and sterilization.
The obvious intention is to separate the hardline groups from conservative orthodoxy and make it easier for conservative members of Congress to vote in favor of amnesty. The Washington Post acknowledged recently that “establishment Republicans” were behind the effort to marginalize the border-hawk organizations, and that this “campaign . . . is another sign of how seriously” these Republican leaders are pursuing a new immigration package.
Leaders of the targeted groups complain they are being smeared by a well-organized campaign underwritten by moneyed interests that want to liberalize immigration laws and operations. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, has blasted these accusations as “laughably unbelievable” and an attempt to “bork” opponents of the administration’s new plan with the Gang of Eight (“bork” being a reference to the famous smear campaign used to block Senate confirmation of the late Judge Robert H. Bork the Reagan nominee in 1987 to the United States Supreme Court).
A Republican-led House of Representatives ultimately will have to go along with the proposed immigration reforms, at least in some manner, in order for amnesty to become law. For this reason, such bare-knuckled, divide-and-conquer tactics may well be, for the Gang of Eight and its allies, their only realistic path to victory.
Andrew Thomas is a graduate of the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School. Twice elected as Maricopa County Attorney, the district attorney for greater Phoenix, Arizona, Thomas served a county of four million residents and ran one of the largest prosecutor’s offices in the nation. He established a national reputation for fighting violent crime, identity theft, drug abuse and illegal immigration. He is the author of four books, including The People v. Harvard Law: How America’s Oldest Law School Turned Its Back on Free Speech. Mr. Thomas is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Anslysis.
Ray Spitzer, president of the Sun City West Republican Club, criticized U.S. Senator Jeff Flake’s “immigration plan” as more amnesty:
“This is just a redux of the 2007/2008 amnesty plan. The American people stopped it then, and we’ll stop it th is time.
(BREITBART) Defiant and reflective, 80-year-old Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio told Breitbart News after winning re-election that he has a message for President Barack Obama: granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is unfair to legal immigrants.
And Arpaio would like to discuss amnesty — along with border security issues — with Obama “man to man” directly at the White House. He would also like to reach out to Hispanic groups he said have misunderstood his intentions and bought into the negative “propaganda” about him.
“I wish the president would invite me to the White House,” Arpaio told Breitbart News. “We’ll have some wine and beer, and light up cigars.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called out the administration to secure the border.
“If there is any consolation in Tuesday’s disappointing election results it is that illegal immigration has returned to the forefront of our national dialogue. This is a good thing. America’s immigration system is broken.
“But we must not rush head-long into a ‘solution’ that only makes things worse. Right now, there are well-meaning people – including some in my own party – who are advocating a grand bargain in which the American people would be promised border security in exchange for the granting of amnesty to tens of millions of illegal aliens. We’ve been here before.
“I remember it was in 1986 that my idol, President Reagan, helped usher through a similar compromise. Three million aliens became American citizens; the border was never secured. In fact, recent American history is littered with similar broken promises when it comes to border security.
“That’s why I have a simple request for the President and Congress: Secure our border first. Demonstrate that you take seriously the safety concerns of Americans living in the border region. With that completed, we can pursue – together – ways to fix our Nation’s broader immigration system in a fashion that is effective, practical and humane.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said on Tuesday that her state is in mourning over the fatal shooting of another U.S. Border Patrol agent and the wounding of another.
“Arizona has lost another Border Patrol agent,” the Republican governor’s statement began. “In the dark hours before daybreak, one agent was killed and another injured while on duty along Arizona’s southern border. It is believed they were responding to an alerted ground sensor in a remote area near Bisbee, a short distance north of the border.”
The agents, who have not been identified, were assigned to the Brian Terry Station in Naco, a center “newly-dedicated and named for a U.S. Border Patrol agent murdered under similar circumstances in Arizona less than two years ago.”
Terry’s death remains under investigation by Congress as part of its inquiry into the botched “Operation Fast and Furious” gun-running operation.
The agents who were shot on Tuesday were on horseback patrol with a third agent, who was not harmed.
“More recently, in May 2011, we lost two more agents – Eduardo Rojas Jr. and Hector Clark – when they were killed in a vehicle accident while pursuing suspected drug smugglers near Gila Bend,” Brewer’s statement continued.
“What happens next has become all-too-familiar in Arizona: Flags will be lowered in honor of the slain agent. Elected officials will vow to find those responsible. Arizonans, and Americans will grieve – and they should.
“But this ought not only be a day of tears,” Brewer added. “There should be anger, too. Righteous anger – at the kind of evil that causes sorrow this deep, and at the federal failure and political stalemate that has left our border unsecured and our Border Patrol in harm’s way.
“Four fallen agents in less than two years is the result.”
Brewer then attacked the Obama White House for an observation it made in 2011 about security at the border.
“It has been 558 days since the Obama administration declared the security of the U.S.-Mexico border ‘better now than it has ever been.’ I’ll remember that statement today.”
Authorities said three agents were on foot about 5 miles (8 km) north of the border when gunfire erupted well before daybreak but provided few additional details on the circumstances of the violence.
“As they were walking up the trail, they reported taking gunfire,” Cochise County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas said. “We have unknown suspect or suspects at this point.”
The shooting marks the fourth death of a Border Patrol agent in Arizona in less than two years and was likely to reignite concerns over border security in a state neighboring Mexico that is already at the forefront of the national immigration debate.
Brewer has been a vocal foe of President Barack Obama’s administration on immigration, amd signed a broad immigration crackdown into law in 2010 to try to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the state where an estimated 360,000 undocumented people live.
Critics of the law, which include a requirement that police check the immigration status of anyone they stop and suspect of being in the country illegally, have said it could lead to racial profiling.
The shooting took place near the border town of Naco, southeast of Tucson, which remains a corridor for marijuana trafficking and human smuggling, despite the construction of a tall, steel fence along the border.
“We need to redouble our efforts to secure the border and ensure the safety of Border Patrol agents,” U.S. Democratic Representative Ron Barber, who represents the southern Arizona district where the shooting occurred, said in a statement.
Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene at 1:33 a.m. local time and found one agent dead and another with non-life-threatening injuries, Capas said. A third was unharmed. FBI agents were also investigating.
The Border Patrol identified the slain agent as Nicholas Ivie, 30, who was originally from Utah and had worked for the agency since 2008.
The agents had been responding to a sensor, which picks up on movement or vibrations in areas authorities suspect are used by drug traffickers and illegal immigrants. When an alert is triggered, agents have the option to respond.
Capas said the agents who were shot were assigned to the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station, named after an agent whose 2010 death in the line of duty in Arizona borderlands was linked to a botched U.S. operation to track guns smuggled to Mexico.
In that case, two guns tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the “Fast and Furious” sting operation, which let weapons slip into Mexico, were retrieved from the spot where Terry died in a shoot-out with bandits. It was unclear if the weapons were used in his murder.
Separately, two Border Patrol agents were killed last year in a accident during a car chase with smugglers near Gila Bend, near Phoenix.