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home : opinions : opinions August 17, 2017

6/16/2017 7:28:00 AM
Straight talk from the border
Gary Meinert

Not long ago I attended a class where we were encouraged to discuss controversial topics civilly. During the topic of illegal immigration I was corrected by a classmate, an attorney, when I stated illegal aliens committed a "crime" by entering our country illegally. Additionally, he was terribly offended when I refused to refer to illegal aliens as "undocumented immigrants." The discussion ended in a stalemate until the next class when he stood and apologized graciously and admitted he was incorrect on both issues. I gave copies of two documents, Title 8 U.S. Code 1325 and 1182, to the 10 other classmates supporting the truth. Three women in the class, admitted leftists, adamantly refused to believe the lawyer or me on either of the debated subjects even when presented with irrefutable evidence.

I pride myself in the credibility I have built with the U.S. Border Patrol and the nearly 14 years of involvement in this difficult and changing topic. Whether it's a significant or minimal topic this column will engage in a variety of border related topics often misunderstood by the public. If our citizens don't understand even the basic facts of a topic how are we expected to carry on much more complicated dialogs?

Following is an assortment of topics presented in no particular order which are often misunderstood.

There is a distinct difference between Illegal Entry and Illegal Presence. If a visitor over-stays the time of his visa it falls under the category of "illegal presence." The difference between that and "illegal entry" assumes the individual unintentionally over-stayed the visa time allowed. However 40 to 50 percent of those illegally in our country are said to have over-stayed their visas. It would be a stretch to assume this percentage of people "accidentally" over-stayed their welcome and very difficult to prove otherwise.

The word "deportation" itself has become terribly misused recently. To be removed from our country by "deportation" the person must have entered our country under legal circumstances but then committed an offense requiring his removal by "deportation." Primarily due to the media, words such as "returned" have incorrectly replaced "deportation." During the last few years of President Obama's administration a unique term arose. TBS is an acronym for "Turned Back South." This event occurred whenever a Border Patrol Agent stopped a potential illegal alien by chasing him back south of the border. According to agents this was common although the number of the "turn backs" is unknown but hinted they counted as deportations for the President.

I'm reasonably certain not one foot of "wall" will be constructed on our border unless something dramatic changes the agency's plan. As the term "undocumented immigrants" came about to have the aliens be viewed as harmless, the term "wall" was originated by the leftists to create an ominous image similar to the Berlin Wall. Now it's commonly used, even by our President.

DHS Chief Kelly recently confirmed the obvious that "The wall will not stretch from sea to shining sea." It was never expected or planned to cover the roughly 2,000 miles of border for one reason, it isn't necessary! Numerous natural barriers such as rugged mountain ranges and vast expanses of desert makes crossing by foot extremely difficult and unlikely. One agent discussing fences said, "Boss, if you can give me 27 more miles here, 16 more miles here, I don't care about the other 140 miles I'm responsible for, but I need something that works." By far the Bollard fence style is the best as compared to the others in my opinion, and I hope it will be chosen.

A human requires a minimum of six quarts of water per day to sustain life in this environment. In most cases it takes 3 to 5 days to cross successfully by foot which is very unlikely. If part of that expanse can be crossed by vehicles a barrier similar to those used at Normandy Beach are constructed. From that point the crossers still have a very unlikely chance of survival.

Assuming there are some crossers who make it to the border and even into our country, they are still likely to be apprehended. Areas are regularly observed by drones, fixed wing planes, helicopters, long range cameras, and new devices are tested regularly. If any of our defenses are breached and the crossers enter our country, hundreds of hidden seismic and magnetic detectors pinpoint their location so agents can pick them up quickly. The last line of defense is movable and permanent check points which are very successful in detecting those who have avoided detection.

As testimony to the successfulness of the border security strategy, one only has to look at the amount of tunneling the cartels are doing at a huge expense. In the last 26 years 224 tunnels were discovered and 185 were successful in reaching our side of the border. A very large percentage has surfaced in the Tucson Sector and most of those were in the Nogales Station area. New technology has become very helpful in detecting tunneling activity and Border Patrol "tunnel rats" are exceptional at their job.

A recent Rasmussen survey of likely voters found the following. Fourty-four percent of likely voters think illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime in America; 41 percent say it has no impact, while 7 percent feel they decrease crime!

Considering all issues related to illegal immigration, 74 percent of Republican voters and 44 percent of unaffiliated voters believe that illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime. Sixteen percent of Democrats agree and 67 percent think it has no impact.

The U S. Department of Justice confirmed at the end of the Border Patrol fiscal year that only 3.5 percent of the American population is here illegally. That percentage is praised by open border activists but what is not said is that the 3.5 percent commit 12 percent of the murders, 20 percent of the kidnapping, and 16 percent of the drug trafficking of the nation.

As always, I will accept and respond to emails. gkmeinert@unac.com.

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