Skip to comments.Building a Human Wall on the Border: Are 20,000 new agents really the best way to go?
Posted on 07/02/2013 4:59:19 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Thanks to the last-minute border surge amendment tacked on to the Gang of Eight immigration-reform bill, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) stands to nearly double its membership. They must be thrilled. Right?
Im not sure where this idea came from, but we didnt support it, and we didnt ask for it, Shawn Moran, the NBPCs at-large vice president, tells National Review Online. No one consulted us prior to this coming up. We dont even have the infrastructure to handle 40,000 agents right now.
The NBPC is an AFL-CIOaffiliated union representing more than 17,000 border-patrol agents and support staff. If the bill that passed the Senate last week becomes law, the number of border-patrol agents would nearly double, from about 21,000 to 40,000. The union has not taken a public position on the Gang of Eight legislation, opting instead to work behind the scenes, Moran says. But the union has serious concerns with the bill that it hopes the House of Representatives will resolve. Aides to Senators Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R., N.D.), the lawmakers who authored the border-surge amendment, did not deny that the NBPC was not consulted. We felt we needed to craft an amendment that was authorized and appropriated up front that would produce a surge of resources at the southern border to give us and the American people a high degree of confidence that the border would be secured, a Corker aide tells NRO. An aide to Senator Hoeven notes that he sought the advice of the chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, as well as the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They said more fencing, more boots on the ground, and electronic surveillance [were needed], the aide says.
Many of the bills supporters touted the massive personnel increase 20,000 new agents who must be trained and deployed within ten years as the most stringent border-security measure in the history of borders. Gang of Eight member Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said the Corker-Hoeven amendment practically militarizes the border and is the toughest possible solution short of shooting everybody that comes across. Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said it would create a virtual human fence.
I can tell you from 30 years of being on the border, this bill secures the border, and anyone who says it doesnt does not understand our security needs, said Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.)
Others, however, were more skeptical about the plan. If youre asking me about the merits of this proposal, I think its overkill, said Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.). Either way, it was good enough from a political standpoint to advance the Gang of Eight bill, which passed the Senate last week by a 6832 margin.
Moran, for his part, is not convinced that doubling the number of border-patrol agents is an effective way to prevent illegal immigration. If the goal is to build a human wall, then I guess thats a step in the right direction, he says. It all depends on what kind of strategy they use. The NBPC has argued, instead, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) needs to take the handcuffs off the border-patrol agents currently in the field. Weve never been allowed to fully enforce the immigration laws, and if we did that, we think it would have a dramatic impact on illegal immigration, Moran says.
The NBPC supported an amendment from Senator Jon Tester (D., Mont.) that would have reformed the way border-patrol agents are paid, offering greater flexibility with respect to shift changes and overtime pay, among other changes. That would have been a cheaper and more efficient way to increase security on the border, Moran argues. That amendment, however, never received a vote. The union is currently negotiating with the Obama administration in an effort to resolve its concerns about agent pay, as well as certain budget cuts blamed on sequestration. Some opponents of the Gang of Eight bill suspect that these negotiations may explain the NBPCs reluctance to publicly oppose the legislation.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies and a strong opponent of the Gang of Eight proposal, says the NBPCs skepticism highlights the absurdly political nature of the Corker-Hoeven amendment, the only purpose of which, he argues, was to push the bill across the legislative finish line. They just pulled that 20,000 number out of a hat, Krikorian says. They should have just said were going to add a million border patrol agents and arm them with photon torpedoes.
The Gang of Eights decision to back the Corker-Hoeven amendment was rather peculiar, given the scorn its supporters had heaped on an earlier proposal from Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas), which called for an additional 5,000 not 20,000 border-patrol agents. That would have been too expensive, Cornyns opponents argued, just days before embracing the Corker-Hoeven border-surge proposal, along with its price tag of $30 billion. It was all paid for with projected savings, about $200 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The NBPC was the only one of three major unions representing immigration law-enforcement officers not to publicly oppose the Gang of Eight bill prior to its passage in the Senate. The leaders of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council (ICE) and the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council (USCIS) issued a joint statement last week denouncing the Gangs plan as an antilaw enforcement bill that will make Americans less safe and . . . ensure more illegal immigration.
Opponents of the Gang of Eight bill are not convinced that opposition from the NBPC would have had a significant impact on the outcome of the debate in the Senate, but they admit that the unions silence is curious.
As it turns out, the Corker-Hoeven amendment contains a number of provisions that would specifically benefit border-patrol agents. For example, the revised version of the bill increases the caps on student-loan repayment benefits for full-time, active-duty border-patrol agents. It also stipulates that the DHS secretarys authority to pay bonuses for the recruitment, relocation, and retention of DHS employees, which would include the 20,000 new border-patrol agents called for in the bill, is to be exercised to the fullest extent . . . allowable in order to encourage service in the Department of Homeland Security.
Our lobbyists and our legislative committee are in D.C. pretty much full time trying to correct problems, Moran says. Now that the House has begun work on its own version of Gang of Eight, these immigration-reform proponents are hoping that lawmakers in the House, unlike their Senate counterparts, will welcome their input.
Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.
What’s the point? Our government doesn’t intend to secure the border at all.
Think about it this way 20,000 new agents with guns working for the Gov’t enough said.
Think about it this way 20,000 new agents with guns working for the Gov’t enough said.
The point is to give O 20K new UNION jobs, thus dues for Dem coffers
Except the border patrol seems to stand pretty exclusively against the democrats.
With ICE still continuing “catch and release” I have no idea what additional agents bring, other than more federal union employees.
Well...it’s 20,000 jobs anyway
Pull the military from Europe and put it on the border to support the border patrol. We are already paying for them.
Some of them need to be deployed into sanctuary cities to aid in deportation, but that will never happen.
I’d pull them out of the mideast but yes, the military would make a fine backup on the border.
The worthless one could put Russian soldiers on the border.
maybe they gonna use those new agents to keep us in, not keep others out
check your tax returns every time you try to travel
or it will just be an affirmative action hiring fest to put more slugs on the govt payroll to do nothing. obama looking to hire lotsa felons and illegals
An army, nay a corps, of border patrol agents will not close the border if they have a Presidential order to make no arrests.
So long as the current President breathes in office there will always be such and order.
The treacherous tyrant has no respect for any law.
First: Shut Off the Welfare Magnet.
The word “wall” is a Dem tactic meant to create a negative image of border enforcement.
That is if they don’t lose the taxpayer funded weapons supplied to them. Maybe they should let the park service store them when not in use. On the other hand, maybe the CBP should be shut down and king hussein can direct the monies saved there at the real and biggest threat the world has ever seen. You know, climate change. Could prof. hussein get any more stupid? How do his kin folk like being told they can’t have cars and air conditioned large houses/mansions? While AF1 is idling on the runway so it’s all comfy for the worst(I mean first)family.
It will be 20000 more Union votes, and a big new force of “ Welcome to America” workers to help em to the Welfare office...
That explains why DICK trumpka was standing behind chucky schoomer and john maclame with a grin from ear to ear.
” Our government doesnt intend to secure the border at all.”
You got that right. If they would put that many on the border to start with, the only power they would have would be to run and hide if they saw anyone coming across. It would have nothing to do with actually protecting us from the constant flow of ILLEGAL invaders.