Border Security: Don’t Mess with Texas
Border security is the hot button issue of the November 2010 election. In a recent Texas Tribune poll, 41% [!] cited immigration/border security as the most important problem facing Texas. In a May 2010 national Gallup poll, 90% said that border security is moderately to extremely important, with 61% stating that illegal immigration unfairly burdens schools, hospitals, and other government services.
This is a classic libertarian issue concerning private property rights against trespass and property destruction and threats to life and liberty, as well as theft of goods in the form of taxpayer-funded benefits. The effects of illegal immigration are equivalent of the effects of the use of force and fraud.
My three part approach to border security is as follows:
1. Secure the border at the border by using the Texas State Guard. No one will cross the border other than at a valid U.S. port of entry where they can be assessed by U. S. immigration officials. This approach is vastly preferable to the Arizona method which attempts to identify persons who have illegally crossed the border after they have integrated into society.
2. Restrict all taxpayer-funded benefits including government education to citizens. This will eliminate major incentives to come to Texas illegally.
3. Hold illegal aliens accountable to the law to the same extent as citizens. No sanctuary cities, no refusal to process those accused of crimes based on their illegal status, and no more looking the other way when an uninsured illegal alien is involved in a traffic accident.
Border Security Is an Economic Issue
An estimated 1,000,000 illegal aliens currently live in Texas. Our bi-annual budget is $180,000,000,000 (that’s billions with a “B”). State senator Dan Patrick estimates that 25% of our budget is spent on illegal aliens. That’s 45 billion dollars!
Our current projected budget deficit of $18,000,000,000 (that “B” word, again) would be erased if we eliminate taxpayer-funded spending on people who are not citizens. Not only could we wipe out our deficit without raising taxes, we could use the excess to eliminate existing taxes, such as school property taxes.
Illegal aliens commit a form of theft when they receive taxpayer-funded benefits such as food stamps, health care services, and education. Current Texas law requires 8% of general tax revenues to be spent on indigent care. Williamson County, for example, spends 23% of its indigent care on illegal aliens, which Medicaid does not reimburse. In Harris County, 81% of births at LBJ General Hospital (a hospital district hospital) are to mothers here illegally.
Illegal immigration dramatically increases the cost of education. 20% of Texas students are here illegally. With respect to higher education, over 12,000 non-citizens received in-state tuition in 2009, with enthusiastic support of our governor.
Illegal immigration strains our criminal justice system to the breaking point. 9,000 illegal immigrants are held pending deportation at a cost of $13.5 million a year.
Like so many other expenditures, we simply can no longer afford to educate and take care of people who are not legally here in the first place.
Border Security Is a Sovereignty and Defense Issue
Helicopters and tanks of the Mexican government have violated the borders of our state – an affront to our sovereignty that has been conveniently overlooked. We have even experienced acts of piracy on Falcon Lake.
Our porous border allows not only criminals but terrorists to enter our state. On May 17, 2010, Homeland Security warned Texas to be on the lookout for Mohamed Ali (the Al Qaeda-associated terrorist, not the world heavyweight boxer), reported to be traveling from Somalia through Mexico and Texas for parts unknown.
Mexican military helicopters have invaded Texas airspace on three occasions that we know about. Incursions of tanks and other military vehicles are not uncommon. A plot by Mexican drug cartels to blow up Falcon Lake dam has been uncovered. Pirates are aggressing against fisherman in Falcon Lake.
These invaders are messing with Texas. Apparently, no one ever told them not to do that, or they just don’t know how to listen.
Border Security Is a Property Rights and Personal Safety Issue
Illegal crossing of our southern border is a trespass that damages property and livestock and leads to loss of life and livelihood. It is trashing the environment and depleting the resources of law enforcement.
Mexico is a failed state. The violence spilling over from the Mexican border is truly frightening. This spillover violence involves not just trespass and property destruction, but aggravated assault, kidnapping, extortion, torture, rape, and murder. Border security is an essential act of self-defense against this violence.
Texas-Style Border Security Is What We Need
Our current governor has just released his “Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan 2010-2015” which allocates over $230 million for border security. Of the $125 million our state receives annually from the Department of Homeland Security, less than 10% is spent on border enforcement. The point is that the money is there to properly secure the border.
We don’t need Arizona-style interrogation. We don’t need 1200 federalized National Guard paper-pushers. We don’t need ineffectual federal drones or border cameras spying on us.
What we do need is boots-on-the-ground. We need Texans in our State Guard under the direction of our Texas governor to assist property owners and other citizens in defense of individual rights. This nimble approach lends itself to adjustment of the number and location of the State Guard as our other efforts to curb illegal immigration take effect.
Our Texas State Guard must be properly equipped and trained and given a clear mission to meet this challenge. Like so many important actions, the solution to this problem will require commitment and take time to get under control.
So, let’s get started.