Jacoby, Tamar
January 2004
New Republic;1/26/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 2, p18
This article discusses border policy in the United States with specific focus on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Border Patrol's Laredo sector--one of nine along the southwest frontier--considers this Texas outpost, 15 miles from Mexico on the major artery from South and Central America into the U.S. heartland, its "major defense" against unauthorized alien penetrations. Despite a historic buildup of forces on America's southwest border--the number of agents has nearly tripled in a decade, and budgets have multiplied even faster--there has been no appreciable decrease in the number of illegal migrants entering the country. Although, according to an investigation by the Associated Press, not a single terrorist suspect has been apprehended on the U.S.-Mexican border in the years since September 11, 2001, we plainly need to patrol our southern frontier. Prodded by the deaths and by the way newly elected Mexican President Vicente Fox was engaging the White House, pro-immigration Democrats and Republicans, business lobbies, labor unions, and immigrant advocates suddenly got serious about trying to work out a bipartisan solution. Although Bush is never going to accept a plan that puts all temporary workers automatically on the road to citizenship, as reform advocates once hoped, Democrats can widen the path--whether by adding green cards or creating some other mechanism. Admittedly, success would come with a heavy political cost, giving the president a big victory in what may be a close election year.


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