Border Bills: All Hat, No Cattle From Texas



Some Texas officials talk tough about border security. In the Obama era, the Lone Star State took it upon itself to spend millions deploying officers to plug security gaps left by the feds.

But legislation proposed by two top Texas Republicans doesn’t measure up.

Rep. Michael McCaul this year introduced the tough-sounding “Border Security for America Act of 2017.”

Like Sen. John Cornyn’s “Building America’s Trust Act,” these bills are less about actual immigration enforcement and more about the appearance of immigration enforcement.

Both measures focus on border control. That’s not wrong, per se, but they appear oblivious to the fact that nearly half of the illegal aliens in this country arrived not as border crashers, but on legal visas. Then these individuals – millions of them – illegally overstayed, landed unlawful employment and settled in.

The failure to address interior enforcement is a fatal shortcoming of the Cornyn-McCaul bills. This myopia explains why a bona-fide employee-screening program like E-Verify remains optional and underutilized.

Back on the border, the Cornyn-McCaul bills “tend toward micromanagement, right down to the Border Patrol sector level, in assigning equipment,” notes the Center for Immigration Studies. “This smacks of two Texas legislators going out of their way as good Santa Clauses to an agency that just happens to have an outsized presence in the state of Texas.”

The Government Accountability Office questioned the tech-centric approach espoused by Cornyn-McCaul. Drones are featured prominently on their spending list, even as DHS’s Office of Inspector General panned the Border Patrol’s drone program for cost overruns, lack of clear mission and vague metrics.

Last month, Michelle Malkin poked holes in the types of technology touted by Messrs. Cornyn and McCaul. “It’s a monumental waste of taxpayer funds and a dangerous redistribution of wealth to crony contractors,” she concluded.

Amidst their technological tinkering and manpower shuffles, Cornyn, McCaul and their congressional colleagues have done little or nothing to promote construction of an actual border wall. It’s the same misdirection game that has played for far too long on Capitol Hill.

Seeing such tall hats and so little cattle, American citizens are left to wonder: Where’s the beef?

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)’s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

2 Comments

  1. avatar

    Do prisons have “drones” instead of tall fences with guards? Does the White House have drones? No, they have a big fence with guards. Yes a few people get over but the response is make the fences more secure. This drone business is more of the same by the same people who really don’t want border control.

    A fence slows illegal crossers to the point that the Border Patrol can usually get there before they can make it over. A drone does nothing but record the fact that they have already raced across the border and are well into the country, and the farther they are from the border the less likely they are to be caught.