One year ago the American people soundly rejected amnesty for illegal immigrants. Across the nation, there was heavy sentiment against one if its principal supporters, John McCain. Last November Senator McCain shifted positions — dnot abandoning amnesty but putting it instead on the back burner to a secure border. “I got the message,” he explained, “I will secure the border first. That’s what Americans want.”
That was six months ago. Today John McCain, having captured the Republican nomination, seems intent on retreating to his old position, in spite of his promises to listen to the American people. This week, McCain is off touring Mexico and Columbia to push his free trade agenda, not to ask those nations to cooperate in ending illegal immigration. At an earlier appearance before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials McCain, when asked if he make comprehensive immigration reform [read amnesty], and not just enforcement, one of his priorities in the first 100 days in office, he replied “It will be my priority yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” No mention of a secure border.
Yet today a secure border is more desperately needed than ever. Mexican border towns have deteriorated into complete lawlessness and it’s all coming North unless we get dead serious about protecting our nation’s borders now.
John McCain’s tough talk about national security is focused abroad. It would be better for him — and for America — if it were also focused on protecting us from the problems that are right next door.
Right now, a deadly drug war spreads like a wild fire across Mexico with no end in sight. Drug traffickers are taking control of whole towns; Mexican police commanders, criminal justice officials and journalists are being singled out for assassination; and public shootouts are occurring in daylight near shopping centers and in residential areas. Just six weeks ago the U.S. State Department warned that, “Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with the heavily–armed narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and fragmentation grenades.”
Sound like Iraq? Tijuana is now competing with Baghdad for kidnapping capital of the world. According to the Los Angels Times, “Heavily armed gunmen, often wearing federal police uniforms, snatch people from shopping centers, restaurants, country clubs. The victims are warehoused in networks of safe houses and often shackled and put in group cages until ransoms are paid.” Fingers are severed and sent to loved ones along with ransom notes. Over a thousand Tijuana families — doctors, lawyers, business owners, law enforcement officials — have fled to San Diego for safety. The Times reports that in one Catholic parish, St. Rose of Lima in Chula Vista, CA, six families have fallen victim to kidnapping in the last twelve months.
And there is no stopping it from flowing into the United States. The U.S. drug market is too enticing with its easy access and huge profits. Violent crime against our border patrol agents has dramatically escalated in recent months and MS13, the vicious Central American gang, has expanded its membership in the U.S. to well over 100,000 strong, establishing roots in 42 states.
Last week six men with guns and law-enforcement-like body armor assassinated a man in his Phoenix home. They shot over 100 rounds of ammunition into the house in what was believed to be a drug related crime. In response Phoenix Police Sergeant Joel Tranter said, “We have seen an increasing amount of these types of violent crimes in the past five months.”
The lucrative crime of kidnapping has also spread north. The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association estimates 359 kidnappings this past year, all related to illegal immigration. They are confident this only represents about a third of all kidnappings in their area.
To continue a policy of open borders is pure insanity, and John McCain was perfectly positioned to own the issue. Instead he chose to grovel.
Does he believe he can out-pander the Democrats? No matter what promises of amnesty and government goodies he offers the ethnic lobbies, the Democrats will always offer more. Meanwhile he is ignoring the non-Hispanic population — who still make up 93% of the electorate — as well as the patriotic Hispanics who consistently support tough immigration reform.
Imagine if Senator McCain had showed up at that event of Hispanic American leaders and delivered a powerful speech about the rights of a sovereign nation to secure its borders, of the national security implications of an open border, and the responsibility of the federal government to protect its communities from foreign grown crime and drugs. Imagine if he had committed to securing the borders of the United States within six months of taking office, and keeping them secure for the duration of his administration.
He would have been booed in the room but America would have been cheering. John McCain would have become a candidate you can vote for.
But he chose to pander and was rewarded with polite applause and sent on his way before the crowd went wild for Obama. He gained nothing but lost something dear — the trust of voters who believed him in November.