When Does Border-First Become Border-Only?

border fenceLast Thursday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer met with President Obama to discuss immigration and border security. Gov. Brewer described the meeting as “cordial,” but neither the President nor the Governor discussed the Justice Department’s plan to move forward with a lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law—a law which President Obama has publicly criticized as “misguided.”

They did, however, discuss specifics of the most recent round of border-first strategies (the President assured Brewer that he would send White House staff to Arizona in two weeks to further discuss beefing up the border). Although the President asked Gov. Brewer for help “in creating a bipartisan solution” to our immigration problems, Gov. Brewer was unwilling to play ball, which makes one wonder how far the President is willing to go on the border-first strategy without any promise of GOP support for comprehensive reform?

As he has in the past, the President advocated for a border security plan within the context of a larger immigration overhaul during his meeting yesterday. According to aWhite House press statement following the meeting:

As he did at the recent meeting with Senate Republicans, the President underscored that security measures alone won’t fix the broken borders, there needs to be comprehensive immigration reform that includes: lasting and dedicated resources by which to secure our borders and make our communities safer; holding unscrupulous employers accountable who hire workers illegally and exploit them and providing clear guidance for the many employers who want to play by the rules; and requiring those who have come here illegally to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, and get right with the law.

The President also asked for Gov. Brewer’s help in garnering GOP support (i.e. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl) for a comprehensive overhaul, but to no avail. Much like a wind-up toy, Gov. Brewer was unable to say anything other than “borders-first.”

When Brewer was asked whether she committed to building GOP support for a comprehensive overhaul, she replied, “No.”

While President Obama and Gov. Brewer agreed that “federal inaction on a comprehensive immigration overhaul is unacceptable,” she has done nothing to substantiate that notion. Meanwhile, Gov. Brewer admits that crime is down in Arizona (as well as other border towns), even though she has repeatedly claimed that her state is “under siege” from border crime. As the L.A. Times subtly points out, Gov. Brewer is a “Republican who is up for reelection.”

But the question remains, how much longer is President Obama willing to placate the supporters of a border-first strategy? Offering up more and more to the border-firsters, and gaining nothing in return for comprehensive immigration reform, may leave the President—and the country—with a border-only policy. Although border-first is what Gov. Brewer, Senator McCain, and Senator Kyl want, it isn’t what the public wants.

seth hoyAccording to a recent poll, “opinion research shows that rather than a newfound wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, most Americans support Arizona’s law as well as national comprehensive immigration reform,” which “is driven by a desire for action by Washington on a problem that has been left unattended for too long.” If President Obama is really worried about a “patchwork of different state immigration regulations around the country” instead of an immigration overhaul, why pour more money and resources into a border-only solution?

Seth Hoy

Republished with permission from Immigration Impact.

Photo by EdmondMeinfelder


  1. MyLeftMind says

    The best solution to the problem of illegal immigration is to criminalize the hiring of illegal aliens. When unethical employers are facing jail time and confiscation of their investments, they’ll stop undermining our country and our economy.

    If you think illegal aliens don’t take the good jobs, talk to professional carpenters who pay union fees and should be making $30-50/hour for their work, but instead have to compete with a pool of aliens willing to work for $5/hr under the table. Consider a property developer that is building 50-100 homes on a track of land near a major city. Right now, that developer can easily reap the benefits of hiring illegal aliens such as paying below minimum wage, not paying for Workers’ Comp Insurance, not paying Social Security/FICA taxes, etc. The public picks up the cost if his employees get hurt, while the developer rakes in the profits. Worse, a lot of that money is sent back out of the country instead of being spent here. Same thing happens with agribusiness and other companies. Owners get away with tricking the public into paying their employee costs by simply hiring illegal aliens.

    If millionaire property developers and agribusiness owners face losing their properties and going to jail, they’ll stop hiring illegal aliens. Changing the law and prosecuting employers would undermine one of the biggest incentives to come to this country illegally.


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