'Alligators in the Moat': Obama Mocks Concerns About Border Security
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama told a border crowd in Texas Tuesday that he has addressed the border security concerns of Republicans, but "they'll never be satisfied."
He now is calling on GOP lawmakers to support his push to grant legal status to the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal aliens.
Obama made his remarks in El Paso, which is just across the border from Juarez, one of the most violent cities in Mexico.
“So, we have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement,” Obama said to a supportive crowd. "All the stuff they asked for, we've done. But even though we’ve answered these concerns, I've got to say, I suspect there's still going to be some who are trying to move the goals posts on us, one more time.
"You know, they said we needed to triple the border patrol. Well, now they're going to say we need to quadruple the border patrol," said the president. "Or they'll want a higher fence. Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat. They'll never be satisfied."
The president is offering essentially the same immigration-reform proposal that was considered by Congress in 2005 and 2007.
“The question is whether those in Congress who previously walked away in the name of enforcement are now ready to come back to the table and finish the work we’ve started,” he said. “We have to put the politics aside.”
At one point in the speech, Obama said, “They wanted a fence,” which prompted boos from the crowd before he said, “Well, that fence is now basically complete.”
While speaking near Juarez, Obama remarked that “El Paso and other cities and towns along the border are consistently rated among the safest in the nation.”
According to Richard M. Stana, director of homeland security and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal government can actually prevent or stop illegal entries into the United States along only 129 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.
That leaves 1,825 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border where the Border Patrol cannot prevent or stop an illegal entry.
Obama said his plan for comprehensive immigration reform, which proponents generally call a “pathway to citizenship” and critics call “amnesty,” said his scheme has four parts. First, he said, is to secure the border. Second, businesses should be held accountable. Third, illegal aliens would have to admit they broke the law, pay a fine and learn English, and undergo a background check. Fourth, he said, make it easier for immigrants to start a business or work on a farm.
But he gave virtually no specifics as to how he would do any of these things.
“They’ve broken the rules, and have cut in front of the line,” Obama said of illegal aliens. “And the truth is, the presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are trying to immigrate legally.”
But Republicans are less inclined to think the administration has done everything possible to secure the border.
This Wednesday, the House will hold an investigative hearing on violence and crime on the Southwest border. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations & Management, said his panel’s hearing will give Americans a more realistic security assessment of the U.S.-Mexico border and accurately measure the level of spillover crime.
McCaul wants the GAO to do further assessment of spillover violence from Mexico, seek input from local and state law enforcement on the matter and the need to keep National Guard troops on the border after the June 30 deadline, when they are supposed to withdraw.
Witnesses at the Wednesday hearing will include Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steven McCraw; Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne; Zapata County, Texas Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez; McAllen, Texas Police Chief Victor Rodriguez; and officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
Obama said the Border Patrol has 20,000 agents on the border, twice as many as in 2004, and the number of intelligence agents reportedly has tripled.
“Over the past two-and-a-half years, we’ve seized 31 percent more drugs, 75 percent more currency, and 64 percent more weapons than before,” Obama said. “Even as we’ve stepped up patrols, apprehensions along the border have been cut by nearly 40 percent from two years ago – that means far fewer people are attempting to cross the border illegally.”
Over the last few months Obama has met with several “stakeholders” regarding the illegal immigration issue, all of whom reportedly agree with him. Three weeks ago, he invited business interests and supporters of his approach to move forward on reform legislation to the White House. Two weeks ago, the president met with celebrities from the Hispanic community at the White House. Then, last week, the president met with members of the congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The Obama administration sent National Guard troops to the border on Sept. 1, 2010. The 1,200 guardsmen are scheduled to leave on June 30. The National Guard troops assisted in seizing more than 14,000 pounds of drugs and apprehending 7,000 illegal aliens, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On April 1, members of the House Homeland Security Committee wrote Obama a letter asking him to keep the National Guard troops in place along the border until DHS can replace those 1,200 troops with additional Border Patrol guards.