The big issue with immigration reform is whether the border will be closed before or after the currently undocumented residents are granted amnesty. The amnesty-now groups proclaim that the borders are effectively sealed already with the electronic surveillance systems in place.
That argument doesn't really pass the stress test when we read that Border Patrol agents found a little over a thousand pounds of marijuana on foot trails and in vehicles near the border town of Del Rio last week. Story here.
One might attempt to argue that that is anecdotal evidence the system is working. But a more convincing conclusion is that people and contraband are crossing the border as easily as before, and accidental discoveries don't prove efficiency.
The Border Patrol is boasting in its annual report that:
Attempts to cross the border illegally, as measured by U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions, totaled nearly 365,000 nationwide in FY 2012, representing a nearly 50 percent decrease since FY 2008 and a 78 percent decrease from their peak in FY 2000. ...
The lower illegal crossing apprehensions might reflect the lousy job market since 2008 more that it does more proficient enforcement. More from the annual report:
Under this administration, DHS has dedicated historic levels of personnel, technology, and resources to the Southwest border. CBP has more than doubled the size of the U.S. Border Patrol since 2004. In FY 2012, CBP employed over 21,300 Border Patrol agents, keeping staffing levels along the border at an all-time high.
So even if the electronic detection systems are in place, it still takes someone in a position of authority to order someone to act on the intelligence that comes in. That's the variable. The electronic fence can be useful or useless, depending on the whim of the person ultimately in charge, particularly one expected to cut budget deficits.
Everyone and his or her perro is claiming that conservatives are anti Hispanic and anti immigrant. Wrong. And quit trying to make a racial issue out of everything. The concern is the lack of control over who comes in. I would speculate that none of the other developed nations allow undocumented border crossings. Our elected officials are currently working on an immigration policy that hopefully will solve some of the current problems. But those of us who have developed a suspicion of the current administration are not yet convinced that the borders can or will be controlled once a new immigration policy is signed into law.