Wednesday, February 20, 2008

National Guard corruption highlights border security challenges

Two of the National Guard troops deployed in 2006 by Gov. Perry as part of Operation Linebacker have been convicted of helping smuggle illegal immigrants across the border, further evidence that it's the checkpoints, not the empty spaces in between, serving as primary entry points for illegal smugglers. Another National Guardsman was arrested recently in Fort Worth smuggling drugs when he bragged to an informant how he eluded police.

So it appears the National Guard troops sent by the governor to "secure" the border have proven as subject to corruption as every other border enforcement agency. I continue to believe this cross-border trade can only exist because of official corruption on both sides of the border.

You hear folks say we must "secure the border first," but I think that's premature. Eliminate official corruption first and rationalize immigration laws, then you might be able to have a serious discussion about improving safety at the border.


Anonymous said...

Just look at the NG Counter Drug Program in Texas.
You would be amazed and confused.

Anonymous said...

Are securing the border and eliminating corruption mutually exclusive?

I tell you what. Let's stop enforcing murder statutes and concentrate only on assault cases.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Not only are they not mutually exclusive, rage, I'm arguing one is a pre-requisite for the other.

Anonymous said...

Semantics, in this context. There's no reason they can't do both at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I would contend that this isn't some 'chicken or the egg' argument. A whole slew of economic incentives (as well as physical ones, as in not starving) for migration exist in Mexico, and the Mexican political elite appear to have no intention of changing that, as it benefits them enormously.

The international programs such as NAFTA, FTAA, etc. that were ostensibly (yeah, right, and look who got rich off of them) to reduce those incentives have arguably magnified them. Unless that changes (and that is unlikely, as all policies have inertia, and these have years of momentum and plutocratic self-interest behind them) the problem will continue.

I'm afraid the Hispanic Diaspora will continue its' tragic course until the economic system of the US reaches a breaking point - not so much from the effects of that Diaspora, but the combination of the wars, National Debt accrued to pay for them, loss of manufacturing jobs, inflation of the currency to near worthlessness, etc.

When it becomes clear that the economy is headed for a long 1970's style 'malaise' (and I don't remember those years with any fondness, and don't know anyone alive who worked for a living who does, either) the economic opportunities that were the incentives for migration will dwindle to nothing. The problem may correct itself...but not without a lot of hardship and bitter acrimony on both sides of the Border.

In the case of Mexico, violent revolution could take place once more, as the economic and political safety valve of el Norte is shut off; a de facto civil war already exists courtesy of Presidente Calderon's militarization of the DrugWar in the same vein as Brazil's attempt to fight it 'like a real war'. It's obviously not working well for either countries.

So...if nothing changes, then attempting to eliminate corruption on our side of the Border will be as pointless as trying to use water to put out a magnesium fire. The 'root causes' of the Diaspora must be addressed, and, sadly, our politicians and theirs aren't doing so in a substantive way...threatens the ol' portfolio, you know.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Rage: It's not semantics, though, when they say "secure the border first" without paying attention to corruption. Build a wall. Expand the border patrol. Send in the National Guard. And now, way down the line, BEGIN to think about corruption? Please! It COULD be have been done simultaneously, but the enforcement first faction has ensured that it has not been a priority.

At this point, they need to go after corruption more comprehensively before throwing good money after bad.

Anonymous said...

The corruption runs deeper than a couple of low level idiots caught smuggling. Perhaps the bigger betrayal of public trust was the 'false accounting' of the actual number of troops sent to the border, which was endorsed by the highest level of the National Guard. The leadership's clear lack of intent to carry out the mission to any real effect was pervasive throughout the operation (which was Operation Jump Start, not Linebacker). I understand that three of the generals from the Texas Guard have recently been relieved. Good start.