There's been a lot of talk about "marco-phones" in the Outrage Class today. There are some that have decided that a provision in the proposed immigration bill that calls for satellite communication to be provided to areas on the border that lack cellular coverage is the equivalent of throwing free goodies at the masses and telling them to text all their friends about how super cool the government is.
That is not what this provision says.
EC. 1107. ACCESS TO EMERGENCY PERSONNEL.
(a) SOUTHWEST BORDER REGION EMERGENCY COM- MUNICATIONS GRANTS.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary, in consulta- tion with the governors of the States in the South- west Border region, shall establish a 2-year grant program, to be administered by the Secretary, to im- prove emergency communications in the Southwest Border region.
(2) ELIGIBILITY FOR GRANTS.—An individual is eligible to receive a grant under this subsection if the individual demonstrates that he or she—
(A) regularly resides or works in the Southwest Border region;
EAS13500 S.L.C. 44
(B) is at greater risk of border violence due to the lack of cellular service at his or her residence or business and his or her proximity to the Southern border.
(3) USE OF GRANTS.—Grants awarded under
this subsection may be used to purchase satellite telephone communications systems and service that—
(A) can provide access to 9–1–1 service; and
(B) are equipped with global positioning systems.
The idea here is that we have complained before that Americans are being left to fend for themselves on the border in areas that are desolate and rampant with illegal crossings. In fact, at least one resident was murdered because cellular communication wasn't an option in his area.
So in response to our burning desire to make sure that border residents aren't thrown to the wolves, a provision was written into the bill that would provide a solution that is, one assumes, less expensive than the government creating a cellular network in all of those areas.
Bills of this type are going to require choices. We are going to have to decide which solution we want, not whether or not to have a solution. If there's a better and cheaper way to provide security for American citizens on our border in these remote areas, I'm all ears.