Everyone who has been following the "comprehensive immigration reform debate" with any degree of interest knows that Republicans are very keen on tying such reforms to enhanced border security. Democrats are equally keen on resisting such linkage.
It looks like the joke is on Republican reformers like Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, because the government has no idea how secure the border is, and no plans to accurately measure border security any time soon. The New York Times reports:
More than two years after Homeland Security officials told Congress that they would produce new, more accurate standards to assess security at the nation’s borders, senior officials from the department acknowledged this week that they had not completed the new measurements and were not likely to in coming months, as the debate proceeds about overhauling the immigration system.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers were taken aback at a hearing on Wednesday in the House of Representatives when Mark Borkowski, a senior Homeland Security official, said he had no progress to report on a broad measure of border conditions the department had been working on since 2010.
While Congress is busy being "taken aback" on a bipartisan basis, the President's people cheerfully admit this failure is by design:
Obama administration officials said on Thursday that they had resisted producing a single measure to assess the border because the president did not want any hurdles placed on the pathway to eventual citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.
They also said security conditions could change very rapidly along the border depending on where smugglers tried to bring people and narcotics across, and where border agents were concentrating their technology and other resources.
“While border security is complex and cannot be measured in a single metric,” said Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, “in every metric available to measure progress, we’re heading in the right direction, including decreased apprehensions and increased seizures.”
They used to have a single metric, known as "operational control," but Obama's Homeland Security secretary, Janet Napolitano, scuttled it because "it did not reflect a substantial buildup of agents and detection technology in recent years, and it was insufficiently flexible to account for the varying terrain and fast-changing conditions along the nearly 2,000-mile southwest border, where most illegal crossings occur."
In other words, it was too accurate for the Administration that prides itself on avoiding blame for everything, and fights like the Devil to keep any absolute standard of success from being applied to Barack Obama's policies. They needed to replace it with the kind of nebulous answer-cloudy-ask-again-later voodoo that would allow Administration officials to inform Congress, with a straight face, that they don't really have any idea how a project under way for two years is working out. And they have no plans for the future to provide any of the vitally important numbers that one of the most significant public policy issues of the decade will be decided upon.
This is really nothing new. This bloated government still has no idea what happened to all the "stimulus" money, how sinkholes like Solyndra managed to bust through every safeguard to gobble up so much of it, why nobody read the cables from the U.S. ambassador to Libya asking for more security, where all of the Fast and Furious guns Eric Holder's Justice Department ran into Mexico ended up, or how "undocumented workers" managed to scoop up $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits they're not eligible for last year.
The entire notion of Obama-style command economics is a ridiculous farce, because Uncle Sam is too fat to see his own toes, never mind monitor the goals and output of a massive private economy. The combination of open borders and this kind of hollow government - a huge welfare state with a howling void of accountability at its heart - is a recipe for apocalyptic disaster. If you think the fraud and abuse siphoning billions out of this government is bad now, just wait until amnesty hits, and the next wave of illegals comes pouring across the border Washington says it cannot even monitor effectively.
It might be possible to have relatively open borders in combination with a strict Constitution, a tiny welfare state, and a government focused largely upon law enforcement. In such an environment, the government can at least honestly say that its need for information about the populace is modest. The authorities have to get involved when violations of a relatively simple code of laws occur. Otherwise, the public goes about its business.
But Food Stamp Nation doles out enormous benefits, now including health care. To have any validity at all, this system absolutely demands a high level of accountability from government, which must in turn keep careful tabs on the beneficiaries of the program. Not even the most ardent, sincere liberal supports the idea of large-scale welfare fraud, any more than they would be pleased by the sight of a millionaire Wall Street banker buying his lunch with a food stamp card.
It's painfully clear that the accountability we're talking about does not exist. The entire system is hollow, based on a complete and utter fantasy: that the government can accurately assess the honest needs of the populace that it controls, regulates, and cares for. Even if you accept the morality and wisdom of the State providing such control and care, you must understand that the level of intelligence assumed by socialist Big Government simply does not exist. The evidence is irrefutable. It is comically obvious.
Now, does anyone seriously believe that Rubio, Paul, or any other Republican will be prepared to halt our great "comprehensive immigration reform" process in 2014 or 2016, when Janet Napolitano and her minions admit they have no idea whether any of the border security "triggers" have been satisfied?