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In May of this year, President Obama ordered the deployment of 1200 National Guard troops to the Mexican border.
Obama did not issue that order because crime or violence had increased on the U.S. side of the border. He did it because of this...
The president announced the deployment shortly after he returned from lunch with the 41-member Senate Republican Caucus, who told him that U.S. borders first need to be secured before work could start on a sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration laws. Arizona's two Republican senators said the deployment wasn't enough.
President Obama ordered those 1200 National Guard troops, not because the situation had deteriorated on the border, not because the U.S. had seen alarming increases in violent crime there.....he did so in order to appease his opponents in the Republican Party. Something that Obama still has not learned...can't be done.
Conservative media in the U.S. have been raising the temperature of their rhetoric over alleged Mexican border violence, and the imminent threat of some undocumented Latino Armageddon, to a fever pitch this entire year. It is one of many policy issues in which conservatives are actively working overtime in order to damage President Obama's presidency in the hopes of Republicans recapturing Congress.
However, just like with so many "news" stories in the last couple of years, the truth is rarely told.
Assistant Police Chief Roy Bermudez shakes his head and smiles when he hears politicians and pundits declaring that Mexican cartel violence is overrunning his Arizona border town.
"We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico," Bermudez says emphatically. "You can look at the crime stats. I think Nogales, Arizona, is one of the safest places to live in all of America."
FBI Uniform Crime Reports and statistics provided by police agencies, in fact, show that the crime rates in Nogales, Douglas, Yuma and other Arizona border towns have remained essentially flat for the past decade, even as drug-related violence has spiraled out of control on the other side of the international line. Statewide, rates of violent crime also are down.
To listen to AM radio talkers and conservative teleprompter readers on teevee, one could come to the conclusion that U.S. border states have become hellholes of misery and violence,.....places where American law enforcers are rarely ever seen, along a border as full of holes as swiss cheese.
"Everywhere you turn, there's some kind of law enforcement looking at you," Bermudez said. "Per capita, we probably have the highest amount of any city in the United States."
Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff of Pima County, said there always has been crime associated with smuggling in southern Arizona, but today's rhetoric does not seem to jibe with reality.
"This is a media-created event," Dupnik said. "I hear politicians on TV saying the border has gotten worse. Well, the fact of the matter is that the border has never been more secure."
Even Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever, among the most strident critics of federal enforcement, concedes that notions of cartel mayhem are exaggerated. "We're not seeing the multiple killings, beheadings and shootouts that are going on on the other side," he said.
Cochise County's crime rate has been "flat" for at least 10 years, the sheriff added. Even in 2000, when record numbers of undocumented immigrants were detained in the area, just 4 percent of the area's violent crimes were committed by illegal aliens.
No, these Arizona law enforcement officials don't carry the influential weight of, say, Fox News.....but they do have something Fox News doesn't....first hand factual information.
The ugly and hateful "discussion" going on in America's dark conservative circles has been ratcheted up even further into the wingertopian stratosphere with Arizona's now-struck-down new immigration law.
Recently, the '"bipartisan" Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), stoked the hate-fire which warms the extreme right....
“I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here,” Graham said during an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake … We should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen.”
Asked how intent Graham is on introducing the amendment, the South Carolina Republican responded: “I got to.”
“People come here to have babies,” he said. “They come here to drop a child. It’s called “drop and leave.” To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, have a child, and that child’s automatically an American citizen. That shouldn’t be the case. That attracts people here for all the wrong reasons.”
Now, presumably, the American public has to endure some asinine "serious debate" over whether the 14th Amendment should be abolished. Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has demanded Senate hearings. Maverick John McCain (R-AZ) seconded McConnell's political fearmongering. John of Orange Boehner (R-OH), presumed to be sober when he said it, agrees.
All of this is meant to be a political distraction by the seemingly-crazed Republican right. How do I know this?
When Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was asked whether the overturning of Proposition 8 would be raised as a wedge issue in the upcoming midterm election campaigns....Kyl said that Republicans already had their wedge issue.....immigration.
P.S. By the way.....today is August 9, 2010......8-9-10.