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Lawrence L. Pauley: Comprehensive approach needed for border security

Jul. 17, 2010 @ 10:35 PM

This is not about immigration reform. It is about border security.

I am fed up with the lame excuses and absurd reasoning of the Obama administration for not securing the U.S. border with Mexico against ongoing intrusion by foreigners. Whether they be drug smugglers, terrorists, or simply poor people seeking a better life, when they cross the border into the United States without permission, they become not immigrants but invaders.

Article IV, Section 4 of the U. S. Constitution mandates that the United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and "shall protect each of them against invasion..." The duty is not limited to protecting a state against armed military attack. It is broad enough to include any intrusion into the territory of a state, and assures each state that it need not stand alone when facing an invader.

The mass intrusion of foreigners into Arizona imperils it citizens and lays upon them a heavy financial burden. The Obama administration, rather that rushing to the defense of Arizona, has chosen to pick a fight with Arizona, asserting that it is without power to enforce federal immigration laws within its territory. I submit that the issue facing Arizona, and the nation, is not immigration, but unchecked invasion of the United States by millions of foreigners, spurred on by the Mexican government and by drug-related violence in Mexico, which the Obama administration has elected to ignore.

Arizona has the inherent right to defend its territory and its citizens against invasion. The Second Amendment to the Constitution declares, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." This amendment, usually discussed in regard to the right of citizens to own firearms, has a much broader import. Addressing the fear that states could not depend on the United States to protect them, it affirms that each state has the inherent right to maintain an armed militia for its own security and prohibits the U.S. government from restricting that right.

The Obama administration has declared that the border with Mexico cannot be secured in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform that would include legalization (amnesty) and a path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the United States. This damning admission that the United States is powerless to secure its own borders is tantamount to telling all who wish to illegally enter the United States, for whatever reason, "We can't stop you." If this were true, how would the passage of immigration reform legislation lead to securing the borders?

When a "one time" amnesty was previously granted to three million illegal immigrants, we were told that it would have the effect of securing the borders and stopping the influx of illegal immigration. It did neither and we now are told that we have an estimated 13 million additional illegal immigrants in the United States, who must be legalized in order to secure the border. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." The American people are not in a mood to be fooled again. A pox on immigration reform! Secure the border, stop the invasion, and then eject the invaders from among us.

I propose a comprehensive plan to secure the U.S./Mexico border. Arizona's new law designed to encourage more vigorous enforcement of federal immigration laws, though laudable, does nothing to remedy the government's failure and refusal to secure the border. Arizona, joined by as many states as are likeminded, should pursue legal action against the United States to compel it to obey the mandate of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution to protect the states from invasion.

Additionally, each of the border states, which have not already done so, should adopt legislation establishing a state militia for the purpose of securing their borders with Mexico, and issue calls for voluntary enlistments of its citizens, and citizens of other states, in numbers sufficient to repel and prevent further invasion of their respective territories. A secure border would benefit every state in the Union. Therefore, the states bearing the burden of securing the border would be justified in seeking voluntary financial contributions from their sister states to help defray the cost.

Having declared that the border cannot be secured absent immigration reform, the president may feel compelled to make certain that Arizona does not secure the border and thereby undercut his efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform. He may, at last, send National Guard troops to the border in force, not to defend Arizona, but to prevent harm to foreign invaders. Lastly, he will probably apologize to Mexico because the people of Arizona had the audacity to insist that foreigners, seeking to enter this country illegally from Mexico, be stopped at the border.

Lawrence L. Pauley is a retired attorney and federal administrative law judge. He resides in Huntington.

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