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Readers debate Obama's decision to deploy National Guard troops to Mexican border

While we're all anxiously waiting to see if that so-called "top kill" can halt the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, our Readers Who Comment have filed more than 700 remarks on President Obama's decision to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops along the Mexican border to combat illegal immigration.

While many readers applaud the decision, almost all agree it will not be enough to solve the problem and many see it as simply a political response in a noisy debate Arizona reignited with its law giving local police broad authority to stop and request documents from anyone they reasonably suspect is an illegal immigrant.

Readers say it's about time Obama did something, but his actions do not go far enough. They point to the cross-border trafficking of guns and drugs that exacerbates the situation, they call for technological fixes and at least one suggested sowing the border with land mines.

As Michael D. Shear and Spencer S. Hsu write, "the troop deployment was fueled by heightened concerns about lawlessness -- then it was illegal immigration, now it is drug traffickers -- as well as political maneuvering in Washington to lay the groundwork for an effort to change immigration policy."

We'll start with JohnRice, who wrote, "This is a small step in the right direction, but much more action is required immediately. Bush, Obama...just opposite sides of the political coin. The American people have had it with pandering to illegal immigration."

liam358 said, "What a crock -- a token gesture only, to be followed by a push for amnesty."

avi1956 wrote, "One more reason not to vote for Obama. he is pandering to the right and has forgoton his base!"

While markandbeth92 said, "This is the only thing Obama has done that I agree with. Now he needs to up that number to 20,000... all armed and they must have the authority to stop ALL illegal border crossing, drug, or no drugs. Way to go Arizona."

madmike272 wrote, "These national guardsmen are mostly intelligence and support people, not combat troops. This is merely posturing to the press."

GordonShumway said, "Obama is going to spend $500 million dollars to send only 1,200 National Guard troops to our southern border. For that he should want to send 5,000 troops and get his and our money's worth. Obama's token gesture sucks as a solution!"

But RealTexan1 replied, "I think it kind of depends upon what kind of military technology they're going to use. If it's just 1,200 'guards', that's not much of an impact. If it's 1,200 troops parcelled into high-tech teams, using drones, infra-red, sonar, cameras, etc..., then they can spot activity and reactively send a team out to deal with it. Might be enough. We will see."

veerle1 said, "Every employer caught employing illegal aliens should be fined $7500.00 per each offense. Plus jail time for all employees involved. The only sure way to discourage these "migrations" of illegals is to cut off the incentives for them to come here at all."

doughty suggested, "Why not just hire the Israelis (using free-market slave labor of course) to build a 'fence' from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. They are already experts at such infrastructure projects with, for example, the lovely, elegant and American financed walls surrounding the Palestinian Ghettos inside the illegally occupied territories... Win, win, Shalom, Shalom!"

hunter340 wrote, "With one hand Obama sends more troops to keep them out and with the other he supports them when they get here. It's like watching a really bad magician perform that thinks he's slick."

tjohn1 said, "The best way to end border violence is to stop the flow of guns from U.S and end the Americans' dependence on drugs flowing into U.S. But our government is not doing any thing positive curbing drug addiction in this country other than crowding our jails with drug offenders with no rehabilitation... We are also addicted to military solutions all the time. God indeed help us!"

cduwel added, "And on and on and on and on and on the drug war goes. And on this issue Obama has no more sense than G.W. Bush. All of this death, destruction and waste is not to make sure people don't ruin their lives with recreational drugs - it's just to make sure people only ruin their lives with alcohol. How does that make any sense? Wise up America!"

JamesChristian wrote, "Yeah, yeah, he's sending troops. Likely a welcoming committee with hot food, water and a green card they can use at the polls in the Fall... Please. Obama is in bed with the Mexican government. Democrats-on-loan. Obama is a creep, the Democrats are creeps... We have GOT to get rid of these incompetents and miscreants."

atc333 said, "It is about time, not necessarily for those looking for work, who should be accommodated, but certainly for plugging up the porous border which now seems to be wide open for any terrorist group deciding to take the easy way in to the U.S... Arizona has done us a big favor by drawing the Nations attention to the serious consequences of continuing to ignore our border problems"

atc333 wrote, "Simple solution, change the law, no citizenship if you are an illegal alien... No citizenship if you were illegal, deported, and came back. No citizenship if you committed a crime. No citizenship for children born in the US of illegal aliens... Fine employers who violate the law by knowingly and deliberately hire illegals. It is not that hard to check with the current information bases available."

OldCoot1 suggested that "The only sensible thing to do to stop illegal emigration across our borders is to mine them with anti personal mines and deploy regular army and or marine troops with orders to shoot to kill. The cross border traffic would stop at once...If millions of people crossing our borders illegally is not an invasion I don't know what the word invasion means."

hunter340 wrote, "...Those who have jumped a fence into America in order to avoid our immigration checks are not immigrants. Rather, they are invading criminals, with no claim whatsoever to the welcome mat extended to legal immigrants.
Such people do not deserve recognition or sanction by the United States, and should be rounded up and deported as soon as possible, without exception."

We'll close with donmarder, who wrote, "This is a good first installment on securing the border, but by itself, it is inadequate and will not solve the problems. Also, it smacks of tokenism and political theater more than a realistic solution."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  May 26, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Illegal Immigrants , Immigration , Obama  | Tags: Arizona, Drugs, Guns, Mexico, National Guard, Obama  
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I feel compelled to ask the Editor of the Washington Post and it's readers to answer a few questions.
Federal Law makes it illegal for anyone to enter this country illegally. The Federal Government requires all it's citizens to comply with its laws and regulations.
If citizens are not held to obey its laws then why have them.
Why should we obey anything? you cannot have it both ways.
Illegal is Illegal yet the Socialist Administration and the Progressives in Congress want to ignore the fact and blame Arizona for violating the law?
We need law abiding citizens to unite and stand together to seek a radical change in Government. Fire ALL incumbents, Vote the Socialist President out of office.
Secure our borders. The Post has turned into left wing Socialist newspaper.

Posted by: fussion99 | May 31, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

If Mexico were such a great nation, poverty would be much lower than it is today. This is why the tired and poor come to our country. I have seen the families of migrant workers in Mexico who benefit from the wages of their men who come to our country to make the meagrest of wages. At what point will we do what it takes to secure our nation to the citizens? We cannot protect ourselves if a first generation immigrant, legal or otherwise, can reap, or rape, the benefits of our citizens. If the laws of this land did not favor the working poor without discerning the merits of citizenship, what will be left for the rest of us at the end of our long years of work?

We have longer lifespans and face a crisis in social security and we cannot even change the laws to raise retirement ages to 70 years of age and eliminate the early collection of social security wages. Our system cannot support itself if we do nothing. Maybe citizenship should have a lesser tax burden than those borne by migrants who come to this country, legally to work but not to live. Perhaps, greater than the steel fence, there should be a gold fence to discourage employers from hiring migrant workers. The fines should be severe and not slaps on the hand. It should be more costly for migrants to come to this country illegally or not. Deportation should be less of a threat than the financial burden.
On the same note, opening free trade and manufacturing centers on the Mexican side of the border would ease some of the attractiveness of the border crossing. They come here because of what we have and they don't. Why don't we bring the work to them and split the benefits with Mexico? At the same time new businesses are starting up on the Mexican side, we could be start to build new technology businesses in the states. Our workers should not always have to exist at lower wage jobs. Education has been a key enabler of people. We have to change our thinking about keeping status quos our whole lives. Businesses need to change and become something new. Smaller business units are more viable than larger businesses. Look at Verizon and Big Blue. New ideas are slow to emerge from goliath industries. It's the little guy who saved the world. Tomorrow it's your turn.

Posted by: Sextant | May 26, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

both political parties are in the pockets of big business and until this situation is remedied and they start enforcing our laws by prosecuting and fining these offenders the flood will continue, the tax money will flow to these illegals and the situation will never change.

Posted by: rkersh | May 26, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that this solution won't work. We have too much border to defend so the cost to secure it would be hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars. The correct was to stem the flow of illegal immigrants is from the demand side instead. We can much more easily and cheaply, though it won't be inexpensive, develop an identity card for employment that can't be faked and can be checked and from there punish those who knowingly hire illegals criminally. The biggest problem with an employment card is that it deprives us all of a little bit more of our freedom, but that's a lot better than the Arizona law that deprives just some of us and probably won't do much anyway.
As far as increasing militarization of the border it has more to do with making it look like we are doing something rather than providing any sort of solution.

Posted by: ThomasFiore | May 26, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse


Just because people shovel manure or clean hotel rooms "in the shadows" does not mean the deserve US citizenship! To say so is an insult to all the Americans who fought & dies to keep us free.

If a job is worth doing, it's worth paying an American a decent wage to do it. If not, either automate it or stop doing it.

A business that depends on exploiting poor Third World serfs to succeed needs a new business plan.

Posted by: pmendez | May 26, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The effort is directed in the wrong direction. People aren't coming here illegally for vacation. There coming to find work. Spend the money and resources on employers of illegals and it would be money well spent.

Posted by: Woodstocknative | May 26, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

USA was made by grabing land from native indians,everyone is immigrant in this country no restriction should be on immigrants to this land ,USA reached to the peak of prosperity through immigrants. USA not belong to present occupiers but basicaly it belong to Indians the native of this land. think & then make a dicision.

Posted by: wazdan | May 26, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Hire them and they will come.

Posted by: Garak | May 26, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

There needs to be a compromise between deportation and full restoration of illegal immigrants. We all need to recognize that the system is broken and it is going to stay broken no matter how many wall you erect. So it is IMPOSSIBLE and IMPRACTICAL to send everyone back to where he/she came from, which means deportation of all illegal immigrants is not a valid option, although it may be a great rallying slogan. On the other hand, giving them the same rights as those earned by the ones who came legally after their long waiting periods. I propose a simple middle ground : those who entered illegally will get a "yellow" card (not a "green" card) that will allow them to stay and work in the US for ever. BUT They will NOT be entitled to become citizens - no matter how young they were when they entered the US illegally. Those who come here illegally will have to make a choice - come out in the open, get permanent stay status but lose the "path to citizenship" or stay unexposed. And if they stay unexposed for more than a year, they would be deported.

Posted by: gokhlele | May 26, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

We, the United States Of America can send a man to the moon, and we, USA cannot build fence's high enough and deep enough to stop them from coming in? Their is Something VERY WRONG with that picture.

Posted by: onesugar | May 26, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Obama, but I am sorry to say I am deeply disappointed with him-- Obama behaves like a loser president, with very poor leadership skills. Obama seems to be weak on foreign affairs, and is too afraid to stand up to foreign governments. He doesn't need to be bellicose or jingoistic like Bush, but he could be more assertive. For instance, right from the beginning of the disastrous oil spill in Louisiana, Obama should have taken charge and let the federal government control the situation. Instead, he trusted and let BP, a foreign company, to continue to make disastrous decisions,which have further damaged the environment and the livelihood of thousands of people.

Also, Obama should have told Calderon that he had no right to meddle in this country's affairs. Obama should have told Calderon should not interfere with the new Arizona immigration law. Furthermore, Obama should have said to Calderon that he had no right to dictate to America, a sovereign nation, that we are obligated to grant amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants from his country. But, instead of standing up for our rights, he and the Democratic members of Congress stood up and applauded Calderon. That was absolutely disgusting.

Obama has an obligation to protect this nation and its territory, however, he has failed miserably--he is too acquiescent and non-assertive. I pray to God that HE continues to keeps us safe from terrorists, because I fear Obama is just not ready for any new challenges.

Posted by: fridaolay | May 26, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

This may be the most inane discussion I have ever heard. The very definition of ILLEGAL immigrants says that they should not be here. Yet people constantly try to defend their presence.
If someone sneaked into your home you wouldn't discuss welcoming them and giving them your stuff but since they sneaked into your country you want to act like it is OK and you want to give them jobs.
They are here ILLEGALLY. Go back do the paperwork and you will be welcome

Posted by: dbeins | May 26, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

People are ignoring that every day the undocumented population produces a body of work in the worst jobs imaginable. Nobody is standing in line waiting to come into the US to do these jobs. All the negative comments really highlight how low this country is becoming. People in the shadows for upwards of 20 years shoveling manure or cleaning motel rooms or offices in the middle of the night deserve a path to citizenship.

Posted by: chambedr | May 26, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

the "legendary" Washington Post goes from Woodward & Bernstein to commenting on readers' comments in one generation.

Good riddance to bad trash!

Posted by: pmendez | May 26, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

By only showing Mexicans in articles about illegal immigration and drug cartels, WaPo plays into Rove's had by perpetuating the Huckabee wedge issue of demonizing Mexico.

There is a lot more to Mexico most Americans don't care to understand of see. Do we see WaPo writing about daily life in the rest of the Country where normal people work hard, love their families, pay car and house payments and enjoy their lives.

WaPo's racist perpetuation of demonizing Mexico and Mexicans is part of the evangelical Huckabee teabagger agenda.

Posted by: areyousaying | May 26, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Sending 1200 troops to guard the border is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, a meaningless gesture. Will they be armed with live ammunition?

Posted by: hotdogme | May 26, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Your right "The American people have had it with pandering to illegal immigration."

I know I have we're having trouble helping our devoted US Citizen’s. But we allow these people to come into our country. Their breaking the law and this should be ok. And rather then sending home and keeping them there where they belong... parts of our government tries to figure out how to keep them here. What rights do they have to be here????

We're looking for ways to help our budget ..... hello save our money and resources send them home ... their breaking the law. Why don't our laws still mean something?

The Guards may be a start but we need more and more until we have all this in complete control.

Our Citizens need help put the effort and concentration where it's deserved and earned right here in our country for our people.

Hello you are the US government! Act like it, make the Americans important again. Don't let these foreigners walk all over us and use us.

Our boys are out there fighting for our rights everyday.

Now you the US Government need to have the backbone to be just as strong and fight
for us, put us American's FIRST!!!!


Posted by: trillisrussell | May 26, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Meaningless, token political gesture...typical of the Obama gang. They have no clue on what to do to secure the border..or they are unwilling to take the steps necessary to do it..for fear it will antagonize their Political base. Everything is political with this bunch. I believe they would welcome removing the border altogether, so we could have group hugs with our southern neighbors.

Posted by: Gypsy1 | May 26, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if any footage made it back to the East Coast, but someone recently set up motion activated cameras at routes used by smugglers and drug runners in Arizona. Absolutely frightening. As if it's not already known, the drug runners were shown to be heavily armed, and have demonstrated that they are more than willing to shoot and kill anyone who gets in their way. 1,200 troops will not do it, especially spread out over all border states. A bandaid on cancer. Never mind the incredible environmental damage. Where do the Greens stand on this?

Posted by: ANCLvr | May 26, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

If a patch of land cannot control its border then it is not a country. It is more akin to the side of a tree or a field where animals relieve themselves. A toilet or sewer to the world at large. Sadly, that is the modern day United States.

Posted by: mosthind | May 26, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Ten to twelve million people enter the US without immigration permits cause problems-
in education, health care, welfare, crime, in competing for jobs with citizens etc. Since they enter the US unexamined many carry diseases that are not treated. Liberals tell us that all this is a positive good for the US and millions of illegal aliens demonstrate without fear in Los Angeles. Obama has finally gotten the message that Americans are fed up with the invasion of their country. But he is not happy- he'd rather be giving speeches about how he will calm the waters.

Posted by: mhr614 | May 26, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Business claim there is no mechanism to check new hires for legal status, but the Social Security Administration has had a website in place for over 3 years in which a name can be matched against the social security number given by any job applicant. The accuracy is very high. It may be politically distasteful, but it seems to me that it would be much more manageable to frog-march across the 6pm news screen 1200 business owners who hire illegals, whether knowingly or not, than to try to identify and capture 12 million people who have been encourages to come here to work in ads placed by Americans in publications across latin America. Once a few business owners feel the pinch and hear the cell door close behind them, the problem will be quickly solved. Scapegoating 12 million people solves nothing.

Posted by: BennyFactor | May 26, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I imagine that Obama decided to send troops to our Southern border because Eric Holder told him that the Arizona law IS constitutional, and that if he don't do something he would look like even more of a moron than he does today.

Posted by: mike85 | May 26, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The Arizona Dems who argued against help, suddenly pumped themselves up like peacocks saying they brought the help they desperately needed.

Obama gave the troops to Texas, snubbing Arizona and the dummy Dems who are not welcome back to serve, because they cannot bring it.
Gifford, Mitchell, their Arab mayor with the girlfriend scandal... what's his name,Goddard,and the rest look pitiful and stupid this morning.
Obama screwed them. Priceless.

Posted by: dottydo | May 26, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

It may slow some response time initually, but as low income illegals leave the area the crime rate will go down drasticly.

But I don't think that any law enforcement officer will fail to respond to a more serious crime when checking immigration status.

It sounds to me that these law enforcement officials are just lazy and don't want to take on any added responsibility.

Posted by: rlkidd58 | May 26, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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