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What's going on at the border?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

The Obama administration is mulling a lawsuit against Arizona to block its new immigration law from taking effect.

The law criminalizes illegal immigration by defining it as trespassing. President Obama weighed in Wednesday night, acknowledging that "the federal government has been abdicating on its responsibilities for a very long time on this issue," but also saying "there may not be an appetite" in Washington to tackle immigration reform.

So what are the feds doing along the border?

As colleague Spencer S. Hsu has reported extensively, the number of Border Patrol agents has doubled to 20,000 since 2002, with 4,000 based in Arizona.

“We now have more manpower and technology at the border than at any
time before,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers earlier this week. The border “is as secure as it has ever been," she said.

Officers apprehended 600,000 illegal immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border last year, down 60 percent from the 1.6 million arrests in 2000.

But more than 50 percent of the border arrests were made in Arizona last year -- up from 8 percent in 1992. That's because the federal government has built about 652 miles of border fence along the entire border, pushing illegal immigrants into the Grand Canyon State's remote deserts.

Drug violence is also up in the Phoenix region, where there's been a big uptick in the number of drug and safe houses used by smugglers.

“One of the questions we need to talk about is whether securing the border is ever going to be reached in the sense of Congress, or whether that goal post is going to keep moving,” Napolitano said.

A good point. Where do you think the goal posts are now? Where should they be?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: What is the best example you have of a step a supervisor took that helped build trust with his or her employees? What about a misstep that helped destroy trust? Was the situation able to be repaired? E-mail your answers to federaleye@washingtonpost.com and include your full name, home town and the federal agency for which you work. We may use your answers in Friday's Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: In her memoir, Laura Bush recalls painful moments from her husband's presidency. President Obama taps three new faces for the Federal Reserve.

CENSUS BUREAU:
Census takers to return to homes where forms weren't sent back: Almost 8,000 census takers will be canvassing the Washington region, including 2,600 each in Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs, and 2,700 in the District.

CIA:
Ex-CIA fugitive was subdued with Taser: Andrew Warren had to be subdued twice with electric shocks when a fugitive task force tried to arrest him at a Norfolk hotel this week, according to law enforcement sources.

COAST GUARD:
Coast Guard sets fire to oil leaking in the Gulf of Mexico: Officials stressed that other methods to combat the slick -- including skimming it off the water with special vessels -- would continue.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Post poll question on smaller vs. larger government: Fifty six percent of respondents favor a smaller government with fewer services while 40 percent would prefer a larger government with more services.

HOMELAND SECURITY:
Air Force veteran faces charges from interrupted Paris-to-Atlanta flight: Derek Michael Stansberry, of Riverview, Fla., was charged Wednesday in a criminal complaint in the District of Maine.

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT:
First U.S. offshore wind farm approved after decade-long fight: In approving the Cape Wind project, Secretary Ken Salazar said he would "strike the right balance" between energy development and protecting the area.

NASA:
Evidence of life on Mars: A special mission to the Red Planet has revealed the likely presence of a form of pond scum -- the building blocks of life as we know it.

NHTSA:
Bill aims to close 'revolving door' between automakers, traffic safety agency: The Motor Vehicle Safety Integrity Employment Act would bar former agency employees for three years from working for automakers in any capacity that requires written or oral communication.

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION:
National Zoo's panda -- not pregnant: Again.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 29, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

The apponents of the Arizona Immigration Law seem to be using every act on and off of the books to appose the new law. They will not accept the fact that there will be no profiling and only if there is a law being broken. Only illegal immigrants seem to be protesting. If illigal immigrants were not hired, they could not stay in Arizona. The president of mexico is even getting into the act as he likes the money being sent back to mexico to help his economy. They are a drain on the american jobs and the local economy. We are going broke with them getting on welfare. Illegal immigrants should be deported back and let them apply the legal way.

Posted by: tjohnson1225 | April 29, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

"What's going on at the border?"

simple.

America is an Jim Crow authoritarian nation and the dysfunction on our Mexican border reflects the incompetence, intolerance, and intransigence that is natural to racists and authoritarians.

Posted by: aahpat | April 29, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Today, Mexico's declaration of war on America moves with quickening speed. Their modern day General Calderon is not content with retaking Texas. He invades all American states by the largest Invasion of any Nation, at any time, by any means, anywhere in the world!

This invasion is encouraged, abetted and organized by the Mexican state and supported by all citizens in Mexican society. Calderon provides his 'troops' with maps, water, provisions and aid to invade America's border. Additionally, our President & U.S. Congress aids, abets and encourages this invasion by failing to defend our borders, by providing 100.s of billions in benefits to the invaders & by Promising them Amnesty & American Citizenship as a reward for their Invasion!

This refuse by our Politicians to abide by our Constitution against Invasion, enforce our Laws & Honor their Oath of Office by defending American Citizens & this Nation from Invasion is Treason Pure & Simple!

Posted by: american1 | April 29, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Any entreprenuer-type drug lord is studying the market, reviewing success of kidnapping ventures, strategizing new drug supply and sales routes, and planning ways to locate in Arizona's major cities. They're establishing control of people in the borderlands and they're entrenching contacts in law enforcement agencies. US efforts to combat illegal immigration crimes have to focus on thwarting and eradicating their work - easier done before the development and establishment of business/political ties accross the nation.

Posted by: ValCol | April 29, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

What there's really no appetite for, on ANY pandering politician's part, is to do the one thing that would solve the root cause of the illegal immigration problem: taking enforcement action against EMPLOYERS who hire undocumented workers.

But going after rich campaign donors is bad politics, so we sic the dogs on the poor and disenfranchised instead, and turn a blind eye to the fact that entire US industries have made themselves dependent on cheap illegal laborers.

Yeah, creating an Iron Curtain on our border, and turning our society into a "Papers Please" police state is a MUCH BETTER idea than angering wealthy campaign donors. Sure.

Posted by: 12008N1 | April 29, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

".....The law criminalizes illegal immigration by defining it as trespassing....."

Isn't this an oxymoron? How do your criminalize something that is already agianst the law?

A law to make something that is illegal, illegal? I think this mental gymnastics can only occur in the mind of a liberal!

Imagine that! Breaking the law being illegal! What a novel concept!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | April 29, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I read an article that compared the Arizona law to the Federal law.

I wonder if people are aware that the Federal law already makes it a crime to for non citizens to not have their documentation on their person.

The Arizona law only takes what is an existing crime and makes that crime a state crime also! The Arizona law uses the identical wording of the Federal law.

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | April 29, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This article compares the Arizona law to the Federal law. It makes doe interesting reading.

It also makes me think the majority of people opposing the Arizona law never read it; including Obama.

The law says that the police have to have some reason unrelated to your immigration status to be stopping or questioning you; only after that initial reason for stopping you can your immigration status come into question.

Obama claims someone could be asked for their documentation when simply standing at an icecream stand. The reality is you would need to be robbing the icecream stand in order for the Arizona law to come into effect.

But if your interested, here is the article on the comparison between the Arizona law and the Federal law:

http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/central/story/Is-federal-immigration-law-different-from/1ZdAAkpg-U6oVELk47QVBw.cspx

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | April 29, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

What's going on at the border? The international drug war the U.S. fought so hard to eradicate from Columbia has moved way too close for comfort. We can blame the cartels but the conditions that made this possible are US policies - the eternal game of wac-a-mole US drug law enforcement engages in. Once the violence in Juarez subsides the best case senario is that the war moves somewhere else, not that it ends.

Our only long-term viable solution is engagement with Mexico on many levels - economic, public safety, and immigration. We need to work with Mexico to create more economic opportunity and stability.

Contrary to how many Americans feel, this is not an US vs Mexico issue - this is not "us vs. them" - the US and Mexico need to work together as partners and neighbors, unless we want to kiss the neighborhood goodbye.

Posted by: CaliTex | April 29, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Imagine that the publicity given this new law is all that is needed. Deportation by attrition, they'll chose to leave Arizona. Arizona voters will be happy and the law never was even used for a single arrest. Folks who have brazenly broken the law to remain in the US will get the message and split.

Then California, Texas and New Mexico will get a huge flow of illegal immigrants setting up homes in those states. The super broke, overcrowded schools will be flooded with new students. The depleted food banks will be empty. The already strained services for the poor will close their doors. Then what?

Every law maker in the Southern states will try the same tactic to save their cities. The cost of illegal immigrants is tremendous and the struggling citizens are left to deal with the social issues in their communities and the cost to their state services.

This situation is so completely unfair to the US citizens. Who are our representatives working for?

Posted by: madmommy4u | April 29, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps a week of "Under cover Boss" for our President and Congress without the Secret Service protection, having to live the life of an average citizen of Arizona would open some eyes. I'd bet we would see things move quickly on the Immigration issue. I also doubt Amnesty would be so loose on their lips.

Posted by: rsmowery | April 29, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

It appears to me that those who are hollering the loudest are the ones who are in the country illegally. Otherwise, these people wouldn't be so fiercely fighting to get action started against the law which the Arizona legislature enacted and the Governor signed.

And no, President Obama doesn't want the states to start creating their own laws concerning illegal immigration. Yet the federal government will do nothing to put a stop to the illegal immigration of people from other countries to the U.S. But when the states try to take care of the problem of illegal immigration, the federal government steps in to put a stop to what they don't have the guts to do.
President Obama don't follow in the steps of your predecessors. Be original and put up your fists and fight not just for the protection of the country but for the protection of State's rights.

Posted by: richardcolonel | April 29, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

The booming drug trade and related violence are the most troubling issues in this situation. Thousands of pounds of drugs are crossing the border on a weekly basis, guarded by people with automatic weapons. And many of these drugs are reaching the DC area, so the lawlessness affects us all.

Posted by: Dave115 | April 29, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

What would REALLY get the attention of both the Mexican and American governments would be a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT by the family members of people raped, murdered, or killed in drunk driving wrecks by illegal immigrants. Sue the Mexican government for "wrongful death" for encouraging the illegal migration of its citizens. And sue the Federal Government for dereliction of its duty of uphold and enforce immigration law. Mexico has some of the most brutal, draconian immigration laws for its own country. So it requires tremendous gall on their part to complain about ours.

Posted by: cartmaneric | April 29, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Do people READ and UNDERSTAND the SB1070 word for word? It is a solid law. It is carefully crafted and a GENIUS law. A lot of things that opposing people talk about in this law is FALSE, HYPE, BASELESS, PROPAGANDA, SMEAR and a BUNCH OF LIES. The state of ARIZONA does NOT even have to enforce this law everyday and it will work. But I do not recommend that. However, it does need to be uniformly enforced meaning that if the crime is there, enforce it, don't ignore it.

Read the intent of the law carefully. Arizona has no intention of deporting all illegal aliens. READ THE INTENT and discover what GENIUS of a law this is. I swear that Arizona will only have to probably do their everyday work like they are doing now like if the person committing a crime cannot provide a valid ID or DL, they check for immigration papers, this LAW will work like a charm. However, if they see violations stated in this bill, the law has to be enforced. This is the MOST GENIUS law I had ever seen.

Please read the SB1070 word for word. You will discover how genius of a law this is---- This law is a MASTERPIECE.

Posted by: tij12345 | April 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

If Napolitano has any doubts that she cant secure our borders, then she should resign immediately!

Would you keep employees who doubted they could do their jobs?

Posted by: pmendez | April 29, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What's going on at the border?"

simple.

America is an Jim Crow authoritarian nation and the dysfunction on our Mexican border reflects the incompetence, intolerance, and intransigence that is natural to racists and authoritarians.-------Now, what's YOUR EXCUSE for what's going on on the MEXICAN side of the border? You know--the drug violence, beheadings, and kidnappings/extortion?

Posted by: Ali4 | April 29, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What there's really no appetite for, on ANY pandering politician's part, is to do the one thing that would solve the root cause of the illegal immigration problem: taking enforcement action against EMPLOYERS who hire undocumented workers.

But going after rich campaign donors is bad politics, so we sic the dogs on the poor and disenfranchised instead, and turn a blind eye to the fact that entire US industries have made themselves dependent on cheap illegal laborers."
------------
The Arizona law ALSO has provisions to go after employers, but you won't hear about that.

Posted by: Ali4 | April 29, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Secretary Napolitano is from Arizona, and she should be aware of the lack of security upon their border. I think that the people of Arizona should counter-sue the government for dereliction of duty, subjecting Arizona to an unrestrained trespass and failing to enforce the laws of the United States.

The George W. Bush Administration took a very balanced and correct approach to immigration. It went after employeers who employed illegals, and took advantage of their status to under pay them. The current Attorney General, who wants to sue Arizona, has not done anything in one and quarter years on the job to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.

This shows that the Obama administration, its Justices, INS and border security just do not believe in enforcing US laws; they want to give a free pass to illegal immigrants, and in the long incorporate them as citizens through a second amnesty.

Posted by: krush01 | April 29, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

In this very article you have admitted that the border fence has worked where installed. Keep building and fortifying the fence. A proven winner!

Arizona is A-OK in my book. They are finally making it illegal to be illegal.

Way to go Arizona!

Posted by: battleground51 | May 4, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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