Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Illegal Immigration finally getting GOP's attention

By that title, I mean the GOP's leadership and elected/appointed officials. Certainly, there's been plenty of attention to the topic down here in the trenches. I've not been quiet on my particular feelings about the subject, either, most specifically about the enforcement efforts of the laws we already have on the books. The Washington Times is carrying 2 front-page stories on the matter this morning, however, which tells me that it's breaking into the MSM's radar.

First up is a story about Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff speaking up about the problems of illegal immigration and relating what steps the Department is planning to take.

::::::::The Department of Homeland Security, responding to a state of emergency declared last week by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano because of illegal immigration, says it wants to help Arizona combat alien smuggling, ease related prison overcrowding and train state police officers.

"We are moving forward quickly and aggressively to fashion a comprehensive plan with real solutions," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the governor in a letter delivered Monday. He said the agency wants to "build a partnership with Arizona."

Mr. Chertoff said yesterday that his agency was examining how best to tighten U.S. borders while catching, detaining and deporting illegal aliens already in the country. The review is expected in the next several weeks.

Yes, a review isn't exactly what I'd call a stunningly new approach to the issue, but it's movement and it's public which are 2 things that have been seriously lacking to date. Chertoff spoke about his agency's already having mapped out where the next set of surveillance gear and border improvements are going to go and that another 350 border patrol agents have been assigned to New Mexico. These are part of 500 new agents that are supposed to be on station by the end of September. That's a start, I guess. Like many others, I'm curious about what's taken so long to get it going.

Following in the footsteps of Arizona and New Mexico, officials here in Virginia are pressuring VA Governor Mark Warner to declare a state of emergency here over our own illegal immigrant situation. I'm having trouble arguing against such an action. With the increasing evidence of linkage between the illegal population and gangs such as MS13 here, I'm thinking a bit more direct action is being called for.