Using National Guard on Border is Good Idea Say Readers–But Pessimism Dominates

Immigration policy and problems have become a political lightning rod. There is no lack of opinions on the issue. Most readers think using the National Guard on our borders is a good idea but are pessimistic about the probability of this approach succeeding in resolving the problem.

If recent comments from readers are an indication, immigration policy has become a lightning rod for Americans’ unhappiness with their elected leaders.

One of the most recent actions taken to try and control our border with Mexico is to deploy the National Guard. We asked readers several questions and got hundreds of responses–most of them worded strongly to reflect the intensity of the passion underlying the opinions being expressed.

We asked readers several questions. Here are the results.

1. Should the National Guard be deployed on the Mexican border to stem the flow of illegal immigration?
yes: 65%no: 19%only in certain situation: 14%not sure: 2%

2. Do you think President Bush is addressing the right points in his approach to dealing with illegal immigration?

yes: 29%no: 56%other: 5%not sure: 10%

3. Do you think President Bush’s plan will be successful in regaining control of our national border?

yes: 15%no: 65%other: 1%not sure: 19%

There is considerably anger and frustration among readers on the issue of immigration. Their comments speak for themselves. Here is a small sample.

A target device repairer from Ft. Riley, Kansas said: "I feel it is a disgrace that the illegals are allowed to stay here. They are a drain on our economy, should get in line with the rest of immigrants, and learn to speak english. When they had their protests, a bus should have been waiting and made to get on and took back to the border and dropped off. Illegals in Mexico are jailed for a year and deported period. They should practice what they preach!"

An electronics engineer from DCMA in Orlando, FL had this comment: "The National Guard and/or Federal Troops should be deployed with laws changed to allow police powers. This country must stop the hemmoraging of illigal [sic] immigrants and drug traffic/wars that have grown out of control. Our country should continue to welcome legal immigrants, but we cannot support the continued influx of illegal ones."

An operations supervisor from the FAA at Ft. Smith, Arkansas is concerned about amnesty: "As soon as the alien workers become legitimized, they will no longer be willing to work for low wages either. This will leave a vacuum in the so-called "undesirable" job market creating an incentive for a new wave of illegal immigrants to fill the jobs. Not until we empty the illegal labor pool will we force employers in need of employees to raise wages for those "undesirable" jobs to attract workers."

An accountant from the Treasury Department in Denver, Colorado is also concerned about amnesty: "These measures do not go far enough! We have been/are being invaded, and every day that Congress talks about some form of amnesty program encourages more illegals to rush here so they can get on the US Gravy Train! We need to get serious about closing the borders to those who would enter illegally, deport those who are already here illegally, and make everyone who wants to live or work here obey all of our laws!"

Some readers think the president has made a good move. Others think it is motivated strictly by political considerations.

For example, this accounting officer from the Department of Energy in Denver, Colorado has this observation: "Bush’s approach is more about sagging poll numbers and "form over substance." Sending a relative handful of NGs is all about selling the public that he’s taking action, even though all they will be doing is ministerial duties. His other actions and comments belie the stated public purpose behind this move. He clearly is an open-boarders guy who continues to promote illegal immigration (during his 6 years in office, 60% of the illegals now here have crossed and continue to do so in increasing numbers). What, did he all of a sudden get religion in the last two weeks when this matter has been simmering for his entire term in office?"

A human resources assistant from the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland chimed in: "Pres. Bush has lost my trust, I was with him all the way on the war, but I think he is so far off base on this issue and I think he is avoiding the issue until 2008, when he no longer has to deal with it."

But a senior executive from GSA in Washington, DC is more optimistic: "About time something is being done about this issue. U.S. Border Patrol well understaffed and ineffective!! "

And an employee of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in Houston, Texas is also optimistic: "I feel President Bush made the right moves. Only if these moves are enforced will we regain security of our borders. I am very pleased with President Bush’s plan."

But this reader from the Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Maryland thinks that Congress will not have the political motivation to take strong action: "The House and Senate proposals do not present the same comprehensive solution outlined by President Bush. While the President’s plan sounds like the most reasonable proposal thus far, I doubt Congress has the will to adopt the delicate, balanced measures of the President’s plan."

At least one reader is very pessimistic about the immigration problem.

This program manager from the Defense Logistics Agency at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia wrote: "Unfortunately, both parties in Congress are more interested in rhetoric than substance and their response to this crisis will be little more than talk. There are too many interests involved here for a single action to address. Pork Barrel, self-serving interests are destroying our country and we are on our way to falling apart and becoming a past chapter in the histroy of the world."

Some readers think the United States should take much stronger measures.

This human resources specialist from Ft. Riley, Kansas wrote: "Pres Bush needs a lot more that 6000, he needs more like 40,000 soldiers sent to the border and for more than a two week rotation!! Half of the two weeks will be spent processing in and rotating out. Until trained Border Patrol Guards can be deployed the Nat’l Guard needs to be deployed for 6 month to a year. Any illegal caught coming over the border should be fingerprinted, mug shots taken, and incarcerated until such time as he/she can be flown back to the farthest point in their own country and released. If caught a second time, returned to the Defense Minister of their country. If caught a third time, a much more strict penalty should be imposed upon the country from which the illegal was leaving."

The employee of the Bureau of Land Management in Cheyenne, Wyoming has a suggestion: "The President is correct when he says that deporting 13 million illegals is not feasible. But what CAN be done right now is eliminate the "anchor baby" right of remaining in the country when illegal if you have a child within the borders of the US. No other country in the western hemisphere allows it and neither should we."

Several readers think we should take a different approach. This reader from the Internal Revenue Service in Portland, Oregon voiced this suggestion: "It would be easier & more effective to eliminate the reason that most of the illegal immigration occurs than to try to stop people from crossing our very long borders. If employers did not hire illegal workers, the workers would stop coming. Also, the countries of origin, Mexico in particular, need to address their economic & social problems & be responsible for their citizens. If they could have a good life in their own countries, most of the illegal immigrants would probably be glad to stay home."

And a tax examiner from the Internal Revenue Service in Holtsville, New York has a solution to the immigration problem: "If you are caught on US soil and are here illegally, you should be sent to the army for 4 years and then become an American citizen. That will defer most anyone coming here."

Thanks to the many readers who took the time to vote in our recent poll and a special thanks to those who took the time to submit their opinion on this issue.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47