Monday, May 4, 2009

Will the federal government help out border states with border security costs?

Our country is increasingly disregarding the 10th amendment and the idea that states have both rights and responsibilities the federal government needs to stay out of. More and more the federal government is considered to be responsible for nearly everything. States are becoming administrative units of a centralized government, instead of the federal government being a collection of the various states working together.

When it comes to border security, the federal government has steered clear of this trend toward centralization and put a lot of the cost and responsibility onto the few border states, probably because they are some of the largest and wealthiest states in the nation. What is so strange about this is that border security seems to fall within a pretty basic and constitutionally mandated scope of the federal government. Health care, education, and various categories of earmarks do not fall within that scope. Yet, the feds are eager to take control of those, while ignoring one of its basic jobs, border security.

I say this as someone who always thought Tom Tancredo and the single issue border guys were nuts... but the border needs resources... there is simply too much smuggling and too much violence going on. The feds have neglected their job.

The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News ran an interesting article about how the governors of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California are working to get the feds to deliver some basic resources (link). Excerpts follow...

WASHINGTON — It’s no longer a question of whether additional National Guard troops will be sent to the nation’s southwest border to help combat drug trafficking, arms smuggling and southbound shipments of drug cash.

It’s only a question of when — and who pays for it, Uncle Sam or the taxpayers of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

The Obama administration and the governors of the border states are wrangling over prospective duties for the 1,500 additional citizen soldiers requested by the four states to augment local law enforcement along the 1,947-mile frontier with Mexico.

Those talks have serious financial consequences. Defining the duties, in effect, will determine who foots the bill.


Perry is asking Texas’ lawmakers for $135 million to continue Operation Border Star, the state-financed campaign against trans-national gangs.

“Texas is taking the steps it can to ensure we protect our citizens,” Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said. “It is not unreasonable to ask and expect the federal government to fulfill its role.”

Almost certainly some pinheaded liberals are going to pick up on this and say, "hey, what's the matter, I thought you wanted to secede, and now you want federal help for your precious border?"

If there was ever a clear cut responsibility of the federal government, it is border security. I think the hundreds of millions of Texas state government dollars spent on the border under Rick's tenure illustrates how Texas gets the shaft again and again. We as Texans subsidize projects in other states, but we ask for a little help with securing the lengthy international border and suddenly it's like being transported back to college in 1991 and asking your stingy father for an extra 1000 dollars so you can go to Vail over Spring Break with your pledge brothers... it's not happening.

The border is not a frivolous, drunken trip. It is a fundamental duty of the feds.

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