Monday, July 13, 2009

Ever wonder why politicians don't put resources toward border security, despite polls showing it is the #1 issue for Republicans year after year?

Textbook example of why politicians don't aggressively try to fund border security...

Rick has been bashed a lot this year by the ACLU for sending resources to local law enforcement on and near the border (link)... somehow they couldn't connect the dots between law enforcement and border security.

This weekend, Rick also had to endure a hit piece from the El Paso Times about his border camera pilot program (link). Excerpt follows...

The sheriffs coalition last month submitted a year-end report that described the goals for the program and the results it achieved. Nearly 40 million people logged onto the site, according to the report, and 124,933 signed up as virtual deputies to watch footage from the border cameras.

Internet border watchers' reports led to the referral of about 300 undocumented immigrants to U.S. Border Patrol officials.

The article focuses on the program not measuring up to expectations, but I think it is premature to declare anything. I went to to check it out, and it seems like they have a lot of room to improve, but the idea itself is solid. It is also a lot cheaper and less disruptive to the landscape and border communities than a giant wall.

I know one of the "volunteer deputies" on this program, and he is a little overzealous about border security, but he treats it seriously and thinks of himself as a professional. I think most of the volunteers who monitor the border on their computers treat it seriously. What I suspect is happening here is that there simply are not enough cameras, and smugglers and coyotes know where the cameras are. The illegals probably just go to places where there are no cameras.

I think Kay's team is going to have a hard time effectively criticizing Rick for funding these high profile border security efforts. Border sheriffs like this program... bottom line it is their program even more than Rick's program... and I think she is going to want to aggressively seek the border sheriff endorsements, because according to polls immigration is still a big issue for Republican voters. Rick's endorsement by Leo Berman will probably send a lot of those immigration hawks toward Rick. Kay's criticism of Rick for trying these programs on the border will just send more of the border sheriffs and immigration hawks Rick's way.

Then again her campaign seems to just be throwing everything they can at the wall and hoping something sticks, so it would not surprise me to see Kay's team send the El Paso Times article out in an email to supporters this week. They right now seem to be stuck in a day to day battle mode instead of a big picture strategic overview mode. This might seem like a great reason to attack right now, but it could come back to bite them later.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.