If Members of Congress were ranchers living along the Mexican border, how long do you think they would stay quiet about the fact that Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama haven't felt it important to stop the illegal mass migration of foreign citizens across their lands?
How about you? Or me? Do you think we would be as uninvolved as we are in demanding that our federal government once again act as if we are a country and resume its primary constitutional duty of securing our borders to protect U.S. citizens from harm?
Talking with Americans not yet murdered along that border fills me with empathetic fear -- and rage.
Neighbors and friends and family of southeast Arizona rancher Robert Krentz have little doubt that he was murdered by an illegal alien last month -- far off the road and deep inside his 30,000-acre desert property.
I'll admit that every time I go to the border, I become passionate about the injustice of a federal government that leaves so many of our fellow citizens totally exposed to whatever the organized crime/drug syndicates of Mexico decide to send across the border.
But then I get used to my life back in Washington DC where I don't have to wonder every time I leave my house whether today will be the one where I startle the wrong illegal alien and lose my life -- on my own property.
With hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens trashing and trekking U.S. ranchers' property every year, it really is a miracle that this tragedy doesn't happen more often. Of course, the average illegal alien is not likely to be a violent person. But when the federal government allows so many to cross each day, the odds of somebody willing to murder for personal gain or out of the passion of a moment of being surprised are too great.
NumbersUSA staff get down to the border several times a year. We are well aware of the sieve that the White House and Congress want the border to be. They don't want a totally open flow of tens of millions to cross the border. But they do want a sufficient number of illegal aliens to cross to provide the cheap labor sought by campaign contributors and to satisfy the various ethnic-grievance lobbies who consider virtually any kind of border enforcement to be racist or directed at their particular national origin.
It isn't that anybody in Congress or the Administration wants any American to die. But the rate of deaths is low enough thus far to be an acceptable collateral damage of sieve-border policies that serve the political interests of the majority of officials in Washington.
Percentages don't mean much if you are the one facing the gun. The death rate was 100% for Robert Krentz. The rate of death was overwhelming for his family, his neighbors, his fellow ranchers all up and down the border.
But to Congress and the Administration, Krentz' death was a PR distraction that nonetheless was part of an acceptable death rate.
Not unless Members of Congress -- or the readers of this blog, for that matter -- can put themselves into the shoes of the ranchers along the border are we likely to really insist on doing something about the fact that our country long ago gave up on the idea that we have a true southern border. That means that Washington and even most of us regard Krentz' death as part of a low-enough rate to be an acceptable collateral damage -- and that all Americans regard it as acceptable that so many of our fellow U.S. citizens along the border live in Wild West conditions in which every day on their property is a game of deadly roulette. They probably will be back at supper alive. But there is always that chance . . .
Would any Member of Congress be willing to live with that threat?
Ranchers encounter illegal aliens on their property on a weekly basis. They constantly find themselves in trucks, ATVs and on horses rounding a hill or a grove of trees and staring face to face with a crowd of foreign citizens packing their drugs in exchange for a guided tour to take a U.S. job away from a U.S. worker.
The supporters of massive importation of foreign workers responded almost immediately to Robert Krentz's death by trying to use it to support "comprehensive immigration reform" (amnesty). He wouldn't have been murdered if the U.S. would just allow foreign workers to freely enter the U.S., they suggested.
It took the life of a caucasian rancher, an innocent soul, to garner the attention of the violence on the border. Countless individuals have been murdered at the border during the crossing by ... criminals and their sophisticated networks. . . Without legal channels for entry into the US, without reform, those who control the border are violent criminals, and the victims are innocent people, including the undocumented, who are raped, injured, and killed.
-- Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, "Robert Krentz killing stokes fears of rampant illegal immigration," by Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor (31MAR10)
Perhaps Ms. Salas is right. Perhaps if we just allowed anybody in the world to come to the U.S. to compete with Americans for jobs, the drug cartels would have a more difficult time recruiting "mules" to pack their cargo into the U.S. and there would be somewhat less danger for the ranchers.
But are we willing to drive down the wages of every job in America and throw millions more Americans out of work as the way to lessen the danger along the border?
Or shouldn't we just do what every mature nation in history has done and commit what it takes to secure our borders -- protecting not only the physical safety of our citizens who live on the physical edge of the country but also the fiscal safety of citizens who live on the economic edge?
To the family and friends of Robert Krentz, I offer our sincerest condolences to you and also my regrets that NumbersUSA has not worked harder to expose the federal officials who consider your safety of such low importance.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
P.S. Members, click here to send a fax to President Obama and your three Members of Congress and urge them to secure our borders. Non-members, click here to send a free fax to your Members of Congress and sign up to use NumbersUSA's free faxing system.
Updated: Fri, Apr 9th 2010 @ 1:39pm EDT