Voice: Lifelines across canal oppose mission of all border agencies

May 02, 2001

The quixotic quest to equip the All-American Canal with lifelines for the benefit of smugglers and illegal crossers is projected to cost nearly a quarter million dollars, according to this newspaper's account. What happened to all the talk about financing this "marvelous pursuit" with private donations?

Spending even $1 of public money on this scheme is an outrage. It opposes the mission of every federal agency engaged in protecting, defending and preserving the integrity of our national boundary. It is especially insulting to the men and women of the United States Border Patrol who are tasked with the most difficult aspect of this effort, guarding 2,200 miles of open border.

The All-American Canal is both the de facto border and a helpful barrier that assists the USBP in stemming the twin tides of drugs and illegal immigrants flooding this country. It would be an egregious betrayal of common sense and national self-interest to deliberately breach it. However, a mindless enterprise, to aid and abet the very people the USBP and other law enforcement agencies are battling against, is under way and will accomplish exactly that.


Several letter writers, with varying degrees of contempt, have suggested opening the checks as an alternative to installing lifelines. Ironically, the people who drown in the canal are all physically able to hop the 6-foot high fences guarding the checks but choose not to. They have leaned from experience to avoid them. The USBP has honed its response time and search patterns for these areas to a point where illegal crossers, with few exceptions, find themselves back in their own country almost quicker than they can shout: Viva Mexico!

If lifelines are deployed, and the USBP monitors them as effectively as they do the checks, will illegal crossers use them? Probably not. Will the jesters leading this moronic crusade retreat? Probably not. Most likely, they would launch a new campaign, aimed directly at the USBP, to extract more concessions for smugglers and illegal crossers.

What needs to be acknowledged and openly challenged is the insidious premise, held by the proponents of lifelines and acquiesced to by four of the five Imperial Irrigation District board members, that the sovereign right of the United States to its national boundary, which is vital to its very existence, is inferior to the right of risk-free entry for a few smugglers and illegal immigrants who, if left alone, might accidentally drown themselves.

It was heartening to read "Christian volunteers," to do fools' work in the desert, are hard to find. Hopefully that will be the case when it comes to prostituting the All-American Canal for lifelines.



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