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Voice: Border Patrol's primary mission is to patrol the border, not save lives

May 21, 2001

Mr. Rosales' syllogism supporting lifelines across the All- American Canal is a flawed construct. The fallacy of its major premise, the role of the U.S. Border Patrol, should have been obvious to everyone (well, maybe not to Christine) who read it.

The USBP's reason for being is not to save American lives or foreigners' or even those of aliens from another planet. The fact that USBP agents sometimes do (excluding extraterrestrials, so far), often at personal risk to themselves, is incidental to their law enforcement duties. Anthropomorphically (sorry Christine) speaking, the "life" they are sworn to protect, unconditionally, is that of the international boundary.

Inductive reasoning, starting with random acts of humanitarianism on the part of individual agents, does not support the conclusion reached by Mr. Rosales that the primary mission of the USBP is to serve as lifeguards for smugglers, illegal immigrants and native-born or naturalized morons who ignore good advice from Dippy Duck.

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Also Mr. Rosales' substitution of "saving lives" for integrity as a defining trait of international borders violates the most basic axiom of logic, the law of identity. Simply stated, it asserts an entity cannot contradict itself by being two different things at the same time in the same place.

What that means in this case is the All-American Canal cannot be the de facto border of the United States and, at the same time, be maintained by the Imperial Irrigation District as a safe swimming pool for the rest of the world's downtrodden. There are irresolvable conflicts between the essential nature of an international boundary and that of a public swimming pool.

For those who choose (consciously or unconsciously) to evade this fact, as do the proponents of lifelines, it becomes absurdly logical for them to claim (among other things) that opposition to their scheme to facilitate illegal entry into this country constitutes a form of racism. Lifelines won't increase smuggling or illegal immigration, they'll only help non-swimmers, who would otherwise drown, gain illegal entry. (Why didn't Mr. Rosales cite that as an example of "denying your own opinion"?), and USBP agents are really lifeguards in disguise "thus, it follows" lifelines will overjoy them.

But when acknowledged for what it truly is, the de facto border of the United States of America, it is, by definition, a sovereign line governed by one inviolable law: DO NOT CROSS. The role of the USBP, clearly, is to uphold that law. Then it becomes obvious (well, maybe not to Christine) that lifelines should not be deployed because they are hazardous to takeoffs and landings by ducks that, unlike people, can legally swim in the canal.

WALTER TYLENDA

Calexico

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