The Washington Post recently reported that the Obama administration has announced that in the past year it has deported a record number of illegal immigrants. The number deported has reached more than 392,000 with half of them being convicted criminals. These are very high numbers and it is a great start to fixing the illegal immigration problem. The main problem, however, is still the number of people coming into the country illegally.
In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, over $400 million in funds have been allocated to strengthen security along ports of entry in the Southwest border, according to the White House’s official website.
Earlier this year Democrats attempted to tackle the immigration issue with a reform bill that would have strengthened security and penalties on illegal immigrants. Republicans, though saying immigration was a major issue, did not vote for the bill. This appears to be a purely political move by Republicans so Democrats could not take credit for fixing the immigration problem as the Republicans prepare to make some gains in November.
President Barack Obama wants to strengthen our border control with additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border, according to the White House website. He also wants to fix the immigration policies that make it difficult for families to stay together and plans to enforce more strictly regulations that prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers. According to the White House website, Obama plans to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease the desperation that leads to illegal immigration.
The issue of illegal immigration and immigration policy is also playing a large part in the Texas governor’s race.
Governor Rick Perry has been fairly inactive regarding any major changes to immigration. Perry has used less than 10 percent of a Department of Homeland Security grant funding on border security, according to gubernatorial candidate Bill White’s website.
In contrast, according to White’s website, he will make border security a top priority, allocating all available federal funding to that border security. White claims that he plans to fund an additional 1,000 local police and deputy sheriffs along with 250 troopers and forensics technicians across border communities.
Perry has said that the lack of progress on border security is the federal government’s fault rather than his own, according to White’s website. To his credit, he has increased some funding for rangers along the border to fight specific gangs and drug trafficking. However in his new television ad “Border,” Governor Perry uses the rhetoric that “Securing our borders is Washington’s responsibility, but it’s Texas’ problem.” While he is correct that the national government is responsible for securing our borders, the ad does not highlight any new plans that the governor has.
The issue of immigration and border security is a large issue both nationally and in Texas. The gubernatorial candidates’ stances on the issue will certainly decide some votes.
Alex Apple is a freshman political science and journalism double major from Nashville, Tenn.