Recent controversy has kept immigration as a political topic at the boil locally, as well as regionally and nationally.
Closing out their current term, the US Supreme Court ruled that President Trump could indeed restrict travel from a short list of countries that happen to be Muslim-majority.
Border agents forcibly removing minor children from their parents — even temporarily — has handed Democrats what they hope will be a winning policy issue for the upcoming general election. High-profile Democrats have called for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Mayor Troy Edgar brought two ICE agents to Los Alamitos to recognize them at a June City Council meeting, proving that neither the male nor the female agent had horns or a forked tail.
At that same Council meeting, representatives from three local chapters of Republican Women Federated presented the Council with a resolution expressing their support for the ordinance exempting the City from SB 54.
And just within the last handful of days, columnist Robin Itzler expressed “Compassion for Americans, not for illegal aliens.” Her guest editorial ends with a call-out: “Then let’s build the damn wall!”
All of this and more was bumping together in my head when I came across Jim Geraghty’s article on progress being made on building the damn wall.
California’s southern border wall
The featured graphic at the top of this article is a detail from a larger map showing the status of a wall along our southern border (pdf).
The legend allows you to read the map and see that most of the border separating the State of California from northwestern Mexico already has a wall of one type or another, either primary pedestrian fencing or vehicle fencing. An older section near downtown Calexico is being replaced.
So as far as California is concerned, “the damn wall” has been built.
So what still gets through?
Border Patrol Sectors in California
The Border Patrol (CBP) organizes its efforts in Southern California as two Sectors, El Centro (on the east) and San Diego (on the west). The CBP Yuma Sector begins in Arizona.
Here is a list of incidents from the two California Sectors over the last month:
- June 25: El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested two people suspected of smuggling methamphetamine inside the gas tank of a vehicle
- June 13: El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a man suspected of smuggling drugs inside a vehicle’s fuel tank
- June 12: U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro Sector arrested a previously deported sex offender, along with four other individuals
The Yuma Sector showed multiple arrests for attempted smuggling of illegal aliens in the same time period.
But this list does not show California’s international southern border breached continually by illegal aliens, sneaking in on their own or paying for a “guide.”
So how do California’s resident illegal aliens get into the state?
A non-exhaustive list:
- They are already in the country, and come to California from other states.
- They come to California as visitors of one kind or another, with a temporary-stay visa, and overstay the visa.
- They present themselves at border crossings, asking for asylum. If they are released pending judicial review, they melt into the immigrant population and never show up for the required hearing.
- Some do indeed manage to sneak across the border, one way or another.
Enforcing the limits on temporary visas would go a long way to shrinking the population of illegal immigrants. According to David Seminara, a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies:
“Nearly half of the 12 million-plus illegal aliens in America arrived legally with temporary, non-immigrant visas. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that a ‘substantial’ percentage of America’s illegal population is made up of visa overstays — their estimates range from 27 to 57 percent. . .”
However, that would likely require enhanced cooperation between federal and local law enforcement — something that the California Legislature and Governor oppose.
Requiring California businesses to use E-Verify as part of the hiring process would remove a huge incentive for economic refugees to illegally establish and maintain themselves in this state.
But as far as building the damn wall — at least along the southern international border of California — most of that has already been done. Those in California wishing to drive illegal immigrants from the State should switch gears and find a new callout. I would recommend something like “It’s the visa overstays, stupid!” or “Support E-Verify and visa enforcement!”