Wednesday, May 03, 2006

But I Thought Enforcement DIDN'T Work...


Border patrol agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, had been frustrated for years, because hundreds of illegal immigrants a day would pour across the border, taking advantage of a loophole to get into the United States.

Border patrol agent Martin Clark said it astounded him.

"There were no unhappy faces ... everyone was trying to get caught," Clark said. "People were running toward us, not away from us."

The problem was simple: The border patrol station in Eagle Pass has no jail space to hold illegal immigrants. That didn't matter when illegal immigrants from Mexico were caught, because they could be processed and then just bused back across the border.

But the procedure to return people from El Salvador or Nicaragua or Brazil is more complicated, so all that a border patrol agent could do was elicit a promise from them to return for a court date for a formal deportation hearing, which meant they were free to go, and rarely did they show up for our dates. The loophole was dubbed "catch and release," and it frustrated many border patrol agents.


Since Operation Streamline went into effect, nearly 1,000 immigrants crossing illegally have been jailed. Once they appear before a federal magistrate they either are sentenced to jail or deported to their home country.

In the past four months, the number of illegal immigrants trying to cross in Eagle Pass has dropped by nearly 70 percent.

Wait! What was that? You started enforcing the law...and fewer people decided to break it? Wow, what a concept! But I thought the pro-amnesty people have proven that enforcement doesn't work, that it's hopeless?

No doubt the Border Patrol officers responsible for these unacceptable results will be summarily dismissed. We can't have cops making Sen. Kennedy and President Bush look like liars, now can we?

No, this story is much more to the administration's liking.