“Are you an American citizen?” “Yes,” I calmly told the agent stationed at the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint, located 3o miles south of Alamogordo, NM, the place my family has called home for the last three years. Every time I return from a trip to El Paso, like tonight, I am required to stop at the Checkpoint, located approximately 50 miles north of Juarez, Mexico on U.S. 54 in New Mexico.
Every day, there are thousands of vehicles that stop at the Alamogordo Checkpoint and other Border Patrol Checkpoints located along Mexico and Canadian borders. Some drivers are asked for identification documents to verify their immigration status. I’ve never been requested to produce “my papers.” However, if I were asked, I would gladly comply by showing them my valid New Mexico Driver’s License.
Even though stopping at the Border Patrol Checkpoint was at first somewhat inconvenient, I have come to appreciate the job that these agents do every day and the sacrifices that they make, even when their own safety is in peril. We often think of the Border Patrol as only being interested in catching illegal aliens. However, in the southern border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, these brave men and women also help slow the massive flood of illegal narcotics into our country from places like Juarez and other drug havens in Mexico. While we only hear of the major drug busts that take place (see here, here, and here), there are other drug interdictions that happen weekly at one of the many checkpoints throughout the United States.
The vicious drug cartels in Mexico are becoming increasingly violent and brazen. With the recent car bombing in Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, and the murder of an Arizona rancher earlier this year , Americans are fed up with the completely ineffectual immigration policies of the Obama administration. The system is broken, but no one seems to want to fix it.
That’s why Arizona passed a tough immigration enforcement bill earlier this year. Set to go into effect on Thursday, July 29 (unless blocked by a Federal Judge), the heart of the law states:
For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…
For most Americans, this law makes perfect sense. In fact, a recent survey found that 73% of respondents approved of the police and other law enforcement personnel asking someone to produce documents verifying their immigration status. Despite the rhetoric from La Raza and other pro-illegal immigrant groups, the American public views Arizona’s crackdown on illegal aliens to be a common sense approach in addressing this nation’s worsening immigration crisis.
Border security, whether at the state or federal level, is only one step in the process of comprehensive immigration reform. However, it must be the crucial FIRST step if we are to enact a broad, bi-partisan reform bill that the majority of the American people will support. When the Obama administration and its democrat allies in Congress get serious about securing our borders, especially our southern border with Mexico, then you will see increased support for a “path to citizenship” that the President has advocated. Until that happens, expect more states to take the (immigration) law into their own hands and the Obama Justice Department to take them to court!