Friday, February 17, 2006

Creativity on the Border

Despite the blind eye turned toward the subject from Washington, citizens across the nation are both seeing and feeling the growing problems caused by the unfettered influx of illegal aliens. Our southern borders are no better than a sieve, with thousands pouring through the holes each month. And in spite of the national security threat posed by this ever-increasing daily flow of lawbreakers entering our country illegally, the national government continues to discount and even ignore the issue.

But one state is beginning to show a little chutzpah in the border wars. Earlier this month, Arizona lawmakers made two imaginative moves in the effort to stem the flood of illegal immigration.

In the first, Arizona Republicans have proposed a new measure to build a security wall along the Mexican border. Nothing new. The innovation comes in the proposed way to pay for the wall.
Mexican immigrants and nationals working in the U.S. sent $20 billion back to Mexico in 2005, according to the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. The proposed ballot question would assess a new 8 percent tax on international money transfers from Arizona. Those funds would be used [to] construct the wall and pay for other border security efforts.
The state proposal will appear on the ballot this year for Arizona voters to approve or reject.

Days after the announcement of that proposal, Arizona's Senate Finance Committee voted to accept an even more controversial measure to help pay for the high price of all the illegals flooding the state.
Unable to get the federal government to pick up the state's costs of illegal immigration, the Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday for a little bit of self-help with a plan to take possession of what Arizona taxpayers are supposed to pay to Uncle Sam.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Dean Martin, R-Phoenix, sees the tax seizure as a "Boston Tea Party," Southwestern style.

Under the proposed law, Arizonans would continue to fill out their federal tax returns and file them with the Internal Revenue Service, but send the actual check to the state Department of Revenue.
I'm not sure that either of these proposals are the answer, or even part of the answer. But it sure is nice to see someone actually applying a little thought and creativity to the problem, instead of either ignoring it (like the Department of Homeland Security) or trying to just make it "go away" (like the president) with an ill-advised amnesty program for federal lawbreakers.

And in spite of his recent tough talk about border security, we are still waiting for Gov. Rick Perry to emulate the Democratic Governor of Arizona, who sent members of the Arizona National Guard to help patrol the border.

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