By Joe Guzzardi
April 22, 2015
California and Texas are the two largest border states into which thousands of criminal aliens pass every year as they traffic drugs and humans. Many traffickers know that with President Obama dictating federal immigration policy, if they’re unlucky enough to be apprehended, the consequences will be insignificant.
How the two states handle unlawful entry is vastly different. Under Governor Jerry Brown and with Attorney General Kamala Harris’ ongoing support, California looks the other way at illegal immigration. Brown, in a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto encouraged more Mexicans to come to the state regardless of whether they were “documented,” and has signed a series of illegal immigrant-friendly bills including one that allows aliens to get driver’s licenses and another that minimizes deportation probability.
Harris is complicit with Brown in keeping the border open. With one eye firmly planted on retiring U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat, Harris has said that illegal immigrants aren’t criminals, a direct contradiction to Title 8 of the U.S. Code which plainly states that unlawful entry is subject to a civil penalty that may include a fine and/or imprisonment of up to two years. In Harris’ opinion then, her definition of criminal would apparently not include twice-deported Mexican alien Luis Bracamonte who in 2014 shot and killed two northern California sheriffs’ deputies, wounded another deputy and a civilian.
Texas’ approach to illegal immigration is the polar opposite of California’s: enforcement first. Lone Star state officials recognize the physical threat and fiscal cost that waves of unchecked illegal immigration represents. Early this year, Governor Gregg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton led a 26-state coalition that filed a law suit against Obama to block his unconstitutional immigration executive action amnesty. Last week, Paxton doubled down on Texas’ effort to thwart Obama when he filed a legal request to approve a deeper probe into the Justice Department’s issuance of more than 100,000 work permits and social security numbers before the program’s published starting date. Texas federal court judge Andrew S. Hanen, noting that the effects on the Lone Star state of unfettered immigration are obvious, issued a temporary injunction on Obama’s executive action.
But Texas is doing more than just talking about the state’s illegal immigration problem. Texas launched Operation Drawbridge, a network of 1,000 cameras strategically positioned along 1,200 miles of the shared border with Mexico. The sophisticated motion detector system has also been installed on unsecured ranches and farms that drug cartels use as their favorite crossing sites.
As a result of its vigorous, pro-active, anti-illegal immigration Operation Drawbridge, last year border guards apprehended nearly 30,000 suspects and seized 88,400 pounds of drugs. Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw describes Operation Drawbridge as an invaluable asset to sheriffs, police officers, and Border Patrol agents in their efforts to protect Texans and the nation from Mexican drug cartels and ruthless transnational criminals. McCraw counts any smuggling interdiction “a significant gain” against the cartels and a deterrent to future lawlessness.
In Texas, law enforcement is committed to tackling illegal immigration head on. California however is trapped in a politically correct, but self-defeating, approach that misguidedly coddles the ethnic identity lobby. Even the senseless, tragic deaths of California’s finest isn’t cause enough to prompt Sacramento’s leadership to utter a critical word against illegal immigration.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]