An activist group that wants to build a high-tech barrier to secure the southern border was not impressed with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s promise to end the federal government’s “catch and release” policy, calling the move “too little, too late.”
WeNeedAFence.com argues the crackdown will only solve 25 percent of the problem.
For every “Other than Mexican” illegal alien apprehended by border agents, experts estimate another three enter the country undetected.
In testimony before a Senate panel Monday, Chertoff said anyone who enters the U.S. illegally should be expelled without exception.
“Our goal at DHS is to completely eliminate the ‘catch and release’ enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions,” he said. “It should be possible to achieve significant and measurable progress to this end in less than a year.”
WeNeedAFence.com founder Colin Hanna points out the “catch and release” policy allowed federal authorities to release 120,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexican illegal aliens apprehended by border agents in the past year.
“Only a high-tech border security fence can stop the flow of potential terrorists across the border and secure our borders for good,” Hanna said.
Highway sound barrier at intersection of I-10 and I-12 in Baton Rouge, La. (courtesy soundfighter.com)
WeNeedAFence.com, a project of the advocacy group Let Freedom Ring, is running a series of high-profile advertisements on CNN and the FOX News Channel aimed at promoting its border fence initiative.
“Government reports document the infiltration of this border by foreign nationals” from such countries as Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the ad states.
WeNeedAFence.com argues that since 9-11, the federal government has taken steps to secure the nation’s airlines, power facilities and transportation networks, but the porous borders make the U.S. vulnerable to terrorist attack.
Hanna, noting more than 1 million illegal aliens cross the U.S.-Mexico border annually, said more than 100,000 “Other Than Mexican” illegals have crossed the border this year, including hundreds from federally designated “special interest countries.”
On Monday, Chertoff said U.S. authorities are immediately returning thousands of Mexicans entering the country illegally, but admitted “other parts of the system have nearly collapsed under the weight of numbers.”
“The problem is especially severe for non-Mexicans apprehended at the southwest border,” he said.
“Today, a non-Mexican illegal immigrant caught trying to enter the United States across the southwest border has an 80 percent chance of being released immediately because we lack the holding facilities,” Chertoff explained.
“Through a comprehensive approach, we are moving to end this ‘catch and release’ style of border enforcement by reengineering our detention and removal process.”