I’ll tell you what I’d like to see: a face-to-face, public debate on border security with two sheriffs on one side and a federal secretary and the president on the other.

I have no doubt who would win – the two guys from Arizona: Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

The other side, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano (and former Arizona governor) and the president, Barack Obama, wouldn’t stand a chance trying to defend their policies, actions and inactions that are supposed to keep our border with Mexico secure and safe.

The border is neither safe nor secure. No matter what Napolitano and Obama – and other government bureaucrats say – the border isn’t safe for people, property, businesses, animals or the environment.

Americans living along the border are more at risk than ever for personal and property crimes committed by illegal aliens who’ve crossed the border with impunity. It’s not a few – it’s thousands a month.

According to Sheriff Dever, half of all the illegals sneaking into the country move through Arizona, and some areas are just unmanageable with citizens at risk. He should know. His friend, rancher Robert Krentz, was shot and killed on his own property last year by drug runners who escaped back into Mexico.

The U.S. Constitution specifies that it’s a prime function and responsibility of the federal government to protect each of the states from invasion by foreign countries.

That means Congress and federal agencies are obligated to secure the border.

That means they must make it virtually impossible for people to cross illegally.

They’re not doing their job.

Mexico is a “foreign country,” as are Middle Eastern, Asian, Central and South American nations, as well as Russia and its former satellites.

A huge number of illegals streaming across the border is designated “OTM” – other than Mexican. Sheriff Babeu estimates that 20-25 percent of those taken into custody are OTM.

Since many are from countries considered sources of terrorism and Qurans and prayer rugs have been found along trails, the fact that the feds virtually ignore the issue and don’t inform the public is a serious dereliction of duty.

The fact that millions cross illegally and disappear into the country raises serious constitutional and security issues.

Janet Napolitano contends the border is as safe and secure as ever. She doesn’t elaborate, but Sheriff Babeu does.

He told me that last year, 214,000 illegals were apprehended in the Phoenix sector but at least 400,000 got away. Phoenix is just one of nine border sectors.

Of those taken into custody, more than 20 percent already have criminal records in this country, meaning they’ve been here before and likely been deported.

Is that really Napolitano’s idea of “secure”?

Obama is much of the same mind. He virtually never speaks of illegal border crossings, and he put an end to the costly border fence that had been authorized. He didn’t put the allocated budget to other border uses – it just stopped.

According to the Border Patrol, of the nearly 2,000-mile U.S./Mexican border, 129 miles are considered “controlled.” That means they can detect illegal aliens crossing the border but doesn’t mean they’ll be apprehended. It also focuses more on illegal activity after entry into the country not preventing the crossing.

It’s bureaucratic doublespeak – let ’em in and catch ’em later … except they don’t.

The message from the White House on these issues is nonexistent.

In a speech in El Paso, Napolitano said the Mexican drug cartels shouldn’t “even think about bringing your violence and tactics across this border. You will be met by an overwhelming response.”

Tell that to the police in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb, who are investigating the multiple stabbings and beheading of a man believed to have angered the cartels over a drug deal.

Tell that to the American missionary whose wife was shot to death by cartel gangs. The couple was driving home from Mexico.

Tell that to the two ICE agents ambushed outside of Mexico City by the Los Zetas gang. Jaime Zapata was killed, a second agent injured. Both, because of Mexican law, were unarmed.

Tell that to the family of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, shot in the back by armed drug bandits south of Tucson. He was patrolling with a special team working cartel operations.

The team confronted the gang and asked they drop their weapons. When they didn’t, they fired – with nonlethal beanbag rounds! The gang fired back with AK-47s with real bullets, killing and wounding.

Why beanbag rounds? Because it’s required procedure: Ask first that weapons be dropped, then fire warning shots with beanbags, then perhaps use real ammo.

What insanity! They knew the gang was armed, and yet they had to follow stupid and dangerous orders.

Janet Napolitano, and everyone responsible for such nonsense, should be fired immediately – and Congress should demand an explanation from the president as to why this travesty is allowed.

Dever is furious, and a week ago he resigned from a major law enforcement group because of federal mishandling of border security. He was particularly infuriated when Border Patrol and Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin said that illegal crossings and activities would no longer be tolerated. He said it in Spanish.

Dever calls that, and the government highway billboards listing wanted criminals, all Hispanic, “racial profiling.” It’s the same argument the feds use in their lawsuit against Arizona’s S.B.1070.

Dever calls the actions/comments of DHS disingenuous and duplicitous propaganda.

Babeu is equally forceful, saying the feds are trying to brainwash Americans, lulling us into a false sense of security.

Babeu told me his deputies will travel in teams, armed with automatic rifles and will be prepared to use them when necessary.

In a debate with these two, Obama and Napolitano wouldn’t stand a chance!

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