Last weekend, a prominent Arizona rancher was shot and killed while in his SUV near the Mexican border. Anti-immigration hawks like former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and senatorial candidate J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) quickly jumped to describe the murder as having been committed by an undocumented immigrant before the local police department even had the chance to release any details. Tancredo and Hayworth, along with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Arizona Gov Jan Brewer (R-AZ), have all called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deploy the National Guard to the Arizona border.
Yesterday afternoon, Tancredo took his demands a step farther by calling for the dismissal of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano whom he accuses of lying about border security in order to move immigration reform forward:
She lies about border security in order to push the Obama agenda: amnesty for 15–30 million illegal aliens presently in this country. The harsh and unpleasant truth is that we have no border security…[…] I think it’s time for Janet Napolitano to go. We should demand her resignation. She is not a person that should be in charge of Homeland Security when she purposefully lies about the condition in or around that border. […]
We’ve gotta tell him to stop talking about amnesty. Every time he bring up amnesty, every time he uses that word…the flood of illegal aliens coming into this country turns into a tsumani…Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t let them weasel their way out with “I’m against illegal immigration, but we have to have a pathway to citizenship.” HOGWASH.
However, it seems Tancredo is the one who is conveniently exaggerating — if not outright lying — about the facts in order to obstruct immigration reform. Napolitano has never said that DHS’ work at the border is done. What she has said is that over the past few years, the U.S has seen “improve[d] immigration enforcement and border security within the current legal framework.”
However, that legal framework is broken and border security is one of many things that comprehensive immigration reform could fix. Currently, funds are being dedicated to both apprehending dangerous illegal border-crossers like the one that may have killed Krentz, along with non-threatening migrants who are simply looking for work and a better life. In other words, resources are spread thin. If immigration reform created a legal immigration system that responds to fluctuating labor demands, economic-driven illegal immigration would be greatly reduced and DHS could focus its time and resources on pursuing threats to security. “We will never have fully effective law enforcement or national security as long as so many millions remain in the shadows,” Napolitano has stated.
Furthermore, neither Napolitano or Obama have promised anyone amnesty. Napolitano has explicitly stated that any earned path to legalization will be “tough and fair.” Even if some potential migrants interpreted their words as “amnesty,” it doesn’t seem to be motivating a “tsunami” of “illegal aliens.” Rather, largely in response to the economic recession, illegal immigration has plummeted since Obama was elected to office.
Finally, while it certainly is possible that Krentz was killed by a foreign border crosser, as recently as yesterday evening, the local Arizona Sheriff’s office was still emphasizing that they have “no suspect, no motive in the killing, and no proof of the killer’s country of origin or immigration status.”
In addition to calling for Napolitano’s dismissal, Tancredo also suggested that the U.S. should place active duty personnel on both the Southern and Northern borders.