Welcome to the Responsibility Era
I'd bet less than 2% of the Republicans complaining about Gov. Napolitano not fixing illegal immigration could even name the guy who heads the U.S. Border Patrol. Notice the subtle Princess Bride reference?
ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE NOT OUR GOVERNOR'S PROBLEM
East Valley Tribune, May 29, 2005
Is Arizona supposed to have its own foreign policy?
Maybe that’s what Republicans want. Apparently convinced that they won’t get anywhere in 2006 complaining about education, public safety, taxes, transportation, or other issues in which the state actually is involved, the GOP echo chamber instead complains that Gov. Janet Napolitano isn’t solving the illegal alien problem.
This whining is more uneducated than usual, because the law that makes aliens illegal is a federal one. The U.S. government, not the states, is responsible for the nation’s borders.
The U.S. Border Patrol, which is responsible for combating illegal entries and alien smuggling, is now part of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, headed by Commissioner Robert Bonner. CBP is part of the Border and Transportation Security Directorate, led by Acting Deputy Secretary Randy Beardsworth. He in turn reports to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff.
These guys have at least one thing in common; they were appointed by, and report to, the current President of the United States, George W. Bush. We need to remind Republicans of that fact, because they never recall it when discussing how well, or how poorly, the federal government performs.
If the border is out of control, or if illegal aliens are a huge problem, don’t look for solutions with 50 state governments. It’s a federal responsibility. Nobody should want border policy determined on a state-by-state basis, with Arizona doing one thing and New Mexico or California another.
Maybe Republicans (and Venters) find it tough enough to know how to spell “Napolitano,” but when it comes to the border, the names you actually need to know are Bonner, Beardsworth, Chertoff, and Bush.
If the executive branch isn’t getting the job done, then it should fall to Congress to provide oversight and resources. That would mean the GOP leadership in the House and Senate, and the Arizona congressional delegation. For those in Maricopa County burdened by illegal immigration, you wouldn’t want to address complaints to Napolitano until well after you’ve first tried to hold Sens. McCain and Kyl and Reps. Flake, Franks, Shadegg, Hayworth, and Pastor responsible.
Blaming Napolitano is a complement, however. All you ‘wingers are implicitly admitting that the Gov is intelligent, capable, and responsible, and someone voters would expect to solve a problem that is, and has been, well beyond the capacity of the Bush administration and our overwhelmingly Republican elected representatives in Washington.
The other way to put this is that nobody seriously expects George W. Bush to solve any serious problems, much less anything as difficult and controversial as immigration. Nice speeches, sure, but solving an actual problem? Inconceivable!
But perhaps there might be a way for Gov. Napolitano to get the border under control. The numbers keep changing, but as of six months ago, nearly 3,000 members of the Arizona Army National Guard and Arizona Air National Guard have been mobilized for duty in Iraq, deployments that can last up to 545 days.
Instead of sending them to Iraq, our GOP congressional delegation could pressure the Bush administration to let the Governor deploy those Arizona troops on the Arizona border. If the border’s in crisis and it’s the Governor’s job to fix it, then give her some troops to do the job. Bring our state’s National Guard back from Iraq so they can be deployed in Douglas, Nogales, Ajo, and Yuma!
Life (and governmental budgeting) is choices. The Bush administration and the GOP Congress must consider Iraq more important than security and immigration reform. When it comes to getting judges confirmed, or tax cuts for the rich, or blowing off the Kyoto accords, these guys know how to get things done. But when it comes to the border, they’re just not doing the job.
It’s not our state governor’s job to make up for the Bush administration’s failures. And if her critics were serious about border issues, they’d be pushing for employer sanctions and criticizing the federal officials actually responsible -- even if they’re also Republicans.
Talk is cheap. Blaming the governor for the federal government's failures is even cheaper.