As many as 15,000 volunteers have agreed to patrol the borders between the United States and Mexico to help stem the tide of illegal immigrants crossing into this country. Known as The Minutemen, the volunteers hope to make up for the shortfall of border patrol agents in patrolling the thousands of miles of border. One estimate says we need at least 2,000 additional border patrol agents but Congress has yet to appropriate funding for the needed manpower.
As you would expect, Mexican groups have denounced the Minutemen as vigilantes and racists. But with thousands of illegal aliens crossing the borders daily, obviously something is needed. It would be better in my opinion to fund the new border patrol agents. But neither Congress nor the Bush administration is in any hurry to make that move.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the volunteers this week and was quickly criticized by Democrats for his comments. But few states have at much at risk than does California. In fact, a new billboard sprouted in California recently that says Welcome to Los Angeles, Mexico. That tells you what is at stake.
Here's a local irony. A group of veterans in Sikeston recently volunteered their service as part of the Minuteman movement. They have yet to hear a response to their offer. It's highly unlikely they will.
I'm not a big fan of any private, volunteer group. Some hothead will take action into their own hands and kill the effort completely. Yet without additional eyes and ears on the Mexican border, we'll continue to pay an astronomical price.
We Americans are a humanitarian people. When these illegals cross into our country we become far too generous with our taxpayer money. We turn our head the other way because the illegal population is critical in the agriculture industry and other, low-paying jobs. But we ignore the price in social services that this new population will bring. Over the years the price for our children and grand children will be beyond our means. Unless we address the problem today, we'll be unable to address it tomorrow.
Proponents of the volunteer movement point out that their efforts are primarily on behalf of national security. That's critical. But I'm more concerned about the long-term impact on our culture and our finances than I am on national security. A hard-working culture such as the Mexican population is welcomed here. But there is a process of legal immigration and that is the only viable hope we have to monitor, control and assimilate this population. Believe me, that is not a racist position. It's an American position.
I said almost 10 years ago that one of the greatest problems facing this nation would someday be the issue of huge segments of other populations arriving here to live in the lifestyle and freedoms we enjoy. Today the explosion is for economic reasons not for want of freedom.
In our case, we can offer freedom much cheaper than the economic goals these newcomers want. And as is always the case, it's the hard-working taxpayers of this country who will once again shoulder the financial needs of those unwilling or unable to provide for themselves.
Here's the cold, cruel fact of this situation. At some point there will not be enough taxpayers to support those in need. When that day arrives, chaos will follow. That much is certain.