The U.S. Senate voted Monday to adopt an amendment calling for a so-called "border surge" that would double the size of the Border Patrol, mandate 700 miles of border fencing and require more electronic surveillance. The total bill comes to a whopping $40 billion, heaped on to the cost of a bill that already poured billions of dollars into increased security.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said it would make the point where the United States and Mexico meet the "most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall."
It's perhaps the only way to convince obstinate border hawks -- most of them Republicans -- to sign on to a comprehensive reform of an immigration system that all sides agree is dysfunctional.
But is the border surge a good idea?
As The New York Times editorial page points out, there's plenty of other ways to use the roughly $40 billion that the so-called "border surge" will cost.
Conceived as a way to offer a carrot to those who have complained the loudest about border security, the amendment has little to do with reality. The idea presumes that illegal crossings are going up, when in fact they're going down. The idea that reform would incentivize new immigration is disputed by demographers whose research indicates we won't experience an era of mass migration like the 1990s in the foreseeable future.
And if we're worried about drug cartels, we shouldn't be -- it's a home-grown industry. Four out of five border drug busts involve U.S. citizens, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting. Marijuana accounts for the overwhelming majority of the drugs seized along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to data mined by CIR -- a consequence of misguided U.S. policy of criminalizing a soft drug that state governments are now legalizing.
Check out 7 reasons why the border surge is a terrible idea in the slideshow above.
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