Posted on July 9, 2004

Asa Hutchinson on the Barbie

Dale Franks, QandO, July 8, 2004

One of the big radio stations here in the Great Southwest is Los Angeles’ KFI AM 640. KFI has a 50,000 watt, clear channel broadcast that can be heard — at night, at least — in Albuquerque, NM and Salt Lake City, UT. Unlike most talk radio stations, KFI is all local, and doesn’t delve into the national political scene much.

One of the bugbears of the afternoon drive hosts, John Kobylt and Ken Champeau is the issue of illegal immigration. California is to millions of illegal immigrants, and they put a lot of pressure on the state, since the lion’s share of such immigrants live here. Between $5 billion and $7 billion of the state budget goes to benefits such as education and health care for these immigrants. Additional billions are repatriated to Mexico, to help support immigrants’ families there. This is substantial cause for the crowding we experience in schools and on the highways, and the long lines waiting for care in various emergency rooms. Oh, and the non-citizen children of illegals get to go to California universities and pay in-state tuition fees. American citizens from Utah or Oregon pay out-of-state fees.

Today, John (Ken is on vacation) had land Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson on. A month ago, immigration activist groups like La Raza (The Race. How’s that for a nice inoffensive name?) were howling in uproar because the 12 Border Patrol officers of the Temecula office were conducting sweeps in Temecula, Escondido, and Corona, all of which are cities located in Riverside and northern San Diego counties.

Complaints about these sweeps aroused the ire of not only the activists, but the Mexican government, whose LA consulate expressed it’s displeasure in no uncertain terms. Members of Congress also got involved, berating land Security for the sweeps as well.

About a week after the complaints, spokesmen for the Border Patrol said that Asa Hutchinson the undersecretary responsible for the BP, ordered them to s the sweeps. So, John got an interview with Hutchinson, which aired live this afternoon in the 4:00 hour.

John, who is not a tactful guy, bluntly asked Hutchinson why he ordered the patrols sped. Hutchinson began droning on about the need for coordination, and about how many illegals (16,000 per week, according to Hutchinson) were being sped from coming into the country in Arizona.

John cut him off and began demanding to know how many illegals were being rounded up in California. Hutchinson didn’t know. John then began grilling him about how many employers had been indicted in Southern California for hiring illegals. Hutchinson said he didn’t know. (John did. The answer: 0) John asked if interior enforcement sweeps would begin again. Hutchinson said he couldn’t give away specifics about planned operations, for, you know security reasons.

John then pointed out that, if we were unable to s economic refugees from pouring across the border, how could we possibly s al-Qaida? Hutchinson said that, yep, that was a pretty important question. You betcha. John asked how Hutchinson planned to react when, after the next 911, we learn that the terrorists came through the Mexican border in California. Hutchinson said that it was really important to s them.

At the end of the interview, John kept demanding a yes or no answer to the following question: “Can I tell my listeners that Asa Hutchinson assured me that the interior sweeps by the border patrol would begin again?” Hutchinson refused to answer.

Hutchinson was getting more and more steamed but John, tactlessly and bluntly, perhaps, but not meanly, kept the pressure on for about 15 minutes before the interview terminated.

God, I love it when public officials get grilled like that! All too often, the press accepts the bureaucratic gobbledy-gook coming out of politicians’ mouths. They may ask a tough question or two, but when John asked a question, and Hutchinson went off into a bureaucratese answer, John would cut him off, telling him that wasn’t a good answer and demanding he answer the questions directly. You could tell Asa Hutchinson wasn’t used to that kind of treatment.

Too bad.

The border leaks like a sieve and it’s only a matter of time — if it hasn’t happened already — that terrorists begin using it as the primary means of entrance into the US. And why shouldn’t they?

As things stand now, the US government will never close off the border to illegal immigration unless public outrage forces them to. Republicans won’t do it because Big Business likes having the lower wages that illegal immigration allows them to pay. The Democrats won’t do it because the party is so beholden to “civil rights” groups like La Raza.

In either case, the Mexican government will pressure the US government any time there’s even a hint that the exodus of migration from Mexico might be sped. Such expatriation is the principle means by which the Mexican government lowers the pressure for reform, as well as its principle source of foreign income, with the exception of petroleum sales.

If all those people were forced to stay , the money flow would dry up, and those who would otherwise leave would be forced to stay in Mexico, stirring up who knows what kind of trouble. But whatever kind of trouble it would be, it’s trouble the Mexican oligarchs don’t need.

The end result is the US government is completely unwilling to do anything more than make cosmetic efforts to stem the tide of illegal immigration into the US.

But, Californians are getting tired of it.

There’s an odd political myth that Pete Wilson lost all his popularity as governor because he supported ballot propositions like 187, that would cut off benefits to illegals. But such mythmaking ignores the fact that those ballot propositions passed by 60%. Championing ballot measures that get 60% public support is an odd way to become unpopular.

A few years ago, at a US-Mexico soccer match, the stands were filled with illegals waving Mexican flags, who booed when the “Star Spangled Banner” was played. Immigration protest marches regularly feature huge Mexican flags waving over audiences who are harangued by sneering La Raza types who exclaim that California belongs to Mexico, not the gringos. Our children go to schools where there are 50 children in the classroom. Going to the emergency room entails a 2 or 3 hour wait.

Californians are getting tired of that, and they are getting tired of a government that ignores this concern. And I think that, if there is another horrific 911-type attack, and we find out that the terrorists came in through the Mexican border, there’s going to be a tremendous political backlash.

If the open-borders crowd thinks otherwise, then they’re just whistling past the graveyard.