By Simone Baribeau on September 11, 2006 - 12:54am.
According to a 2002 report of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), a nonprofit research institution, the INS budget for border enforcement saw a three fold increased from 1995 to 2001, after a seven fold increase in the previous fifteen years. The result, according to the report, was "an increase in the probability of apprehension," the very thing Frist is currently touting as a Republican success.
What this did not translate into, however, was a decrease in illegal immigration.
According to PPIC's report, the number of deaths due to environmental causes of unauthorized migrants increased almost four fold from 1994 to 2000, presumably because immigrants were crossing in more remote areas due to the increased border control.
Perhaps some in Congress see this is a positive end in and of itself. After all, no one would mourn a terrorist dying of exposure to heat. And, the words "immigrant" and "terrorist" are becoming more and more conflated, due, in part, to comments by politicians such as those in a Republican Party primary ad, which, the Wall Street Journal reported (WSJ subscribers only), warn that acceptance of Mexican ID cards "can threaten our security" by permitting immigrants in planes and government buildings.
But, assuming Congress' primary goal is to stem illegal immigration and not to kill potential undocumented immigrants, fences and border guards don't seem to be the solution.