March 26th, 2009
10:46 AM ET

Dear President Obama #66: On the edge of serious trouble

Reporter's Note: Our President has asked for ideas about how to run the government. No doubt many citizens are writing, and I am nothing if not a slave to fashion; therefore I am sending a letter a day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

That’s just great. As if we don’t have enough problems at home, now the neighbors are acting up! Pardon my Spanglish, but que pasa con Mexico?

Here you are trying to get us out of Iraq, more into Afghanistan, and suddenly we’re watching a gun fight in the back yard. Drug cartels running in the streets like old west gunslingers (but with much bigger guns…), trafficking reaching all over the United States (ok, well that’s not new, and certainly if we weren’t buying all this stuff nobody would be bringing it in to sell), and violence threatening to spill over with it. I’m not an expert on international relations, but I suspect this is bad.

No matter how big that pile of problems is on your desk right now, you better clear some space for this one: What are you going to do about the border?

Whether people out there are for, against, or indifferent about more immigration, I think this issue is going to revolve around how you fundamentally “see” the U.S. border; do you think it is something that can and/or should be controlled, in the sense that we can actually decide who gets in or out? (As opposed to now, when we theoretically make that decision, but have in actuality a border than is about as solid as venetian blinds.)

I know you’ve already taken some steps on this matter of the recent drug violence; more money for our efforts to contain it, and for the Mexican government’s too.

I also know there are many theories about how a border can be made more secure, beyond the idea of building a giant wall; which, as the Chinese can attest, doesn’t always work out quite as planned. Some people say we should invest more in other countries so their citizens don’t want to come here. Some say we should slap more fines on people who hire undocumented workers, to stifle the market. On and on it goes. Frankly, I don’t even pretend to know what will work, but I hope you and the rest of the DC crowd can sort something out.

Because while many Americans do not know how to solve the problems along our borders, I suspect most of them will tell you they do know this: if you can’t find a method to reasonably secure your border against illegal trafficking in drugs, violence, people, animals, trade goods, or weapons; you really can’t say you have a border at all.

Good luck with it. I don’t envy you on this one, but call if you just want to spitball ideas. Do you speak Spanish? I do a little: Tengo agua en mis zapatos! That means I have water in my shoes!



For more of the Foreman Letters, go here.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Andrell in Alabama

    I’m way down here in Alabama and we've seen the affect of illegal immigrates on our job market. I've had a roofing company in the past and its kind of hard to pay workman’s comp and insurance among other things and try to compete with somebody with a group of illegal’s that work for much less without all the add-ons that come with legal workers. Just think all this money being paid to them is tax free and how much of it do you think is being sent back home, not spent here. I think Apartment complexes that house them should be fined. Employers that hire them should be doubled fined. Lets stop allowing them to get government aid "Medicare, food stamps, WIC and other government aid that we pay for with our tax dollars. Then I don't think we will have to worry so much about our borders. Take the paradise away and we will see what happens.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  2. jim

    Several points. Here were some of our good elected people on the news this morning taking bailout money.and coming down on the CEO's for the same thing. Have any of our news people gotten into checking on the plane our speaker of the house uses to go home in and the amount of fuel used.

    March 27, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  3. Erika in Los Angeles

    yeah and maybe we can point some of those mines toward anyone who is dumb enough to buy illegal drugs on this side of the border. People seem to forget this isn't Mexico's problem only...who do you think is buying?? If anyone needs to secure their border, it's Mexico–from the US.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  4. Sharon S

    Ok maybe I shouldn't look into the rear veiw mirror but sometimes I have a problem doing that!

    My question is where was our Government when all this was going on?
    I am really tired of bad situations having to get beyond the boiling point before anyone will do anything about them!

    And now this one with the drug cartels has gotten completely out of hand and God only knows what it will take to fix it now?
    This could have been dealt with I remember years ago watching stories about this on 20/20!

    It seems to me that our Government has sit on its rear so long not doing anything that now that they are pushed into a corner they no longer know how to fight!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  5. Franky

    LOL!! That's funny Tom, what's wrong with Mexico....

    To tell you the truth, everything is wrong. No se(don't know)...

    We got a lot of problems that's for sure. I can't believe we sold our soul for the Constitution, and look at the consequences??? But at least we got it back when we took out the British in 1812...but then came gone back in the Mexican-American War but didn't sold it til the Civil War...but then repented for WW1...and sold it back in WW2...but were better til the Cold War...and finally, we sold it back in this century...

    Yeah, I know, we sold our soul more than repenting for our sins for crying out loud, LOL!!

    March 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  6. Phil G.

    Time to bring the troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe and use them to secure our own borders. Maybe we can hire some former East German border guards as consultants. We need a Berlin Wall type of fortification in populated areas, with rural areas having border fortifications consisting of minefields, watchtowers, and fences armed with SM-70 antipersonnel mines pointing toward the Mexican side of the border.

    Enough is enough! Seal the border!

    March 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  7. Sandra

    Better ask Janet Napolitano, she was in denial about the violence spreading over into the US. We need to secure our borders and anyone here illegally should be deported. If you want to come to the US do it legally.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  8. mary

    why do we not use the droms in the war seek out the borders and take care of the problems.

    March 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  9. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    There are a lot of things we can legislate to improve our quality of life--–but one thing that you can't legislate--and that is "morality"-for which I think our society has become bankrupt.

    March 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm |