May 26th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President #492: "Taking up Fencing?"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/26/art.usmexicoborder.getty.jpg width=300 height=169]Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama has ordered more National Guard troops to the Mexican border. And I ordered a pizza more than an hour ago, and it’s still not here! Let’s hope his influence is more effective. Here is my daily letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Have you ever spent much time on the Mexican border? I wouldn’t say that I have been there a lot, but enough to know that it is holier than Swiss cheese in a Baptist church.

I think I’ve already told you about the time I was standing by a border wall in one town when I heard a rattle, saw a guy come over the top, say “Hola,” and stroll off into the United States. Another time a crew and I were shooting a story on free range cattle and we undoubtedly drove back and forth over the border repeatedly all day without so much as a raised eyebrow on either side. No documents. No questions. No stopping.

And we were hardly keeping a low profile. Unable to rent a 4 wheel drive truck, we were navigating the dirt trails of the desert in a Lincoln Town Car which turns out to be a surprisingly agile off-road vehicle as long as you keep you speed up around 50 miles an hour, and you don’t mind a few mesquite scratches down the side.

I mention all this, purely as a way of saying I can attest to just how wide open and desolate it can be in some places, and while 1500 more National Guard troops can certainly reduce the number of holes in the sieve…uh, it will still be a sieve.

Look at the math. 1500 extra troops over a 2000 mile border gives us one extra person guarding every 1.3 miles. Put them on eight hour shifts, and it changes to pretty much one extra person guarding every 4 miles. That is, if you deploy them that way, and I am assuming you will not. Those numbers, after all, are too daunting for even a zone defense.

So my suggestion today is this: Give them bullhorns, train all of the new troops to say in nice, clear Spanish, “I’m sorry, but the United States is closed today for inventory. We are counting all of our citizens in our decennial Census, so that we might better serve you in the future. Please come back at a later date.” I’m not sure it will work, but it’s respectful, appeals to reason, and it’s worth a shot. Hey, how could it be worse than anything else we’ve tried?

OK, sorry, I’m being a tad silly today. I’m still pretty tired and having trouble wrapping my head around any big thoughts. Heck, I have problems with that even on a good day. Maybe you shouldn’t call today. I’m going to try to sneak a nap in my office. Like, I assume, Biden does most afternoons. Ha!


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    Wasn't it just a week ago that the Obama's hosted a state dinner for the President of Mexico and his wife? I wonder if anything was said that has made Obama move in this direction?

    I do recall that both Presidents spoke out AGAINST the new AZ state law in dealing with illegal immigrants. Just curious, due to the timing.

    May 26, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  2. Cathi

    After almost forty days and nights of oil gushing into the ocean, isn't it about time that the government take over and STOP THE SPILL? If our government doesn't think that this is a major disaster enough to drop everything they are doing and get the job done then maybe it's time to initate impeachments for all of the government hot shots and get a government in Washington that can get the job done. They have until kingdom comes to figure out what happened and whose to blame, the priority right now and thirty five days ago was to stop the spill. Are they all so dependent on oil lobbyists money that they are willing to kill our planet and if so, then they don't belong in office anyway!!!

    May 26, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  3. Keith Long

    Seventy percent of the American people want our immigration laws enforced but our politicians think it is more important to listen to the open borders crowd. I know our country is not a democracy but a representational republic, however if they want to stay in office they had better start representing the majority. November is coming soon.

    May 26, 2010 at 11:02 am |