Conservative talk-radio hosts present themselves as fiscal conservatives, until they land on something they want to mindlessly throw money at.
So Colorado’s newbie Congressman, Ken Buck, was right at home on the radio last week when he disclosed that a bill will be introduced by House Republicans “doubling or tripling” the amount of money to be spent on securing the U.S.-Mexico border.
The current border-security budget is about $12 billion, if you just count border patrol, fencing, surveillance, and ports of entry, according to Marc Rosenblum Deputy Director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute.
“We’ll leave that up to the experts,” Buck told Kafer, explaining how the additional border-security money will be spent and adding that there are “certainly a number of miles of fence have not been built.”
The fact that Buck had no clue what would be done with $12 to$24 billion in additional border security funding, doubling or tripling the current border-security budget, didn’t bother KNUS 710-AM’s Krista Kaffer, a proud fiscal hawk.
Such fiscal prudence!
For what, all these billions of dollars? “There’s very little evidence that the border is out of control,” Rosenblum told me, explaining that if you exclude the recent surge of child migrants, apprehensions at the southwest border have plummeted in recent years to a 40-year low.
Still, in addition to more fence, there are drones, more agents, radios, and more that have been proposed in the past.
Buck disclosed that a “number of bills” will come before the House Judiciary Committee during the next “month, month-and-a-half,” including the border-security measure, “a temporary farm worker program, another guest-worker program,” and a “high-tech visa program.”
“We are considering a border-security bill that will double or triple the amount of money to be spent on border security on our southern border,” Buck told Kafer. “There are certainly a number of miles of fence that have not been built. There’s a question over what’s the most efficient way to secure the border, and I think we leave that up to the experts. But the funding will be there for border security and the guest worker program. And I think the two of them go hand-in-hand.”
“We don’t trust the government,” said Buck explaining why Republicans like him oppose comprehensive immigration reform and want to focus on border security. “If we solve the problem of what to do with the 11 million people who are here illegally, then the government will not have border security and a guest-worker program that works.”
But, in reality, if you only focus on border security and guest workers, you’ll get nothing, because comprehensive immigration reform unites enough Democrats and Republicans to actually pass a bill. Remember the Senate’s comprehensive bill passed last year, only to die in the border-security-crazed House, where Colorado’s Republicans, including Rep. Mike Coffman, opposed the Senate’s comprehensive reform.
So keep trying to throw money at border security, Ken Buck, and see where that takes us.