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John Culberson's Border Protection Corps.

Immigration is clearly the unheralded political issue of the year. It may not lead the evening network news every night, but with Democrats and Republicans alike moving on this issue, the political landscape is flooded with immigration reform proposals. Every politician wants a piece of the immigration pie; being tough on illegal immigration is going to be a litmus test for many voters across party lines, in upcoming elections. Bank on that.

Illegal immigration : 2005 :: Crime : 1993

If you're perceived as weak on immigration as an individual or a party, you're going to get burned.

It's no wonder that even liberal Hillary Clinton, in an effort to moderate her image, has made rhetorical flourishes on the immigration issue, courting those concerned with illegal immigration. It's also no wonder that the otherwise underwhelming Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo, who has been out in front on the immigration issue for some time now, is generating some buzz as a 2008 candidate, notwithstanding his recent "bomb Mecca" goof. John McCain (along with Senators Kennedy, Brownback, Lieberman, Graham, and Salazar) have offered an immigration measure in the Senate (.pdf). Jon Kyl and John Cornyn countered with a stronger measure (.pdf).

Combatting illegal immigration is increasingly a political no-brainer. Even the controversial Minute Men (a group it was easy to be skeptical about in the beginning) were supported by more Americans than the media let on (.pdf). And their efforts seemed to work. Americans are pragmatic. If it works, go with it.

In comes my Representative, John Culberson.


H.R. 3622, The Border Protection Corps Act of 2005 (.pdf), would authorize Governors of border states to organize citizen-volunteers to patrol America's borders.

The skinny:

Today, U.S. Representative John Culberson and 46 original cosponsors introduced H.R. 3622 to create the Border Protection Corps made up of citizen volunteers working as sworn law enforcement officers under the command of the Governors of the border States and working “in cooperation with State and local law enforcement officials…and the United States Border Patrol.”

Border Protection Corps operations and the costs of detaining, housing and transporting foreign nationals taken into custody by the Corps or by state and local law enforcement would be paid for using the $6.8 billion in Homeland Security first responder funds that have been sitting unspent and untouched in the U. S. Treasury for over two years.

The Border Protection Corps Act invokes Congress’s power under Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution to “provide for calling forth…organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia… to execute the Laws of the Union,” which H.R. 3622 defines as “patrolling and defending the international border” of the United States “in order to prevent individuals from crossing the international border…at any location other than an authorized port of entry.”

The measure would essentially take the Minutemen idea and legitimize it, integrating able and willing volunteers (of which there are plenty) into the overall border security apparatus of the United States. But it could also stave off potential vigilantism, making the volunteers more accountable to state laws:

H.R. 3622 states that Border Protection Corps members “shall include only United States citizens with no criminal history and no history of mental illness.” Corps members must “take an oath to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States and of the State… and shall have the right to keep and bear arms… [and can] use any means and any force authorized by state law to prevent individuals from unlawfully entering United States [or] to take into custody individuals who have so entered the United States.”

The Houston Chronicle (via blogHOUSTON), calling the proposal "unusual," notes that Texas Governor Rick Perry is open to the idea.

Culberson's "thunderclap" bill will almost certainly be opposed by the Washington establishment media and certain illegal immigration apologists, but it (along with the Kyl-Cornyn bill) could be effective in preventing scores of illegal aliens, including terrorists, from entering the U.S, all while protecting legal immigration. After all, inattention to illegal immigration could eventually undermine political support for legal immigration, which is so necessary to our culture and economy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 29 July 2005 03:28 PM


Hey Will, check out the breaking story about Air America and the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club. He ripped them off, it appears. Check Michelle Malkin and at Brian Maloney. There's many others, but...ya know? lol. Take care.

Posted by: Rosemary at July 29, 2005 06:55 PM

It definitely appears the pendulum is swinging toward stronger measures against illegal immigration. Everyone to the right of Noam Chomsky seems to agree. The risk of alienating the hispanic voter does not seem to be as high as previously thought.

And given the threat of international terrorism a leaky border can't be closed soon enough.

Posted by: Giacomo at July 29, 2005 07:01 PM

But you know what, something tells me that Tom Tancredo and others who are exploiting this issue for their personal political gain are going to complain that this bill doesn't go far enough.

We need to find someway to both secure our borders and to have a guest worker program to bring in the foreign workers that industries such as agriculture need. I think the Kyl-Cornyn bill and this "Border Protection Corps" strikes that important balance.

What we should not do is deploy the military to the border as Tom Tancredo and Bill O'Reilly have called for, because enforcement of Federal law, even immigration law, is not the role of military and it should not be the role of the military in a free nation.

Posted by: Kevin at July 29, 2005 11:27 PM

Hillary may talk about getting tough on illegal immigration but it's only talk. She's pretending to be moving to the middle but only pretending. She has to walk a pretty thin line to pull it off and not lose her moonbat base. Moonbats rarely understand the nuances, but they certainly can look at a voting record.


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Posted by: Ronald Kimball at August 3, 2005 10:36 AM