Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column


Border Tragedy Reveals Deeper Problems

We all feel tremendous sympathy for the men who lost their lives last week locked in a truck-trailer outside of Victoria, Texas, in the congressional district I represent.  Regardless of the circumstances of their entry into the United States, it is a terrible tragedy for their families, and a horrific example of what can happen when human life is considered cheap.

This event also reminds us of the serious immigration and border control problems that remain to be addressed.

Why is it that people will take incredible risks to come to this country? Fundamentally, it is because they seek a better, more prosperous life.  Such a life is possible only in a nation of laws, where there is a reasonable assumption that the law will be applied equally to all. This is why, regardless of one’s position on immigration, existing immigration laws must be better enforced. Incidents like this, and the thousands of illegal border crossings that take place every day, demonstrate that authorities are not enforcing the law effectively.

This tragedy also reminds us of the lengths to which some will go to gain entry into the United States. Even as the government takes more and more of our income and curtails our liberties, incidents like this serve as a poignant reminder of the great freedoms and prosperity we enjoy in the United States. That dozens of people would cram themselves into a trailer like cattle, just for the opportunity to come to the United States, says a great deal about our relatively free-market system.  It should also remind us of just how important it is to do everything we can to preserve our liberty and constitutional form of government.

This tragedy highlights something more chilling, however: our continued vulnerability to terrorist attacks. More than four million trucks enter the United States through Mexico each year; border authorities inspect less than one percent. Indeed, our borders have become more porous than ever, as federal authorities in some cases simply will not enforce the laws that Congress has passed.

Suppose that rather than human cargo, the truck was carrying a chemical or nuclear weapon. Suppose 100 trucks loaded with nuclear weapons crossed the Mexican border driven by Al-Qaeda operatives.  Some 99 would get through.  Who believes terrorists would have much trouble getting into Mexico?

Yet while we maintain more than 200,000 US troops in more than 120 countries- many of whom are involved in guarding foreign borders- our own border patrol stands unprepared to prevent terrorists from bringing terrible weapons into our country.  Surely those soldiers and resources would be better used protecting our own shores.  The recent bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed several Americans, indicates that Al-Qaeda is still alive and well.  We therefore ignore our unguarded borders at our own peril.