Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 27, 2006

Border madness

Filed under: Border Security — by Christian Beckner on January 27, 2006

Up until now, I’ve deliberately ignored some of the border security-related stories that have been in the news this week, trying to sort out the details and understand their implications before posting.

To recap:

All of this “border madness” takes place at a time when Congress is considering the most important border security and immigration legislation in a decade. I worry that these kinds of highly charged stories will have an undue influence on the legislative process. The border security legislation needs to be written not based on emotion, but on a rigorous analysis of the threats to national security, the costs and benefits of various measures, and the macro-level economic impacts on measures such as GDP and unemployment. A bill that is not fundamentally grounded in these realities, but responds instead to the hysteria of the day, is going to be a disaster for the nation.

The media also needs to do a better job of reporting these kind of stories in context, and explain how many of these activities are not new problems, but have been happening for a long time. They are important problems and need to be addressed, but they don’t deserve a manic level of attention, a la the “summer of the shark attack” in 2001.

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