The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Julie Myers, proved that she has no idea what she is doing -- or what the administration is doing -- regarding enforcement when she went on the Hugh Hewitt Show just after President Bush's Immigration Address last night and made a complete fool of herself.
Radioblogger (who also has audio)
HH: It's great to have you on. When the President said high tech fence, what was he talking about? How long will it be?
JM: Well, he is talking about, kind of thinking about a combination of surveillance and manpower and infrastructure, that the border patrol is seeking to do over a period of several years.
HH: But in terms of actual fencing fencing, how many miles are we talking about?
JM: Well, in terms of actual fencing, I think they're still looking at kind of what makes most sense in terms of surveillance and manpower and actual infrastructure.
HH: Is he committed, though? Did you have a talk with him about extending, for example, the San Diego fence, which is 1,400 miles long, and the El Paso fence, which is many miles long, double, and sometimes triple barrier fencing? Is that on the table?
JM: I think certainly all options are on the table to be most effective in terms of fencing. I am actually more the interior enforcement person, so I have not been involved in any direct discussions regarding the specifics of the fence.
That's right folks, the head of our Immigration and Customs Enforcement has absolutely no clue about how to enforce immigration lawbreakers or what is being done in immigration reform. It's good to see that she keeps in touch with the administration and other officials with what is happening regarding plans to crack down on illegal aliens.
HH: So we're still unclear of how far the administration is committed to actual fencing on the border? I mean, concrete, physical fencing?
JM: Well, certainly I'm not prepared to go further than what the President talked about tonight.
HH: And there were no specifics in terms of miles on that.
JM: That's correct.
HH: All right. That's disappointing...
Now, in the President's address last night he talked about how quickly Mexicans are sent back at the border. He also talked about how they'll be ending "catch and release". Which do you think is more expensive? Catching someone at the border or letting them get further into the country and then catching them? From what the President said last night you'd think that they would be equal, since expedited removal is in place for Mexicans, but that is far from the truth. Here's more from the interview regarding removal.
HH: And so, how long is the average stay in one of those detention facilities?
JM: Well, it depends on kind of where you are, and what sort of removal you are eligible for. If we catch you right at the border, then often, we can put you into what's called expedited removal, and we've done a ton of improvements in our processing, so we have reduced the average processing time in expedited removal from 90 days to under 30 days. So that makes the beds a lot cheaper for me, because I turn them over much more quickly. If you're not caught right on the border, if you're caught in the interior, we often have to send you through what's called a 240 proceeding. There we have reduced the average time for beds, but it still can be, you know, 50, 60, 70, 80 days. Sometimes, people are in beds for much longer than that. That's obviously very, very costly. We are working with foreign governments, and working on travel document times and everything else to reduce those times.
JM: Yes. If they are from Mexico, caught right on the border, they can remove them immediately, yes.
HH: So I'm back to the fencing conversation. If fencing is the best way to stop them at the border, why don't we have a plan laid out for that?
JM: Well, you know, I don't think we think that fencing is the best way to stop them on the border. I think the President's called for...if you build a fence, they build a tunnel. We just saw that today. There was another tunnel destroyed, another, excuse me, another tunnel found over in the San Diego area. So you can't...given the kind of the layout of our land, I believe it's the President's view, it's the border patrol's view, that a fence alone is not enough. We need a layered approach that includes surveillance, personnel, technology. We are working with the military to make sure we have the best technology. And some places, a fence may be very effective, but some places, it's simply not.
Stuttering, stammering, not seeming to be committed to anything, that is our current stance on handling illegal immigration. That's also what you get when you stick some crony like Julie Myers into a critical position.