If you think the bad economy has "solved" America's immigration problems, welcome to your end-of-the-year reality check. It's certainly true illegal crossings from the south are down and that many foreign workers are returning to their native lands as work dries up. But border chaos, haphazard enforcement, massive backlogs and deportation negligence remain the order of the day.
A half-million citizenship applications have been pending for more than nine months. Some 700,000 illegal alien absconders -- fugitives from deportation like Barack Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango -- are free. An estimated 4-5 million illegal visa overstayers from around the world remain in the country. Both Big Business and left-wing ethnic groups have colluded to prevent an employer verification program for workers' citizenship status from getting implemented nationwide. And the borders are still largely borders in name only.
In June, the White House pushed through a $1.6-billion border security spending plan ... for Mexico and Central America. While our own border fence remains incomplete, taxpayers shelled out for helicopters, surveillance equipment, computer infrastructure, expansion of intelligence databases, anti-corruption initiatives, human rights education and training, and anti-money laundering programs for our southern neighbors. So, how's the so-called Merida Initiative working out?
As terrorized citizens of Mexico will tell you, all hell has broken loose. Corrupt police officials and narco-insurgents have left a horrific trail of beheaded and bullet-ridden bodies in their wake on both sides of the border. Mexican Army incursions into U.S. territory are a regular occurrence. In Monterrey, bandits opened fire and threw a grenade at the U.S. consulate this fall. A top Mexican immigration official was arrested in October carrying about 77 kilos of pot in Arizona. On a single weekend in Tijuana, 40 people were murdered, including nine victims who were decapitated. Two weeks ago, famed American anti-kidnapping negotiator Felix Bautista disappeared from the "relatively safe" northern industrial city of Saltillo in Coahuila state. No word on his whereabouts.