Rich Tucker

When John Roberts comes before the Senate for his confirmation hearings, there’s sure to be plenty of hand wringing about Roe v. Wade. Never mind that the so-called right to privacy isn’t found in the Constitution. By digging into the tiny details of the legal arguments involved, lawmakers hope to show us how devoted they are to doing their jobs.

Meanwhile, Congress is ignoring one of its most important jobs -- one that actually is in the Constitution. It’s not adequately “providing for the common defense” because it’s not protecting our borders.

Nobody knows how many illegal immigrants now live in the United States. Recent estimates range from 11 million to 20 million. Faced with that problem, you’d expect Congress to do everything possible to shore up our borders and stop the flow of new illegals. Sadly, it’s not.

Several months ago a correspondent from southern California decided to visit the Mexican border. He found that “in the (populated, highly-patrolled, well-fenced, URBAN) west end of San Diego County there were 10 agents patrolling a 10-mile zone. One four-mile swath had zero agents.”

One agent per mile of border? No wonder those few agents are overwhelmed. This isn’t a lack of ability -- it’s a lack of effort. The government is making no serious attempt to stop the flood of illegals.

My correspondent, a nurse at an L.A.-area hospital, was so appalled he decided to join a Minuteman patrol team and help the Border Patrol protect the frontier. With just a few volunteers on the scene, the picture a few weeks later was much different. “We shut down four miles of border with 16 people, eight large flashlights, and four cell phones, and didn’t pull out until sunup,” he reports.

The solution, then, is simple. “Just having enough people would solve the problem instantly. My estimate is that if someone got 500 people to show up per night statewide, the entire illegal traffic along the border of 150 miles from Yuma to the Pacific Ocean could be stopped dead,” the man writes. “California wouldn’t have an illegal immigration problem.” And, thus, neither would the rest of the nation. But it’s up to Congress to act, to provide enough agents and position them along the borders.

Illegal immigrants cause a wealth of problems. “Many gang members come to this country from overseas, or from other parts of the North and South American continent,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff notes. In fact, Chertoff says immigration officers have detained more than 1,000 alleged gang members since February, and he estimates 950 of them were illegals.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for