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Kinky wants Israel as model for border security

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  • Greg Cannon
    I wish he d made clear exactly what the Israeli discount is- walls and fences, or aerial bombardment and ground troops?
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2006
      I wish he'd made clear exactly what the "Israeli
      discount" is- walls and fences, or aerial bombardment
      and ground troops?


      Article Launched: 09/03/2006 12:00:00 AM MDT

      Border security hot issue in Texas governor race
      By Brandi Grissom / Austin Bureau

      AUSTIN -- Kinky Friedman has said that if he was
      elected governor of Texas, he would make the Mexican
      government pay for the costs of illegal immigration in
      Texas or face what he called the "Israeli discount."

      "We should be as ruthless as they are with the
      southern border," said the independent gubernatorial
      candidate, author and musician.

      The heated national debate over border security and
      immigration is also a major issue among Texas
      candidates for the state's top job as they rev up
      their campaigns in the 60 days remaining before the
      Nov. 7 election.

      During the past several months, GOP Gov. Rick Perry
      has implemented several border security initiatives
      and extolled their success side by side with border
      county sheriffs and state security officials. But each
      of his three main opponents -- Friedman, Democrat
      Chris Bell and independent Comptroller Carole Keeton
      Strayhorn -- said Perry's measures were too little too
      late and were all done in the name of political

      "The situation is not getting better, and it
      shouldn't, because it's been neglected for political
      reasons," Friedman said.

      He said he supports groups such as the Minutemen Civil
      Defense Corps because they draw attention to problems
      on the border.

      Asked about his own strategy for securing the border,
      Friedman said, "I'm not sure. I don't have a plan."

      He said he would appoint people who care about the
      state to develop a plan based on his motto: "Remember
      the Alamo."

      Border safety has deteriorated, Friedman said, because
      politicians are too afraid to offend Hispanics and get
      tough on the Mexican government.

      "I would tell them (Mexican government officials) to
      step up to the plate and pay their fair share of the
      cost illegals are costing the state of Texas," he
      said. "If they don't do that, then I want the border
      on the nightly news every night."

      Friedman said he agrees with Perry that the border
      must be secured before changes in immigration law are

      Congress is now at loggerheads over how much to
      increase border security and whether those plans
      should also include measures that allow more
      documented immigrant workers in the country.

      "If we can't draw a line, call it a border and protect
      it, then we might as well not be here at all,"
      Friedman said.

      Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell, a
      former congressman from Houston, said he agrees that
      border security must improve. Unlike the other
      candidates, though, he said security could only happen
      if immigration laws were also tackled.

      He said the call for more fencing in some border areas
      makes sense, as does the placing of National Guard
      soldiers on the border as a stopgap measure while more
      U.S. Border Patrol agents are trained.

      He said, however, that a plan Perry announced this
      summer to spend $5 million to put video cameras on
      private land along the border and stream the video
      over the Internet encourages vigilantism.

      "I don't think we need to be turning private citizens
      into immigrant hunters," Bell said.

      He added that plans such as Perry's Operation Rio
      Grande, for which the governor allotted about $10
      million in the past year to state and local law
      enforcement, are not reducing illegal border traffic.

      "The flow of immigrants across the border has
      continued in large numbers," he said. "I don't think
      it makes a lot of sense to turn local officials into
      border patrol agents."

      If elected, Bell said, he would lobby Congress to pass
      comprehensive legislation on border security and

      "If we had been enforcing laws against hiring
      undocumented workers, then we probably wouldn't be
      having this national discussion," he said

      He said he would also work with federal legislators to
      create a plan that would use billions in payroll taxes

      from unidentified undocumented immigrants to repay
      border states for social service costs incurred by
      undocumented immigrants.

      Independent candidate Strayhorn, who won her current
      office running as a Republican, said that she is
      "adamantly against" illegal immigration and that she
      would put all necessary resources into securing the
      Texas-Mexico border.

      "We have got to secure our border, our ports and our
      infrastructure," she said.

      She emphasized that she would work closely with local
      law enforcement officials to determine what resources
      are needed to increase border security, she and called
      the $10 million Perry has given border sheriffs

      Asked about her plan for securing the border,
      Strayhorn said: "I'm rolling out all of my Texas first
      agenda, but let me tell you: Whatever it takes."

      Strayhorn said one of the first things she would do if
      elected is eliminate a Texas law that allows
      undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state
      tuition at public universities if they attended public
      schools for three years and can prove they are working
      to become citizens. "We cannot be giving in-state
      tuition to illegal immigrants," she said.

      Last year, Strayhorn told a Houston Republican group
      that Texas had a responsibility to provide education
      and health care for immigrants, legal or otherwise.

      "I sympathize with those coming over who want to put a
      roof over their heads," she said, according to an
      August 2005 Associated Press report.

      Responding to questions about whether that statement
      was consistent with her current plan to eliminate the
      in-state tuition law, Strayhorn repeated: "I am
      adamantly against illegal immigration."

      Perry spokesman Robert Black called the border
      security ideas Strayhorn and Bell promoted non-plans.

      Responding to Friedman's suggestion that Texas should
      treat its border as Israel does, Black said: "Wow.
      That kind of rhetoric is irresponsible. It's not real.
      It's cartoon rhetoric."

      He said Perry, who became governor in 2000, has been
      working for more than a year and a half to increase
      border security. The efforts, he said, were not
      political but based on reports from Steve McCraw, whom
      Perry appointed Texas homeland security director,
      which indicated the border was a serious security

      Black said operations along the border in Del Rio,
      Laredo and El Paso -- where local officials report
      crime reduced between 45 and 70 percent -- are
      effective and a model Washington should follow.

      Web cameras on the border, he said, will act as an
      expanded neighborhood watch program.

      "There is no reason why Texans should not be allowed
      to help secure the border," he said.

      Perry continues to press congressional leaders and the
      Bush administration to pony up for border security
      efforts, Black said. Until that happens, he said,
      Perry would push state legislators to approve an
      additional $100 million for city police, county
      sheriffs and state law enforcement to increase
      security operations.

      He said Perry believes that programs providing for
      more documented migrant workers in the U.S. will only
      work after Congress has improved border security.

      "The safety of Texans is paramount," he said.

      Brandi Grissom may be reached at
      bgrissom@...; (512) 479-6606.
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