Today marked another dubious day in this country’s immigration policy as a third Predator drone was added to patrol our shared border with Mexico. The addition means that for the first time authorities will monitor the entire land border between the United States and Mexico.
The addition comes as part of the additional $600 million pledged by the Obama administration to beef up border security and as the immigration debate shows little sign of slowing down.
While many criticized the move by the administration as feeding into increased efforts to militarize the border and criminalize an entire population, taking a step back for a moment it begins to show some savvy politicking on the part of President Obama. Many Republicans have gone on record saying that they will not even consider, let alone address, comprehensive immigration reform until there could be some guarantee of security along the border. With constant, unbroken surveillance, it would appear that the next move is up to the Republicans.
The Predator flights also come on the heels of a very specific attack at the nature of immigration reform that has taken shape so far. In addition to challenging, and largely winning that challenge, the constitutionality of Arizona’s SB 1070, the administration has taken other very public steps to differentiate its approach from the approach of many on the right.
These steps include citing the federal challenge to Arizona’s immigration law to international authorities that the administration is serious about human rights abuses. In a required report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the State Department pointed to that challenge as proof of tangible efforts that are underway to protect human rights.
Needless to say Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer is not pleased. She’s called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to retract the reference to her state’s immigration law and responded by challenging the federal government to secure the border. Secretary of State Clinton had no response and now the Predator drones are flying constant surveillance to fully enforce immigration laws.
Gov. Brewer and others on the right, I believe it’s your move now.
photo courtesy of quinn.anya via Flickr