By Cindy Allen, Managing Editor
President Barack Obama is doing the right thing by taking the first step in securing the southern border of the United States by sending National Guard troops down to Arizona.
This is a good first step and one the Bush administration also used when the illegal immigration rhetoric heated up back in 2006. Yet, that program had ended and there have been repeated calls by border states for similar help.
The border protection project will help overworked and under-staffed border patrol agents as they try to recruit and train new agents. It will also put a half-billion dollars into border protection and law enforcement activities.
Some Democrats and liberals are criticizing the president for this action, saying he is caving in to Republicans. I disagree.
Security of the border isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. Its a national issue, and this action serves the best interests of the public in general.
The president should follow up this action by leading comprehensive reform in enforcing illegal immigration measures already on the books. I think he can find bi-partisan support in Congress for more funding to do just that.
And, yes, it might support those organizations that support wholesale open borders between the United States and Mexico. But, this action is a step in leadership that has to be done.
I was critical of the president this week in a News & Eagle editorial column about his handling of the immigration situation, so I applaud this action as a step in the right direction. I hope to see more genuine leadership from Mr. Obama on this issue.
I know the criticism is heating up against the Obama administration regarding the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Many are criticizing him, saying he and the federal government have not done enough to stop this leak. I suspect some of this criticism is payback for the criticism leveled at the Bush administration following Hurricane Katrina.
I’m not ready to join that criticism of the president’s response on the oil issue, but it is clear this is becoming an environmental disaster of major proportions. This kind of disaster is now very much in the domain of the federal government for a solution.
I would suggest the president call on the best and brightest minds in offshore drilling, in geology, in oceanic study and research and in engineering and press them into service now to stop this leak.
I would think a response similar to what happened in the movie Armageddon when the fictional government officials called on experts to help figure out a way to deter a meteor disaster.
I say call on the major oil companies and others with expertise and get them down to the Gulf immediately, lock then in a room until they come up with a solution.
Its obvious BP can’t handle this on their own. But, with all the brains that must be in that organization and in other oil companies, certainly working together they could come up with something.
The disaster has two fronts -- stopping the leak, then cleaning up the spill as a way to mitigate its effects on the environment as much as possible.
It will take money and brainpower to do it, but I’m confident it can be done if the president will call these people together and press them into service.