Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's recent comments on April 8, 2009 about a Mexican invasion are stupid. I wish there was a more appropriate word I could use to describe O'Reilly's claim that the U.S. is being invaded by Mexico. The dictionary definition of the word invasion, in this context is, "The act of invading, especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory to conquer." The definition of the word stupid is, "acting in an unintelligent or careless manner." The word stupid applies perfectly to Mr. O'Reilly's assertion of a conquering force from Mexico.
Mr. O'Reilly claims that the need for military action at the U.S. Mexico border is as a result of an Arizona rancher, Rob Krentz who was recently murdered on his property. According to local law enforcement, footprints leading away from the murder scene point to the Mexican border 20 miles away. Although the circumstances surrounding the case are tragic, the incident is still under investigation and the assailant remains at large. To suggest this crime constitutes an invasion, that armed forces are crossing the border in an attempt to conquer the U.S. is comparable to justifying U.S. military force to destroy a foreign country on the pure suspicion that they posses weapons of mass destruction... oh, right.
U.S. border patrol has stated that 99% of all border-crossers are identified as economic migrants -- that means poor people searching for a job -- hardly an armed, invasive force. Mr. O'Reilly claims the border is 1,300 miles long. It is not. It is close to 2,000 miles long. He also claims that the U.S. National Guard will stop the "invaders." They have not. In the last several years the U.S. has tripled the size of the U.S. border patrol, added hundreds of miles of border walls, technology, unmanned drones, sensors, cameras and has actually deployed the National Guard on several occasions. The border remains porous.
It is an uninformed, unintelligent and careless (definition of stupid) assertion for Mr. O'Reilly to make, that we can solve complex issues of migration by adding more U.S. military forces at the border. If Mr. O'Reilly is suggesting the invasion stems from the sheer number of undocumented immigrants coming from Mexico then we should deploy the same suggested force at the border with Canada. The physical border with Canada is twice as long as Mexico and there are an estimated 1 million undocumented Canadians living and working in the U.S.. Isn't that a Canadian invasion? Didn't the 9/11 hijackers gain access to the United States through Canada? Bill O'Reilly is of Irish descent. Should the over 40,000 undocumented Irish immigrants living in the U.S. be subject to military force?
Nearly half of all undocumented immigrants living within the borders of the United States did not, I repeat, did not cross the U.S. Mexico border illegally. O'Reilly's assertion of an invasion from Mexico and subsequent military intervention would leave millions of people undetected; nearly half of all undocumented immigrants, 6 - 7 million people, have over-stayed their visa. They legally entered the U.S. on a travel, student, work, or family visa and never left. Should we consider them invaders too? Should we send the U.S. military to check everyone's expired visa?
O'Reilly compares the U.S.-Mexico border to the Israeli-Palenstinian conflict as well as the border between North and South Korea. Again, a dangerously stupid assertion. We are not at war with Mexico. They are our neighbors, our third largest trading partner and third largest source of oil. Millions of Mexican nationals have family living in the U.S. and vice-versa. They are not our enemy. I fully understand that the border region seems lawless and can be dangerous. Military force is a draconian solution, it's unintelligent and careless. Militarization of the border has not worked and more of the same will not work.
Bill O'Reilly defends his military solution by saying, "All I want to do is problem-solve." The problem is not an invasion of the United States. The problem is poverty, trade policies, economic inequity, U.S. addiction to cheap labor and U.S. addiction to illegal narcotics. The immigration system in the United States is broken and violence at the border is symptomatic of our current, failed strategy. If Mr. O'Reilly was truly concerned about resolving the complex issues of immigration he would act rationally, discuss the issues thoughtfully and advocate for measured and careful action -- the exact opposite of stupid.