Border security could be a life and death matter for our citizens

The apprehension of a Nepalese man who tried to cross our southern border illegally last November near McAllen, Texas, makes the very unsettling point that border security could be a life and death matter for our citizens.

The man in question was found to be infected with a particularly deadly strain of tuberculosis known as XDR, which can be almost untreatable. ...

This strain had only been seen once before in this country prior to last November.

It is gratifying that the Nepalese man was apprehended and placed in quarantine, but the great unknown is how many more similarly infected individuals may have slipped across the border undetected.

Border security is certainly better now than it was a few years ago, but the real question should be is it good enough.

The fact our border is still more porous than it should be is certainly not lost on the likes of al-Qaida. Are terrorist sleeper cells here already that used this entry point?

For the health and safety of our citizens, border security must be an integral part of needed immigration reform.

There is another reason found in the U.S. Constitution that in our judgment has received far too little attention.

Article 4, section 4 states that "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican Form of Government and shall protect each of them against invasion.


Advertisement

"

It is not much of a stretch to suggest that when millions of illegal immigrants enter our country contrary to our laws, it rises to the level of an invasion.

Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky., March 10

Congress should be restricting executive authority for drone strikes

There was a sense of a Senate returning to form as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., munched on a Kit Kat bar in the middle of his 13-hour filibuster a break from his reading articles about military drones. This grandstanding didn't stop the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director, unlike the silent holds that have blocked qualified candidates from filling the holes in our judiciary.

Now it is time to turn that rhetorical passion into legislative action. If Paul and his acolytes are serious about restraining executive authority, then they should set their targets on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. Passed after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the AUMF granted the president authority to use all necessary force against those who planned, authorized committed or aided in the 9/11 attacks or those who harbored them. Since then, it has been used to justify military force not just in Afghanistan, but Pakistan and Yemen. And against U.S. citizens. Without any explicit restrictions, folks outside the White House are left wondering whether Congress authorized the president to use military force anywhere that could possibly house al-Qaida sympathizers. Legislative history implies that Congress specifically did not include authority within our national borders, but we shouldn't have to guess at whether the president can kill citizens on domestic soil.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has joined Paul in introducing a bill to prohibit drone killings of citizens on U.S. soil if they don't represent an imminent threat. But why not look at the AUMF itself? When contemplating presidential authority, we hope that Democrats always imagine a President Dick Cheney. And for Republicans, well, President Barack Obama seems to foster enough healthy skepticism. But for too long both parties have cared more about partisan politics than the ramifications of unchecked presidential power. We hope Paul's filibuster will help bring an end to that era.

The Houston Chronicle, March 10