There has been too much agenda-laden discussion lately over whether the threat of spillover violence from Mexico to our border states is real, or a right-wing fabrication. The Obama administration’s curious strategy supports Mexico’s efforts to quash cartels while providing minimalist funding for our own border security, and abuses the legal arena to prevent states from protecting themselves.
Washington is worried about spillover violence. During May 2009 House Appropriations Committee meetings, even reform-crazed legislators questioned the lack of funding for stateside border protection:
We are baffled that the supplemental includes $470 million to help Mexican authorities counter the growing influence and violence of their drug cartels, but provides nothing to our Federal, State and local law enforcement and border security agencies to address this threatening issue on U.S. soil. 
Subsequently, the president signed a bill in June 2009 that added $420 million to the Merida Initiative, a Bush administration legacy financing anti-drug trafficking activities in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. . By September 2009, only 2% of the $1.3 billion allocated for the program had been disbursed. 
With violence on the Mexico side of the border claiming 7,300 lives last year , spillover violence is an eventuality. In March 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano insisted that steps were being taken to prevent border violence.  With murders escalating in Mexico, she announced in July 2010 that only $60 million of a $1.78 billion package of FEMA disaster preparedness grants would go towards securing our borders, divided between land and water. 
The president has been awash in self-congratulations over the $500 million he requested for border security, nearly half of which is negated by a $210 million Customs and Border Protection cut in the 2011 budget.  The border security funds appropriation is now stalled because of a union-backed “Education Jobs Fund” Democrats tucked into the same House funding bill, which the president has threatened to veto because $800 million of his own education reforms were not included.
The Education Jobs Fund provides $10 billion to “save or create” 140,000 teaching jobs ($70,000 per job). David Obey (D-WI) assures taxpayers in his Appropriations Committee “Fact Sheet” that “This aid is temporary and is only necessary until state budgets begin to recover.”  No mention is made of the impact of exorbitant public sector benefits on state budgets, of the public pension disaster just over the horizon, or the ethics of guaranteeing government jobs while private sector unemployment soars.
Annual starting salaries for Border Patrol agents are much less than $70,000, ranging from $36,658-$46,542.  Since House Democrats wish to guarantee employment for teachers, and the president and Homeland Security both say they want to protect the border, why not use laid-off teachers as border patrol agents? They will still have an income, albeit at less than $70,000.00/year, we will be able to protect our border states, and a large portion of that $10 billion in funding will be left over to spend on other things. When states get back on their feet, teachers can set down their guns, their salaries will be restored, and they can return to the classroom.
For those legislators difficult to convince that this is a good idea, there is an added benefit that will come in handy when they pass comprehensive immigration reform: between killings, Mexican drug traffickers can learn to speak English.
1..House of Representatives. Committee on Appropriations. Making Supplemental Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2009, and for Other Purposes. May 12, 2009.
2..Embassy of the United States: Mexico. President Obama Signs Supplemental Budget, Increasing Merida Initiative Funding for Mexico to $1.12 Billion. June 25, 2009.
3..United States Government Accountability Office. Status of Funds for Merida Initiative. December 3, 2009. p. 2,
4..Mexico’s Drug-Related Violence. June S. Beittel. May 27, 2009. p. 1.
5..Testimony of Janet Napolitano before Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Southern Border Violence: Homeland Security Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Responsibilities. March 25, 2009.
6..Homeland Security. Secretary Napolitano Announces More Than $1.8 Billion in Fiscal Year 2010 Preparedness Grants. July 15, 2010.
7..U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Summary: FY 2011 Homeland Security Appropriations. July 14, 2010. p. 4.
8..Committee on Appopriations. Fact Sheet. Education Jobs Fund – Why We Need It. July 1, 2010.
9..CBP.gov. FAQs – Working for Border Patrol. July 7, 2009.