Rep. Tom Tancredo who in the year following the Sept. 11 attacks has emerged as one of the leading critics of the current border patrol and immigration services, has launched a petition drive that has received so much online support its shorting out the White House email system.
"Perhaps the White House is finally getting the message," said Tancredo, R-Co.
His petition, posted on his Web site June 11, calls for the deployment of as much as 20,000 federal troops to the 6,000 miles of north and south U.S. borders to plug the massive holes that have allowed illegal immigrants into the country in recent decade.
As of last weekend, the petition has attracted 11,403, and because there is an option for signers to send a copy to the White House, the email system at the chief executive’s office has been overwhelmed, sending in many cases an auto-reply carrying a “service unavailable” warning.
"It's about time they realize that the people of this country justifiably feel that the U.S. border is a sieve,” said Tancredo, who has been calling for serious reforms to the immigration policy in the country. He has held hearings, often welcoming the testimony of retired border patrol agents to illustrate the porous nature of the borders and the lack of resources for patrols and at the custom checkpoints.
“It poses a real threat to our security and ignoring this fact represents the most egregious evidence that the federal government is shirking its responsibility to the people of this nation," said Tancredo.
While nearly 1,400 national guard troops were dispatched to the nation’s borders to assist in security since the attacks, there are no plans to keep them out there permanently, and no plans in the works to put U.S. military personnel out there either.
The Bush administration has, however, announced plans to divide the border patrol and immigration services into two agencies to better focus on security.