Lou Dobbs, the CNN commentator who is very much opposed to loosening restrictions on immigration, has written an interesting article about the proposed border fence. Here are some selected quotes from the article:

President Bush will sign the Secure Fence Act into law Thursday at a public ceremony in the White House Roosevelt Room, reversing his earlier decision to withhold the pomp and circumstance.

House Republicans demanded the formal proceedings for public relations purposes, claiming this fence is a major accomplishment for Congress ahead of our November midterm elections.

I’ve said from the beginning that we can’t reform immigration laws until we control immigration, and we can’t control immigration unless we control our borders and our ports. Constructing the border fence certainly is a good beginning to our efforts to control our borders, but let’s be honest about the legislation: It isn’t nearly enough, and far more must be done. A congressional victory lap isn’t in order for funding only half of a 700-mile fence along a nearly 2,000-mile border.

Between 12 million and 20 million illegal aliens are living in the United States. But as that range suggests, no one — not the Border Patrol, not Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security — has any true idea how many illegal aliens are here. Why not?

I suspect one major reason is the same federal government that refuses to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws is determined not to accurately measure the number of illegal aliens in the country so as to further cover up both the cost of illegal immigration and the necessity of creating a rational public policy.

Illegal aliens are an important part of a one trillion-dollar underground economy in America, according to Barron’s. Illegal employers hire illegal aliens who pay little or no income taxes, and whose children are provided free schooling. Illegal aliens receive medical and social services, and over the past decade have displaced more than two million low-skilled American workers from their jobs.

Increased drug trafficking constitutes another reason we must control our borders immediately. No matter how the government of Mexico resists, the Drug Enforcement Agency says as much as $25 billion in drug money crosses the U.S.-Mexico border each year. And that doesn’t even count the money made from middleman and end-user transactions in the drug trade. In fact, more cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana enter the United States from Mexico than from any other point.

Control of our border with Mexico must be established if we are to be successful in resolving our illegal immigration crisis and winning the war on drugs. We do want to win, don’t we?