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OUR VIEW: US border security shouldn't be mocked

President Obama was in Texas Tuesday, visiting the border that separates Mexico and the United States. He spoke of improved security at the border, but couldn't resist a jab at Republicans who have claimed the border isn't as secure as Democrats ...

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President Obama was in Texas Tuesday, visiting the border that separates Mexico and the United States. He spoke of improved security at the border, but couldn't resist a jab at Republicans who have claimed the border isn't as secure as Democrats claim.

"Maybe they'll need a moat," the president said. "Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat."

It's difficult to judge border security from our place in the northern Great Plains. We can't claim to know for sure that fewer or more Mexicans are illegally crossing the border, so we won't.

We do, however, know the Hispanic population in South Dakota has greatly increased in recent years. From 2000 to 2010, the population has more than doubled, according to a report in Saturday's Daily Republic. It's the second consecutive decade the Hispanic population in South Dakota has had such an increase, and according to the 2010 census, there are 22,119 people of Hispanic origin in the state. That's 2.7 percent of the population.

To those Hispanic people who have entered this state legally, we sincerely say "welcome." South Dakota is a beautiful place, and the opportunities are great for those who wish to take advantage.

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But we find it difficult to offer the same greeting to those who have come here illegally. Illegal aliens -- an estimated 10 million to 20 million reside in the country -- tend to drain public resources and generally are subsidized by American taxpayers.

Attempts have been made to find and deport illegal aliens, but often those efforts are met with defeat or controversy. South Dakota's Legislature, for instance, considered a bill this year that would have directed law officers enforcing other laws to make reasonable attempts to ascertain a suspect's immigration status. The proposal was defeated.

We don't find it at all politically incorrect to insist that immigrants in the United States be of legal status. They are breaking the law, and toleration of such lawlessness is frustrating.

We also feel there is still a problem, and the problem is large enough that Obama shouldn't be mocking Republicans' calls to further tighten the border.

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