Immigration News from Ground Zero.

The zero stands for the combined IQs of Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona Republican legislators and Senator John McCain. That couldn’t have been more apparent following Brewer’s statement that most undocumented immigrants are drug dealers.

Never mind that these people take landscaping jobs that require them to work in the sun on 110-degree days for less than $10 an hour. Never mind that they’re hired by hotels to clean up after tourists for minimum wage and no benefits. If these people are drug dealers, they must be the most unsuccessful drug dealers in history!

Thanks to McCain’s and Brewer’s desperate attempts to be re-elected, the immigration issue has been politicized as never before. These two nincompoops continue to portray Arizona as the second-ranked kidnap capital of the world – as a place of complete lawlessness with a parade of human smugglers and drug smugglers pouring across the border, a drug dealer on every corner and illegal immigrants pushing citizens aside to claim their jobs. And their lies have cost Arizona businesses millions in lost tourism revenue.

The truth is that most illegals enter the U.S. legally and overstay their visas; that drug trafficking and illegal immigration are very different, and separate, issues; that illegal immigration has dropped significantly in the past 2 years; that crime in Arizona has dropped dramatically; and that many illegals left our state when a law was passed to punish the businesses that hire them.

Despite the facts, McCain and company would have you believe that President Obama has completely ignored border issues since taking office. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, during the past year, since The President’s Strategic and Integrated Southwest Border Strategy was launched, the Administration has:

1- Doubled the personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces.

2-Tripled the number of ICE intelligence analysts along the Southwest border in April 2009.

3- Begun screening, for the first time, 100 percent of southbound rail shipments for illegal weapons, drugs, and cash.

4- Deployed 13 additional cross-trained canine teams, which identify firearms and currency, to the Southwest border to augment the five teams already in place.

5- Deployed 326 additional Border Patrol agents between ports of entry and 58 more Customs and Border Patrol officers at the ports of entry.

6- Deployed five additional Z-Backscatter Units, which help to identify anomalies in passenger vehicles, to the Southwest border to augment the six already there.

7- Seized $85 million in illicit cash along the Southwest border—a 22 percent increase over the same period during the previous year.

8- Seized 1,404 firearms and 1.62 million kilograms of drugs along the Southwest border—increases of 22 and 14 percent respectively from the same period during the previous year.

9- Seized $29.5 million in illicit southbound cash along the Southwest border— a 39 percent increase over the same period during the previous year.

10- Deployed two new DEA Southwest Border Enforcement groups in El Paso and Phoenix, and added 25 new DEA intelligence analysts.

11- Deployed two new FBI Border Corruption Task Forces in Del Rio and Houston.

12- Added 200 new U.S. Marshal service positions at the Southwest border.

13- Surged ATF agents to Arizona to target gun trafficking to Mexico.

14- Hired nearly 50 additional Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys to prosecute drug and arms trafficking and bulk cash smuggling, and added five DOJ attorneys to focus exclusively on extradition requests from Mexico.

15- There were 107 extraditions from Mexico to the United States in 2009 compared to 12 in 2000.

16- Increased cooperation with U.S. and Mexican law enforcement to target money laundering and bulk-cash smuggling.

17- During the past year and a half, “Project Deliverance” resulted in more than 2,200 arrests, seizure of approximately 74 tons of drugs and $154 million in cash; “Project Coronado” resulted in 303 arrests, seizure of $3.4 million in cash, 729 pounds of methamphetamine, 62 kilograms of cocaine, 967 pounds of marijuana, 144 weapons and 109 vehicles; “Operation Xcellerator” resulted in more than 750 arrests and the seizure of 23 tons of narcotics and $59 million in cash.

All of this money and effort has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of people attempting to illegally cross our borders, with apprehensions having dropped 23 percent in FY2009.

But no amount of Border Patrol, National Guard troops and fences will be able to seal the border as long as there is a large disparity in economic opportunities from one side of the border to the next.

One way to equalize those opportunities is to help lift the fortunes of people on both sides of the border. The other is to keep spending billions in a futile attempt to “close” the border until we’re as poor as the people trying to cross it.