I’m no longer surprised by the fact that politicians and bureaucrats generally try to hide many of their actions from public view, especially those that may be controversial. In spite of the various “sunshine” laws that are passed to combat this tendency, it’s a constant battle to make government transparent. 

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Harris R. Sherline

However, what surprises me is the seemingly never-ending efforts of politicians to pass legislation without public awareness and debate that will affect literally millions of people. A good example is the attempt last year to slip immigration bills through Congress that would have conferred legal status on an estimated 12 million to 13 million illegal aliens. It was obvious that the overwhelming majority of the American people were opposed to it, yet many of those in Congress kept attempting to get it approved anyway. Just another example of the attitude that many politicians have that they know best. The effort was finally stopped, at least for now, by the overwhelming opposition of the American people.

Once again, we are faced with another stealth attempt to implement a plan that involves far-reaching legislation that surely would affect every American. Of course, those who support it believe it is a good thing for the country, while many of those who have become aware of this plan find it highly questionable at best and one that eventually could cause the loss of our sovereignty. It is generally referred to as the NAFTA Superhighway.

In a nutshell, it is a plan to build a highway from Mexico to Canada. What a highway it is. It would be 10 or 12 lanes wide (a distance of several football fields) and stretch from Laredo, Texas, to Texarkana (on the border of Texas and Arkansas), and continue north to Canada. The cost is estimated to be $183 billion over 50 years, although the money is not yet committed.

Jerome Corsi, reporting in Human Events.com on June 18, noted: “The Mexican trucks, without the involvement of the Teamsters Union, will drive on what will be the nation’s most modern highway straight into the heart of America.” He also notes that the first section of this highway soon will be ready to begin construction, and that the U.S. Department of Commerce has an office that is working with the executive branches of the United States, Mexico and Canada to develop regulations for the operation of the highway.

The purpose of this massive undertaking is said to be to speed the delivery of goods coming from Mexico.

Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, contends that millions of acres of private property will be subject to eminent domain,” and that “… the superhighway proposal is not the result of free market demand, but rather an extension of government-managed trade schemes like NAFTA …”  He also points out that a project of this scope will “… require coordinated federal and state eminent domain actions on an unprecedented scale, as literally millions of people and businesses will be displaced. The loss of whole communities is almost certain, as planners cannot wind the highway around every quaint town, historic building, or senior citizen apartment for thousands of miles.”

The congressman believes that “the real issue is national sovereignty” and that “the ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway, but an integrated North American Union — complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union.”

Joseph Farah reported in World Net Daily that there seems to be no question about plans to build this superhighway. It is well-known to the Bush administration, including the secretary of transportation, and various members of Congress, so it is what might be termed an “open secret.” But we have seen very little reporting about the project, and the public seems to be almost completely unaware of it.

The problem is that the Superhighway raises so many questions about such important issues as national security, sovereignty, cost and societal impacts, such as potentially displacing millions of people and businesses, that it cries out for open discussion and vetting. The process can be messy, but it invariably produces refinements, information and ideas that often improve large undertakings, in addition to gaining support through public awareness.

We saw the consequences of excessive secrecy in Hillary Clinton’s attempt to develop a health care plan during her husband’s first administration. When the information was finally exposed, the failings of a bad plan were exposed and the entire effort collapsed.

The Superhighway is just another in a long line of efforts by politicians to keep the public they are supposed to be representing from knowing what they are up to. It should be exposed and vetted in a national debate.

Harris R. Sherline is a retired CPA and former chairman and CEO of Santa Ynez Valley Hospital who has lived in Santa Barbara County for more than 30 years. He stays active writing opinion columns and his own blog, Opinionfest.com.