Don't Build This Wall

Restrictionist demand for an impregnable border makes as much sense as enviro demand for a pristine environment

Even the Cold War border between the two Germanies, the most fortified manmade barrier, was breached about a thousand times a year. That, however, is not deterring House Republicans from demanding “fully secure” borders as a condition for immigration reform.

But just like the liberal quest for a pristine environment, money no object, doesn’t boost public health — the GOP’s quest for total border security, regardless of cost, won’t enhance national security.

The comprehensive immigration reform that the Senate passed recently would, thanks to Republican insistence, increase border security spending by a whopping $46.3 billion over the next 10 years. This is nine times more than originally proposed. And coming on top of the $90 billion already spent on border security in the last decade, it mocks Republican calls for austerity.

Where will this money go? Basically, toward militarizing the southern border and expanding police surveillance in the homeland.

The Corker-Hoeven amendment, attached at the last minute to buy wavering Republicans, mandates: a surge of 20,000 border patrol agents, doubling the current force; 700 miles of pedestrian fencing, doubling the current fence; and 24/7 electronic and drone surveillance of the full border. If General Winfield Scott had commanded such resources in the Mexican-American War, he could have captured the whole of Mexico!

Even more disturbing, however, are the bill’s “interior enforcement” provisions. It is no surprise that the bill would bar employers from hiring any worker — foreign or American — without first E-verifying eligibility with Uncle Sam. But the bill’s special touch is a new digital visa entry/exit system at all air and seaports with the mandate of prosecuting 90 percent of foreigners with expired visas.

Not even hardened criminals face such odds of apprehension. Only 64 percent of murderers and 45 percent of all violent criminals face arrest and prosecution.

In a world of limited means, spending more on harmless unauthorized workers means spending less on genuine criminals, hardly a recipe for making America safe. This is the same illogic that enviros deploy when they waste billions to scrub superfund sites to make the dirt edible by children  instead of prioritizing cleanup dollars to fight genuine health threats.

But even such harsh security provisions are not enough for Republicans. Why? The ostensive reason is because it would allow unauthorized aliens to convert their temporary work permits into green cards after 10 years — and green cards into citizenship after another five.

This 15-year-long path to citizenship — five years more than what Rush Limbaugh recently said would be acceptable to him — is anathema to House Republicans. They decry this as “amnesty” that will only encourage future border jumping unless the border is fully secured first. They want a double-fence on the entire 2,000-mile border and proof positive that all illegal border crossings have stopped.

This is an impossible goal based on a profoundly misguided analysis. But that hasn't stopped Bill Kristol and Rick Lowry from jointly calling this morning for the House to "Kill the Bill" although, one suspects, at least in Kirstol's case, the call has less to do with the flaws of the bill and more to do with finding the "missing white voters" that Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics says are sitting out there waiting to be tapped. Lowry has always been an implacable foe of friendly immigration policies.

There is no convincing those who regard politics as their first principle, although immigration reform is good politics for the GOP.

But those who care less about political machinations and more about rational policy that actually addresses the core of the illegal issue should bear in mind that if people can’t fulfill legitimate needs and aspirations legally, they don’t give up. They do so illegally. That’s why outlawing alcohol spawned a mafia-controlled trade in illicit liquor during Prohibition. Likewise, Mexican workers thwarted by physical barriers from reaching American employers who need them will resort to human smugglers or "coyotes". This will mean that even if there are marginally fewer illegals overall — and the CBO, an agency that is never wrong!, tells us there will be — there will be exponentially more organized crime in the country.

The more effective and humane way of deterring illegal immigration would be by creating more legal avenues. So reasonable House Republicans interested in good policy — as opposed to playing cynical political games — ought to focus on its woefully inadequate guest worker program.

The bill caps the number of low-skilled visas at 20,000 in the first year with a possibility of raising it up to 200,000 subsequently — about half of what the economy needs in good years. But here’s the rub: this higher quota will only be triggered if Big Labor agrees — which is as likely as North Korea agreeing to a Pyongyang chapter of ACLU.

Big Labor ought to be the Republican target not poor Mexicans or desperate American employers. They are not the villain and treating them as such will only make the GOP one — not make the country safer.

A version of this column originally appeared in the Washington Examiner

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  • Jeff||

    Shikha Dalmia on Immigration

    Zzzzzzzz...

  • Whiplack||

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  • StephenBlackpool||

    The Israelis are spending $270 million to build the Israel-Sinai wall which is 165 miles long. The Israelis have built a 430 mile wall to separate Israel and the West Bank. And a third wall to separate Israel from south Lebanon. Israel says the walls are 99.8% effective in stopping cross border intruders.

    Quit dissembling bad information. Secure the border.

  • Dilettante||

    Israel is the size of New Jersey. A wall could be built but it wont be effective. Can't compare the situation. Here they come because they love the American Way (some, or at least some part of all that come), there it's a major security concern a life threatening one.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I have tried to ask as many anti-immigration conservatives how 15 years waiting + fines + no benefits = amnesty, but I have yet to see a response of any kind, let alone a good one. My guess is the conservatards won't be happy until we ship them all back on trains.

    Regardless, E-verify is anathema to me and it's unconstitutional. Anyone suggesting it would, in a just world, be tarred and feathered.

  • Agammamon||

    Oh, they won't be shipping them *back* on trains.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It is arguably amnesty to the extent it dismisses possible punishment for crimes that have been committed. That it isn't necessarily easy or immediate doesn't change that core bit of what amnesty is.

  • Dan||

    It's amnesty because they are forgiving a criminal act, which is the definition of amnesty.

    Besides that the whole thing is a farce. All the legislation passed by the senate does is create a new designation for people that are "on the path" that allows them to legally vote and qualify for a great many social welfare programs.

    The waiting is irrelevant because they already live here and are already benefitting from it. The fines will never be paid, and you're dead wrong about no benefits. The only benefit they specifically won't get is obamacare, but that's actually a penalty that everyone wants to opt out of anyway.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Your conjecture the fines will not be paid is just that.

    The punishment for a misdemeanor is appropriately a fine. That isn't properly called amnesty under any stretch of the definition.

  • Gage||

    Obama can waive the fines. Give me one reason why he wouldn't?

  • TW||

    You’re right, we’ve already seen the Obama administration:

    Ordering defense contractors NOT to tell their employees that they could be laid (as required by law) until after the 2008 elections,

    Ordering ICE NOT to deport illegal aliens up to the age of 30 on the grounds that they *might* have entered the country as minors,

    Delaying his own employer mandate (you know, the one he campaigned against and then championed when it became convenient) under after the 2014 elections.

    I know a lot of people who oppose this bill do so on the grounds of what happened in the 1980s when a similar bill promised enforcement in exchange for amnesty for the three million illegal aliens that had already entered the country (no enforcement and the three million grew to eleven million) but if we’re looking for reasons why the administration can’t be trusted to enforce the law when it’s no longer politically convenient, we don’t have to look back to the 1980’s. Just look back to last week.

  • TW||

    No it’s a matter of some people learning from history while others are doomed to repeat it.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I don't think it's entirely clear that it is unconstitutional, whether or not it is a good idea.

  • Calidissident||

    Where in the Constitution is the federal government given the power to demand that business owners seek their permission to hire someone?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Necessary and proper clause relating to uniform rules of naturalization would seem to be in the ballpark. It's about 50 orders of magnitude less of a stretch than, say, Wickard or Korematsu.

  • DJF||

    If you are trespassing and after you pay a fine, you don't get to go back to the place you were trespassing.

  • Gage||

    So how does 15 years waiting + fines + no benefits = amnesty?

    They will get legal status and a work permit and a drivers license immediately. That's everything they want except the vote. That's amnesty.

    There will be no fines. They can be waved by the government, and you should bet Obama will wave them. Besides, the fined won't be proportional for the crimes committed, the maximum fine is 1000$. These are felonies for which American citizens face harsh punishment. See here

    It is simply a lie that they will be ineligible for most benefits. Food stamps, subsidized housing, medicaid, all will be given to them.

    No, I won't be happy until they are all deported. I say harsh fines and maybe even imprisonment for those who hire to or rent to them, kick their kids out of our schools, and deport them whenever their arrested. I am an American, and I don't want my country to become Mexico.

  • Calidissident||

    Because America is Europe? Why did we even bother becoming independent from the British if the ancestral country of a population is the only thing that matters?

  • KPres||

    "They will get legal status and a work permit and a drivers license immediately. That's everything they want except the vote. That's amnesty."

    That also means we get all the good with none of the bad.

  • ||

    On the contrary. Forty million La Raza Reconquistadores are not waiting in line. They are filling our prisons and competing with other low income Americans for jobs and socialist hand out.

    Without boarder security, there is little reason to stay in Mexico and fight against a corrupt government.

  • Tony||

    Is this cranky, feeble comparison to environmental protection supposed to reel in some of the buck-toothed morons so they might go, you mean keeping out Mexicans is like being a hippie?!

    Environmental protection is about just that and about making people pay some small part of the harm they've caused to other people. Building a giant militarized wall is just what stupid people come up with when they want to keep brown people out.

    Let's hope, at the very least, this ridiculous wall finally lays to rest the myth that the GOP is interested in spending less public money. Tomorrow perhaps we can talk about how they are just fine raising taxes on college students but require signed pledges never making polluting industries pay for any of the harm they cause.

  • wareagle||

    let's just keep letting in more and more low-skilled people; what could go wrong?

  • Tony||

    Just don't say you're for small government and a free market.

  • ||

    Inaction is indistinguishable from action, and letting a bunch of immigrants in has externalities. So, we need to build a massive wall to regulate labor markets. Otherwise, we'd have free market anarchy. That's how you avoid inefficiency and market failure.

    If they think they have a right to be here, let them fight the border patrol and everify, because, if you don't have the authority to enforce your rights, you don't have any rights.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    This is incomprehensible gibberish.

  • ||

    The wooshing sound you hear is the sarcasm going over your head.

  • ||

    Former communist Eastern block countries have have the worst record when it comes to environmental protection. It's called the tragedy of the commons, and those concerned with the environment should be pro boarders since a flood of illegal refugees brings down wages and the richer the country, the cleaner.

    Unfortunately EPA has become a shake down artist for the legal profession.

    Those that actually care about 'brown people' know that without boarder control there is no pressure on Mexico to change, and those brown people already here are in no way benefited by having to compete for a living wage with those that jumped the line.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    the mandate of prosecuting 90 percent of foreigners with expired visas
    The only way to know how many visas are out there is to require an exit visa stamp. Of course, there is practical way to limit the exit lines to foreigners, so, we all will get an exit visa.

    We once mocked the USSR and China for doing exactly that. Just another step towards the USSA.

  • JWatts||

    there is practical way to limit the exit lines to foreigners, so, we all will get an exit visa.

    Sorry, but that comment is just stupid. We know who arrived legally and when their visa expired. You don't need the Stasi on the street asking for visas. The current system works just fine for dealing with expired visas, assuming we actually send anyone with an expired visa home when we find them.

    The ridiculous part of the current system is finding them, arresting them, giving them a court date, and releasing them. And then being surprised when they fail to show up for the court date.

    There's no reason we can't have a process for holding a hearing before a judge within 3 days of catching someone on an expired visa. They get their chance in court to plea special circumstances, if the judge buys it, he gives them an extension at his discretion, otherwise, they are immediately deported.

    They agreed to a contractual provision when they entered the country. We should enforce the contract, not just ignore it.

  • wareagle||

    why it was just yesterday that someone in the commentariat was noticing the absence of the usual Shikha "let anyone in who wants in" column.

  • JWatts||

    Regardless, E-verify is anathema to me and it's unconstitutional. Anyone suggesting it would, in a just world, be tarred and feathered.

    It's unconstitutional, much like, legally required overtime pay, mandatory income tax with holdings, subjecting wheat grown for personal use to interstate commerce law, NSA monitoring of phone calls and email, etc, etc, etc.....

    The US can't afford to have our current level of welfare benefits and have unrestricted immigration. Until we substantially reduce Federal welfare benefits, we must restrict immigration. The reduction in welfare has to come first.

    Otherwise, you are just giving my tax money to anybody that can manage to get across the border. So frak off thief!

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Winner of the dumbest comment of the morning.

    *I* am not giving your money to *anybody*, so fuck off with that.

    Anyway, the existence of a welfare state is not a good reason to limit my freedom of association. If I want to have a private, contractual relationship with Jose or Juanita from Oaxaca, it isn't any of your business.

  • Homple||

    If you can ensure that Jose and Juanita and their offspring and family reunification grandpa and grandma don't ever cost a nickel of tax money, then I'm with you. But you can't and they will, so I'm not.

  • Calidissident||

    You can say the same thing about any American. Why not make it so people need government permission to have kids? And of course, we must manage the diet and lifestyle habits of all individuals, lest they engage in activities that will increase the likelihood that taxpayers will have to support them or pay for their health care.

    Seriously, the welfare state is bad enough, immigrants or no immigrants (and can we stop acting like immigrants are anywhere near the major problem with our welfare system?), there's no reason to use it to justify restrictions on other liberties.

  • JWatts||

    You can say the same thing about any American ... lest they engage in activities that will increase the likelihood that taxpayers will have to support them or pay for their health care.

    That's a straw man argument. No one is saying we need to regulate American's behavior to reduce the costs to the welfare state here. The argument is that low skilled immigrants will increase the cost of the existing welfare state.

    I'm all in favor of reducing the scope of our current welfare state.

  • ||

    The US can't afford to have our current level of welfare benefits and have unrestricted immigration. Until we substantially reduce Federal welfare benefits, we must restrict immigration. The reduction in welfare has to come first.

    The problem is, they're never getting rid of it, even if the entire system collapses. They'll just cut the last bean into 300,000,000 pieces, call it equality, and a day.

  • Ron||

    You can never get 100%, but claiming something is never attainable does not mean you don't try. When you have a society that gives away so much of other peoples labors to those who have not labored then you have to control the boarders. If you quit taking from some to give to others then you can open the boarders again.

  • tarran||

    I think you got it backward Ron; shy should we sacrifice our precious freedom further to help preserve the welfare state?

    Fuck them, open the borders. It's time we stopped compromising with the welfare state.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I'm not sure all that many people believe that national sovereignty isn't a valid concept or that nations can't decide who has the precious freedom to enter a given country.

    Do you believe that national sovereignty is valid? If Company X from Country Y wants to wheel into Texas and start drilling for gas or oil on public land, is it a restriction on its precious freedom if this is disallowed?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    First of all, there should be no such thing as public land, or at least as little of it as possible.

    Second of all, it isn't as if *I*, as a citized of these United States, can just "wheel into Texas" and drill on public land either, so what's your point?

    Now, if the land were privately owned, then you would be trampling on my freedom of association rights if I had to process my working relationship with Company X from Country Y through your statist little database. It isn't any of your business what contract I have with Company X from Country Y.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    First of all, there should be no such thing as public land, or at least as little of it as possible.

    Who, if anyone, owns the land in, say, Yellowstone, apart from whatever private land may be within the park?

    Second of all, it isn't as if *I*, as a citized of these United States, can just "wheel into Texas" and drill on public land either, so what's your point?

    The point is that the state asserts authority over land that isn't privately owned. Do you believe that this is invalid?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    So the state asserts authority over public land. And? Does that make all exercises of said authority valid and right?

    If someone advocated shooting anyone who came across the border and justified it by saying, "the State exercises authority over public land", that's not a valid justification.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    No, it doesn't make all exercises of said authority valid and right. Nor does it make all exercises invalid and wrong. Excluding those the state seeks to exclude is, it seems to me, neither inherently wrong nor inherently right.

    It does seem to me that it could easily be the case that the opinion of the entity which controls that land trumps the opinion of someone without any colorable claim to a right of access.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    And the opinion of the government is made through representation. So we're back to square one there.

    Serious question: if I fly down on my private plane, pick up Jose, and fly him back on my private plane and land on my private airstrip, how is that any business of yours?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I think that probably really isn't any of my business, any more than if you used the internet to get him to do some programming for you. The airspace issue makes it a little funky -- I'm not sure the argument that the Russians should be able to fly willy nilly in US airspace or vice versa -- but if the issue were amenable to being contained in such a way, that would be one thing and it would be harder to make a strong argument against it.

    Once you stop being the one to school Jose's kids or take care of Jose if he falls off the roof or whatever, the issue becomes different.

  • Azathoth!!||

    But no one's talking about doing that.

    They're talking about lettin Jose, and a few million of his friends wander jobless into the country over 'public' and private land, to find work where, when and if they can.

    And if they can't, or if they get injured in their wandering, they're talking about making people who didn't invite Jose and his friends in pay for Jose et al.

  • Calidissident||

    You can't just immigrate here and get welfare benefits. There are requirements, including a five year residency requirement

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Bullshit.

  • Calidissident||

    There are exceptions, which are detailed here, but if we're talking about average Jose, the migrant farm worker (which is the example Azathoth brought up), he's almost certainly not going to be eligible for the vast majority of programs for at least five years

    http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/immigr.....-sum.shtml

    To act like the average immigrant is moving here just to live off public assistance, as many restrictionists do, is patently false. As I said in the thread yesterday, immigration is not going to make much of a difference either way in terms of the ultimate fiscal fate of the country. The vast majority of federal spending is not related to it. The welfare state is bad enough. Using it to justify other restrictions on liberty is unjust and asinine

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    There are exceptions, quite apart from those detailed there, whenever those in charge don't feel like verifying eligibility.

    I don't act like the average immigrant moves here to live off public assistance but I think it is a non-trivial consideration that some do or end up doing it even if that wasn't the initial intent.

  • Calidissident||

    "There are exceptions, quite apart from those detailed there, whenever those in charge don't feel like verifying eligibility."

    So because the government is incompetent in handing out welfare, you want to give them the power to lock down the border (and "border zones" aka most of the country), control freedom of movement, hiring, etc? Yeah, that makes sense.

    "I don't act like the average immigrant moves here to live off public assistance but I think it is a non-trivial consideration that some do or end up doing it even if that wasn't the initial intent."

    Just as I don't thing drugs should be illegal because some people will kill or rob others while high, or that Big Gulps should be illegal because it could increase health care spending, I don't think someone should be denied entrance to the country because they might go on welfare at some point.

  • JWatts||

    "he's almost certainly not going to be eligible for the vast majority of programs for at least five years"

    Sure, And what about year six?

    "To act like the average immigrant is moving here just to live off public assistance, as many restrictionists do, is patently false."

    That's just a straw man argument, No one on this thread has stated that. Instead we can reasonably assume that additional low wage immigrants will cost tax payers about what previous one's have and that they will pay far less in taxes than they get in benefits.

    "As I said in the thread yesterday, immigration is not going to make much of a difference either way in terms of the ultimate fiscal fate of the country. The vast majority of federal spending is not related to it."

    So, because the cost is less than a trillion, this won't make much of a difference? That's not a reasonable argument. The costs of current illegal immigrants to tax payers is not negligible.

  • KPres||

    "To act like the average immigrant is moving here just to live off public assistance, as many restrictionists do, is patently false."

    This can't be stated enough. Look at this graph...

    http://www.tradingeconomics.co.....forecast=4

    In 2016, when Mexican per capita GDP is $25,000, why would they come here to live on welfare? Hell, why would they come here to cut your grass?

  • Hawk Spitui||

    I think it's very much a valid justification. Shooting people for trespassing is a very old and venerable custom in some parts.

    How about for every immigrant we admit, we exile an open borders advocate? Sounds like a win-win proposition all the way around...

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Except I don't give a fuck about the State's "property". Their property isn't theirs by right; it's administered by them in trust on behalf of me (and everyone else).

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    And if everyone else, but not you, decide it's OK to allow drilling, or not, or allow open borders, or not, why is that invalid?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Are you going to answer my question about private flights or not?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Other than the answer above, which starts "I think that probably really isn't any of my business..."?

  • Calidissident||

    Hey, Night Elf Mohawk, what if we the public decide that we don't want you to enter any public roads, sidewalks, or any sort of public property ever again - is that okay? I mean, we're just exercising our sovereign rights.

    Seriously, you're sounding like Tony

  • Azathoth!!||

    The public roads, sidewalks and property that I pay for?

  • Calidissident||

    We'll make you a deal. You don't have to pay taxes (and if you can't use public roads, your options at making money are pretty limited). Who are you to question a sovereign democratic majority?

  • ||

    I'd like to sell my share of public land, please. How much can I get for it?

  • XM||

    You can't hire someone without a social security number or otherwise authorized to work here, so I don't see how freedom of association is relevant.

    In theory, businesses should be able to hire whomever they want, or as Ron Paul might suggest, discriminate against whoever they want. I'd be tempted to hire gardeners who might be willing to work for 5 dollars an hour.

    It's just never gonna happen. You already need the government's permission to do dozens of things. Some are reasonable and necessary, some aren't.

    I took the citizenship test, swore to defend the country in times of war, and agreed to jury duty. I exist in some data base that I'm not a child molester and I'm not wanted for a crime in my motherland, so I was able to teach in schools.

    If you're a foreign national who didn't do any of that, you can't work. At least not yet.

  • Ron||

    You may not of understood what I said. I'll be more blunt. As long as you have welfare states you have to have closed borders. there will always be some form of welfare so you will always have to have boarders.

  • Calidissident||

    Argument by assertion at it's finest

  • TW||

    If I recall correctly, I think that enforcement first supporters have said that they were unwilling to consider any sort of amnesty or other special dispensation for the 11 million illegal aliens presently in our country until we had stopped the flow of illegal aliens by 90 percent.

  • JWatts||

    Which makes Dalmia's comment "Restrictionist demand for an impregnable border.." a straw man argument.

  • TW||

    That’s pretty much the MO from the open borders crowd.

  • Dan||

    The whole discussion is nonsense and disengenuous.

    You're never going to do anything to stem the flow of illegals into the country until you're willing to enforce the laws we already have and deport the ones discovered here.

    LE literally trip over hundreds of thousands of illegals every day, they don't even have to search for them. But they don't deport them.

  • RightNut||

    Only 64 percent of murderers and 45 percent of all violent criminals face arrest and prosecution.

    Wow that makes me feel safe, thanks Shikha!

    Not that I disagree with the assertion that a border wall is a bad idea(I'm on the fence!) but didn't the Israeli's border wall essentially bring the number of Palestinian terrorists getting in to nearly zero?

  • TW||

    If I recall correctly, I think that enforcement first supporters have said that they were unwilling to consider any sort of amnesty or other special dispensation for the 11 million illegal aliens presently in our country until we had stopped the flow of illegal aliens by 90 percent.

  • TW||

    Response posted to wrong poster, sorry.

  • Gage||

    They did. They also built a successful southern border to stop the Africans. a graphic of it's success.

  • JWatts||

    To be fair to Dalmia, I tentatively agree with her conclusion:

    The bill caps the number of low-skilled visas at 20,000 in the first year with a possibility of raising it up to 200,000 subsequently — about half of what the economy needs in good years. But here’s the rub: this higher quota will only be triggered if Big Labor agrees — which is as likely as North Korea agreeing to a Pyongyang chapter of ACLU.

    Big Labor ought to be the Republican target not poor Mexicans or desperate American employers. They are not the villain and treating them as such will only make the GOP one — not make the country safer.

    I'd be ok with aggressive deportation of expired visas, in conjunction with expanding temporary work visas. I'd be ok if they created 5 million temporary work visas, with the proviso that those on the visas have sharply restricted social benefits and their employers have to provide family health insurance plans.

    As long as the immigrants aren't a net drain on taxes (a wash is just fine with me) and don't cause a long term increase in citizen unemployment then I'm all for it.

  • Homple||

    New laws! Oh, goody. And what makes anyone think that the new laws will be enforced any more than the existing ones are?

  • GroundTruth||

    Build the biggest, badest, meanest, nastiest wall you want, but it won't change the fact that America demands a large pool of low wage workers to maintain our current lifestyle. You can no more legislate away economic reality than you can repeal the law of gravitation. All of this southern border foolishness started in the 60's to capitulate to union demands to artificially inflate wages by drying up the supply of bracero guest workers. It hasn't worked yet, supply and demand always has the last word.

    bin Laden's masterful plan simply harnessed the strong xenophobic trait in much of the population to combine with the above economic reality, and voila: "secure the border" cry finally became politically possible.

    But it's all a waste of time, money, lives, and dignity.

  • Gage||

    Bullshit. My lifestyle isn't at all dependent on illegal aliens.

  • GroundTruth||

    Gage, respectfully, if you enjoy cheap food & fairly affordable housing, I suspect you are wrong. Add to that childcare and domestic assistance for many, though perhaps not for you personally. The "underground economy" is alive and well, and serving as a foundation for many of our creature comforts.

  • TW||

    I disagree. If by “cheap food” you’re referring to the cost of farm labor, it’s a small percentage (about ten percent) of the price of produce. See http://www.nytimes.com/roomfor.....d-workers. Assuming that ending or curtailing illegal immigration meant that an increase the cost of farm labor, then we would likely either (a) see an increase in automation (similar to Japan which has an older population and labor shortage) or (b) at most a small increase in food prices.

  • Gage||

    No one has EVER said that we can ever get to a point where EVERY SINGLE FUCKING MEXICAN is kept out. No one ever said we could stop all murders. Let's legalize murder!

  • Homple||

    We seem to be pretty good at keeping out Northern Europeans. How does that work?

  • Acosmist||

    Someone pay a Mexican 10 cents a day to write this. Problem solved.

  • Gage||

    And coming on top of the $90 billion already spent on border security in the last decade, it mocks Republican calls for austerity.

    90 billion dollars! That's less than ten percent of what we spent on welfare in one year.

  • Rich M||

    And I always thought the Maginot Line was "the most fortified manmade barrier"...

  • Gage||

    Mexicans aren't Germans and we aren't the French.

  • Rich M||

    I was referring to her opening line about the Berlin Wall.

  • JWatts||

    Yeah, and you know why the Maginot Line failed don't you? Because they never built it all the way to the sea and the Germans just went around the end. Through Belgium, by the way. So, it really sucked for them.

    But, in any case, the Maginot Line really has nothing to do with our current discussions. We aren't trying to stop the Wehrmacht.

  • JWatts||

    Study on the current costs of illegal immigrants in the US:

    "This report estimates the annual costs of illegal immigration at the federal, state and local level to be about $113 billion; nearly $29 billion at the federal level and $84 billion at the state and local level. The study also estimates tax collections from illegal alien workers, both those in the above-ground economy and those in the
    underground economy."

    http://www.fairus.org/DocServe.....y_2010.pdf

  • Tejicano||

    Build a wall, yeah, right..

    Why don't we just take out a map of the border states, get out our magic pink pen, and draw a line which will keep everybody out? It would be a Hell of a lot cheaper and have a simliar effect.

    I have lived a big chunk of my life on the border between west Texas, New Mexico, and southern Arizona. I have camped, hiked, hunted, driven through and seen a big chunk of the country they are talking about. Do any of you have any freaking idea how big and desolate that area is?

    Put it this way - a train ride I once took through Siberia on to Mongolia and down to China was about as close as I have come to seeing land that desolate.

    I don't care how big the fence is the coyotes could drive a truck bomb up to it and blow a hole which wouldn't be heard by anybody and go un-noticed for days. They wouldn't even need a truck bomb when a couple big ladders would do the job.

    You would literally need an army to man that huge a stretch of open country to make the fence worth even attempting. It is a silly idea on its face if you know what the country looks like.

  • Dilettante||

    Electronic surveillance and a multitude of Drones.
    The worrisome thing about this idea is that a lot of companies could make a lot of money off it and magazines like Wired might even celebrate the technological advances in spite of the dubious morality/sense of the thing.

  • Tejicano||

    So you're sitting in a trailer somewhere 75 miles west of El Paso and your drone shows you a groups of 15 people walking in the desert at a point which is 100 miles from any major roads or BP agents you have in the field. What the Fuck good does a drone do then? So what if you know there is a group somewhere that will take you 5 or 6 hours to reach (if they decide to sit still and wait for you)?

    I've never heard a "solution" for this problem which seems to have any idea of the scale which it is dealing with. It's like talking to somebody who is convinced he can fill in the Grand Canyon with a dump truck. You tell him the canyon is way too big for that and his reply is to get a lot of dump trucks.

  • Dilettante||

    You are right on the practical aspects, a wall wouldn't work. But that's besides the point. Something doesn't need to work to be built, particularly if the government builds it.
    The Great Wall of China is roughly the same longitude, it didn't work, and it was still built and maintained, and damn it surely gave the Chinese a sense of identity even when they became over run by the Manchu peoples the wall was built to fend off.
    A Fence could be built and many could benefit from it. It would be detrimental for most, but it would have, like the Great Wall, some effect in history. Probaly not a good one.

  • Dilettante||

    A wall is tangible, visible, even photogenic, proof of a nation's limits and thus its identity.
    America is becoming each day more like (the better parts of) Latin America, et vice versa.

    This has its good (hemispheric integration) and bad things (North Mexico crisis). Even Republicans from Florida see the merits of a sort of Hemispheric Integration that is oblivious to the wall as it runs through the waters of the Caribbean (Cuba being the other wall).

    Some Americans, need Materialistic verification of their Nation's identity, that is why the wall enjoys so much support.
    The US is the first International country on earth, New York the capital of the World. It's difficult to blame the folksy elements in America for trying to, somehow, protect their psychological identity in an increasingly bilingual country.

    The idea of a physical wall does't have any physical merits, but that's besides the point - unfortunately.

  • Senor Sam||

    Wow... nothing brings out the latent statist tendencies of libertarians than immigration.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Obama and Pelosi will change their minds and support this wall once they figure that they can use it to keep the tax slaves IN.

  • Anvil||

    Just take away the freebies the illegals are coming for and exploiting first, then we can worry about securing the border.

  • Brian_N_Cols_OH||

    This reminds me of a movie I once saw....

    "If you build it, they will (still) come".

  • madilynbrady6||

    before I saw the draft which said $4450, I didn't believe that my sister woz actualy earning money part time from their computer.. there friends cousin started doing this for under fourteen months and resantly cleared the depts on there appartment and got a new Cadillac. go to, Go to site and open Home for details
    http://WWW.JOBS31.COM

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