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It’s a border, stupid.

Posted by The Curmudgeon on March 15, 2010

Failing to grasp the obvious


The fence marking the U.S.-Mexican border being in a sad state of repair, a competitive contract bid was announced to beef-up security in an area notorious as a crossing point for illegal aliens. After the contract was awarded, a representative of the company tasked with replacing the fence was quoted as saying that the new fence would be so secure that anyone attempting to scale the planned barrier risked “having his arm cut off.”

 The following day, the public outcry over the “inhumane” character of the fence (which, it should be remembered, was intended to protect a national border) became so intense that the contract was cancelled, and a study was commissioned to determine a more suitable solution; it was not explained how a fence — an inanimate object expressly designed to be an obstacle — could take on human characteristics, nor how anyone would be harmed who wasn’t already breaking the law in the first place since fences aren’t known for reaching out and attacking people.

 It should be noted that the preceding events occurred in 1969. It can thus be concluded that illegal immigration is neither a new problem nor one likely to go away anytime soon.

 In the present day, we have a President advocating a “guest worker” program (not, he claims, a form of amnesty—though one congressional aide describes the proposal as “the same old pig with new lipstick”), two (thus far) counter-proposals from Congress, and a citizenry becoming more vocal in their demands for immigration reform.

 All except the citizenry seem to miss the most important point: not one action by Congress or the President — nor any of their respective proposals — offers any real hope of improving border security. While we’re frequently reminded that we’re “at war,” our political leaders seem to have little interest in prudently locking the back door to dissuade intruders. The reason? They’re wary of antagonizing a growing Hispanic voter base.

 We’re told that illegal immigrants are merely trying to edge into the U.S. labor market to improve their standard of living by taking jobs no one else wants. One can hardly blame them; even the lowest-paying jobs available are generally an improvement over what they leave behind south of the border. However, U.S. citizens displaced by illegal workers willing to accept lower pay (take the building trades, for example) might disagree with the aphorism that no one else wanted the job. Moreover, economic principles assert that the inability to fill a position suggests that inadequate compensation is being offered. Importing cheap labor isn’t the answer; increasing wages to attract applicants is.

 Most importantly, we should not accept any “reform” that fails to secure the border.

 Ironically, it seems to have been forgotten that illegal immigrants are by definition law-breakers; they broke the law to get here, and continue to do so by staying. Should we now reward them? 
 And the border remains a virtual open door.


The preceding is a reprint, a piece I wrote for The Huntsville Times, Huntsville, AL. It was published on April 2, 2006.

The following is a reprint of another piece I wrote for The Huntsville Times, published on May 23, 2007:


 To paraphrase Shakespeare: Amnesty by any other name would smell as rotten.



A brief series of urgent, timely messages to Congress might read thusly:

        *  It’s a border, stupid.
        *  Crossing a border illegally is a crime.
        *  Immigration law doesn’t need reform—comprehensive or otherwise; it needs enforcement.
        *  Granting amnesty in any form is a proven loser—and suggests that lawmakers have badly misread the mood
of the nation.

What is it about such simple concepts that prove so incomprehensible to this august body of legislators and (to a large extent) lawyers?

A motley gallery of Senate negotiators has finally produced some sort of agreement for comprehensive immigration reform. What details lie buried in the agreement (cramming a matter so essentially simple into 350 pages makes the deal immediately suspect; this is Congress, after all) has not yet been revealed.
 All that’s clear at this point is that everyone involved in these negotiations is pretty much equally displeased with the outcome; two of the key players washed their hands of the mess before negotiations were concluded and the remaining hopefuls don’t seem enthused about the bill’s prospect for adoption.
 We’re told that the measure’s concept for dealing with the estimated 12 million illegal aliens already here (the government doesn’t know how many there are, characterizing them as “invisible”) isn’t really amnesty, and that it provides for fines, waiting periods, tracking of immigrants (the government doesn’t know where these invisible people are, either), and appropriate provisions for returning them to their country of origin.
 We’re also told that any “not-really-amnesty” legalization of illegal immigrants will be contingent on improved border security (indeed, it appears that many features of the bill are in turn somehow dependent upon another feature’s successful implementation), and that the measure provides for tracking down and deporting violators. (Since we don’t seem to be able to locate them now, what makes anyone think we’ll be able to later?)
 Add to this mix a president intent on scoring a domestic policy home run, the political fortunes being staked by various congressional members and the upcoming elections—in a town where deal-making is part of the process.
 Such an intricately contrived house of cards is not likely to survive the forthcoming congressional battle; meanwhile, the root problems remain with no remedies in place, and they’ll still be there should the measure be defeated—at which point Congress will start all over again with nothing gained from months of negotiations. And all those invisible people will still be out there—illegally.
 It’s time for the government to do the job it’s avoided for decades: secure the borders and enforce the law. Forget “comprehensive” anything until we have a handle on the situation; then will be the time to consider changes.



Now, I included the two segments above for the sole purpose of prefacing today’s lesson, to wit: Nothing’s essentially changed.
 The border with Mexico is still porous (though there is an ongoing effort to replace hundreds of miles of fencing, and patrols have been substantially increased—but, neither effort seems to have had much effect), there remains a huge population of illegal aliens (they’ve grown considerably more militant, by the way), and — sure enough — there’s been some preliminary attempt in Congress to draft legislation that many expect to prove a repeat of the fiasco of a few years ago. (Naturally; it’s being headed-up by Senator Charles Schumer. What could possibly go wrong? I’ll go ‘wa-aaay out on a limb and predict that the next two comments to arise from this effort will include “amnesty” and “pathway to citizenship”—and there’ll soon be a full-court press to force passage of this legislation prior to the coming midterm election.  Any bets?)
 I tell you all this just to give you something to think about in light of the Obama regime’s having stuck its toe in the water this past week, pledging its commitment to fix the immigration system it’s deemed to be “broken.”
 How reassuring. Given Obama’s deft handling of health care reform, I know I’m confident that his next attempt at comprehensive reform and overhaul of yet another system about which he knows next to nothing will be a breeze.
 Make that a big breeze. A really big breeze. Like a tornado.
 Make that an F5 tornado.




3 Responses to “It’s a border, stupid.”

  1. Fences, walls, and other types of physical barricades are despised by diplomats and certain groups known as “elites”. While they claim physical barriers are a medieval approach and an ineffective one, the facts show they work quite well. So well, that they end utopian hopes of reaching a peace through endless talks as the bodies keep piling up. The Israeli fence – heavily fortified – has managed to reduce suicide bomber attacks by more than 90%.

    We need more than a simple fence; we need an electrified fence along our border with Mexico. Fences don’t sleep on the job, require vacations or overtime pay, nor do they call in sick. It would surely reduce the tide of illegals entering the US illegally. If Obamacare passes, that tide will rapidly become a flood. An electrified fence would also aid in preventing our southern border from being used as an entry point for terrorists. The DEA estimates that almost 90% of the heroin and cocaine entering the US comes across the border with Mexico. Surely no one believes all the murders, kidnappings and other tragedies occurring on our southern border are simply because of illegal aliens?

    • Swan:

      Thanks for another cogent reply.

      Those who criticize efforts to secure the border apparently haven’t been paying attention; one need only ask those two reporters recently detained by North Korea whether U.S. efforts lack equanimity.

      Actually, they were lucky; minefields never sleep, either—and the North Koreans have them in abundance.


  2. Larry Z said

    Whatever policies or tactics implemented to protect our borders are only as strong as the resolve behind them. The time for resolve was 30 years ago. It is like a wildfire raging
    at our backdoor and somebody finally,weakly exclaims….Do you smell smoke???

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