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About That Wall (Revisited.)

Last week we wrote a post on Democrats attending a meeting at the White House and telling the President that they didn’t want to hear a briefing from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on the proposed wall and the issue of illegal immigration.

The post generated several interesting, thoughtful comments and we will address them in a moment.

However, the Republicans have published a video on the human cost of illegal immigration.

The video links to a website called “BorderFacts.com” which lists the following information:

Fact #1: In four Customs and Border Protection sectors where physical barriers have been expanded — El Paso, Yuma, Tucson, and San Diego — illegal traffic has dropped by at least 90%.

Fact #2: In fiscal year 2018, U.S. Border Patrol seized or helped seize 282,000 pounds of cocaine, 248,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 6,500 pounds of heroin, and 2,400 pounds of fentanyl.

Fact #3: In 2018, over 17,000 adults arrested at the border had prior criminal records. This included over 6,000 gang members, a major number of those members were from MS-13.

Fact #4: The Democrats would rather risk the safety of hard-working Americans than work with President Trump to secure our nation’s borders. But in 2013, all 54 Senate Democrats, including Chuck Schumer, voted to pass legislation that provided $46 billion to build a physical barrier on the border.

Fact #5: Nancy Pelosi and her hyper-liberal Congressional colleagues just passed a bill to give $54 BILLION to foreign governments, but Democrats won’t allow just $5 billion to secure our borders and protect American citizens.

The site also highlights comments from Democrats on a barrier / wall and immigration prior to the Trump presidency:

“When we use phrases like ‘undocumented workers,’ we convey a message to the American people that their government is not serious about combating illegal immigration, which the American people overwhelmingly oppose,” Senator Chuck Schumer said in 2009. “If you don’t think it’s illegal, you are not going to say it. I think it is illegal and wrong, and we have to change it.”

Chuck Schumer in 2009:

-Americans don’t like illegal immigration
-“Illegal immigration is wrong”
-People illegally in the U.S. are “illegal aliens,” not “undocumented”
-Border fence made the southern border “far more secure…created a significant barrier to illegal immigration” pic.twitter.com/zoVyEgdrTC
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 28, 2018

Other quotes from Democrat leaders include:

President Barack Obama: “Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made — putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.”

Secretary Hillary Clinton: “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think that you have to control your borders.”

President Bill Clinton: “It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

Dems pre-Trump:

-Hillary: Supported border wall
-Obama: More border security, illegals must speak English, go to back of line
-Schumer: Border walls work
-Reid: Offering benefits to illegals = insane
-Feinstein: US can’t be Mexico’s welfare
-Clinton: Illegal immigration is wrong pic.twitter.com/11AjuuOYbj
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 5, 2019

It almost seems as if the Democrats have flip-flopped on a wall and border security because of Trump. Perhaps one can argue that their hatred of Trump outweighs the security of the nation.

It is fine to change you mind on something. As the Democrats have changed their minds on a wall and illegal immigration, they owe the people of the US an explanation as to what has changed in their thought process.

Lindsey Graham took on the issue as well in a Face the Nation interview this past weekend:

Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham joined Face the Nation where he minced no words about the border wall funding standoff.

“The president will compromise, but he will not capitulate,” Graham said.

When he was asked about re-opening the government for the benefit of the federal workers currently working unpaid, Graham said, “Why would you negotiate with somebody who calls you a racist if you want a wall, who gives you a dollar for a wall, when the Democratic Party supported $25 billion in the past? We’re not going to negotiate with people who see the world this way.”

He continued, “We’ll negotiate with Dick Durban, but I’m not gonna negotiate with someone who calls the border patrol agents a bunch of Nazis when they’re trying to defend the border against a mob.”

Frankly, we don’t think a wall alone will stop illegal immigration. We don’t think that a lock on a door is the only way people keep their homes and family members safe. A lock is part of a plan or system that keeps people out. Mostly it keeps the average burglar out. If a professional wants your belongings, they are going to get it. We see the same parallels with the wall. A wall may not secure the border in its entirety, but it may discourage the average illegal immigrant who can now just walk across the border. A wall / barrier has to be as part of a system to prevent illegal immigration. That means more Border Patrols, more INS agents and more courts to return illegal immigrants to their country of origin.

If the wall / barrier in certain sections is working to large extend and diminishing illegal immigration, we need to look at that and see about the feasibility of trying to duplicate that success elsewhere.

In the comments of our post the other day, one commenter wrote:

A wall to separate the USA from México is the most abysmally stupid idea that has been put forth by the self-serving idiots that have been given access to govern our nation by a populace that lost its ability to think for itself many years ago.

The last time anyone tried something as stupid and ineffective as a wall was in Berlin. Look how “successful” that was. All we will see with “president” Trump’s wall will be a never ending stream of people climbing over it or tunneling under it.

We would disagree with the idea that the Berlin wall was “ineffective.” The wall was erected in 1961 and stood for 28 years. It should, however, be noted that the wall was not designed to keep people out, but to keep people in. As to its effectiveness:

By the 1980s, this system of walls and electrified fences extended 28 miles through Berlin and 75 miles around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany. The East Germans also erected an extensive barrier along most of the 850-mile border between East and West Germany.

In the West, the Berlin Wall was regarded as a major symbol of communist oppression. About 5,000 East Germans managed to escape across the Berlin Wall to the West, but the frequency of successful escapes dwindled as the wall was increasingly fortified. Thousands of East Germans were captured during attempted crossings and 191 were killed.

Let’s do some crazy, somewhat non-meaningful calculations here.

The length of the Berlin Wall and barriers was 953 miles. Assuming the flow of people leaving East Germany was constant over the 28 years of the wall, (and the flow was not constant) that’s 178.6 people crossing the wall per year or 0.187 person per mile per year. Take that figure and multiply it by the 1,954 miles of the southern border and you get 366.78 people crossing per year. That’s a drastic reduction in illegal immigration using the “ineffective” Berlin Wall as an example.

As far as border walls in general go, we were somewhat shocked by the number of border walls in the world. According to an article in the Harvard International Review:

In November of 1989, the Socialist Unity Party, the Communist leaders of the East German state, announced that citizens of East Berlin were free to cross the border into the West, and the wall that had divided Berlin came crumbling to the ground. To many observers, this action symbolized the dawn of a new period of globalization, migration, and interconnection of nations—the world could now be united in an era of peace.

In reality, more walls have gone up since the event than ever before.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the number of border walls between nations has more than quadrupled. According to Elisabeth Valet, a researcher at the University of Quebec, there are more than 65 walls currently standing or under construction. Unlike the Berlin Wall, which was meant to keep people in, most of these walls were built to keep people out by deterring illegal immigration, stopping the flow of contraband, or protecting citizens from crimes. While many were shocked by US President Donald Trump’s plans to build a border wall, a wall is by no means uncommon among both developing and developed nations. Countries such as Hungary, Britain, Bulgaria, Norway, Turkey, and Myanmar have all built walls on their borders, raising the question: would a wall along the US-Mexico border be successful? (emphasis ours)

The article cites three walls in particular:

Israel’s Southern Immigration Border

While Israel’s border wall along the Gaza Strip often receives much media attention, its southern border wall, which was constructed to stop the flow of African immigrants from places like Eritrea and Sudan, has been relatively ignored by the media. Construction on the wall began in 2010 and finished in 2013, costing US$400 million for the relatively small 150-mile wall (the US-Mexico border wall, for comparison, would be at least 1300 miles long). The wall—which is more of a fence—is made of steel and barbed wire, and stands surrounded by unending hills of desert sand and brush. The sight is broken only by the occasional guard tower jutting above the wall.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised Trump’s idea for a wall as a “great idea” and a “great success,” claiming on Twitter that his own wall “has stopped all illegal immigration.” While Israel’s wall has definitely not stopped all illegal immigration, it has assisted in cutting it down significantly. According to statistics published by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, 17,000 African immigrants entered the state illegally in 2011. However, in 2013, after the completion of the wall, the number fell to a mere 43.

[….]

Egypt’s Steel Barrier with Gaza

Moving west of Israel to the other side of the Gaza Strip, Egypt has also erected a massive steel barricade with Gaza. Unlike the Israeli wall, which is more of a fence, the Egyptian barrier is definitely a wall; the barrier is made of bombproof, super strength steel which cannot be cut or melted, and extends an astounding 20 meters underground. In fact, the Egyptian wall is one of the few that can be delineated from space.

While the Israeli wall was built to impede immigration, the Egyptian wall was built to stop the smuggling of contraband into Egypt, and to stop the smuggling of weapons, explosives, and goods that are unattainable domestically to the Palestinians. Since the beginning of the barricade, Hamas smugglers have dug tunnels under the desert into Egypt in order to smuggle the aforementioned items into Gaza. The Egyptian government responded by creating an underground wall to block the tunnels while simultaneously keeping all plans for the wall secret to conceal its construction from Hamas. As a result, the wall has cut off hundreds of tunnels closer to the surface and forced the Palestinians to dig deeper and deeper. During construction of the wall, many underground tunnels collapsed, sometimes killing or trapping smugglers.

The Egyptian wall has not stopped all smuggling completely, but it has forced Hamas to go to greater length in order to move goods. Proponents of the US-Mexico wall have claimed that it would help to fight drug smuggling by the Mexican cartels, and the Egyptian wall has certainly shown some success in that respect. In addition, Mexican cartels have also created networks of tunnels that they use for smuggling across the border in a manner similar to Hamas.

[….]

Spain’s Fence with Africa

Moving even farther west from Egypt, one runs into the border fence of Spain—a 7-mile steel structure that blocks immigration from Morocco. In 2014, 2,100 immigrants successfully crossed from Morocco into Spain, but the fence reduced this number substantially to approximately 100 in 2015. More importantly, however, the fence has greatly discouraged people from even attempting to illegally cross into Spain. In 2014, approximately 19,000 people attempted to cross into Spain. That number diminished to approximately 3,700 in 2015. It appears that the greatest role the fence has played is in convincing immigrants not to even attempt to enter Spain, which has greatly reduced illegal immigration rates.

When the fence was first built, pictures were widely circulated in the media of immigrants sitting on top of the fence, and helicopters were often found patrolling. However, the Spanish government later installed wire mesh and sensors on the wall which made it impossible for people to get a grip on the wall to climb, and which alerted soldiers when someone touched the wall. Now, the wall has faded from the media spotlight, and the leader of a local council has remarked that immigration “isn’t a problem anymore.”

[….]

Both commenters to our post noted that one way to decrease illegal immigration is to stop giving stuff and programs for illegal immigrants.

We agree.

Such a sentiment goes back to the idea that building a wall has to be part of what is euphemistically called “comprehensive immigration reform” which of course is not reform itself, but a barrier to reform. By clinging to so called “comprehensive immigration reform,” legislators are afraid to take small steps to limit immigration. If the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, certainly the journey to “comprehensive immigration reform” begins with smaller steps which do not include making breaking US immigration law more attractive paid for by US citizens.

In Israel, as part of their plans to reduce illegal immigration:

For example, Israel has passed two laws targeting immigrants— one prohibiting immigrants from transferring money out of the country and another forcing employers to deposit 20 percent of an immigrant employee’s salary into a bank account which can only be withdrawn upon exit of the country.

Laws such as these have made it harder for immigrants to send money back to their families in their countries of origin, which in some cases had been used to pay for the smuggling of their families into Israel. These measures, when combined with the increased difficulty of entering Israel, have contributed greatly to the reduction of immigration.

To us, that is a very interesting idea. We have no idea whether US labor laws would prohibit withholding pay like that, but it is an intriguing idea to look into.

The bottom line is that people in government are playing with the lives and well being of citizens.

That has to change or else we are not going to last as a nation.



One Response to “About That Wall (Revisited.)”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    It is time for our elected officials to step up and secure our border, the first step is to install some kind of physical barrier (wall, fence, concrete, steel, or whatever else you want to call it). This would show we are serious about stopping illegal immigration and help the border patrol folks do their job. Next, they need to start removing the incentives which make illegal immigration so attractive for many. These two things are required for comprehensive reform.

    The illegal immigration problem has been a “crisis” for many years allowing human trafficking, drugs, criminals, and gang members to enter our country. For liberals to call this a manufactured crisis is disingenuous and politically motivated.

    For democratic leaders to say let’s reopen the government and then we’ll negotiate is just a tired joke. Does anyone really believe that they would then negotiate in good faith to secure our borders, I don’t, we’d just end up with more of the same legislation and sound bites that got us to this point.

    President trump was elected because people were sick and tired of listening to political rhetoric and no one taking any real action. I applaud our president for trying to do what he promised he would do when elected, i.e. Build a border wall and secure our borders. It’s been a while since an elected official actually tried to do what he told the people he’d do.

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