Reale Simple

The world is more than what they tell you. Listen up. It's not complex. It's Reale Simple.


Former USCHO writer, former writer at a Midwestern broadsheet, occassional CHN blogger.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Mother, should I build a wall

You'd be hard pressed to encounter someone these days who won't agree that illegal immigration in this country is a real problem. Even those shrill-voiced socialists who'll claim you're anti-immigration if you try to do anything about illegal immigrants have been admitting this recently, so you know things have gotten really bad.

Some 3,000 illegal immigrants cross the US-Mexican border every single day, and they don't intend to leave once they get here. The problem has been largely ignored by both major parties for years - the claim being that Republicans don't want to lose their main source of cheap labor, and the Democrats don't want to lose their main source of cheap votes. However, in the post 9/11 world, there are several politicians in Washington who are acutely aware of the national security issue that such a porous border arises.

Yesterday, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California introduced a bill which would mandate the creation of a "border security fence from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico." Included in the draft proposal is a 100-meter border zone on the US side.

The proposal, while eerily similar to the design layout of the Berlin Wall - which included a buffer zone patrolled by armed guards who had orders to shoot anyone even approaching the Wall - seems rather sound. A 14-mile wall near San Diego has proven to be efficient and successful in keeping out unwanted immigrants. This is the main departure between the Berlin Wall and the proposed US-Mexican wall; the Soviets built the Berlin Wall in order to keep East Germans in East Germany and out of free West Berlin. Any wall built on the border with Mexico would serve to keep illegal aliens out, not keep legal immigration and legitimate cross-border traffic in. Indeed, the East German authorities had no problem with West Germans visiting their country and spending their money there. They just didn't want their own population to leave, because they knew most would if they got the chance.

With Mexico, it's different. The Mexican government practically encourages people to leave the country illegally, especially in order to support families who remain in Mexico. These illegals come to the United States, earn some money under the table, and immediately send it south of the border. So in addition to a security hazard, a porous border also presents an economic problem. Add a humanitarian reason for erecting the wall - nearly 2,000 illegals died in the attempt to reach the US between 1998 and 2004 - and the pointed comparisons to Berlin which will undoubtedly be made by a hysterical socialist Left fade away into just that, hysterics.

There is some degree of concern on the Right, and when it comes in the person of Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona, one of the best conservative voices in the House, it is certainly worth consideration. Flake, who represents a state with one of the most popular routes taken by illegals to enter the country, laments that a wall would not solve the problem of 400,000 immigrants from the world over that enter the United States legally and then proceed to overstay their visas. This is true, though this is another issue which the Department of Homeland Security needs to consider and tackle with the intent of lowering that number significantly.

One potential move, which is also before the Congress, would be to eliminate the practice of jus soli, which immediately bestows citizenship upon children born in the United States, if the child is born to individuals who are not in the country legally. Each year, thousands of immigrants come to the United States and have children born here. These children become "anchor babies," because the government will not deport an American citizen, and will not leave a child orphaned while their parents are deported. For an illegal, having a child in the United States guarantees that they'll be able to stay. Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, who has made immigration form his main priority, has been considering addressing this issue through necessary channels, either through a congressional statute or a constitutional amendment.

The wall, however, will remain an important tool for keeping out those who intend from the very beginning to enter the country illegally and remain illegally. A wall is not, as detractors already claim, an anti-immigration move. It does nothing about legal immigration, which is a cornerstone of our American heritage that should continue to be encouraged for anyone who wishes to pursue it. "Making it" for legal immigrants who are trying to gain permanent resident status or even to become American citizens is often a long and difficult process to go through. Why should we continue to allow illegals to flow over our borders while honest people are put through the wringer to achieve, in most cases, some of the same things illegals are?

At this point, it's not clear that the bill introduced by Congressman Hunter has the support necessary to pass both houses of Congress. It certainly could pass the House, but passing the Senate is always more difficult when it comes to matters of immigration policy. But a wall simply makes sense for security, economic, humanitarian, and, yes, even in support of legal immigration. We'll see if Congress has the gumption to do what is necessary on the most wide open border in the world.


Blogger Brad or Adam said...

Some fine opinion writing here, Tom. Keep up the good work! Urge Adam to get the new CR website guy to update your site, and link blogs that any of you CR's post-to.

3:33 PM  

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