- LATIN AMERICA
- MIDDLE EAST
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
By Randie Rosen and Donna Wiesner Keene
Trying to stop illegal immigration with a really big fence would be a futile waste of money
At the recent
A commonly accepted idea in the
Building fences to keep outsiders away has played out throughout human history. Beside fortressed cities or the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China still stands as a massive fortress of earth and stone fortifications originally built in the 5th century B.C. and maintained though the 16th Century A.D., measures approximately 5,500 miles, including 3,889.5 miles of actual wall, 360 miles of trenches and 1,387.2 miles of hills and rivers. It was designed to protect the inhabitants against invading armies, in particular the nomadic Manchurian and Mongolian tribes threatening to murder the 14th Century Ming dynasty rulers and invade their kingdoms.
Today's proposed fence illustrates a lack of understanding of the logistics and costs, the historical motivations driving U.S. immigration, and ignores a profound systemic change that must be achieved in order to address illegal immigration problems in a sustainable and cost efficient manner.
Most of our illegal immigration -- and it is illegals, so exact number are difficult -- are expired or over-extended tourist and student visas and work permits. The transition into illegal status is due to the basic inertia of human nature with its personal and family ties. In addition, few with means walk the border; they are smuggled over in trucks or use the sophisticated underground tunnels which would bypass any fence entirely. The value of a brick and mortar structure in a modern, technologically advanced era is clearly limited, if not altogether obsolete.
Ironically, the costly taxpayer-funded border fence would probably employ these same individuals to build it at low wages under poor working conditions. Comedian Central comedian and Los Angeles resident Carlos Mencia jokingly asks that when politicians deport illegal aliens and "build a super-fence so they can't get back in, so 'who's gonna build" the fence?"
Richard Viguerie and Mark Fitzgibbons have produced a new pamphlet
("The Law that Governs Government: Reclaiming the Constitution from
The inconsequentiality and environmental impact aside, a fence may be ditched rapidly in favor of new even more harmful immigration efforts. While the E-Verify employee identification forms and number system, which claims to allow employers to verify the work status of newly hired employees and provides penalties for knowingly hiring illegal ones, is voluntary, bills in
The real issue with immigration is that our society has over- and under-educated our populations in the wrong fields. Most countries tie immigration to workforce; our
This September 28, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn refused to block portions of an Alabama law prohibiting businesses from taking tax deductions for wages paid to illegal workers and allowing discrimination lawsuits to proceed against companies that dismiss legal workers while hiring illegal immigrants. No fence will solve Alabama's issues, but neither will straight-jacketing employer-employee contractual arrangements, then blaming employers. In all ways, we've created our current "National Fence of Failure."
Donna Wiesner Keene worked in the Reagan administration as well as both Bush administrations and on
Copyright ©, U.S. News & World Report
WORLD | AFRICA | ASIA | EUROPE | LATIN AMERICA | MIDDLE EAST | UNITED STATES | ECONOMICS | EDUCATION | ENVIRONMENT | FOREIGN POLICY | POLITICS
World - The Conservative Case Against a Border Fence | Global Viewpoint