Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 19, 2006

Krauthammer on the logic behind a border fence

Filed under: Border Security — by Christian Beckner on May 19, 2006

Charles Krauthammer’s column today in the Washington Post makes the argument that I’ve been touting for months: that a more extensive border fence would be the most cost-effective means of reducing the flow of illegal immigrants at the southern border:

The president himself boasted about having already increased the number of border guards by one-third under his administration. Yet he acknowledges in the same speech that we do not have the border under control — “full control,” as he comically put it. The president’s new solution? Increase the number of border guards again, by half this time. Everyone knows that anything short of enough border guards to do Hands Across America from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean won’t do a thing to eliminate illegal immigration.

The only thing that might work is a physical barrier. The president offhandedly dismisses a wall as something that could never stop the “enormous pressure on our border.”

By what logic? Opponents pretend that these barriers can always be circumvented by, say, tunnels or clandestine entry by sea. Such arguments are transparently unserious. You’re hardly going to get 500,000 illegals lining up outside a tunnel or on a pier. Such choke points are exactly how you would turn the current river of illegal immigrants into narrow streams — which is all we need to turn the illegal immigration problem from out of control to eminently manageable.

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1 Comment »

Comment by J.

May 22, 2006 @ 9:16 am

Two comments – first, I doubt that you’d see “500,000 illegals lining up” outside a port or tunnel under the wall. It’s a trickle across a few thousand miles of borders every day, which is a tougher problem. The drug tunnel found connecting Mexico to… I forget, Arizona?… certainly shows that the concept is possible. Canada’s a big border, and small boats carrying 10-20 illegals at a time aren’t going to be easily stopped.

Second point, you (and Charles) still don’t acknowledge the lack of processing facilities when you catch the illegals, thus the “catch and release” analogy. So even if you get the border fence up, and when they still come over/around/under the fence, what do you do? There’s a lack of a thought-out policy here.

Don’t know if you saw the cartoon in Newsweek (I think) where a guy is getting his military call-up notice – “The President needs my military service to protect the country from cheap produce and affordable landscaping.” The problem isn’t security, it’s blue-collar jobs and agro-industry. We need the workers just as much as they need good paying jobs. A fence isn’t the solution.

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