Four fatal flaws in our wall on the Mexican border

"Good fences make good neighbors," goes the old adage. That civilizing thought refers to such friendly structures as the rock fences of New England and whitewashed pickets of the Midwest.

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Four fatal flaws in our wall on the Mexican border
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“Good fences make good neighbors,” goes the old adage. That civilizing thought refers to such friendly structures as the rock fences of New England and whitewashed pickets of the Midwest.

But the neighborly adage definitely did not contemplate the 700-mile, 20-foot-high, drone-patrolled, electronically-monitored steel-and-razor-wire barricade that our government has erected across our nation’s border with Mexico. This thing is not a fence, but a monstrous wall of hostility, a deliberate affront to our Mexican neighbors. As Sen. John McCain aptly put it, we have “the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall!”

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There are four big flaws with the theory that you can “secure” a border by throwing up a big ol’ wall. First, it doesn’t work. A 20-foot wall quickly begets 22-foot ladders – people determined to get in or out will find many inventive ways to do it.

Second, walls create bigger problems than they resolve, for they are deeply divisive. Our Mexican wall is ugly, both literally and in the unmistakable message of contempt it screams at the Mexican people. It’s generating bitterness toward us – and that turns neighbors into enemies. Third, that wall has physically ripped previously-united, cross-border families, friends, businesses, and cities apart, weakening both sides.

Fourth, such walls are insanely expensive – so far, Washington has hurled tens-of-billions of dollars at this one to build, maintain, and police it, and states have dumped billions more into it. Can these policymakers even spell w-a-s-t-e? Yet, the US Senate recently voted to waste another $46 billion to build 700-more-miles of the hateful wall and double the number of militarized border agents.

Is there no other need in our country for that money – nothing constructive we might do with it?

“Border Security Rule Costs Bill Support,” The New York Times, June 27, 2013.

“Adding drones at border is a dark step for migrants,” Austin American Statesman, July 19, 2013.

“Spending billions more on fences and drones will do more harm than good,” www.economist.com, June 22, 2013.

I’m making moves!

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