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By gollies, our congress critters have finally done something about illegal immigration! Just in time for November’s congressional elections, the Republican leaders passed a bill to erect a 700 mile wall along the Mexico border. That’ll slam the door on the problem, won’t it?
No. First of all, the border is 2,000 miles long, not 700. Does it not occur to our stalwart leaders that the “coyotes” (the border-crossing guides who hire-out to escort Mexicans across the border) will merely move into the gaps?
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Second, while our congress loudly crowed about passing their bill – they provided no money to build the wall. Not a dime! Nor did they deal with such touchy problems as having to condemn private property for the fence and coping with rough terrain that’s not suitable for sustaining such a massive structure. Also, they didn’t actually mandate that the thing be built, instead delegating that decision to the homeland security czar.
Third, and most significant, a fence does nothing about the root causes of immigration. It’s a waste of money,” says a South Texas rancher with long experience seeing people cross the border. “They’ll either go through it, over it, or under it,” he says flatly. That’s because the combo of staggering poverty and innovative human spirit will propel people to seek a better life. Until that poverty is addressed, no fence and no amount of congressional hot air will make a difference in the desperate flow of immigration.
This is Jim Hightower saying… Indeed, all along the border area, the very idea of the fence is so despised by Anglos and Mexicans alike that it’s angrily referred to as the Berlin Wall, designed to keep Mexicans in and divide friends, family, neighbors, and trading partners from each other. Meanwhile, local folks are doubly riled by the bitter irony that, if the fence ever is built, the job will probably go to Halliburton and be constructed by illegal Mexican labor.
“Many along Texas-Mexico border dread proposed ‘Berlin Wall,'” Austin American-Statesman, October 11, 2006.