Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Wall Does Not Work

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that the number of undocumented immigrants apprehended by the Border Patrol dropped in the 2007 fiscal year, from 1,071,972 to 858,638. He credited this to increased enforcement along the southern border, including the construction of another 70 miles of border wall. It was, he claimed, proof that the border wall works, and therefore, “What it ought to do is encourage us to step up the tempo."

But the numbers that he was promoting prove the opposite. In San Diego apprehensions increased by 7%. San Diego was the first part of the border to get “triple fencing”. It consists of a primary fence made of steel slabs and a secondary steel mesh fence. Between the two there is a cleared area of 100 feet with a graded patrol road and light and camera towers. The Border Patrol began construction of this stretch of border wall in 1996, and it currently runs inland from the Pacific Ocean for 14 miles.

In contrast to the increase in the number of people crossing near San Diego, the Del Rio, Texas, sector saw a 45% drop. Del Rio, like all of Texas aside from El Paso, has no border wall. The Secure Fence Act calls for “2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors… extending from 5 miles northwest of the Del Rio, Texas, port of entry to 5 miles southeast of the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry,” but so far none has been built.

So in the place where the wall has been built and has been up for a decade, border crossings are on the rise. Where there is no wall crossings have dropped dramatically.

The fact that the border wall does not stop anyone from crossing has been pointed out numerous times since Congress passed the Secure Fence Act, just two weeks ahead of the 2006 midterm elections. The Border Patrol has said repeatedly that it will only slow a crosser down by a few minutes or a few seconds. In its June 5, 2007 report Border Security: Barriers Along the U.S. International Border the Congressional Research Service stated, “The primary fence, by itself, did not have a discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens coming across the border in San Diego.”
Despite all of this, Secretary Chertoff is moving ahead with plans to bring the same level of destruction, expense, and ultimate failure that characterize the San Diego wall to the comparatively successful area of Del Rio. In the same press conference in which he crowed about the Border Patrol’s success in the areas where there has never been a wall, he indicated that he will use the power that the Real ID Act grants him to waive laws in Texas if construction of a wall is slowed by citizens who insist that he obey our nation's laws.

Instead of willfully violating our nation’s laws to build a wall that will not work, Chertoff should be looking at his department’s own statistics to find out what is working and what is not. The fact that he has not already done this is further evidence that construction of the border wall is driven by ideology and election politics, rather than an interest in constructively addressing a complex issue. Congress never should have granted an unelected Administration appointee the power to brush aside all of our nation’s laws, and they should immediately repeal section 102 of the Real ID Act and restore the rule of law.


Ron said...


Refuge land traded for border fence

Buenos Aires to give up 5.8 acres; deal upsets environmental group

The Region 2 Regional Office staff could have most likely stopped or modified the section of the BANWR fence but chose to trade land instead. The work is progressing on this section of the fence and for a while, some of us thought there might be a chance for a modification of a vehicle barrier and increased surveillance. The BANWR fence will most likely be completed this week or soon after.

Paratrooper82 said...

There is an old saying that "Good fences make good neighbors".
That couldn't be more true!

I have a challenge for you hypocrites who want no fences or walls on our border to keep criminals and terrorists out of our country.

Tear down the fences and walls around your own home, take the doors off of it, leave it open for anyone who wishes to enter it at will. After the neighbors pit-bulldog eats your precious poodle, your entertainment center goes missing and everything in you jewelery box disappears you might have a change of mind.

This isn't about being nice, sympathetic or helpful to those who want to come here, it is about making our nation safer, keeping drugs out of the hands of our kids and our job market more secure for American workers, especially those just entering the workforce.

We don't just need a wall on the border, we need a fortified wall with a constant military or para-military presence. We, the USA are one of the few countries in the world that treats our border security as a law enforcement issue instead of a military issue, time to wake up and smell the starbucks.There are hundreds of documented cases each year of armed Mexican Military units crossing our border, there are those of us who think this sounds like a pretty dangerous situation.

If our government doesn't do something to secure our borders, it is only a matter of time until concerned citizens take matters into their own hands and things will definitely get worse, not better, when that happens.

Anonymous said...

Wow,,last time I checked the Mexican Military patrols Mexico's southern border.Guess it's ok for Mexico to militarize and protect it's southern border to keep out undesirables,but God forbid if those evil gringo's do the same. What a bunch of cry-baby losers.



You apparently missed a couple of key points.

First off, THE WALL DOES NOT WORK. In San Diego,where the wall has been up for the longest time and is the most heavily reinforced, MORE people are coming across the border. In Del Rio, where there has never been a wall, LESS poeple are coming across the border. It makes no sense to repeat the failure of San Diego.

The thing that is going to be built is not a "good fence" that will make "good neighbors". When the wall is built in South Texas it will involve bulldozing homes and businesses. Generally speaking, when you build a fence around your yard you don't bulldoze your neighbor's house.

Also, if you were to actually read the Robert Frost poem that "good fences make good neighbors" is taken from, that is a quote from Frost's simpleminded neighbor. The poem is ridiculing the neighbor's foolish attitudes.

Ron said...


I assume you are former military from the 82nd Airborne. If so, thank you for your service to this great, although perhaps, fading Nation. I am a former military serviceman and I am likely just as upset or more so regarding illegal immigration than you are. I am for the death penalty for drug runners and severe penalties for ALL illegal aliens who cross our borders. I do not want their kids in our schools and all of the other myriad social service issues involved. I have no sympathy for illegal immigrants. I am for a strong military presence on the border and I want our troops home protecting our borders and helping our own citizens instead of needlessly dying in Iraq. As a father, I still think that increasing our population through illegal immigration is one of the worst harms to the environment and those reasons are manifold. However, I am strongly opposed to the wall/fence/barricade or whatever term you want to apply to it, also for the environmental and ecological damages it will incur. I am not a liberal, but rather a conservative Republican who views the current immigration policy as a major travesty of justice to law-abiding U.S. citizens. However, as long as neither political party will act, to include reversing/repealing NAFTA, then nothing is going to change, wall, or no wall, except further ecological and economic damage to the United States of America.

Excerpts from ‘Mending Wall’ Robert Frost:

“We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:”

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Thanks to No Border Wall for reminding us that Frost’s ‘Mending Wall’ is just one of the many poems/parables that are woefully misunderstood, misrepresented, and misstated.

Anonymous said...

Well then, perhaps we should place our nations safety and security in jeopardy in the name of of protecting lizards and cactus. Thanks so much for clarifying your priorities.

The wall in San Diego is not as effective due to the fact that it is in a high population urban area where it is easy to evade law enforcement once crossing.

Try living here along the border as I do, listen to the stories of ranchers and home owners who's property is being damaged and witness the environmental destruction left in the wake of these "poor immigrants", listen to the news filled with stories of homeowners and ranch houses being broken into and ransacked or robbed at gunpoint in their own homes.
It's easy for you to criticize from a thousand miles away, I guarantee that if you had to lire with these problems on a daily basis you'd feel differently. I suppose it's easier to stay within your comfortable self-imposed boundaries , safely away from the threat on our border and fret about trivial things like the preservation of creosote brush and insects. Sometimes the environment must take second place to people and their safety. People like you,who place other things above human life and our citizens safety sicken me.


Actually, Anonymous, my house is about 5 miles from the border. I know exactly what the situation is down here because I see it every day. I will also see the wall every day once it is completed, and I can tell you that the litter left by crossers is nothing compared to the hundreds of miles of land cleared of all vegetation, the hundreds of homes and businesses bulldozed, and the border communities split in two that the wall will bring.

As we have seen in San Diego, it will be billions spent for nothing. The wall is just a sound bite, a simple-minded politician's trick to stay in office or cling to presidential dreams. It is not real solution to any of our nation's problems. It certainly won't protect anyone. No terrorist has come across our nation's southern border. The 9/11 hijackers flew into the US using valid visas. If we had built the wall from sea to shining sea it would have done nothing to protect us on September 11. Chertoff's lizards versus humans line is just another sound bite. Don't fall for it.

Ron said...

More regarding the Buenos Aires NWR section of the border fence:

Near-done border fence stirs critics, defenders
Land swap: best deal possible or bad precedent?