What specifically is "abhorent" about protecting borders?

No, really. I’m trying very hard to understand how a talking head on TV could claim with a straight face that, “Fences are a bad idea because it will cause people to walk farther into the desert in order to cross into the US and therefore put their lives at greater risk.”


What about the concept of “illegal entry” is so elusive that the statement above can be uttered without the slightest bit of hesitation?

My brain would shut down if I tried to say something so stupid with such deep conviction.

I’m sure that’s not even the dumbest thing that been uttered on the subject. It’s just the latest and the most puzzling.

But more importantly… is there a valid reason why a nation should not endeavour to protect it’s borders from illegal entry? If not, why is this even a matter of debate? Or is this just the media generating hysteria?

I think a nation has every right to protect its borders against illegal entry. I’m just not sure that a fence or calling up the Guard is the way to go about doing it.

See, it seems to me that the two countries involved are only paying lip service to actually solving the problem. Instead, the U.S. wants to put a bandaid on it, and Mexico (rightfully, in my option) wants to air its concerns about militarizing the border or putting up artificial barriers that don’t really work. Neither seems to want to tackle the real issues: how to institute a real system in the U.S. for employers to verify status, how to really enforce labor laws in the U.S., how to make Mexico more attractive to workers, how to help Mexico stop or slow its inevitable brain drain (which I really think would be a concern to Mexico, but what do I know?), all those hard questions that don’t have any easy answers or solutions.

NPR did a piece the other day on the border, and noted that the U.S. has spent a goodly amount of money in border security, including robotic drones and electronic sensors. They pointed out that this technology has made illegal border crossings more dangerous - now, people try to cross in some of the most inhospitable terrain to avoid the technology, leading to increased death rates. Now, I’m not saying that the U.S. shouldn’t use these technologies or shouldn’t try to secure its borders, not at all. Rather, I think that the increased death rate is an unintended and sad consequence.

What I find so “abhorrent” about the whole border business is what I term the “look like us” theory. I can fully understand and sympathize with why people would want to immigrate here, legally or illegally. Yet it seems that many Americans demonize them because they look different and speak differently. I’m not the type that thinks we should have open borders and just let anyone in willy-nilly, and I admit to my own racist thoughts when I hear the foreign language of someone who lives here but “can’t be bothered” to learn English. But the racism of the whole border clash does get to me. Obviously, the circumstances are vastly different and so can’t be compared, but I live close to the longest unsecured border in the world and can’t help but notice the inconsistencies and the “look like us” theory in full practice.

The dumbest thing I’ve heard recently? I didn’t hear the full context, so I’m hoping I’m missing something, but on NPR the other day some congressman (I believe) said this:

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

Nice. :rolleyes:

If you take AS A GIVEN that people will continue to try to get into the US at the same rate. . .then building a fence that forces them to spend more time in the desert is just saying “let’s kill more of them that are trying to get here”.

“Good. Fuck 'em. They’re breaking the law anyway.” is basically the argument against that.

That’s if you accept the “given”. Whether you accept that or not is a different issue.

What’s “abhorent” is that GWB has made this issue into a diversion fromt he real problems facing America now- the War and the Deficit- in which both issues he was taking a such a HUGE lambasting in the press and in the public opinion that he had some lackeys in the House come up with a Immigration bill that no one expected to pass, but was guaranteed to cause lots of debate and acrimony. And, it’s working very very well. IMHO, of course!

I don’t mean to be flippant here, but the National Guard is supposed to guard the nation, no? What about using them to secure the borders runs counter to their mission statement? I think having the National Guard in Iraq is more counter-intuitive than having them deployed to their nation’s borders.

Also, what is wrong about “militarization” of borders? If boy scouts with slingshots could do the job then I say more power to them. Otherwise, border security is a national security issue and should be treated as such. Why does America need to worry about upsetting Mexico with military border presence? It’s not like the U.S. is massing troops for an invasion.

As for the good fences comment… I see nothing wrong with that. Do you give your neighbours the key to your house? All of your neighbours? Do they give you their key? I mean, you’re neighbours after all.

I don’t accept that as a given. But perhaps it’s because I’ve not heard a compelling enough argument about why I should.

Well, the person who made the statement that you’re questioning apparently does. Isn’t that what you were trying to understand.

Are you contending that if we build a wall, a great number of Mexican will throw up their hands and say, “oh, well, I guess I’m not going to the US”

Or do you think they’ll continue to try to get in in the same numbers as before?

That Bush is a complete fuck up is not at issue. I don’t see why Iraq and border security has to be an either/or proposition. Both are vital national subjects and merit debate/address. That Bush is making political hay of it as a way of distracting people from other important issues, well he’s not the first to try and who could blame him. I remember Clinton was lambasted for ordering the bombing or Iraq as a way to distract public obsession with his DNA all over Monica’s dress. Not saying Clinton bombed another nation just to try to change the subject; just that he was acused of it.

The rest of the quote is “Fences don’t make bad neighbors.”

I don’t see anything wrong with the fence, except I think private citizens could build it cheaper, faster, and stronger.

When you say a wall, do you mean a physical wall? Bricks and mortar kind of thing? Or do you mean a sufficiently strong enough deterent to keep people form crossing withou (much) impunity?

I don’t remember any actual drapery but the iron curtain seemed to keep a pretty tight lid on defection. And before I get jumped on, I’m not remotely suggesting the sort of draconian approach as communist Russia had. But there does seem to be plenty of negotiable and reasonable room for something between that and what exists today.

The Posse Comitatus act forbids the use of the military for law enforcement. The NG is only supposed to guard the country from hostile, armed invasions, not cut-rate tomato pickers on their way to work.

Well given that it’s in latin means it’s probably been around a very long time and fairly bullet proof. :wink:

It’s worth pointing out that the real quote, from the Frost poem, is meant to be taken ironically. Frost is questioning the notion that two neighbors need such a fence.

We’ve always had illegal aliens. They’ve always came and secured work at jobs that most Americans wouldn’t do for a economically viable price after facing a tremendous risk, from illegal and legal sources. I respect them for that. I don’t hate them for that.

I don’t think they harm the country as a whole economically and certainly not culturally. I’m a good old white boy, and all the attacks on my culture (animal rights / gun rights / property rights) have came from US Citizens who are generally Anglo. Maybe if they had a deportation plan for Californians and Yankees, then I could get behind that. :smiley:

I don’t buy the economic arguments that bigoted organizations like Vdare, FAIR and CIS make against them either. It’s like taking the Klan’s or Aryan Brotherhood’s word on Blacks or Jews AFAIC. The non-economic reasoning of assimialtion is a racist bullshit to me. Every cultural aspect that the ‘assimilation crowd’ bemoans existed here in the US among US citizens of Hispanic decent (even Anglo in some cases) anyway.

The Minutemen, Border Guardians, and Ranch Rescue type organizations that got this ball rolling are either overtly bigoted, extremely paranoid, or both. They are the movers and shakers here. They and certain far Rightwing pundits have made this issue what it is today. They are the ones that the House are embracing with their draconian bill. If these were orginizations that were made up of mostly exclusive border residents, then I might have a modicum of respect for them. But they’re not, and I don’t.

I can’t help but feel that the prime motivating factor for the majority of House bill supporters is bigotry. They are tired of being in contact with all these different looking and sounding people, and they want their state’s and citie’s cleansed of them. They relish in the crueltry that this bill offers. Breaking up families, throwing US citizen spouses, children, siblings, and friends in jail for not reporting on illegal spouses, children, siblings, and friends gives them a twisted satifaction.

I’m still fine with a dramatic increase enforcement of current rules though. Despite the overt propagandizing by a lunatic fringe that brought this issue to the forefront, I think that there is too much illegal immigration and too much banditry occurring by Mexicans that prey on both migrants and US Citizens on the Border. The professional law enforcement agencies involved in immigration law enforcement / border protection been neglected for years. I’m fine with the Guard in support operations. I’m fine with strategically placed physical barriers and cost effective technological ones that work. A complete physical wall, though a wet dream for most stalwart anti-illegal immigration folks, is just not physically or economically viable.

But I’m also fine with an Amnesty that would have a set in stone cut off date so that new illegals wouldn’t be included. And I definitely don’t want to break up families that are mixed illegal and US citizen. I don’t think leaving water in the desert so that immigrants don’t die is treason. I think that lethal force is not an option for enforcing immigration law. My soul just won’t let me be for that.

who’s going to pay for it?

It won’t cost that much if they use illegal migrant workers.

There are ranchers willing to donate land, and others willing to donate time and resources.

Because everyone knows that adding an extra fo-profit layer makes things much cheaper!


Illegality per se is no reason to force people to risk life and limb for taking what is clearly their optimal choice in life when the negative impact of those choices are dubious at best. By definition a society should seek to stop what is illegal; however, you’re committing the fallacy of conflating morality with legality; the mere illegality of an act, in reality, does not itself imply the act is one which should bring dire consequences on the actor, nor should it impose undue risk.

In this instance, a wall may not have a serious impact on the immigration flow; however, it may impose serious risk to immigrants because it changes the possible outcomes of their acts from getting caught as a worst case, to dying of thirst as a worst case. If the build-a-wall policy doesn’t meaningfully change the flow of immigration, but it does expose people to terrible risk, then such a policy is morally indefensible.

Even if the policy does decrease immigration flow, that does not imply the increased risk is acceptable. I, for example, acknowledge that some forms of immigration are illegal; however, I’ve yet to hear one compelling argument as to why the place of one’s birth should limit one’s opportunities. It’s stupid that I cannot move to Ireland and get a job because I’m an American, so it’s stupid to prevent Mexicans from coming into the U.S. for residency and employment. Since I find the law to be indefinsible, it’s more than reasonable to assert that those breaking it should not face increased risk in doing so.