Of Course a Wall Would Work
Illegal immigration has been a problem since I was old enough to know what a problem was. Something needs to be done to fix it. Yet the Democrats and neoconservatives have gone far past my uneasiness to repeatedly claim such a wall would be immoral and a “monument to racism”.
Leaving the morality of the wall aside, the second major criticism Democrats and neocons make is that a wall wouldn’t work. In Nancy Pelosi’s and Chuck Schumer’s creepy response to Trump’s national address, Pelosi claimed Trump was “Forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall.” Schumer added that “Democrats and the President both want stronger border security. However, we sharply disagree with the President about the most effective way to do it.”
With this, 2019 Chuck Schumer took a broad swipe at 2009 Chuck Schumer who had this to say,
“Our border is far more secure today… The progress includes 9000 new border patrol field agents in the last four years [and] construction of a 630-mile border fence… that create a significant barrier to illegal immigration on our southern land border.”
Border wall = ineffective and racist. Border fence = smart and effective border security. Got it?
These are just baseless assertions, however. And given Trump has requested -- and the House passed -- a budget with only $5.7 billion for the wall, it’s hard to qualify that as “expensive,” at least in government speak. Given the 2019 federal budget is estimated to be $4.407 trillion, the wall would only amount to 0.13 percent of the federal budget.
So let’s turn to Adam Conover’s show “Adam Ruins Everything” and his short segment “Why Building a Border Wall Makes No Sense.” Spoilers: Adam ruins this segment.
He starts off noting, “[The wall] would have to stretch over 2000 miles of rough terrain, cutting through mountains, rivers, villages and even people’s homes.” No Adam, it wouldn’t. Shockingly, the wall’s course would not actually be bound to follow the exact trajectory of the American-Mexican border. It can obviously go around villages and natural obstructions.
Next Adam points out that “It’s estimated that between 27 and 40 percent of all undocumented immigrants in America came here on planes… They came here legally, through passport control then just overstayed their visas.” Remember folks, “Planes can fly over walls!”
Of course, no one has ever claimed that a border wall by itself would be sufficient to stop all illegal immigration. Some may be surprised to learn that you’re not going to lose weight with exercise and three daily trips to the Home Town Buffet.
Next we’ll turn to Nick Kolakowski over at Medium (which has turned into yet another leftwing-dominated tech platform) and his piece “A Brief History of Border Walls.” In the article, Kolakowski discusses the ancient Hadrian’s Wall, Israel’s West Bank wall (which we will return to shortly) and the Great Wall of China, which “did repel some raiders, but it ultimately failed at key points.” Because “such a defense is only as good as the forces defending it.”
Kolakowski appears to have discovered we will not be able to fire all our border agents just because we built the wall. He then turns to the walls of Constantinople,
“To be fair, those defenses managed to protect Constantinople through any number of sieges and attacks… Those mighty walls might have resisted arrows, tunnels, siege machines, and boats, but cannons could tear right through them.”
If you build a 20-foot wall, they’ll build a 21-foot cannon!
So, the left’s arguments about why a wall won’t work are rather weak. But that still leaves the question as to why they do work.
While it’s true that someone could use a ladder to climb over a wall, it would cause a delay to do so. Furthermore, a wall could also be designed in such a way as to make it very difficult and intimidating to use a ladder, as Trump’s spiked “steel slat barrier” proposal certainly would.
The key thing a border wall would do, however, is create an easily-monitorable choke point. As the ACLU complains (while failing to reach the logical conclusion), “U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency tasked with patrolling the U.S. border and areas that function like a border, claims a territorial reach much larger than you might imagine… The federal government defines a ‘reasonable distance’ as 100 air miles from any external boundary of the U.S.”
The Mexico-United States border stretches 1954 miles, which means the area being patrolled is approximately 195,400 square miles. It is far easier to patrol a linear border with a barrier than such a massive swath of territory.
A border wall would allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection to consolidate its efforts along the wall. Cameras could be set up every 1000 feet or so and drones could hover along it looking for potential crossers. When someone approaches the wall border patrol agents can be quickly dispatched to pick them up and deport them. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that a survey of 600 border patrol agents found that 89 percent believed a wall was necessary.
With this, we can return to Kolakowski’s point about Israel’s West Bank Barrier. First, it’s odd he picked this particular wall as Israel has walls all over the place. This one has “concrete walls [that] are supposed to help block sniper fire.” That wall appears to have been at least somewhat successful.
A much better example from Israel is its southern wall along the Israel-Egypt border. Israel had little to no problem with terrorists coming from Egypt. The problem there was the same as here; illegal immigration. Between 2010 and 2012, 55,000 illegal immigrants entered Israel, but after the 143-mile wall was built, illegal immigration was cut by 99 percent. Even the left-leaning PolitiFact acknowledged this.
A border wall also worked in Hungary and cut illegal immigration down by 99 percent. The Harvard International Review further found that Egypt’s border wall with Gaza and Spain’s fence in Morocco have been successful. Indeed, if a wall is a “monument to racism,” the rest of the world has a lot to answer for. USA Today points out that “there are at least 77 walls or fences around the world.”
But why look abroad? As 2009 Chuck Schumer helpfully observed, we already have a fence (not a racist wall) that covers 680-miles of our border. Most observers believe this fence has been effective where it exists (including Jim Acosta, if inadvertently). As Paul Sperry notes, the “two-story corrugated metal fence” between El Paso and Juarez reduced illegal crossings “by more than 89 percent over the five-year period during which the controversial new fence was built.”
So, you can argue a wall is immoral or racist or too expensive or would do environmental harm or whatever. The one thing you can’t argue, however, is that a wall wouldn’t work.