Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fencing Off UT

While the border fence seems to live in the right wing alternate universe as an assault on the illegal immigration issue, reasonable people agree it is farcical. The picture I took on the roads near Del Rio, Texas, shows the country of Mexico running along in the distance, a border that goes on and on and on and on.

Recently, The New Republic did a rather comprehensive explication of that odd juxtaposition of the mythical fence and the facts, a rather jaggedy line.

In this political season, immigration is the issue that everyone's taking pains not to discuss. The presidential candidates are merely paying the same lip service to border security. Congress has all but abandoned comprehensive immigration reform, and the Bush administration continues to pile all their immigration-policy eggs in the border-security basket. But that doesn't mean nothing is happening. Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff, in an April trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, made clear his determination that 670 miles of border fence, already under construction in Arizona and California, be completed by the end of the year. The border fence project has faced embarrassments--illegal immigrants employed to build the wall, a "Virtual Fence" project that cannot distinguish humans and vehicles from livestock and bushes--but those setbacks pale in comparison to its fundamental flaws. Below, six simple reasons a fence spanning the U.S.-Mexico border is bad policy:

It doesn't work. Most experts say that physical fencing would not drastically decrease the number of illegal immigrants entering the country. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that as much as 40-50 percent of the U.S.'s unauthorized migrant population entered the country through legal ports of entry, either with nonimmigrant visas that subsequently expired (known as "overstayers") or by using a Border Crossing Card that allows for short visits to the border region. A fence spanning the border would not prevent their entry to the country.

Of course, there are five other reasons in the article, but the primary one really makes the others extraneous. Of course, I recommend you read them all, if you have the time.

Today the DHS was ordered to get its act together, and re-do the proposed fence location which would cut across the campus of UT Brownsville - yes, you read right. Among many other idiotic lines drawn for the proposed fence is one to cut a campus into sections - to keep the illeguls from crossing it? Right.

A federal judge ordered a Texas university and the government Monday to continue meeting in search of alternatives to building a border fence across campus.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said the government had not complied with his March order to work with the University of Texas at Brownsville to come up with a better plan than the one that puts more than a quarter of the school's acreage – including the golf course – behind the U.S.-Mexico border fence.

Judge Hanen's order dealt the Department of Homeland Security a rare setback in its rush to meet a congressional deadline to have 670 miles of fencing built along the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of the year.

In documents filed with the court before Monday's hearing, the government said it had concluded that the fence through the campus was the only viable alternative and indicated that it could file a condemnation lawsuit against the university as early as today.

Judge Hanen told both sides to get the necessary expertise and authority in the same room to come up with a solution.

"It's important enough for the security of the country and important enough to the integrity of the college to try to do this," Judge Hanen said.

They are scheduled to report back to the judge by July 31.

The irrational solution to the irrational order to fence the border is fitting, in a way. The mad hatters are having a tea party, and it all is bizarre. Worst of all, this is coming out of taxpayers' money, and diverting funds that could have been very well utilized doing anything rational at all.

203 Days

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A number of years ago (more than I'd like to admit) I was traveling in Europe and, while admiring castles in Wales, was struck with just how thick the walls were. And it occurred to me that they were build primarily to keep people out. Then in Florence I was amazed at the strange walls on one of the Medici palaces - there were no windows on the first level and the walls angled out making it quite difficult for any intruders to scale the walls. Seems that the need to build walls still prevails - are walls still that necessary? Certainly not a solution barriers are not solutions. I thought we might have evolved for the 1100's and the 1500's - perhaps not.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

The concept of a captive work force that didn't have to be compensated with living wage was essential in the middle ages, and the war criminals are trying to bring it back. Those peasants have to be kept in their places. Walls appeal to those who are violating the rights, and the principles, of the folks.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this...um...nevermind."

5:42 AM  

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