THE VOICE OF REASON
Border Fence

  ON FENCING THE SOUTHERN BORDER

In an op-ed piece from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, entitled "Obama Can Start Presidency by Tearing Down Border Fence," published December 7, 2008, Mr. Steve Fischer, president of the Aransas Area Bar Association and an elected school board member in Rockport, Texas, presents his thoughts on immigration.  I will comment on the piece, because it represents in microcosm the irrationality and illogic of those who desire open borders with Mexico.

Fischer begins his rant with echoes from former President Ronald Reagan.  The Rockport attorney exclaims, "Tear down those walls, Mr. Obama."  The words demonstrate a painful ignorance of the fact that the border fence was, and is being, erected by the United States government to safeguard the country's southern border.  The purpose of the fence is to keep illegals out of the country, or at least to discourage them from attempting to come here.  The Berlin Wall, to which Ronald Reagan referred on the other hand, was built by an oppressive, authoritarian communist regime.  Its purpose was to keep people from leaving, not from entering.  Mr. Fischer apparently fails to see or to appreciate the difference.

He contends that "[t]his fence will not stop Mexicans coming into our country, because where there's a will there's usually a way."  As I ponder this sentence, I wonder how far we can apply its haphazard logic.  Might the sentence imply, for example, that a fence surrounding the compound of a penitentiary gives the outside community no protection from convicted thieves and murderers who wish to enter the community at large?  After all, "where there's a will there's usually a way."  Does it mean that a fence surrounding a "gated community" is a misguided notion offering no protection to its inhabitants?  Hardly!  The fact of the matter is that a fence constitutes an enormous deterrent.  If Fischer does not believe this, I would invite him to examine the statistics for illegal entry into San Diego, California, where the erection of a fence has proved to be of vital importance in protecting the border there. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, apprehensions have declined from 202,173 (Imperial Beach Station along the San Diego border) in 1992 to just 9,112 in 2005 after construction of fencing was accelerated as part of Operation Gatekeeper in 1993. Crime is down on both sides of the San Diego border, and the environment is beginning to recover from the number of people who cross the area.

Fischer further asserts that the fence "mars the border's natural beauty."  One might make the same argument about utility lines and sewer plants. They mar the natural landscape too. The primary question is not whether a thing is beautiful, but whether it is necessary. If Fischer is concerned about the beauty of the landscape, I would suggest that he become active in zoning issues, and that he raise consciousness concerning tawdry billboards dotting the highways of this country, as well as the nasty practice of public littering.  Criticizing a fence erected to secure a country's borders, especially during a war against terror, for the reason that the construction is not comely suggests grossly misplaced priorities.

There is another aspect of his "natural beauty" argument that deserves attention.  This concerns who is rightfully responsible for placement of the border fence.  If a maximum security prison – an admittedly harsh and unwelcoming fortress of concrete and steel surrounded by a barricade with razor-sharp barbed wire atop of it – is built in a bucolic setting, whom does one ultimately hold responsible for this?  Citizens who want protection from criminals?  Not hardly!  A national government that acts to protect its citizens?  No, again!  The buck stops squarely with the criminals who render the construction necessary.

In a similar fashion, we should certainly not derogate the United States government and proponents of border security for the fence.  We should direct our animus instead toward Mexico, with its retrograde social and political structure the corruption of which is legendary.  My intention is not to wink at the owners of businesses on this side of the border who desire to exploit an unending surplus of cheap Mexican labor in order to pad their company coffers.  These business owners are also complicit in illegal immigration, and they too should be held accountable for it.

Most significantly perhaps, Fischer appears to discount the gravity of the problems the fence addresses.  He maintains that "obesity, cigarette smoking, and the War in Iraq, will over time, cost us far more" than illegal Mexican immigration. As one might expect from a factually impoverished and logically anemic argument, Fischer finally accuses his opponents of incorporating "a racist, xenophobic element" in their concern.  He has obviously not bothered reading the literature on immigration.  I would recommend to him Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation, Victor Davis Hanson's Mexifornia, and Lawrence Auster's The Path to National Suicide.  After these, Fischer might have a look at my own book, America Unraveling, about the demise of the nation's culture.  Immigration is a major factor contributing to the fragmenting of America, and if it is not severely curtailed America as we have known it for almost 400 years will be destroyed.

Fischer cites checkered paragons of morality, like former Mexican President Vicente Fox and current President Felipe Calderon to bolster his argument that the border fence is "shameful."  Perhaps this attorney from Rockport ought to examine the immigration laws and practices of Mexico before he acquiesces in the opinions of Fox or Calderon.  Mexico literally hunts down illegal immigrants, who are there mainly from Central America. They are deported, without any right to appeal. Not much due process.  Foreign residents are discouraged from becoming Mexican citizens too, although natives of Spain and Latin America receive special consideration in that process.  I wonder why.  Might it have something to do with the language they speak and their easy assimilation to Mexican culture?  Hmmmm. 

The border fence is a far cry from a "wasteful government project."  Nor should it be scrapped. We must see it through to the finish and safeguard homeland security, protecting our borders, our language, and our culture.  If Mr. Obama fails to support these imperatives, his name will live in infamy long after there is an America.

December 10, 2008