Today’s Dallas Morning News includes three opinion columns regarding the 700 mile fence legislation recently passed by Congress. None of the three are complimentary to Congress.
Syndicated talk show host Lynn Woolley discusses the hypocrisy and cynicism of the Congressmen and Senators in passing border fence legislation as a “symbolic gesture,” without funding legislation or any real expectation the fence will actually be built. Woolley says:
By dismissing recent border fence legislation as a “symbolic gesture,” Sen. John Cornyn has accomplished one thing with conservatives: He made us wonder if we can ever trust him again.
The House, Senate and finally President Bush got on board for actually doing something to enforce our leaky, dangerous borders. A bill to build 700 miles of border fence passed by landslide numbers. Even John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for it, as did Mr. Cornyn.
But now Mr. Cornyn tells us it was all for show, that the fence will never be built. He says it’s too expensive and that Congress simply won’t appropriate the money. He says this as if we should have known all along and were playing some little game.
Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman also believes the fence will never be built, and says that if it is built, it will not be effective in preventing illegal immigration from Mexico. According to Chapman:
And what will this lengthy barrier accomplish if and when it is finished? It will certainly prevent transient Mexicans and Central Americans from crossing the border in the places where it stands. But it won’t prevent them from crossing elsewhere, as they did when fences were erected in the San Diego and El Paso areas. Since the government began cracking down in those places, total illegal immigration has actually risen.
Instead of making their way through urban areas, undocumented foreigners have eluded capture by trekking across remote deserts and mountains, paying human smugglers to shepherd them into the United States. Instead of snaring more illegal entrants, we’re now arresting fewer.
A longer, more formidable fence can once again divert illegal immigrants to more dangerous routes and increase the fees charged by smugglers to arrange passage. As long as higher-paying employment beckons to impoverished people on the other side of the border, though, the cost and risk will still look modest next to the potential payoff. The fence can make illegal entry harder, but it won’t make it any less popular.
The third opinion is from Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director of the Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute. Llosa concludes:
Most walls in the history of civilization were walls of necessity to keep enemies or freedom away. This time, it’s a wall of choice. The choice to be seen to be doing something that everyone knows will never work – and may perhaps never actually be completed because, by the time they figure out how to erect the fence across the rugged bluffs and ravines of southern Arizona, Mexico could become a first-world nation and gringos could be flocking to the south!