2005 November 08 Tuesday
60% Of Americans Want Barrier On Mexican Border

A Rasmussen poll demonstrates yet again how far out of sync the elites are with the masses on immigration.

November 7, 2005--Seventy-five percent (75%) of Americans say that immigration issue are somewhat or very important in terms of how they will vote for President and Congress on Election Day. That includes 46% who consider the issue "very important."

Sixty percent (60%) of Americans say they favor building a barrier along the border between the United States and Mexico to help reduce illegal immigration. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 26% are opposed to this approach.

Forty-nine percent (49%) also favor a proposal that would end "birthright" citizenship to children born of illegal aliens in the United States. Forty-one percent (41%) are opposed.

Under current law, anyone born in the United States is automatically eligible for citizenship. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Americans know that this is currently the law.

Republicans in Congress are considering proposals to end birthright citizenship and to build a barrier along the Mexican border.

26% opposition to a barrier is an incredibly low figure.

Birthright citizenship is already not available to the children of diplomats born in the United States. If Congress repealed birthright citizenship would the Supreme Court uphold the law? The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution says All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." But note the "subject to the jurisidiction thereof". What exactly is meant by "jurisdiction"? How does it apply to illegal aliens?

The interpretation of the 14th amendment is now actively debated with some in Congress in favor of a more narrow interpretation.

"I'm inclined to think the Constitution requires a broad birthright citizenship rule," said David A. Martin, a law professor at the University of Virginia. "The language says people 'subject to the jurisdiction' -- certainly for all kinds of purposes we do assert these children are subject to our jurisdiction."

But Republicans are beginning to challenge that, saying someone in the United States illegally might not meet the meaning of "subject to the jurisdiction." A 1985 book by Peter Schuck and Rogers Smith said a change in statute might be enough.

A border barrier modelled after Israel's West Bank barrier would cost less than $10 billion. The barrier would pay itself back many times over in reduced medical subsidies, reduced crime, reduced pollution, lower housing costs, and many other benefits.

Highway sound barrier walls show that large scale construction of a barrier could use well established and scalable technology.

The Federal Highway Administration says most highway sound barriers are constructed of concrete or masonry block, range from 3-5 meters [9-16 feet] in height, and cost between $175 and $200 a square meter.

According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, there are "more than 2,630 linear miles of sound barriers" along U.S. highways, constructed at a cost of some $1.4 billion.

By comparison, the Pentagon is spending about $3.9 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, not counting rebuilding costs, the Associated Press has reported.

A barrier will reduce the number of people who try to cross. But even with a very forbidding barrier some will try to cross anyway. A barrier would need to have more depth than a single wall or fence in order to slow crossing attempts. One objective of a barrier is to have sensors that report the presence of people in a barrier area so that Border Patrol can arrive and apprehend people before they move through a barrier. The barrier needs to take enough time to cross that the Border Patrol will be able to get to a section before crossers can move very far.

The combination of a very tall wall with lots of barbed wire and some fence layers running parallel to it could intimidate most would-be crossers and also slow up most actual crossers enough to make crossing a fairly rare event. Israel's partially completed West Bank barrier has already greatly reduce Palestinian terrorist attacks into Israel. So barriers can work.

The folks at WeNeedAFence.com point out that the cost of a fence is chump change compared to the cost of a few weapons.

A 2,000 mile state-of-the-art border fence has been estimated to cost between four and eight billion dollars. That is roughly equivalent to four B-2 bombers or Virginia class submarines.

Thanks to crush41 for the heads-up.

Update: US House of Representatives member Duncan Hunter has introduced a bill that will create a barrier zone on the full length of the US-Mexico border.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, planned to announce legislation Thursday to create a two-layer reinforced fence with lighting and sensors from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, a 100-yard border zone to the north of the barriers, and 25 new ports of entry.

Note that Hunter, as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is inside the House leadership and also has national security credentials. California Republican Ed Royce, chairman of a House terrorism subcommittee, also has signed on to support this bill. So the bill is getting backing from House members who are concerned with national security.

Hunter's bill has many other measured aimed at removing and preventing the entrance of illegal aliens.

The proposal would also increase penalties on employers who hire undocumented workers, step up deportation of illegal immigrants already in the United States and deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal entrants, among a host of enforcement measures.

The Bush Administration predictably opposes the measure.

"Certainly, building a wall across the entire border wouldn’t be the right thing to do," said Jarrod Agen, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "You want the right mix of infrastructure and detection technology so you can spot things and know where to deploy your agents."

But Hunter said extra technology offers nothing to impede border crossings, or at least delay them long enough for federal agents to arrive and make arrests. Hunter has proposed funding for two 15-foot barriers, separated by 50 yards of open space with a road for border agents. The design would allow for a third fence later, he said.

Very importantly the bill would authorize local police to enforce federal immigration law.

The measure, introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is a virtual kitchen sink of immigration proposals. It includes provisions ranging from the fence to workplace enforcement to giving local police authority to enforce immigration laws to scaling back the ability of immigrant families to be reunited.

Local police encounter illegal aliens every day throughout the country and could rapidly apprehend large numbers of illegals.

Immigration is a hot topic. A bunch of other immigration bills are about to be introduced.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over immigration policy, is expected to introduce a bill as early as Friday. His measure will focus on making it easier to deport criminal illegal immigrants and closing legal loopholes.

The millionaires in the US Senate tend to more strongly take the side of employers who want cheap labor. So House bills that tighten immigration enforcement face major obstacles in both the Senate and the White House. But the wind is definitely blowing toward the direction of tighter immigration enforcement and the House is much closer to the sentiment of the people than are the Senate or President Bush.

Note: If you want to watch what Congresscritters are trying to do about immigration (whether to increase or decrease it) check out the NumbersUSA web page for Proposed Immigration Bills.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 November 08 10:11 AM  Immigration Border Barrier

Venomous said at November 8, 2005 10:23 AM:

I'm pretty sure the US Supreme Court has made rulings several times in the late 19th Century and early 20th about how the 14th Amendment's "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" wording applies to American citizenship law.

daveg said at November 8, 2005 10:34 AM:

The court will show some respect to a congressional law presents it's own intepretation of the constitution.

It will be an insteresting case, however.

crush41 said at November 8, 2005 1:29 PM:

The poll also demonstrates how out of sync the Bush administration is with its base. Responding to Congressman Duncan Hunter's (R-CA) proposal to build a fence, Chertoff said:

"Let me be clear: We will not build a giant wall across our border."

Republicans surveyed went 56% on ending birthright vs 51% for unaffiliated and 40% for Dems. The report didn't give the political breakdown on the barrier, but using the same proportions, that comes to just under 70% of Republicans favoring the idea.

Faux conservative indeed.

FriendlyFire said at November 8, 2005 3:43 PM:

Wouldnt it be cheaper to have say dozens of unmaned drones equiped with infa red devices partroling the boarder. IIRC each cost 2million each

They can be equiped with non-lethal sonic devices which project sound at over 150 decibeles and can be increased if nesscary.

The advantage of this once fully developed would be thoses could also be deployed by the coast guard, and be move around as needed.

silchiuk said at November 9, 2005 4:29 AM:

This is not being about what is cheaper. Is cheaper to do nothing. This is being about slowing down influx of nonculturated newcomers. Slow down influx so is more time to asimulate. So building a wall maybe not giant wall but wall, Chertof, and fly somme unman drones too.

Engineer-Poet said at November 9, 2005 8:54 AM:

silchiuk, your posts are barely intelligible due to bad spelling and grammar.  Spelling is easy to fix; please use a spell-checker so that you are at least using the words you meant to use.

Sal said at November 9, 2005 11:19 AM:

" unmaned drones" strategy is something a nerd would come up with. The beauty of the wall is when the ruling elites fail to do their duty to protect the sovereignty of the United States there is visual proof of the dereliction of duty.

mookey said at November 9, 2005 12:50 PM:

I understood what silchiuk said. Go easy on him, he might not be a native english speaker.

crush41 said at November 9, 2005 2:29 PM:

Hunter said on O'Reilly's show yesterday that the double-layered fence stopped immigration cold in the areas of San Diego county where it was built. The plan had initially been to make it three layers deep, but it became apparent that two would suffice. If this is the case, it substantially lowers the estimates for a barrier along the entire border. Of course, with only portions fenced off, it makes sense for the coyotes to jaunt east or west to circumvent the barrier--two layers might not be effective enough if a concerted effort was made to get over or cut through them.

Randall Parker said at November 9, 2005 2:45 PM:


That's the open question in my mind: How formidable will the barrier have to be? 2 layers? 3? Just fencing with sensors and barbed wire? Or a wall as well? How high of a wall?

But even if the barrier has to include a wall and it has to be 5 meters high we can afford that. Think about the wall part using high figures:

- $200 per square meter.

- 5 meters high.

- So $1000 per meter in ground length.

- Or $1 million per kilometer.

2000 miles (actually 1950 but lets take the high figure) is 3218 kilometers.

- So $3.218 billion for a 5 meter (about 16 feet) wall that runs 2000 miles.

That's just the wall part of it.

FriendlyFire said at November 9, 2005 2:57 PM:

" unmaned drones" strategy is something a nerd would come up with. The beauty of the wall is when the ruling elites fail to do their duty to protect the sovereignty of the United States there is visual proof of the dereliction of duty.

awww that hurts
Building and maintaining such a massive wall seems inpractical and seems excessive considering the problem. You goal is to stop illegal immigration, not to shut down the entire border area. You can begain by building small sections of wall and having the will and knowledge to protect and maintain them. As previous fences have proven useless as in-numeravle holes have been punched through. Then you can follow that up by deteining illegals for several weeks during which time minimal food and water are provided. weakening them that they cannot possibly reattempt another crossing.

You need poltical will + penalties for deterant + wall / drones as a physical barrier.
In all likely hood once a few steps are taken then illegals crossing the boarder will get the message and completeing the wall will be uncessary

Randall Parker said at November 9, 2005 3:12 PM:


What is impractical about the wall? As I show in my previous comment the cost would be $3.218 billion for a 15 meter high wall. There'd be little maintenance. The wall would be like the sound deadening walls that get built along freeways. They last a long time.

FriendlyFire said at November 9, 2005 3:21 PM:

That's the open question in my mind: How formidable will the barrier have to be? 2 layers? 3? Just fencing with sensors and barbed wire? Or a wall as well? How high of a wall?

Just look at the cost of the Isrealie built wall for some figures.
The wall is built to different specifications for certain parts and is designed to lock down the entire area. The wall is unlike the one you have envisioned

It has a High 8M conceret barrier, a road running parraell in order to mount patrols, Hight bardwired chain linked fene(s), sand pits in front to monitor attempts to cross it. (To prevent IED being planted on the road). Area in front is cleared for many meters of all cover. Infa red and motion sensors along the entire wall, Manned turrets monitoring the area, as well as housing troops, sniper positions. It is constantely patrolled 24hrs.

In other sections I have not seen this formiddable defence. The wall when it runs through urban areas consist only of the 8M wall and monitoring equipment, with two chain link fences running behind the barrier.

No doubt the building of a wall along the mexico boarder will not be to the extent of the Isrealies

crush41 said at November 9, 2005 4:41 PM:

"No doubt the building of a wall along the mexico boarder will not be to the extent of the Isrealies."

Right. As Randall has alluded to on several occasions, the barrier just has to be formidable enough to create a substantial delay in crossing so that alerted border patrol agents can move in. And as the success rate of crossings decreased, the number of people attempting them would drop as well. A virtuous circle that would steadily cut into the magnitude of the problem and probably decrease the need for border patrol agents in the future. We could have as many as 21,000 agents by 2010 as it stands. The wall seems more cost-effective, in addition to being more effective in purpose, than the hiring of 10,000 more agents.

In practicality the barrier would be a motley thing with simple fence and concerta or barbed wire in some places and sound-barrier style concrete walling in others depending on a whole host of factors. Randall's estimate of $3.218 billion is probably too high. In any case, it's a month or so in Iraq, and it would spur economic activity in the US (probably some illegals building it, too!).

Randall Parker said at November 9, 2005 5:02 PM:


But remember that the amount of money we'd save in costs for health care, education, prisons, etc for illegals and their kids is so much greater per year than the costs of even an expensive barrier.

The $3.218 billion I'm quoting is only for a 5 meter high wall. It does not include concertina wire, sensors, fences, or an access road. But surely for $10 billion we could build something that would make crossings extremely rare and easily caught by Border Patrol.

As for Border Patrol: We need enough agents that there are always agents wtihin driving or helicopter flying range of a detected crossing attempt. To detect the crossing attempts we need a fairly elaborate sensor system. I do not know what that system would cost per mile.

John S Bolton said at November 10, 2005 7:01 PM:

Now compare this to those who say that immigration resriction is impractical. What sort of expenditure would be impractical here; hundreds of billions a year? The amortization of a barrier would be hundreds of millions; a factor of one thousand lower than what would be considered impractical. Net public subsidy of immigrants is now hundreds of billions per year, as per Huddle's estimates, updated to current price levels. This comparison in itself demonstrates that we are up against perfectly wild unreason, and such as would have us believe that we would spend hundreds of billions to save billions or less. Actually we could spend billions to save hundreds of billions per year; than which there is no greater imaginable return to the net taxpayer, for investment in the reduction of aggression upon him.

Jorge D.C. said at November 12, 2005 12:34 AM:

I have argued in this forum in the past that sealing the border will actually increase the chaos on the both sides. Though I have no doubt that sealing the border is doable.

If it had been done in 1985 there would have been increased domestic tranquility at least on the US side. In 1995 there would have been a period of turmoil and then tranquility on the US side I believe. But in 2005 it is too late to do it cleanly. There will be massive social unrest in the American southwest and it won't cool down over time.

Mexican-Americans have responded to poll takers that the southwest USA is actually Mexican territory. Even if Mexican immigration was completely halted the demographic time bomb has been set. The sealing of the border will become a rallying cry for Mex-Ams which will not die down but grow more intense over time. They are on the verge of a complete political takeover of California. They will fight the sealing of the border in perpetuity.

Refusing amnesty, phasing out cheap labor through technology (Australian wineries use no cheap labor), severely penalizing businesses who exploit illegals, aggressively deporting criminals, ending catch-and-release, and triggering a new era of mass self-deportation that lasts a decade or so is the best plan to defuse the situation.

If a border wall is implemented in addition to the above methods then the whole process should be phased in over at least 10 years instead of 2 years. What we're really talking about is massive change (end of Western Union fund transfers, tougher drug deliveries) which will cause the Mexican government/economy to collapse.

If a Sandinista type movement were to gain strength in the resulting domestic chaos in Mexico, we can expect the left-leaning Mexican-American politicians in the American southwest to strongly support it.

Massive white flight from California is just around the corner no matter what. The state has been delivered into the hands of Mexican-American leftists, Aztlan radicals and Brown Berets. Disgusting but true.

Like the browning of cities like Detroit, the browning of states is irreversible in lieu of pandemics or other natural catastrophes that completely reset the table as happened in Nawlins.

Tamika said at November 18, 2005 1:17 PM:

I am in favor of the wall. There has to be a better way to secure the borders, and it looks as if the job is not being done properly, otherwise there would not be as many illegal people in this county than there already is. They need to build a wall with barbed wire, that way not as many people will come accross, except those that don't mind harming themselves.

Larry said at November 27, 2005 7:10 AM:

Building a wall is a great idea. The problem is that no one cares about americans enough to follow through with it. Why do we allow our politicians to do whatever they want instead of what we want? I hope it's not too late to take our country back----but I'm afraid it is!!!

John said at May 9, 2006 1:39 PM:

Building a wall system (anti vehicle ditch, then barbed wire tangle, then fence/wall/bollard, road, secondary fence/wall and anti-vehicle ditch) does NOT require daily or even monthly maintainance, unlike active sensors.

A line of 40 foot bollards (concrete filled steel pipes rammed 20 feet into the ground and topped with concertina wire and lights) spaced 8 inches apart would stop any vehicle and human but would allow critters, wind, and water to pass unimpeded. Used in terrain that is unsuitable for fencing and walls, bollards are absolutely fool proof and don't need much maintainance at all - you can't dig under them very easily and you can't easily cut through them. Once built they'd last for decades with little or no need for repair.

Secondly, a drone or camera does nothing to actually STOP pedestrian traffic. If there's no small army of Border patrol agents to call on to round up a crowd of illegal crossers, nothing happens.

Finally, the beauty of a wall/fence system is that it channels would-be border crossers away from outlying areas towards places were we can maximize our few Border Patrol agents. Rather than open ground anyone can cross, obstacles channel traffic into relatively narrow avenues of approach.

There is a reason why the Statue of Liberty sits BEHIND Ellis Island: LEGAL immigrants to this country were FIRST PROCESSED and then allowed into our country. Liberty presumes a rule of law and self-control, rather than anarchy.

Deryl said at July 21, 2006 11:08 PM:

I am totally in favor of all efforts to end illegal immigration into this country. This includes the construction of a wall. No matter how you try to make the argument against it the only ones who are hurt by this are the illegal immigrants and NOT the LEGAL immigrants who obeyed the law. Enforcing the law is NOT racism no matter how you try to spin it because LEGAL immigration has nothing to do with race. The end result is that America will have finally said "You have financial problems and that’s sad but now you dont get to abuse our generosity anymore."

I want you to keep this in mind if you oppose this wall going up:
YOU are paying for their social security, Medicaid, food stamps, hospital visits, public education, court appointed defense attorneys, incarceration (their stay in jail), and every other public service that ultimately is NOT free for the taxpayers. Speaking of taxpayers a substantial number of them are paid under the table, which means they are NOT PAYING TAXES. … But you still are, in case you forgot.

Also if you’re thinking “what about at wal-mart with the sales tax?” Ok you got me, they pay 5 percent or less same as you but YOU ALSO PAY 23 percent -or more- directly out of your income and yes that especially includes your paychecks every week, biweekly, or monthly, for those of you who punch a clock every week which includes me too.

A tax collection method called the Fairtax act or H.R. 25 (do a google search if you don’t know what those are) would change that inequality from the favor of illegals to the favor of Americans in so many ways. Also it would just be beneficial period but the point of me saying it here is that it would more than provide enough by itself to construct the wall without even having to take into consideration that the wall would “pay for itself” and all of that while actually INCREASING the amount of money you keep in your paycheck every week. (If this interests you www.fairtax.org is a good place to learn about it).

Again I want to reiterate that I totally support building a wall to CONTROL our immigration. Its what is most fair for those who are playing by the rules on BOTH sides of the border.

David T. Bigford said at July 25, 2008 8:08 AM:

WE NEED THESE LAWS TOO.................

1 There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2. All ballots will be in this nation's language.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
3.. All government business will be conducted in our language.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
4. Non-residents will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
5. Non-citizens will NEVER be able to hold political office.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
6 Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs. Any burden will be deported.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
7. Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount at least equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
8. If foreigners come here and buy land... options will be restricted. Certain parcels including waterfront property are reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
9.. Foreigners may have no protests; no demonstrations, no waving of a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies. These will lead to deportation.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
10. If you do come to this country illegally, you will be actively hunted, when caught, sent to jail until your deportation can be arranged. All assets will be taken from you..
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Harsh, you say?.......

The above laws are current immigration laws of MEXICO

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