2008 April 02 Wednesday
High Triple-Layered Wall Keeps Out Illegal Immigrants

Daniel B. Wood of the Christian Science Monitor reports: Where U.S.-Mexico border fence is tall, border crossings fall

In Yuma, Ariz., border patrol agents tout the success of a high triple-and double-layered wall. But such a fence is unlikely to stretch the entire border.

The Bush Administration is trying to prevent construction of a full border barrier. Our current crop of pathetic Presidential candidates also oppose the wishes of the people on imimgration control. Immigration restriction is opposed by our elites.

In those sections of the border barrier where multiple layers of high walls and fences were built fewer illegals manage to cross.

"This wall works," says Mr. Bernacke. "A lot of people have the misconception that it is a waste of time and money, but the numbers of apprehensions show that it works."

The triple-and double-layered fence here in Yuma is the kind of barrier that US lawmakers – and most Americans – imagined when the Secure Fence Act was enacted in 2006.

The law instructed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to secure about one-third of the 1,950-mile border between US and Mexico with 700 miles of double-layered fencing – and additionally through cameras, motion sensors, and other types of barriers – by the end of the year to stem illegal immigration.

Most of the barrier is pretty weak. But the areas with formidable fences see less illegal immigrant traffic.

Bernacke, the patrol agent, says that since the triple fence was finished in October, there has been a 72 percent decline in illegal migrant apprehensions in the 120-mile swath of the US-Mexican border known as the Yuma sector. Eight hundred people used to be apprehended trying to cross the border here every day. Now, agents catch 50 people or fewer daily. The 1.5-mile strip of triple fencing that cuts through suburban San Luis is the most impenetrable, says Bernacke. That's because the three walls are separated here by a 75-yard "no man's land" – a flat, sandy corridor punctuated by pole-topped lighting, cameras, radio systems, and radar units, where unauthorized migrants can be chased down by border agents.

You might think the masses really don't care or prefer millions of illegals to cross into the United States. Nope. The voters want tougher immigration enforcement and think their preferred Presidential candidate agrees with them.

  • Only 34 percent of McCain voters, 42 percent of Clinton voters, and 52 percent of Obama voters correctly identified their candidate as favoring eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements.
  • Of McCain voters, 35 percent mistakenly thought he favored enforcement that would cause illegals to return home, another 10 percent thought he wanted mass deportations, and 21 percent didn’t know his position.
  • Voters often held different positions from the candidate they supported. Only 31 percent of McCain voters had the same immigration position as he does. For Clinton voters, 45 percent shared her position; 61 percent of Obama voters shared his position.

The ignorance of the voters puts limits on how much governance can be improved.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 April 02 09:55 PM  Immigration Border Barrier

Kent Gatewood said at April 4, 2008 8:54 AM:

Curious as the cost per mile of the triple layer barrier. How fast could this be built if it had a priority such as the Alaskan Highway had during WWII?

Ned said at April 4, 2008 10:10 AM:

The cost runs about $3-9 million per mile, depending on whose estimate you believe (Department of Homeland Security or Congressional Budget Office), exclusive of land acquisition and litigation costs. So that would put the total cost in the range of $6-18 billion for the entire border (about 2,000 miles). How long to build? Hard to say. The transcontinental railroad ran for about 1,777 miles, from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Sacramento, California. It was built in around four years, over some fairly difficult terrain, using technology primitive by today's standards. From an engineering point of view, the entire border could be fenced in less than two years. However, if litigation over land acquisition and environmental effects is allowed to delay it, it might take two decades.

Randall Parker said at April 4, 2008 8:23 PM:

Even if we take the high end estimates for border barrier construction we are looking at a cost that is less than two months cost of running the Iraq war.

Randall Parker said at April 4, 2008 9:43 PM:

Oh, and if we really really really wanted to build the border barrier in a hurry we could.

Some people claim we've become incompetent to do complex challenging projects. But we do such projects all the time. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is an amazing accomplishment. So is the Airbus 380. So are a lot of car designs. So are the skyscrapers going up all over the world - many designed by Americans and Europeans.

We have the manufacturing capacity to make the steel, concrete, wire, fences, etc. We have the shipping capacity to move all that material to the border in a relatively short period of time. The task of building the barrier is pretty simple. We have the labor. We have the bulldozers, shovels, ditch diggers, etc. This is not a hard job. We could do it in a year or two at most. With desperation we could do it in months.

Kent Gatewood said at April 5, 2008 11:22 AM:

Thanks the answers.

Edwin S. Rubinstein's article at Vdare quotes Philip J. Romero's analysis where Romero gives $21.2 billion as the median estimate of the cost of illegals to the California state budget in 2005. Lest than one year payout just in Calif's budget to build to the high end.

My preference would be to send the military to the entire border and build the fence fast.

Next work on those who get in legally but don't leave. Of course, the big one, anchor babies, has to be dealt with.

Engineer-Poet said at April 6, 2008 8:22 PM:

Just define children of non-legal residents as not subject to US law (like diplomats) until some age, so they can be deported until then.  I'd prefer to make this indefinite but that would apparently require a Constitutional amendment to fix the bug in the Fourteenth.

beowulf said at April 6, 2008 11:57 PM:

Let's go for the China price! I bet the People's Liberation Army would come in with a very reasonable offer. They just finished building out a border fence along the North Korea frontier so they certainly have the manpower and the experience.

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