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.
The ignorance of the voters puts limits on how much governance can be improved.
The incoming Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says his top priorities would be ensuring that all cargo containers are scanned before arriving at U.S. seaports, increasing funding and security for rail and mass transit systems, passing an authorization bill for the Homeland Security Department, and possibly reversing legislation that calls for building a 700-mile fence along the border with Mexico.
"It's a good time to be a Democrat," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the committee who is poised to take over the helm when the new Congress convenes in January.
Bennie wants to shaft the American people and he's obviously happy that the Iraq debacle has given him the opportunity to do this.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, told reporters this week that he expected to "revisit" the issue when he becomes chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in the 110th Congress.
Mr. Thompson said the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) new border enforcement program, known as the Secure Border Initiative or SBI Net -- which includes monitors, cameras and other integrated surveillance systems -- is a viable alternative to fencing.
"We might do away with it, or look at [integrating it into] SBI Net," he said. "A virtual fence rather than a real one."
A physical barrier of multiple layers combined with electronic sensors would combine the strengths of both approaches and work better. But most Democats in the House Of Representatives do not want effective border control.
But shortly before recessing late Friday, the House and Senate gave the Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of projects -- not just the physical barrier along the southern border. The funds may also be spent on roads, technology and "tactical infrastructure" to support the Department of Homeland Security's preferred option of a "virtual fence."
What's more, in a late-night concession to win over wavering Republicans, GOP congressional leaders pledged in writing that Native American tribes, members of Congress, governors and local leaders would get a say in "the exact placement" of any structure, and that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff would have the flexibility to use alternatives "when fencing is ineffective or impractical."
The loopholes leave the Bush administration with authority to decide where, when and how long a fence will be built, except for small stretches east of San Diego and in western Arizona. Homeland Security officials have proposed a fence half as long, lawmakers said.
"It's one thing to authorize. It's another thing to actually appropriate the money and do it," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.).
Our biggest problem in getting a fence built is that Republicans may lose control of the House of Representatives.
They think we are not paying much attention.
In this case, it also reflects political calculations by GOP strategists that voters do not mind the details, and that key players -- including the administration, local leaders and the Mexican government -- oppose a fence-only approach, analysts said.
I think we can keep the pressure on and get a fence built along the entire 1951 mile length of the border. People are not suddenly going to become less angry about illegal immigration. I expect the opposite in fact. Public demands for a cutback in immigration will continue to grow. The elites have failed to persuade the public to go along with their replacement by a new population.
We can not afford any complacency. Our elites will do our bidding against their own desires only if we keep on the pressure and even increase it.
Security in Iraq has collapsed so dramatically that Saudi Arabia has ordered the construction of a 550-mile high-tech fence to seal off its troubled northern neighbour.
The huge project to build the barrier, which will be equipped with ultraviolet night-vision cameras, buried sensor cables and thousands of miles of barbed wire, will snake across the vast and remote desert frontier between the countries.
The diagram associated with the article shows a pair of fences running in parallel 100 yards apart. It also includes barbed wire at the top of each fence and a shorter pyramid fence with a large amount of barbed wire running inside between the two higher fences. Plus, it has an access road and a sand berm.
Nawaf Obaid, the director of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, says the Saudis see Iraq as out of control.
"But the feeling in Saudi is that Iraq is way out of control with no possibility of stability. The urgency now is to get that border sealed: physically sealed."
Most of Saudi Arabia's oil lies in a province which has a Shia majority. Those Shias are Saudi Arabia's biggest potential security threat.
Saudi officials are worried about so-called "blowback", in which Saudi insurgents in Iraq bring jihad back to the streets of Riyadh and Jeddah. But they are mostly concerned that an Iraqi civil war will send a wave of refugees south, unsettling the kingdom's Shia minority in its oil-producing east.
The Saudis expect to be done by early summer 2008.
Analysts said that even taking into account delays and disputes that usually accompany such valuable military contracts, the fence was on course to be finished by the early summer of 2008. The total cost is expected to reach at least £300 million,
300 million pounds works out to 561 million US dollars. So the Saudis expect to spend at least $1 million per mile. But they could easily end up spending two or three times that amount.
Other articles put the border length at 560 miles or 900 kilometers. So the Saudis might be using a rough estimate of $1 million USD per mile. They haven't gone through a bidding process and so do not know what the bids will come out to. Even at $50 per barrel the cost represents less than 2 days of Saudi oil revenues.
The fence would do little to stop the flow of militants into Iraq because most are believed to cross from Syria, Jordan and Iran. U.S. and Iraqi officials have long complained about Saudi extremists joining insurgent groups in Iraq, but say they mostly go through Syria.
Suggestion for the Saudis: Pay to construct a barrier along the Jordan-Iraq border to provide since that border could get used by Iraqis to skirt around your fence.
The United Arab Emirates is building a similar wall along its border with Oman -- mainly to keep out illegal migrants.
Good fences make good neighbors.
The American people just won an important battle for better border enforcement. I have been watching the live C-SPAN broadcast of the US Senate vote on the 700 mile 2 layer border fence bill (HR 6061 Secure Fence Act) that the US House of Representatives already passed with an overwhelming 283-138. Debbie Stabanow voted for it. Byron Dorgan (D ND) was among the Democrats who voted for it. Some other Ayes: Shelby, Graham, McCain, Baucus, Wyden, Murkowski, Nelson of Nebraska, Roberts, Elizabeth Dole, Lott, Hatch, Mary Landrieu (D LA), Rockefeller (D WV), Richard Lugar, Mary Hutchison, Tom Harkin, Santorum (R PA), Specter (R PA), Sam Brownback, Dianne Feinstein (D CA). Warner, Voinovich, Chuck Hagel, Byrd (D WV), Lincoln, Martinez, Barack Obama, Biden, Olympia Snowe, Hillary Clinton (D NY), Chuck Schumer (D NY), George Allen (R VA), Cole, Bill Frist, and Thad Cochran. Not surprisingly Lieberman voted no. Other nos: Kerry, Sarbannes, Chafee, Levin, Lautenberg, Akaka. I tuned in late and missed some names.
Lots of those 80 Ayes voted earlier this year for the massive amnesty and temporary worker program, the Senate bill CIRA S.2611. That bill passed the Senate by 62-36. Senator Jeff Sessions (R AL) revealed many of the flaws of that bill. House members heard such overwhelming demands from their constituents for tougher immigration and border policies that the House leadership refused to consider reconciling the House strong immigration law enforcement bill HR 4437 bill with the Senate amnesty. HR 6061 appears to be a subset of HR 4437 but a very valuable subset. We bypassed the vast bulk of the Open Borders Senate bill and got a strong enforcement bill instead.
Bush has indicated he will sign this border fence and immigration law enforcement bill. So it looks like we are going to get a border barrier for over a third of the 1951 mile US border with Mexico.
We still need another 1200 miles of barriers and more equipment for catching illegal crossers. We also need more interior enforcement of immigration laws. But we are headed in the right direction.
A note to my regular pessimistic commenters on immigration (and you know who you are): Our cause is far from lost. 80-19 is an amazing vote in the US Senate. Popular anger works. It just has to build really high before it breaks through the influence of the treasonous special interests.
Update: The Department of Homeland Security is getting more money for internal immigration law enforcement and to hold "Other Than Mexican" (OTM) illegal border crossers who usually are let go due to lack of facilities to hold them for deportation.
The $33.7-billion spending bill also significantly boosts funding for border security and enforcement of immigration laws at work sites and elsewhere.
The bill will enable the Department of Homeland Security to hire an additional 1,500 border patrol agents and buy 6,700 more beds at detention centers for illegal immigrants. In the past, the lack of enough beds at these facilities has caused authorities to release some of the illegal immigrants they apprehended.
The bill also provides $1.2 billion to pay for border fencing, vehicle barriers and improved sensor equipment at border crossings.
It is surprising to find out what is not yet illegal. The spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security criminalizes tunnels for illegal border crossings.
The broad spending bill also criminalizes the construction of tunnels that could be secret passageways from Mexico or Canada for drug smugglers, illegal aliens or terrorists.
The fence will be a reinforced physical barrier in some areas, while other areas will be secured solely by powerful lighting, sensors, and cameras. When completed, the border fence would include a 20-mile patch around Tecate, Calif., segments of the Mexico-California border, nearly all of Arizona's southern border, the area between Columbus, N.M ., and El Paso, and two other stretches of southern Texas.
The Israelis do something similar. They build high concrete walls along some border sections of the West Bank. The concrete walls prevent snipers from shooting into more populated areas.
Boeing has won an over $2 billon dollar contract to build towers along both the southern and northern US borders to detect illegal crossers.
Aerospace and defense giant Boeing Co. has won a multibillion-dollar contract to revamp how the United States guards about 6,000 miles of border in an attempt to curb illegal immigration, congressional sources said yesterday.
Boeing's proposal relied heavily on a network of 1,800 towers, most of which would need to be erected along the borders with Mexico and Canada. Each tower would be equipped with a variety of sensors, including cameras and heat and motion detectors.
The contract, part of the Secure Border Initiative and known as SBInet, will again test the ability of technology to solve a problem that lawmakers have called a critical national security concern.
This will help. But we still need a barrier layer built along the entire length of the US border with Mexico.
They also must acknowledge that as much as half of the illegal-immigration problem is driven by the hiring of people who enter the United States through official border points but use fraudulent documents or overstay visas to become part of the estimated population of 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, former immigration officials and members of Congress said.
We need real immigration law enforcement at the borders, in the interior, at workplaces, and at legal points of entry.
The track record of existing border sensor systems is abysmal.
The Department of Homeland Security and the former Immigration and Naturalization Service spent $429 million since 1998 on video and remote surveillance on the borders. But nearly half of 489 planned cameras were never installed, 60 percent of sensor alerts are never investigated, 90 percent of the rest are false alarms, and only 1 percent overall resulted in arrests, the Homeland Security inspector general reported in December.
This is why we should build a wall with barbed wire and supporting fences and ditches along the entire border. Rather than try to detect illegal crossers make it so hard to cross they do not try to do so in the first place. Also, for those who do try make the barrier zone so formidable that they trigger multiple sensors and have to spend a lot of time crossing. That'll give Border Patrol agents time to get to a crossing point before the crossers succeed.
More advanced sensor systems could greatly reduce the number of false alarms. The use of video cameras tied to image processing software strikes me as the best longer term sensor solution. Image processor tentative matches on humans could get routed to human operators to view the images to check whether real human crossers were detected.
The House of Representatives has passed a bill to build a barrier along over a third of the US border with Mexico. The Senate might be close to passing a similar bill and President Bush will sign it if it passes.
Recently House Republicans revived the an enforcement-only approach to immigration with about a third of the House Democrats joining them to support 700 miles of border barrier on the US-Mexico border. This has put anti-borders pro-cheap immigrant labor Senators in a difficult spot. The US Senate has taken up the House proposal and may just pass it before the November 2006 elections.
The Senate continues debate today on a bill to construct 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexican border. The House passed the bill last week. Today in the House, lawmakers will consider three measures to increase penalties on illegal immigrants and speed deportations.
Some Republicans expressed concern that passing the border enforcement bills now will slow momentum for broader immigration legislation, which the Senate passed in May. The House passed a bill emphasizing border security in December. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, who favors expanding opportunities for foreign agricultural workers, said crops are rotting in the field "because we in Congress haven't gotten our act together."
The phrase "broader immigration legislation" is code for an immigration amnesty and relaxation of enforcement that would gut any efforts to stop the Hispanic immigrant deluge. The crops are not going to rot in the field. If we do not have enough food the prices will rise slightly and that will increase supply. But of course the supermarkets are very well stocked and food prices haven't soared. Senator Craig is lying.
Faced with the need to satisfy voters the Democrats (and not a few cheap labor Republicans) are having a hard time finding a way to vote the way they want to vote.
For Democrats, the legislation presents a political dilemma. They must either support legislation that many consider inadequate or cast a vote that could be portrayed during fall campaigns as anti-border security. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the deputy Democratic leader, said his party members haven't decided how they will vote on the border fence bill. "We'll wait and see how this unfolds."
Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Democrats would try to force another vote on the broader Senate bill, which passed 62-36 in May, though he said Democrats expect Frist to use parliamentary tactics to block the move.
The narrower bill sets a May 2008 deadline for building the first 361 miles (581 kilometers) of fencing — along the border between California, and Arizona — and also requires 30 miles (50 kilometers) of fencing along the Laredo, Texas, border crossing.
This bill will cover over a third of the border. That'll free up Border Patrol officers to concentrate on the remaining areas. We need to keep pressure on Congress to extend the barrier along the entire US-Mexico border.
Republican politicians who want immigration amnesty and a guest worker program feel pressured by constituents into supporting more border barriers. George W. Bush says he'll sign a fence-only bill if Congress passes it.
Bush, in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, said he would sign a fencebuilding bill as part of efforts to strengthen the border. But he added, “I would view this as an interim step. I don't view this as the final product. And I will keep urging people to have a comprehensive reform.”
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said, “While I've made it clear that I prefer a comprehensive solution, I have always said we need an enforcement-first approach to immigration reform.”
The immigration restrictionist cause is gaining ground. Washington DC politicians are being forced to do what they do not want to do. Popular anger is being felt inside the beltway. Radio talk shows, blogs, other web sites, the Minutemen, and a few restrictionist TV commentatorys such as Lou Dobbs on CNN have together helped push the immigration debate far from where the elites want it to go. We are winning.
If Northrop Grumman Corp. gets the multibillion-dollar contract to secure America's borders, the sky above the Rio Grande would be thick with drones.
Cellphone maker Ericsson Inc. thinks drones are largely a waste and would focus instead on giving Border Patrol agents wireless devices capable of receiving live video.
Boeing Co. would build high-tech towers, lining the borders with 1,800 of them.
For Lockheed Martin Corp., blimps are a big part of the solution. And for Raytheon Co., the key is letting agents watch incidents unfold on Google Earth.
Political support for better border control is going to make crossing increasingly harder every year going forward. Sensors and computers will become cheaper. More wall sections will get built. But we could do all this sooner, faster, and more extensively.
One big question is where to put the sensors.
All companies, for instance, offer an array of sensors, including infrared, motion and seismic. But they are divided over where to place them -- whether to bury them, mount them on towers, or send them airborne attached to planes, helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles.
I think we should build a full multi-layer border barrier of fences, ditches, barbed wire, and walls for about $6 billion to $8 billion. Then the sensors could add an extra layer of protection to detect anyone who is trying to cross through the layers. The barrier would slow down the crossers long enough for the Border Patrol agents to reach a spot while illegal crossers are still in the barrier area.
The Senate did an abrupt about-face yesterday, voting overwhelmingly to begin paying for 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, just three weeks after voting against the same spending.
The amendment's sponsor said senators were so embarrassed by that July 13 vote that most felt they had to reverse course and vote for it this time -- especially after so many were on record in May voting to build the fence in the first place. The amendment, which provides nearly $2 billion for the project, passed 94-3, with 66 senators switching from "no" to "yes" votes since last month.
370 miles is not long enough. A formidable barrier should get built along the entire length of the US-Mexican border. It will pay for itself by cutting back on the influx of people who cost us far more than they pay in taxes.
The New York Times reports some Mexicans think a border barrier would force the Mexican government to reform how it governs Mexico.
Outside his government, several immigration experts have even begun floating the idea that real walls, not the porous ones that stand today, could be more an opportunity than an attack.
A wall could dissuade illegal immigrants from their perilous journeys across the Sonora Desert and force societies on both sides to confront their dependence on an industry characterized by exploitation, they say.
The old blame game — in which Mexico attributed illegal migration to the voracious American demand for labor and accused lawmakers of xenophobia — has given way to a far more soul-searching discussion, at least in quarters where policies are made and influenced, about how little Mexico has done to try to keep its people home.
"For too long, Mexico has boasted about immigrants leaving, calling them national heroes, instead of describing them as actors in a national tragedy," said Jorge Santibáñez, president of the College of the Northern Border. "And it has boasted about the growth in remittances" — the money immigrants send home — "as an indicator of success, when it is really an indicator of failure."
The massive outflux of Mexicans reduces the incentive of the Mexican government to educate its youth. It expects many it would educate would leave anyway. Also, all the money that Mexicans send home helps to prop up a corrupt political system.
"It's fantastic," said Primitivo Rodríguez, an immigrant activist in Mexico, when asked about plans to build walls. "It's the best thing that could happen for migrants, and for Mexico."
Mr. Rodríguez, who has served as an adviser to the Mexican government and an organizer in the United States for the American Friends Service Committee, said the porous border had for years been an important safety valve of stability for Mexico's economy, allowing elected officials to avoid creating jobs and even taking legal measures to stop the migration of an estimated 500,000 or more Mexicans a year.
Discontent that might generate demands for change instead gets translated into flight north. The Mexican government collects less than half as much taxes as a percentage of GDP as the United States does. The rich cheat on their taxes. We pay more so that they can pay less. El Presidente Jorge W. Bush likes it this way. Do you?
The measure calling for an additional 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers carried by 83 to 16. Since the House of Representatives has already approved some 700 miles of additional fencing, it is likely that whatever immigration legislation emerges from the full Congress will provide for extra barriers. The Senate fence measure was embodied in an amendment offered by Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who borrowed from the poet Robert Frost. "Good fences make good neighbors," he said. "Fences don't make bad neighbors."
The fence would be built in areas "most often used by smugglers and illegal aliens," as determined by federal officials. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., estimated the cost at roughly $3.2 million per mile, more than $900 million for 300 miles.
At that cost we could build a barrier fence along the entire US-Mexico border for about $6.2 billion dollars.
By comparison the private Minuteman border defense group thinks it can build its fence design for below $150 per foot. At 5280 feet per mile that works out to $792,000 per mile, about a quarter of the cost per mile for the federal project.
(PHOENIX, AZ) May 15, 2006 – News reports detailing President Bush’s gesture to “consider” sending the National Guard to the southern frontier reveal the plan to be nothing more than a political ploy. White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on Sunday news shows explained the administration’s plan: "It's about assisting the civilian Border Patrol in doing their job, providing intelligence, providing support, logistics support and training and these sorts of things.”
Chris Simcox, President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps released the following statement:
“Sending unarmed troops to assist the Border Patrol with logistics consisting of paper-pushing and vehicle maintenance is exactly what Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has done as a vacant political scheme during an election year. President Bush’s political maneuver will do nothing more than place career desk jockeys and support personnel in a very dangerous environment—and will greatly anger the American people. We do not take lightly those who try to take us for fools.
“President Bush must not continue to sacrifice America’s national security and public safety to demands by our ‘good friend and partner’ Vicente Fox, whose corrupt officials are in the pockets of international crime syndicates. We need U.S. troops on the ground now, actually standing guard over our embattled border. We have enough ‘intelligence’ already to know that the Mexican government is facilitating drug and human trafficking into this country and encouraging the hemisphere’s poor, by the millions, to pay not just coyotes, but Mexican police, military and bureaucrats, to sneak into this country illegally and send $50 billion per year back to Mexico.
“The perilous state of our national borders is well documented: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has admitted the federal government does not have operational control of our borders; border sheriffs have testified that international criminal cartels have turned their territory into a virtual war zone; border governors have declared states of emergency and deployed resources to protect their states and Border Patrol agents have said repeatedly they are undermanned, under-equipped and outgunned. To send unarmed troops to the border in a support role is a travesty—a gross dereliction of duty.
“Among various other excuses, the Bush administration will claim that the Posse Comitatus Act does not allow for troops at the border for ‘law enforcement’ purposes’—which might be relevant if the crisis before America were merely one of LAW ENFORCEMENT, rather than NATIONAL SECURITY. America is at war abroad, she is in peril at home with her own frontiers being breached by a flood of unidentified aliens entering illegally and clandestinely, and President Bush need only sign an Executive Order to begin the long overdue federal action to respond competently to the national security threat these incursions present to our nation.
“Instead he proposes to perhaps send some National Guard mechanics, to help patch up the holes shot in our Border Patrol jeeps by the Mexican Army.
“The Minutemen will continue to stand our posts and monitor activities on the ground until the border is truly and actually secured from foreign invasion.”
A formidable barrier would reduce the number of soldiers or Border Patrolmen needed per mile.
Update: If you want to contact your US Senators to express your displeasure at their plan to deluge the United States with tens of millions of immigrants in the next 20 years then you can find the web sites of each US Senator in this list. Similarly, you can find contact information for your US House Representative here.
CHRIS SIMCOX, PRESIDENT, MINUTEMEN CIVIL DEFENSE CORPS: Yes, we've been contacted by land owners and contractors. This has been in the works for awhile. But basically, I guess at this point, we're going to give the president an ultimatum to declare a state of emergency and deploy the National Guard and military reserves or by the 25th of May or Memorial Day weekend, we're going to break ground and we're going to start helping landowners to build a double layer security fence along their properties, because the federal government refuses to protect them.
(PHOENIX, AZ) April 20, 2006 – Chris Simcox, President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (“MCDC”), today announced plans by the MCDC to work with local Arizona land owners to build border security fencing on private land along the border with Mexico.
At present, six private land owners have partnered with the Minutemen for the commencement of construction of border fencing on their land. Surveillance cameras on the fencing will be monitored via computer by registered Minutemen across the country. We have chosen a fence design that is based on the Israeli fences in Gaza and on the West Bank that have cut terrorist attacks there by 95% or more. In order to be effective, a fence should not be easy to compromise by climbing over it with a ladder, cutting through it with wire cutters, ramming it with a vehicle, or tunneling under it undetected. No fence can be a 100% impenetrable barrier—but a good design will be time-consuming enough to get through that Border Patrol agents can be alerted to get to a point of attempted intrusion before the intrusion can be completed. Our design does this. You can see it at www.WeNeedAFence.com
Two construction companies to date have offered to inaugurate groundbreaking, coordinate volunteer construction crews and donate the use of the necessary heavy construction equipment.
The groundbreaking will begin in Arizona on Memorial Day weekend, unless in the interim President Bush deploys National Guard and reserve troops to immediately secure the out-of-control southern border.
The fencing will be built with privately donated funds, engineering and labor and will be used as an example to educate the public about the feasibility and efficacy of fencing to secure America’s borders from illegal incursion by aliens and international criminal cartels. A non-profit organization dedicated specifically to this purpose will facilitate and administer donations for construction of the fence. Monetary and in-kind contributions for this effort will go directly into building materials for this private, volunteer fencing project.
“President Bush and Congress have taxed the wages of the American people to pay for the protection of our country, and expended those dollars to subsidize millions of low-wage illegal workers with housing, education, medical care, and welfare benefits. Yet even the most basic level of national territorial integrity requires that our elected representatives secure the border. Should they continue to refuse to do their Constitutional duty, the Minutemen will again step into the breach and commence building the required border barriers on private land and with private donations.
“Should President Bush and Congress fail to fulfill their oaths of office, and meet their Constitutional obligation to protect these United States from invasion, we, the sovereign people of the United States, having suffered a long train of abuses at the hand of a willfully insolent government, do hereby declare that these States ought, should and will be protected by American Minutemen.”
They have a lot more there. Click through and read the full statement by Chris Simcox and lots of excellent comments with additional news.
The US national government and state governments own large stretches of the US border with Mexico. Obviously the national government will block attempts to build a privately funded barrier on national land. One of the states (Arizona in particular) might consent to private funding of a border barrier on state land. But the Minutemen already have several ranchers who will support putting a barrier on their land. That should not be surprising. Illegal border crossers kill livestock, rob, vandalize, rape, and commit other crimes on private land. A barrier would provide a lot of relief for border residents - relief that should be the responsibility of the federal government in Washington DC.
A private effort is going to be able to build for a much lower cost than a government. funded structure. Check out the WeNeedAFence.com web site for a picture of the proposed barrier. They propose two fences, two barbed wire layers, and two ditches (to prevent fence ramming with cars) running in parallel with sensors and cameras along with an access road. The goal is to allow the sensors to detect crossing attempts and then for the barrier to so slow the crossers that border patrol agents will have the time to get to an area where sensors have detected crossers before the crossers get far.
One advantage of a private effort is that it will allow testing of different design approaches to identify weaknesses and strengths of each approach. While open borders advocates will trumpet each problem found with private barriers these barriers will serve as valuable learning tools and experiments for the eventual national barrier. A privately funded barrier is also going to shame some politicians into shifting toward a more restrictionist stance on immigration.
In a video interview with Mickey Kaus former Reagan Administration domestic policy adviser James Pinkerton says "There will be a wall" and Jim is all for it. He says the alternative is multiculturalism ala the Balkans and Lebanon and he says that does not work. The interview is 23 minutes long.
Jim says Tom Tancredo, the Minutemen, and similar folks (that would include myself and quite a few of my readers) are winning on immigration.
"Nations don't survive if they become multicultural... So I'm now, I count myself as a hawk on immigration and I see myself as worried by the elite bipartisan consensus about basically unlimited immigration conducted on the one hand by Democrats who think they're going to bring in more Democrats to vote Democratic and having sort of a multicultural vision of the world and Republicans who want cheap labor and want to bust all unions. And I think they have dominated immigration policy making for the last three or four decades. They completely control the intelligentsia on this issue."
"... and yet because this idea of international cosmopolitanism so goes against the grain of I think the good sense ordinary Americans that a rag tag bunch of Tom Tancredo types and Minutemen are actually winning on this issue. I think that effectively there will be a wall between the United States and Mexico in the next 5 or 10 years and I am all for it."
Jim predicts Japan with a billion robots will beat the United States with 600 million people split into ethnicities.
America did not become great by bringing in lots of cheap low productivity labor. It became great because very smart people developed ways to raise the productivity of its citizens. Labor shortages are a far bigger impetus to the development of technological advances than labor surpluses.
To repeat from a previous post this is not a new idea. As Socrates said in Plato's Republic long before Ben Franklin strode this Earth:
" A State, I said, arises, as I conceive, out of the needs of mankind". . ."let us begin and create in idea a State; and yet the true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention."
Some claim that a wall is an impossibility. The people who make this claim are opposed to a wall and want to deceive you. From another post, a border barrier is quite affordable.
A border barrier similar to the Israeli barrier with the West Bank would cost well under $10 billion dollars or less than 2 months costs of the war in Iraq. Or we could look at highway construction for construction costs for a wall. The materials that are used to build sound barriers along highways in populated areas would cost about $3.2 billion for a 5 meter high wall 2000 miles long (see my comment below the original post where I calculate out the numbers). There'd be additional costs for barbed wire, sensors, and additional fencing layers as well as an access road. But we could easily afford all this. It'd be similar scope to building an interstate highway along the border.
The Open Borders advocates who claim we can not stop and reverse the illegal influx are lying. We can and we still stop the illegal influx. We should also at the same time greatly reduce the legal influx and make our criteria for who gets in far more selective. As Jim Pinkerton says, we should go with the first round draft picks.
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?
"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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
In all, the complex of fences, concrete walls, trenches and razor wire is to run 425 miles and is one-fourth complete. It will cost Israel about $1.56 billion. Work had been scheduled to be finished by the end of next year.
That works out to $3.67 million per mile. To build an equivalent high security barrier along the almost 2000 mile US-Mexican order would therefore cost in the neighborhood of $7.34 billion.
An October 31, 2005 story puts the Israeli barrier at nearly 3/4ths complete with about 10% waiting for the outcome of court cases in Israel. Completion is expected at the end of 2006. Already the barrier has greatly decreased the frequency of terrorist attacks in Israel leading to a recently foiled Palestinian attempt to smuggle rocket construction specialists from Gaza to the West Bank.
In some sections the Israeli barrier is a layer of fences and sensors. In other areas it is a 25 foot high concrete wall. If anyone comes across detailed cost information on the per mile cost for each type of barrier section please post in the comments or send me an email.
These cost figures do not change the conclusion of my previous post "One Year Of Illegal Alien Health Care Costs Would Pay For Border Barrier".
The fence is being built to separate recently added EU members Poland and Hungary from their new neighbors – Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The EU said the fence is necessary to "prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter" EU territory.
Leaders in the EU have of course repeatedly condemned Israel's construction of a barrier (fence in some sections, concrete wall in others and with sensors, access road, and other support elements) to keep Palestinian terrorists from killing Jews. Part of the opposition to the barrier is its routing. It cuts many miles into the West Bank to take in isolated Jewish settlements and I agree with the critics who argue that the Israelis should not cut up the West Bank in this manner. However, the Israelis definitely should build a barrier to separate themselves from the Palestinians. The only question to debate is its exact routing.
"It's incredible the EU has no problem building a fence just to keep illegal immigrants out, but when the Jewish State builds a security fence as a last resort for the purpose of keeping terrorists out and saving Israeli lives, we are blasted by them and the U.N.," a spokesman for Ariel Sharon told WorldNetDaily. "Makes you think, doesn't it?"
Yes it does make me think. But my thoughts are a bit different than those of the Ariel Sharon spokesman. My thoughts on both the EU and Israeli fences translate into feelings of envy: The United States should emulate Israel and the EU and build our own barrier along our border with Mexico in order to keep out both illegal aliens and terrorists.
A barrier along the US-Mexican border would cost less than $10 billion and would pay for itself just from a reduction of taxpayer expenditures on health care for illegal aliens.