March 13, 2006

Please Fence Me In

Hatched by Dafydd

All right, I've changed my mind a bit about the "security fence" many nativ-- er, America-focused folks want to build along the 3,000-mile border with Mexico. Not that I now think it will actually solve any problems by itself; I stand by my original conclusion: there is no wall, no matter how strong, that can stand up to a million people trying to knock it over.

But I now believe that without first getting their fence, many members of Congress will not even give honest consideration to any system to divide the illegales into two groups: those honest and decent folks who are simply desperate to feed their families and give their children a better life (about 99% of illegal immigrants)... and those who cross the line for nefarious purposes: to smuggle drugs, evade prison, or worst of all, commit heinous acts of terrorism against the United States.

Solely in order to finally reduce the immigration problem down to something we can handle, I now support building the friggin' fence first. I hope the congressional gentry will feel happy enough about that achievement that they will bend their mighty brains to the more urgent problem of understanding who is really our enemy -- and who merely twists around our insane immigration laws.

I have a friend from Japan named Takao, who lived here legally for sixteen years. He had a job. He owned a condo, paid his taxes, and repeatedly tried to get a Green Card; but there is no mechanism to do so. There is no series of steps you can take that will lead to permanent residency. He even hired an American lawyer, but the lawyer just ripped him off for thousands of dollars and did nothing.

When Takao suffered a tragic loss, he couldn't work for a couple of months... and he lost his job. The INS quickly ordered him out of the country... because his work-visa was good only so long as he worked at that particular employer. No other would do!

He was crying when he left. He wanted to live here for the rest of his life. He played by the rules. And in the end, the rules screwed him. The INS couldn't care less. Takao was simply mailed back to Japan like an unordered cheese: return to sender, address unknown.

The fence, once we build it, will reveal the fallacy of imagining that a security barrier along the southern border will be as effective as the similar barriers separating the Gaza Strip and the West Bank from Israel. It will not, for the simple reason that our illegal immigrants have a completely different motivation than Arabs illegally sneaking into Israel.

In Israel, there is already a de facto segregation: Arabs who just want to live and work in Israel have already moved there, and done so long ago; in fact, a very significant proportion of the Israeli population is Arab -- mostly Moslem Arab, but some Christians and a tiny batch of Jewish Arabs.

Those left in the Palestinian Authority who cross under night's black cloak have only one purpose in mind; that very fact restricts their number. Few men (and even fewer women) truly want to be martyrs, no matter what words they mouth when words are demanded. They grumble or cheer, as the case may warrant; but only those committed to the struggle are willing to burrow like trap-door spiders beneath the wall, knowing they will strike and die.

That is the very situation I want to create in the United States. Today, millions flood across the border, desperate not to kill children in school or wives at home with their babies, but to build a world where their own babies and children can grow up without knowing starvation of body or soul, wracked by poverty and crushed by oppression. They come for the same reason my own ancestors came -- back when we welcomed the tired, the poor, the huddled masses.

Today, for reasons entirely understandable, we simply cannot take them all; we would quickly lose our country. But even so, I cannot find it in my heart to wish ill of father and mother who break the law only to give a better life to those to whom they have indeed given life. I cannot understand my countrymen who wish them to die in the desert (children too?) or who want the Army to "protect" our land from these "invaders"... with M-16 and Abrams tank.

The compromise is to let in the father, but not forever. To let him come and work (God knows we need the labor) and send the money home, then go home himself when he has provided for his family; a guest worker, just as described.

This is not "amnesty," except to those for whom words have no more meaning than the lives they would likewise misuse. In amnesty, those already here are tapped with a magic wand, given a Green Card, and told they can stay indefinitely. The distinction is between giving a man a cot in a homeless shelter -- and letting him wall off a corner and file a title deed.

But there is another, smaller group that creeps like the night on little cat feet, across the border with no thought of children they don't have or a family they long ago abandoned. These men -- and occasionally women -- think only of the harm and misery they can cause, whether for sake of ideology or monetary gain.

They are sociopaths: other humans are less than zero to them. They are the polar opposites of men working to support their loved ones. These others have no one they love, because they are incapable of love: hate long ago expelled it from their stomachs, the way a hydrophobic dog vomits water. It is this group I want to interdict, hold, and when appropriate, imprison or execute.

But we cannot find them now, for they hide among the first group. And the first group, even if they suspect, are afraid to raise voice against them... because they know if they do so, even to save another man's children, they would condemn their own to a painful, belly-bloated death by hunger -- if the rabid dogs didn't cut their tongues from their mouths before they could utter the accusation.

To stop the beasts, we must first separate them from the men.

There is only one way I can think to do this: and that is to open the door to the latter. Let them come in straight and honest, photographed, fingerprinted, with a high-tech guest-worker card linked to a database of background, current history in the United States, and biometric information to prevent identity theft. Where the door is opened wide, only the guilty try to slip through the window.

With a technologically sophisticated guest worker program, there will not be a million men trying to knock down the wall. There will only be a handful trying to burrow under it, slide around it, or glide over the top... a quiet enough number that a beefed-up Border Patrol could catch them all -- being finally able to focus their force, not spread it scattershot among foul and fair alike.

Then and never else will the security fence truly work, because it will in fact mimic the successful Israeli wall... rather than King Canute vainly ordering out the tide.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 13, 2006, at the time of 3:36 AM

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» Ins and Outs of Immigration from Big Lizards
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill out of committee, sending it to the floor. Of course, under the arcane and byzantine rules of the U.S. Senate, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has the ... [Read More]

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» Immigration Legislation from Ex-Donkey Blog
Dafydd at Big Lizards makes a compelling case for the current Immigration Reform bill that just cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee as a "reasonable beginning" that still "needs work". I agree with his sentiments:"I am both pro-immigration and also ... [Read More]

Tracked on March 28, 2006 7:11 AM


The following hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste

About half the length of our southern border runs down the middle of the Rio Grande River. For parts of the year and parts of the river it's shallow enough to wade across, but it's still a river. One segment of the border runs through the middle of a lake.

How, exactly, would you build a fence there? A fence is at least conceivable along the southern borders of Arizona, New Mexico, and California. But a fence along the southern border of Texas is a fantasy.

The above hissed in response by: Steven Den Beste [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2006 4:28 PM

The following hissed in response by: SkyWatch


I'm late to reading and responding to this post but ooh well.

I agree with you completly on this but I would like to add one other bonus to opening up the legal doors from Mexico.I have worked with many many illegal workers over the years that I was in construction of natural gas pipelines in Texas and most of them got across the border by saving thier money, up $2000 seemed to be the going rate, and paying a coyote to bring them across.These coyote are not nice people and most are gang members so paying them makes the criminal element on the border stronger.If we made it easier to cross the border legally then maybe the workers looking for a better job to care for thier families wouldn't have to pay these criminals.In return, that could have the added benifit of making the coruption in Mexico a little less and maybe that would make them not need to cross the border in such numbers.

The above hissed in response by: SkyWatch [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 17, 2006 8:59 AM

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