Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall!

by Becky Akers for the Foundation For Economic Education

In its zeal to protect us from Mexicans who want to pick our fruit and clean our homes, the federal government is walling off our southwestern border. Congress passed the Secure Fence Act (SFA) in 2006, authorizing barriers along some portions of the 1,969-mile boundary; other stretches will be fitted with a “virtual” wall of motion sensors and cameras. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was supposed to have built almost 700 miles of physical fence by the close of 2008 and the Bush administration.

We can assume it fell short since the federal government is ever incompetent and has been tight-lipped about how many miles it has completed.

More people cross this international boundary each year than any other in the world—250 million with government permission, a fraction of that without. (Estimates range from 400,000 to a million.) Patches of the border, particularly urban ones, have been fenced and policed for decades. But this dotted line inconvenienced rather than stopped folks who neglected to secure a bureaucrat’s consent for their trip: Travelers trying to exercise their inalienable right to free movement simply went around the barriers. The feds never like being outfoxed, so they extended the fencing beyond populated areas. This drove migrants into increasingly remote and hostile terrain. There they not only had to survive encounters with America’s Border Patrol but also dehydration and other dangers in the desert. No More Deaths, a group that caches food and water along routes migrants are likely to take, estimates that at least 238 travelers perished in Arizona alone in 2006, with more than 4,000 “men, women, and children [losing] their lives in the deserts of the US-Mexico borderlands” from 1998 to the present.

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