I am having second thoughts.
Partly, I am persuaded to reconsider by Bill Clinton. Here is what the 42nd President had to say in his 1995 State of the Union address:
The difference between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump on the issue of immigration is a study in politics and leadership. Both men have expressed concern over uncontrolled illegal immigration.
Clinton claimed that his administration had “moved aggressively” to stem the tide; hiring more border guards, deporting more who commit crimes.
He concluded with a rousing call that “we must do more to stop it” and his words were greeted by a standing ovation on both sides of the aisle.
That, obviously, is the popular political position. Do more. We must do more. Spend more money. Hire more people. Just, ‘do more.’
Trump wants to ‘do more’ too. He wants to build a wall. Is it merely symbolic? Would it work? Can we actually stem the tide of illegal immigrants by building a wall?
I’m no expert, but it is significant that the Border Guards Union has endorsed Donald Trump.
Clinton’s speech was more than 20 years ago. What have we accomplished by 20 years of “doing more”?
Someone once observed that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. What Donald Trump has proposed is not merely that we ‘do more’ but that we ‘do different.’
We have all seen the film clips taken from surveillance cameras showing literally crowds of people; men, women and children walking into the United States across unguarded, unmarked borders.
Frequently, these transitory mobs enter our country in isolated areas; deserts which often post temperatures well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hundreds die each year.
The United States issues border crossing cards which last for ten years and permit visitors from Mexico to enter the U.S. for limited times, and to visit in limited areas. In general, a card costs $160 or more.
No doubt there are many illegals who enter the States legally, but stay beyond the limits of the card. But the real surge of immigrants who cross at lonely places along the border consists of people who cannot afford to purchase a crossing card.
Would a wall keep them out? Certainly a wall would keep some of them out. Where currently the border is nothing but a line in the sand, the construction of a wall will make entry more difficult.
The time and effort to tunnel under a wall will discourage many; the physical effort to scale a wall will bar others. But most of all, the presence of a dividing wall will convey the clear message that crossing the border at that point is not permitted.
Surely the wall will be equipped with cameras and signaling devices, so that whenever a breech is attempted the border patrol will be alerted.
Perhaps the most effective aspect of a wall is that the person who contemplates breeching it does not know what is on the other side. Of course, the ingenuity of mankind being what it is, those challenges will no doubt be overcome from time to time.
Maybe the greatest value of a border wall is the appearance of security; not only to discourage attempts at entry, but also to give assurance to citizens in the United States that mass unauthorized immigration is at an end.
Not the least of the benefits to be derived from that is the fact that Hispanics in our country should be assumed by all as legally among us.