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The Effectiveness of Fencing

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Sunday’s Arizona Republic carried a story on the often terrible injuries suffered by immigrants trying to cross over the southern border fence where it has actually been constructed.

Read together with last week’s New York Times’ piece on the number of immigrants who die en route and whose remains are unidentified by authorities on this side of the border, the reporting underscores an argument that the writers may not have intended to convey: The urgent need not only to truly secure the border via high, long, double-fencing which is easily patrolled.  When would-be immigrants think it is possible to cross into the country with relative ease, they can make rational choices to try and do so, or turn themselves over to human smugglers who exploit their desire for a better life.  Thus a border with holes in its security presents the very worst situation from a humane standpoint.

The immigration bill has to finish the fence, as has been promised again and again by congressmen and senators and then not in fact done.  The new immigration reform bill cannot punt the decision to the dysfunctional Department of Homeland Security.  It needs to map and mandate the fence, detail its specifications and provide the legal authority and immediate funding to accomplish the construction.  When it is a reality, the numbers who start the journey north not expecting to find a fence will fall as word of its reality spreads.

 

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