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Building Border Walls... Is it to keep people out, or to keep them in?
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 22:21
by Peter Stern

Maybe it is worth building border walls simply to create jobs for unemployed Americans.  Even if the walls fail to keep out the "evil ones", at least we can knock-off some folks waiting on the unemployment lines around the nation.


It is estimated that the U.S. has an illegal immigrant population near 20 million.  A large portion of that number is from Mexico.  Most illegal Mexican immigrants come to find a better life, jobs and human rights.  A small amount is said to perpetrate illegal activities.  Consequently, we may consider that there would be no need for illegal Mexican immigrants to come to the U.S. if their needs were fulfilled in Mexico.


As the Mexican government tries to get us to take care of the needs of those illegals while they are here, the U.S. could try to encourage the Mexican Government to provide its citizens with a better way of life before they try to enter the U.S., e.g., create better paying jobs and encourage human rights. 


It seems our own government does so haphazardly in places overseas, e.g., Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., but never that much in Mexico.  In fact, during the past decade our own rights as citizens of the U.S. have been manipulated and jeopardized by profiteers who seem to hold our lawmakers in their pockets.


It also seems that we are focused more on our southern borders with Mexico rather than on our northern borders with Canada.  Perhaps it doesn't seem likely that any Canadians would consider leaving their nation to come into the U.S. where they would have to stand on endless unemployment lines and pay for their own health care.  Canadians as a whole seem to be taken care of better by their government than ours.  So, why leave Canada?  No need to build fences there.  In fact, Canadians don't want Americans to come into Canada to live and work there.  So, the Canadian government may soon opt to build its own border wall to keep us out.

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In reality and historically, border walls do not work, at least for the long term.  For many years the Berlin Wall created a division of East and West Germany; finally it was torn down.  Not even The Great Wall of China (parts of which are 25 feet high) could keep out invaders indefinitely and within many parts of the Great Wall are the buried remains --- the hearts and souls --- of millions of workers who died building it.  However, we are told that the Great Wall failed, especially in 1644, when the gates at Shanhaiguan were opened by Wu Sangui, a Ming border general who disliked the activities of rulers of the Shun Dynasty.  The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and defeated the newly founded Shun Dynasty and remaining Ming resistance to establish the Qing DynastyIt also took millions of guards to monitor the Great Wall.  So, these days some in the U.S. may say the only positive aspect of building border walls is to create new jobs, buteven more jobs may not be a good enough reason to build border walls. 


Do we have the tax dollars needed to build the walls and will Americans apply for and be given those jobs, or should we have lower wage earners from Mexico build the walls and leave themselves on the Mexican side when they are finished?


In truth, border walls send out a terrible message.  It is received by humans and animals, who are forced to accept them as a new part of life, which then creates many other difficult issues.  Walls create unnatural prisons that force different patterns of living and create additional "walls" of hate and fear. The world does not need more "walls" along various borders. Along the border, walls between the U.S. and Mexico, depriving access to the Rio Grande River for humans (farmers, ranchers, residents) and animals is another difficult issue.


However, even if the American people managed to persuade Washington officials to approach the Mexican government to provide its citizens with jobs, human rights and a better standard of living, will that government move to do so?  It's doubtful.


And what if we persuade our Congress to remove all border walls along our two nations?  Would that benefit both nations significantly?  That's doubtful too.


So, we have 20 million immigrants who have arrived in the U.S. illegally.  They have all committed a crime: they are here illegally.  To do nothing about this  illegal population is to permit the crime.  What do we do about this illegal population?  Permit them to remain?  Encourage more illegal movement?  Why then do we have immigration laws and regulations?  With millions of unemployed U.S. citizens, do we continue to permit illegals to accept jobs first?  Or do we mandate that only Americans be employed first?  And then how do we enforce these actions?  These are tough questions to answer.


While most of the Mexicans who come into the U.S. illegally arrive at great risk seeking jobs, better living conditions and better lives for themselves and their families, there also is a small percentage of that population who arrives with criminal records and adds to the criminal population, who then work in the shadows of freedom as parasites within our society.  While certainly not the majority nor even a large number who come, they do become part of an unaccountable negative infringement on our daily lives.


However, contrary to popular belief, many illegal immigrants working here are paying U.S. taxes.   How many pay and how much they are paying is not clear.  In reality, the illegal population in this nation pays a large chunk of social security taxes.  In fact, for this and other reasons our government may secretly want more illegals.  If so, why then build and maintain those border walls?


In addition, it is obvious that as long as businesses hire illegals for a fraction of what is paid to U.S. citizens for the same job, why not hire illegals?  After all, this is a capitalistic society out to make large profits.  In addition, another perk for businesses is that illegals do not get health care and other benefits.  Since they are illegally in this nation, there are no laws to protect them.


Bottom-line:   How do we handle the 20 million illegals in this nation?  Why build border walls and how do we get the Mexican government to provide its citizens with a better life so that the ever-increasing population does not continue to enter the U.S. illegally?  Should we aggressively enforce our current immigration laws?  If so, how do we do it?


The direction is not clear.  We can communicate to our lawmakers that they should contact the Mexican government to initiate positive change, pushing for human rights; however, the history of that nation highlights that the Mexican government owns production and reaps vast fortunes at a large cost to its people.  How do we force change that certainly will impede the future fortunes of the Mexican government and wealthy private citizens, change that will cut its enormous profiteering? 


Furthermore, how do we encourage our government to enforce our current immigration laws?  We can't even get our own government to enforce punishment (already provided for in our immigration laws) on American companies who hire illegal immigrants and who force that population to work in hostile conditions, with no benefits and at cheaper wages then are offered to U.S. citizens?  Now that there are 20 million illegal immigrants living and working in the U.S. is it practical, and would we be able to enforce our immigration laws, to extradite that huge number?  And at what price (dollars, self sense of worth and world image) to do so?


One of the largest activities of the Mexican illegals is to send a large part of their earnings to their families still in Mexico.  This becomes one of the largest exports we provide to Mexico --- our U.S. dollars.


We can also question our success in pushing for democracy and human rights in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other areas of the world (Africa, Far East).  After we leave that region will the governments we have helped support provide their respective populations with long-needed human rights and jobs with reasonable wages?  It is doubtful.


Until we consider appropriately how to engage the Mexican government and other governments around the globe to change historical and abusive political, social and economic ways, the population of those nations will continue to be undermined and treated poorly by their own governments.  They will continue to do anything and risk everything to leave their land of poverty and enslavement to search out better lives, under the dark of night, to live and work illegally here in the U.S.  It is a vicious cycle that must be stopped, but how to do so intelligently and successfully remains a question.


So, what is the real purpose for building border walls?  Do border walls serve a legitimate, positive purpose?  Or do they send out a signal of hate and desperation?


Do border walls really work?  No.  They work only for the companies and people that build them, via earning money to do the job.  Otherwise, "Walls are for climbing over, digging under, or going through."


While we are on the topic of building walls, perhaps we should build a wall around our nation's Capitol to protect U.S. citizens from their leaders.





Peter Stern, a former director of information services, university professor and public school administrator, is a disabled Vietnam veteran who lives in Driftwood., TX.

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