Saturday, September 30, 2006

Senate Says: Build 700 Miles of Fence along Mexican Border

In another convulsion of political theatrics, the Senate approved a bill authorizing 700 miles of fence along the southwest border, which in geographic terms means Senator Jon Kyl-R state of Arizona gets the bulk of the fence with another section in New Mexico and parts of Western Texas. The vote was 80-19. The CT delegation voted: Dodd -Yes Lieberman -No. Illegal immigration is the driving issue behind the fence according to the Washington Post
The measure was pushed hard by House Republican leaders, who badly wanted to pass a piece of legislation that would make good on their promises to get tough on illegal immigrants, despite warnings from critics that a multibillion-dollar fence would do little to address the underlying economic, social and law enforcement problems, or to prevent others from slipping across the border.(Washington Post)
But more importantly, good old common sense says that building a fence of 700 miles along rugged terrain is dumb idea. The Soviet Union, of whom GOP lawmakers seem to emulate more and more, tried the whole fence thing too. But an even better example is a WW II one, where France installed a defensive fence ignominiously known as the Maginot Line. It's not like deer, dogs and cats ever seem detered by fences either but politcal theater is much more important than actually addressing illegal immigration.
The Arizona branch would have to plunge down steep ravines and scale craggy mountain peaks. "This is not Iowa farmland," said Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). Construction is "going to be near impossible."

A vast stretch of the Arizona fence would traverse the lands of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which strongly opposes it and could bring suit, said Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.). Construction crews would have to deal with rivers and streams running north to south and wildlife migration routes that do not respect the U.S.-Mexico divide. And the Border Patrol does not have enough agents to stop smugglers from simply knocking holes in remote stretches.

"It's not feasible," said Kolbe, who is retiring from Congress at the end of the year. "It's a statement for the election. That's all."(Washington Post)


Anonymous said...

I know it's not your area of expertise like Norwalk water mains, but your military history is a bit inaccurate.

The Germans in 1940 won by going around the Maginot Line. If anything, the French didn;t build enough fortifications

turfgrrl said...

anonymous 8:02-- thanks for restating my point. Fences have a long history of not working.

Anonymous said...

hello...the problem was the Maginot Line was too short, not too long.

Besides, I'm not expecting border jumpers to arrive via Panzers and Stukas

If fences don;t work, should we remove the ones around our nuclear power facilities?

Anonymous said...

Us Celts remember this wall worked pretty well's_Wall

Anonymous said...

The Berlin Wall was to keep people IN, this wall is to keep people OUT.

Terrible comparison.

turfgrrl said...

The most recent example of fences not working is the San Diego-Tijuana border fence (initially estimated at $1 million/mile, but really came in at about $3 million/mile) and counting. As a result of the success of the barrier, there has been a marked increase in the number of people trying to illegally cross the Sonoran Desert and crossing over the Baboquivari Mountain in Arizona. Such illegal immigrants must cross 50 miles (80 km) of inhospitable terrain to reach the first road, which is located in the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation.(source)

Which proves the great historical point that whatever you fence or wall up just shifts the problem elsewhere, and in the case of a 1,951 mile border between Mexico and the US, it's just a dumb idea. And a costly one at that. What was that deficit now? Another strike against fiscal conservatives. And there's nothing more ironic than passing a bill that will result in having China finance a fence now isn't there?

Anonymous said...

If fences just push the problem off to somewhere else, then let's fence the entire border with Mexico, except for California. Then we will put a fence around California to keep everyone there. California is already so over populated and whacky that no one will ever notice 10 new million people coming in across the border.

Anonymous said...

If this is such a crazy idea supported by the "far right" House Republicans, then why did Chris Dodd who is not up for re-election, vote "yes"?

Anonymous said...

CTDOT projects replacing the Waterbury mixmaster will cost $2 Billion. That is the same price as all 700 miles of fence that you complain is too expensive

turfgrrl said...

anonymous 9:44 - astonishingly, the CTDOT I-84 improvements cited is something I wholeheartedly approve. Improving transportation infrastructure in CT is something I encourage. A fence along the US/Mexico border is just not. Btw, no matter who votes for it.

disgruntled_republican said...


Problem with your theory is that Americans overwhelmingly approve of "closing the border" and if you dig into the fences are a real solution. The 2nd part needs to be "smart fences" where the ground is monitered from space satllites allowing the Border Patrol to head off crossers before they arrive at the fence. And this fence isn't just'll be hard, next to impossible actually, to cross it.

And if you shorten the amount of miles illegals have to cross, it is much easier to stop it. Let's be honest, it is a problem and costs the US tax payer millions every year. Then there is the identy theft, the government healthcare costs, social support in the communities all to people who are not LEGALLY in the country. I welcome a fence; a real solution. In fact, I would welcome electrifying it. If you want to come to the USA, thats fine but do it legally.

bluecoat said...

Liberman voted NO and ergo Turffgrrl makes her convoluted case for Lieberman being what else is new..and the bill wasn't just about a fence!

Deb said...

The SD-Tijuana fence has done exactly what it was supposed to do: discourage all the youngest, most able bodied laborers to make it into the U.S. It is tough to cross a dessert, and as we don't want immigrants to bring their families, it works pretty well.

As I blogged today earier, fences are more often used to keep people in, not keep them out, and our border fences have done just that: encouraged undocumented people to stay in the U.S., rather than to follow their age-old migration and return cycle. Fences make things worse, not better.

I think your examples of the Maginot Line and the Berlin Walls were excellent.

bluecoat said...

and it;s interesting to note that disgruntled republican is to the far right of President Bush, who was the former Governor of border state Texas and a speaker of the Spanish language - some even say his spanish is better than his English but that's not saying all that much - on this.
Bush is right on immigration just as Kennedy and McCain, who are with him, are.

disgruntled_republican said...


One of the few things you and I seem to agree on these days. I just think we need to fix the problem, in this case the border, before we can address how to resolve it with those that are here.

Deb -

discourage all the youngest, most able bodied laborers to make it into the U.S.

They are welcome to come here, just do it LEGALLY. They are a burden on our country and our tax payers. And the vast majority of them don;t pay taxes. I also think we should start tossing the farmers that hire these folks ILEGALLY in jail. We have laws for a reason, I just want everyone to abide by that asking so much?

bluecoat said...

They are a burden on our country and our tax payers. not all that clear that's the case in CT; when they use fake SS#'s they pay taxes and never file a tax return; and your rhetoric, disgruntled, doesn't match Bush's plan so we hardly agree..

Anonymous said...

Milton Friedman is a bright guy

He said you can;t have open borders and a welfare state at the same time.

Can liberals choose, or can they just whine

bluecoat said...

the vote in the Senate was 80-19 there 2:21 but keep up you prejudicial views and observations - they're brilliant.

turfgrrl said...

disgruntled republican-- I disagree that fences are a good solution to stem illegal immigration. Immigrants don't come here for the welfare state, they come here for jobs. And for the most part they are not coming here for factory jobs, since we manage to send those to Mexico fairly regularly anyways. They are coming here for jobs that require little or no documentation like day labor and farm work. Both of which could be better regulated except the companies that employ illegal immigrants don't want to change. Why should we tax payers fund a fence that just shifts the the cost of hiring legal workers to the taxpayers from the companies that should bear the cost of hiring legal workers?

Illegal immigration btw, is not just a US issue. Western Europe has a huge problem as well, and the answer there is not to fence in borders but to focus on the companies that hire the illegals.

Our country was built by immigrants and it is reflective of our ugly past when political expediency to exploit nativist fears trumps reasoned regulations that manage the immigration pools. Think about the period before the turn of the 20th century for outrage against Italian, Irish and German immigrants for nativist reasons versus the importance those immigrants played in contributing to the economic welfare of all.

GMR said...

Western Europe has a huge problem as well, and the answer there is not to fence in borders but to focus on the companies that hire the illegals.

Between Western Europe and North Africa are separated by the Mediterranean Sea. However, Spain possesses two enclaves in North Africa: Melilla and Ceuta. These territories have large fences, and Africans are constantly trying to breach the fence.

The Melilla Border Fence is 11 km long and cost EUR 33 million (US$35 million at the time, or about $3 million per kilometer). It's a 3 meters (almost 10 feet) tall parallel fence, topped with barbed wire, and the height is being doubled to 20 feet. A road runs between the fences, and there are automated spotlights.

The Ceuta border fence is also a parallel 3 meter fence, topped with razor wire. A Picture is here.

Anonymous said...

well, bluecoat I suppose you are the Nobel Prize winner and Milton Friedman is a clueless fool?

Methinks you have reversed roles

bluecoat said...

No there anon 7:03, I was simply pointing out that some of the "libs" you hate so much voted in favor of the bill that you see as the answer to immigration reform.