Friday, Oct. 13, 2006 | James O. Goldsborough unfortunately makes “the best” the enemy of “the good” in his article. Just because a fence won’t completely solve the immigration problem doesn’t meet it won’t help improve the current situation, which is completely dysfunctional.
For example, even if we concede that half of all illegal immigrants initially enter the country legally, this still means illegal entry is the easiest way to get into the country for the other half. Half of a very big number is still a very big number.
A fence that would stop even a portion of these illegal entrants would pay for itself in a few years. For example, the medical costs for undocumented workers in Los Angeles alone are close to one billion dollars per year. The cost of the fence is less than five billion. Chump change, comparatively speaking.
Sure, we would like to see employers who hire illegally punished, but the employers are too politically powerful to be made the direct target of any immigration reform (for now). A fence is something that has proven politically viable right now. We can target the employers in the future.
As for others who enter illegally, but stay beyond their permitted time, other mechanisms of enforcement can also be put in place. This does not negate the benefits of a fence.
Finally, Mr. Goldsbough chooses his example poorly when he cites the fence in Israel as a poor example of how to control the flow of migration. While I have issues with the placement of the fence in Israel, it has been very effective in controlling movement between Israel and Palestine. Terrorist incidents have been reduced substantially since the construction of the Israeli fence and, if anything, the Israeli fence provides support for the placement of a fence between the US and Mexico.
Better luck next time.