Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fence Follies

The idea of putting up a 700 mile fence along the border with Mexico is absolutely insane. For both the house and senate to have voted for this stupidity makes it criminally insane. It seems the votes were strictly for show, to make it look like the lawmakers were actually accomplishing something about immigration reform. The fence will never be built and here's why.

Real immigration reform is like an onion with many layers. It basically is too complex an issue for congress to get together on to make radical changes, so voting on a fence let them off the hook. They knew the vote was only symbolic - right afterword $1.2 billion of the $6 billion in fence money was allowed to go to related stuff which involves homeland security, so you know it's gone.

The proposed barrier would only be on a third of the border leaving about 1,200 miles still wide open.

It wouldn't be just a fence, but would include roads, detention centers and installations, surveillance drones, cameras, radar etc. Logistics for all this boggles the mind.Anybody who thinks it would deter illegals isn't thinking it through. Before the thing is finished there would be holes punched through, tunnels and whatever it would take to get to the other side. Desperate people get very innovative. And since 40% of illegal immigration comes from overstayed visas that would only increase, compounding the problem.

Plus, according to the WaPo:
"Advocates and opponents of the measure said it is not clear that the fence can be built as the bill envisions. 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."

Environmental damage would be catastrophic:
"The fence would have a negative effect on everything from the insects that would now be flying around the lights instead of pollinating the cactuses, to the birds that eat them, right up to the large predators like the jaguars," said William Radke, the manager of the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, east of Douglas, Arizona.
Radke said the fence would prevent snakes and turtles, as well as wild turkeys and road runners from crossing. In addition, the bright lights at the top of the tall fence would interfere with birds' ability to navigate by the stars."

After a late night concession to win votes the project has to have input from Indian tribes, congressmen, governors and local pols on a lot of decision making. There's also strong opposition from mexicans.

So it doesn't look like any kind of fence will be built. But it probably allowed the critters to whip up some spiffy campaign ads.


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