BY NORBERT RUG
All in all it was, just a brick in the wall. Pink Floyd, 1979.
The internet is filled with pictures of refugees amassing at the U.S-Mexico border in California. But many of them haven’t been able to enter the United States because a physical barrier prevents them from doing this. It is just another example of a barrier, a fence, a wall, a whatever, providing border security.
Although, erection of a wall on the border was one of President Trump’s prime campaign promises. He has made very little progress toward making that happen. Trump has blown opportunities to earn wall funding by refusing to exchange amnesty for recipients of President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”, or DACA, policy.
But the President loaded his wall proposal with added on demands, and it never transpired. Events on the border are displaying the value of a wall and the throngs are tearing down fences etc., politics in Washington is just business as usual, making it impossible to build a wall.
We must recognize the problem. In California, the immigrants are concentrating their energies on a portion of the border where there is a real barrier. However to a large part of the border’s 1,954 miles remains wide open. According to the Border Patrol, 354 of those 1,954 miles are protected by what is called pedestrian primary fence, which is a single-layer fence. Another 37 miles are pedestrian secondary fence, that is, double-layer fencing. And 14 miles are pedestrian tertiary, or triple-layer fence.
In addition, they say 300 miles are covered by vehicle fencing, which will stop a truck but allow anyone to walk through with no problem. We’re talking a fence here, not a wall. That is a total of 705 miles, 405 miles of some kind of pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of vehicle fencing.
Almost no one, says one fence should protect all of the 1,954 miles that comprise the border. A considerable portion of the border is guarded by terrain that is so imposing and dangerous that it would be extremely difficult for refugees to cross.
Since Republicans could not pass this wall funding when they were in charge of the White House and all of Congress, how are they going do it with Pelosi in charge of the House of Representatives?
There is a Public Law 109-367, AKA the Secure Fence Act. This was passed by bipartisan majorities in 2006. It mandated that the federal government was to build a “reinforced fencing”, at least two layers thick, along around 700 miles of the border. The law identified areas in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico where the fencing would be installed. Many of the weak parts of the border could now be legally secured. But in the next year, 2007, after the Democrats won control of both the House and Senate, Congress modified the Secure Fence Act. The amended law said, and I quote “nothing in (the original legislation) shall require the installation of fencing if the government determines that a fence is not the most appropriate” way to secure the border.
That was the end of 700 miles of fence. Public Law 109-367 still remains on the books and it still mandates a border barrier. What Donald Trump needs is the money to do this and it has to come from Congress. Obviously, the Democrats don’t want to give him the money. However if Trump were to call for the money to build the fence, he would have the argument that the Democrats have voted for it already.
Hold on to your hats and batten down the hatches because I have a brilliant (even if I say so myself) yet controversial idea and I expect a lot of blow back on this one. We offer the American public, those most effected by illegal immigrants, the opportunity to purchase bricks in much the same way that charities do for a fund raiser.
We then offer those illegal immigrants that cross the border a choice. They can be deported or go to a temporary work camp supported by this brick money, plus some tax dollars. At the camp they will be assigned to all the necessary jobs like food service, laundry, sanitation and even brickmaking. Every job that needs to be done except security would be provided by the immigrants. They could also be assigned to out of camp work details where they would learn concrete work and/or brick laying by building the wall. The only thing the USA would offer is clean drinking water, food and security. During this time on the camps, they would be provided free room and board, medical care and the chance to apply for citizenship. The United States could also use this time to check the border crossers background so we could identify any possible criminals among them. Those that don’t apply for citizenship or that fail this vetting process would be deported.
It is a win/win for everybody. The immigrants would have the chance to become Americans, learn a trade so they don’t live on welfare and Trump’s wall gets built. The Chinese built a wall to keep out invaders, why can’t we.