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The Wall


March 22, 2023

Driving through several of the Texas counties that border Mexico, I had an epiphany that surprised me. (Is "surprised" inherent in an epiphany? I haven't had enough epiphanies to know.)

Reminds me of a joke I heard. "Do we have a border problem? Have you looked at a map recently? Our border with Mexico is a 2,000 mile dotted line. How do you protect your border with a dotted line?"

I think what informed my epiphany were several things: seeing parts of the border wall, watching some documentaries on the border, driving through the vast emptiness of much of the border area and a meeting I attended in Alpine, Texas.

It is terrible that so many people in Central and South America face such awful conditions that they decide they are better off elsewhere. It is hard for me to comprehend such situations. It is truly a humanitarian crisis -- almost incomprehensible to me that such conditions are so close to the United States.

My epiphany had to do with the border wall. We need it -- and more. Your reaction might be "well duh." But for me -- and I'm sure that are many like me -- the pitch for the wall was wrong in so many ways. Some of those wrong ways for me include:

  1. Wrong: "They are sending us their rapists ... and some good people..." Right: we need to know who is trying to enter our country and turn away those who are bad actors.

  2. Wrong: "Mexico is going to pay for the wall." Right: Never should have brought up Mexico paying for it. If it is worth doing, it's worth paying for.

  3. Wrong: "It's going to be a big, beautiful wall." Right: Say what? An effective border barrier is not going to be beautiful.

  4. Wrong: not addressing that it is a humanitarian crisis that is motivating many to try to come to the US. Right: we will continue to work with our southern neighbors and the UN to solve the issues that cause these folks to flee their countries.

And here's the kicker -- the border wall by itself is not the solution -- not for much of the border. Border agents say the new parts of the wall slow a migrant by 30-60 seconds. Where there's a will there's a way. It's almost incomprehensible how remote some parts of our border are. Delaying someone for 60 seconds doesn't do any good when the closest border agent is an hour away.

I'm not smart enough to know what we need in addition to the border wall. A moat filled with alligators? A field of barbed wire? But I am smart enough to know we need to know from the border patrol agents on the ground what it will take to prevent the cartels from taking advantage of us.

End of my rant.

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