As President Trump and his adversaries in Congress continue their protracted knife fight over funding for a border wall, the true merits of the debate are still largely unknown to most Americans. Instead, we have received a steady diet of emotion-based talking points about how the very notion of building a wall on the border is immoral, overly expensive and—most oddly of all—ineffective. There was a time not long ago in America when national sovereignty was a concept that enjoyed near-unanimous support. Now our social betters in politics and the media treat it as an archaic, fringe idea. When put under a microscope, however, the arguments against a border wall are revealed to be flimsy, dishonest and opportunistic.
One of the most frequently cited lines of attack against a physical barrier on the border has been the bumper sticker line “walls don’t work.” The Berlin Wall was the most famous wall of the 20th century, the rhetoric goes, and it was ultimately dismantled by popular revolt. However, as anyone who lived through the Cold War can attest, that wall was erected to keep residents of East Berlin from escaping the horrors of an oppressive communist state. A barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border would serve to protect a democratic republic from being overrun by unfettered illegal migration and the kind of chaos we saw from the recent caravan in its attempt to rush the border.
Another reason given why “walls don’t work” is that a continuous wall from San Diego to Brownsville is “impractical.” But President Trump has long said that due to the presence of natural geographic barriers, a continuous wall is not necessary. That said, the argument that a wall is “impractical” amounts to the claim that a wall that would work cannot be built. Never are any facts and figures given to back that claim up, however. And no wonder: it is an easy matter to calculate the cost per mile of, say, the Israeli wall – which certainly does work – and from that figure determine how expensive a wall just like it would be on our border. Indeed, when that is done, it turns out that an Israeli-style wall across the entire two thousand-mile southern border – longer than the wall Trump promised – would cost $4 billion. Even at double that cost, it is well within our budget.
Ah, but a wall would “immoral,” claims Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Yet at an immigration forum in 2009, Schumer said that “… illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple,” adding that “any immigration solution must recognize that we must do as much as we can to gain operational control of our borders as soon as possible.” If a wall would do that, why does he oppose one? Did Schumer suddenly have an epiphany on illegal immigration – recognizing a right for people to enter this country illegally – or was he unable to resist the pressures coming from his increasingly unhinged base? Has he now decided America is not a sovereign nation? Does Schumer now lip-synch to the chant of Antifa:
No USA at all”?
If not, Schumer’s claim of “immorality” seems incomprehensible. After all, it is the lure of easy, illegal access into America that causes people in Latin America to trek thousands of miles across harsh desert terrain. They subject their children to human traffickers and sexual predators. They often believe false rumors that illegal entry into the U.S. will be convenient and permitted by immigration officers. If the U.S. border were sealed tight with a working wall, fewer people would make the journey, and fewer people would die. In this light, building an effective barrier along our border, far from being “immoral,” becomes a moral imperative.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Also published at: Brian Lonergan, If Walls Work, Why Are They Immoral?, American Thinker, January 9, 2019.