Can’t We Make Our Border at Least as Secure as We Have Made Israel’s?

By Dave Gibson
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 24, Number 3 (Spring 2014)
Issue theme: "What should America's Immigration policy be?"

In December 2012, Israeli officials announced that 150 miles of security fencing along Israel’s border with Egypt had been completed, at a cost of $430 million.

The remaining 12 miles of fencing is expected to be completed by May, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.

The border includes electronic surveillance equipment such as cameras and radar.

The Israeli government began construction on the fence in 2010, in an effort to stop Africans from entering the country illegally.

Considering that the U.S. government gave Israel $3.4 billion in 2011 alone, and a total of $123 billion between 1949 and 2011, it is safe to say that we paid for their fence.

Of course, Israel is not the only beneficiary of American taxpayers’ generosity...

In 2008, the Bush administration announced that the U.S. would assist Egypt in constructing a high-security fence along the Gaza-Egypt border in order to stop weapons smuggling from the Palestinian territory.

Those weapons are often used against southern Israel.

A cable dated December 20, 2009, sent from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., revealed that while the Gaza fence was being constructed with Egyptian money, a tunnel detection system was built and funded by the United States.

The cable, made public by Wikileaks, also detailed how the U.S. provided support for the installation of the tunnel detection system, which was to be completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by April 2010.

The American taxpayers reportedly sent $23 million to Egypt for the project.

Now, as for our own border fence…

On September 13, 2006, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) introduced the Secure Fence Act into the U.S. House of Representatives. The next day, the House passed the bill by a voted of 283-138. Two weeks later, the measure passed in the Senate by a vote of 80-19.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2006.

At the bill signing ceremony, Bush told reporters: “This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform.”

That was the good news.

Now for reality…

While the Secure Fence Act was supposed to see to it that 700 miles of double-layered, barbed wire fence was built along the U.S./Mexican border, along with more vehicle barriers and manned checkpoints, only about 30 miles of the double-layered, 14-foot high fencing has actually been built.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, only 34.3 miles of double-layered fencing has been completed along the border. Most of that, (13.5 miles) is in Texas, with 11.8 miles in California, and a mere 9.1 miles of double-layer fencing now sits along the border in Arizona.

Since Obama became president, all construction on the fence specified in the legislation (similar to the Israeli fence built on the Gaza strip) has stopped. Instead, Homeland Security secretary and longtime open-borders advocate Janet Napolitano sank billions into a so-called “virtual fence,” composed of electronic sensors, which proved to be an abysmal failure.

While some low, single-layer fencing has been built, there are huge gaps in between the fences, and the new vehicle barriers can simply be straddled, as they are merely 3-4 feet tall.

In other words…it is useless.

In fact, in early 2009, the Government Accountability Office reported that only 32 miles of double-layered fencing had been constructed.

As former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) pointed out in a May 2010 Human Events op-ed, “That means under President Obama, only 2.3 miles of it has been built over an entire year.”

Also, instead of actually building the fence the American people have demanded and Congress authorized, Napolitano simply tells us that the “border is more secure than it has ever been.”

Napolitano’s reluctance to finish the fence could have been easily predicted (and was undoubtedly counted upon by Obama). In 2007, then-Gov. Napolitano, gave a speech at the National Press Club saying, “We can shore up our border gaps with ground-based sensors, radar, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Any combination of the above will work far better than any 10 or 20 or 50 miles of wall.”

Congress approved $1.2 billion to pay for the construction of a fence, but it will likely take closer to $4 billion to actually finish it. Either way, it is still only a fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars which illegal immigration is now costing this country annually.

Even Mexico has a fence…

In September 2010, the Inter-Press Sevice (IPS) reported that the head administrator of the Mexican Superintendency of Tax Administration, Raul Diaz, has confirmed that his government is building a wall in the state of Chiapas, along the Mexican/Guatemalan border.

The official reason is to stop contraband from coming into Mexico, but as Diaz admitted, “It could also prevent the free passage of illegal immigrants.”

According to Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights, 500,000 people from Central America cross into Mexico illegally every year.

Just as Mexican authorities have always strongly opposed the construction of a fence by the U.S. along our border with their country, Mexico received a great deal of criticism from the Guatemalan government.

The executive coordinator of the National Bureau for Migration in Guatemala, Marila de Prince, told a local newspaper, “It is not a correct measure being taken by the Mexican government.”

Erick Maldonado, executive secretary of Guatemala’s National Council on Migrants, said “We are watching the Mexican government’s initiative with concern because the migrants are in a situation of highest vulnerability, as demonstrated by the massacre in Tamaulipas, where five Guatemalans died.” Maldonado said the wall “is going to make the migrants’ situation worse, because to meet their needs they are always going to find blind points where there are no migration or security controls, which implies greater risks.”

The Vice-President of Guatemala, Rafael Espada, said, “The walls are not the solution to the problems.”

The Catholic Church has been highly critical of U.S. treatment of illegal aliens, and incredibly, one priest in Central America used the news of the Mexican wall to take another shot at the American people.

Father Francisco Pellizari, of the Casa del Migrante, told IPS, “The dramatic increase in the cost of ‘polleros’ (human traffickers) and the corruption of the authorities is the result of the walls the United States plans to build and has built along the border. We can transpose the Guatemala case to this situation and the results will be the same.”

Pellizari said border walls “are supposedly intended to halt migration, but that hasn’t happened. Instead they have triggered an economic hemorrhage and a shift in the migratory flow to inhospitable routes that lead to thousands of deaths.”

Of course, the U.S. press completely ignored the story… They excoriate Americans for their desire to simply defend their own borders, but give Mexico a pass for building a wall to keep out illegal aliens.

About the author

Dave Gibson, a former legislative aide to a Virginia state senator, has been working as a freelance writer for many years. His work has been published in many newspapers and magazines, including the Washington Times

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