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Ear to the Ground

Border Fence Not Expected to Curb Illegal Immigration

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Posted on Oct 7, 2006

Experts have challenged the effectiveness of the 700-mile fence planned for the U.S.-Mexico border, citing a robust smuggling industry and statistics that show around half of all illegal immigrants simply overstayed their visas.


AP (via Yahoo!):

No amount of border security will stop illegal immigration; the reality is that roughly half the estimated 12 million undocumented foreigners in the United States entered on bona fide visas and stayed after they expired.

While the interview process for visas has become tougher, it has failed to stop these so-called “overstays” from reaching for the American dream.

If they cannot get a visa, there’s a smuggling business that moves millions of people from Mexican towns to employers throughout the United States.

The increased enforcement that began with Operation Gatekeeper in 1994—and produced the corrugated metal and chain-link fence—dramatically cut illegal border crossings in the Tijuana-San Diego area, but overall, they kept their pace. Total arrests along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico has ebbed and flowed since then but changed little: 1.3 million in 1995, compared with 1.2 million in 2005.

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By AntuanetteFedy, November 13, 2011 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment
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By Bukko in Australia, December 12, 2006 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment
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Zena: perhaps you should pay more attention whilst reading. I am a Yank who has already left the U.S., after being born in America and living there for 47 years. I emigrated to Australia last year. In light of your spelling ability, I should point out that “emigrated” spelt with an “e” means exited the country and immigrated spelt with an “i” means came INTO the country. You see, this is why knowing how to spell is important. People look stupid when they misapprehend a word and write something that’s ignorant of what the point is.

And one more thing—life is better here. Good luck with your crumbling homeland.

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By Zena, December 11, 2006 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
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I applaud Mr. Cramer for his down to earth common sense approach to the problem. As for Bukko, he sounds more loyal to Australia than he does to the United State’s people and the U.S. He is a perfect example of foreign people who take advantage of our kindness and compassion. Obviously you has found gold in “Them thar hills” as us hillbillies say. I may be a “billy” but I and my family have been here longer and have natural senority on such matters. I am also closer to the ‘backbone’ people of this country as my family have long fought for and defended this American piece of pie that the rest of the world lusts after. If you don’t love us, then you’re more than welcome to leave us, and don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

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By John Cramer, December 11, 2006 at 7:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Bukko in Australia:

Please read my previous comments on 12/5 carefully.  Statutes (on paper) do not stop illegal aliens from working in the US -  fences stop some and government officials stop others.  I suggested having more of both!  To use your murder analogy, if a city had a wave of murders the public would expect the police to do something proactive to stop the murders BEFORE they take place and not just send the police after the crime has been committed.

I wrote in my first comments that maybe the US Government is not more effective at stopping illegal immigration is because so many businesses want cheap labor.  I am opposed to businesses hiring cheap labor working under substandard conditions.  I want the government to enforce the current laws!

The government should be able to compare social security numbers to determine where stolen numbers are being used and an agent should investigate the discrepancies.  The government (if it wanted to enforce the law) would not be able to catch every illegal by comparing social security numbers, but comparing the numbers submitted by employers would be an obvious FIRST step in the right direction.  For example, my wife is a school teacher in Iowa.  If her name and number showed up at a meat packing plant in Nebraska it should not be hard to figure out that her number has been stolen. 

To get a handle on the immigration problem the government needs to stop the wave of NEW illegal aliens who walk across the border every year.  A border fence has been very effective at stopping illegal crossings into San Diego and I believe the fence needs to be expanded across the desert.  Less border agents are needed to monitor a border with an effective fence than are used to monitor an open border (and poorly monitored at that).  As a new section of fence is constructed some of the border agents working in that section could be reassigned to another area where they are needed.

You wrote that you have no faith that Democrats will stop big corporations from hiring illegal immigrants.  You may be right that many of the Democrats in Congress are not going to do anything.  My point was that Democrats had better wake up and pay attention to the working Americans who want effective action taken now to stem the massive flow of illegal aliens who are driving down wages and costing taxpayers in social services, etc.

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By Bukko in Australia, December 7, 2006 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Zena, I’m surprised to see anyone stand up in FAVOUR (Aussie spelling there) of misspelling. America is the only country I’m familar with where people argue that it’s all right to be wrong. Most people are embarrassed to appear ignorant. For many Americans, including George Bush, it’s a mark of pride. So there’s something you have in common with him.

BTW, I’m an American who emigrated here. One of the reasons I chose Australia is because of the anti-war attitude here. Aussies are MUCH more against the genocide the U.S. is committing in Iraq than Americans are. Unfortunately, John Howard and the Liberal Party have hitched their wagon firmly to their new colonial overlords. The attitude here is that Oz must kowtow to the U.S. for protection against the hordes of Asians that Aussies viscerally fear. Australia has a token expeditionary force, tucked in relatively safe areas of Iraq, and even that is anathema of most Aussies. I hope the voters will use that as a reason to repudiate Howard come the next Commonwealth election in 2007.

And yes, I do like the sound of my own voice. It sounds intelligent!

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By Zena, December 7, 2006 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Me Bukko , I’ll have u know “WE” hillbillies don’t care for ur snobbish bigotry. We may not spell very well, but we know when we’re being ‘shined on’. If u want to talk about ‘stupidity’, how ‘bout the Aussies who support our stupid corrupt and evil Bush family in America? That is TOTALLY and INFINITELY worse than any of my spelling errors could be. In fact, we consider such people as the Bushs and their supporters just so much ‘Rich, White, Trash’, who happened to be very good at telling lies. But I’m sure u already know that. And if you can’t figure out what someone is trying to spell without crying over like a big girl, than I feel u have nothing of value to say on that particular subject. How u must love the sound of your own voice.

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By Bukko In Australia, December 6, 2006 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Zena, there’s nothing elitist about good spelling. I don’t niggle over occasional misspellings. I type fast, and I slip sometimes. Perfection is not necessary. But people who write “knose” for nose, “pertect” for protect and other words that sound like how hillbillies pronounce them, well, they need correcting. Poor spelling can reach a point where the message is lost amidst the mangling. America used to have a reputation as a place where people were well-educated. People who stand up for ignorance only drive standards down and add credence to the notion that the U.S. is a land full of ignoramuses.

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By Zena, December 6, 2006 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Excuse me. But when I get off topic such as the ‘elitist’ from Aussie who complains about spelling errors, I get dissed. I would like to remind spelling complainers that misspelled words may be irratating to you, but it’s not a character flaw like your obvious ‘perfectionest’ tendencies. GOOD GOD. Give it a break, and stick to the subject.

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By Bukko in Australia, December 5, 2006 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey John, if you look at the laws, you’ll see the U.S. already has plenty of statutes to limit immigration. The problem is, they’re not being enforced. It’s like if you had all sorts of laws against murder, but didn’t bother to send any cops out to investigate when a bloody corpse was found in the street. The main reason I thnk this fence is a ludicrous idea—aside from the facts that they don’t allocate any money to build it and large parts would be a “virtual fence” of electronic equipment like motion detectors—is because it doesn’t get at the most effective way of stopping illegals. That is BUSTING THE PEOPLE WHO HIRE THEM!!!!

You mention your friend who worked for the plant that IPB bought. If the feds cracked down hard on IPB, nailed them with huge fines that IPB actually had to PAY instead of evade, if they put MANAGERS in jail instead of Latinos, that would stop the problem of illegal workers there. Ditto for all the construction worksites. Better to bust a boss, who’s going to change his behaviour, than jail an illegal who’s going to be replaced the next day by another illegal. That will make the labour costs of IPB and construction companies go up. Sorry if I’m not shedding any tears for their bottom lines. It will also make the price of meat and houses go up. Too bad. At least American workers will be getting decent paychecks, instead of illegal immigrants getting slave wages.

I don’t know how much money construction companies and IPB have given Rep. King in bribes—excuse me, that’s “campaign contributions.” Ditto for Tom Tancredo and these other build-a-wallers. But I bet it’s a lot. And that’s why they don’t direct the INS to go after employers, not workers. The companies bribe the pollies. I don’t have any faith that the Democrats will be much different. But until the government starts going after the bosses, to protect American workers, a fence full of holes isn’t going to make a bit of difference.

BTW, I’m an immigrant worker in Australia. And even though I come from an industrialised nation (the U.S.) and work in an in-demand occupation (nursing) you’d better believe the Aussie immigration authorities are on my case to make sure my work visa is proper. And my hospital checks up to be certain it’s renewed properly too. That’s because Australia is a land where the law is obeyed, not evaded, like in the U.S.

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By John Cramer, December 4, 2006 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am an active Democrat who does not support Steve King.  But Democrats will be making a big mistake if we ignore the strong feelings of working men and woman who oppose the unprecedented flow of illegal immigrants into our country.

The US Government has not been effective at stopping the flow.  Maybe it is because many business owners want cheap workers who are willing to work under very substandard conditions.  Some managers enjoys having docile workers who can be deported if they complain.

I know a native born man who worked at the meat packing plant in Perry, Iowa for many years.  Meat packing has always been hard work, but he was able to support a wife and four children, buy a home, take vacations and live the American Dream.  His children went to college and have successful careers.  IPB bought the plant in the 1990’s and the wages went way down and the speed of the work went way up.

Most working Americans are opposed to unlimited immigration to the USA.  Our country cannot absorb every unskilled worker in the world who wants to live here.  Most working people know that the huge numbers of immigrants suppresses their wages and require more of their tax dollars for our schools, hospitals, police, etc.

Can we agree that the US should have some limits on immigration?  If so, then it is very hypocritical for the US Government to turn away would be immigrants (many with good educations and skills) from our border check points, seaports and airports while making little effort to stop millions of unskilled people from walking into our country across the desert.  If it is ethical and proper for the government to stop immigrants at a border crossing, then it should be ethical and proper to stop people from taking the very dangerous route across the desert.

The border fence has its critics.  Some people compare a border fence with the Berlin Wall.  The Berlin Wall was built to keep oppressed citizens inside Communist East Germany, not illegal aliens out.

Others discount a fence or wall as ineffective because so many illegal immigrants enter the country legally with a tourist visa, and then overstay their visa.

First, the aliens who entered under a tourist visa showed their identification to a government official and went through some type of screening for weapons and drugs when they entered.  The people crossing the desert do not have any screening by the government.

Second, there are still many millions of aliens who do not qualify for a tourist visa who would be deterred by an effective fence.  I believe it is worthwhile to build a fence so our government could devote more resources to catching the aliens who are inside of our borders.

The US Government does not need to employ “Gestapo tactics” to find most illegal aliens.  The Government could better monitor Social Security numbers being used by employees.  For example, if my name and Social Security number suddenly were used by a worker in another state and I continue to work in Iowa it should be a clue that someone has stolen my identity.  An agent should be sent to investigate the apparent discrepancy.   

Another argument against protecting our southern border is that a fence would be a racist act - racist because the US allowed previous waves of white immigrants from Europe.  I say that the European (and Asian) immigrants were different than today’s illegal immigrants because they entered through government check points like Ellis Island where an official record was made.  They also had some type of health screening before they were allowed to stay.


I do not accept the views of those opposed to a fence.  I believe the US Government should follow the example of the Mexican Government.  Mexico is very strict about who immigrates to their county because they do not want waves of unskilled workers from Latin America to flood across their southern border.

John Cramer

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By Bukko in Australia, October 11, 2006 at 2:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eliz: Apologies if I sound like an elitist here, but you should check your spelling. It detracts from the points you’re trying to make when so many words are spelled the way they sound when someone speaks them in a backwoods Kentucky dialect.

And if you support Republicans, you should be aware that they are playing games with you. They talk like they want to crack down on illegals, and vote for issues like this “border fence.” But when you look at the fine print, it’s all for show. The fence is full of holes, literally and figuratively. Republicans are in the pockets of big business. And big business wants to have lots of illegal immigrant labour (Aussie spelling there) coming into the U.S. to work for cheap. The Bush administration won’t send inspectors to bust the businesses who employ these illegals. That’s why they keep coming. Republicans let them get away with it.

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By Eliz., October 10, 2006 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I belived the person, who first said some thing to me about, all the B S that going on, was a little off the wall. I first set out ot prove,this to some of my friends. But I proved her to be right. So you think, I miss the point of the fence. Isn’t it to pertect Americans and to stop some of the illegal aliens,from coming here? SEARCH the treaty 1864-8 then THE Amnesty bill of 1986. The crimes of the illegal aliens or immigrants. IT will show you some of the meny who has been murder,by illegal aliens. About the threat. Well if you want to eat Urine in your food,go right a head! THATS what was said.The amount of people of the USA. and of Mexico, Came from the new station.So pardon me, for a little up set,When E Coli is fount in our food, that comes from california,where the growers all hires Immigrants. Two has died.

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By Bukko in Australia, October 10, 2006 at 1:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Eliz—Wow, how can someone of that intelligence level operate a computer?

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By R. A. Earl, October 9, 2006 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sounds to me as if Eliz has missed a few doses of her medication.

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By Eliz, October 9, 2006 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mexico, should keep its knose out of what we are doing.America has around 350 million people,Mexico has 106 million. In 1986 our President, gave Amnesty one time only. He said the door was closed to illegal aliens,or immigrants.The same thing was said then as it is now. Deceive us once, we forgive. Deceive us twice. No way this side of heaven,If the (R)party has a chance, it has to live up to the word of another(R)and keep the deal he made with Americans,in 1986. No more illegal’s AND No Amnesty. That is what this earn citizenship is, oh sure is got some window dressing on it.But read the bill Its Amnesty.The Americans that has committed a felon, would love to pay 2000 and for it to be forgiven. Oh, they don’t get this, for they are all ready Americans. Isn’t that called discrimination? We, are being made into door mat’s for the rich,powerful and famous. They go to war and its us small, common and poor Americans that fight’s them.Fighting for freedom and the home land. Then those common Americans find’s they have no voice or vote in there own country.A country they love so dearly. They have fought and bled and some have gave their all. Then to insult these brave Americans even more. A foreign country is allow to invades ,their home land, while they are busy fighting, bleeding and dieing.I’m sorry but the truth hurts like h…Those illegal aliens or immigrants should be order out of our country. Those that freely leaves, earn’s the right to have the chance of returning.But they would half to get in line no special treatment. Those that has to be hunted down, gets deported and theres no chance of ever comming back. OUR immigration program works just fine its the inforcement part that don’t work. Build the fence, give them trained dog’s and Armed the gards.Threats are comming out of Mexico. PLEASE don’t eat or drink any thing that they have been around or if it comes from Mexico. IN fact I’m burning ever movie I have that has a Mexican in it. That awful, But when your had a gun at your head and rob. IT sure dose clear up things. But my pain is nothing,conpared to the Mothers who has lost their child to these illegal’s. Children Murder in the most in human way. Rapes and kidnapping. These are the ones my heart goes out two.Then WE, are ask to be fair. Is it fair, that here in America, our children isn’t safe AND they don’t have much chance with this insane B S Going on,Its not fair to those little children, they didn’t get to grow up.Children that just like mine and your’s. That had the american dream. Why is ever one ok, with this?Do you really love beans that much,that you would turn away from what it right and the law,to reward, ones that has broken oue law and hasn’t stoped as of yet. American, lets start a fund in order if they dont build the fence we will.

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By GW=MCHammered, October 9, 2006 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“While the interview process for visas has become tougher, it has failed to stop these so-called “overstays” from reaching for the American dream.”

Or from reaching their American nightmare. Statistics show that on average, suicide rates double for US immigrants compared when to their homeland. Sadly, America ain’t what she used to be.

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By rabblerowzer, October 8, 2006 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

R. A. Earl is correct, follow the money, hundreds of millions of dollars are involved. Government contracts are given out on strictly a partisan basis by this administration, just as they were in Iraq and for the Katrina clean up. Money is the root of all Republican corruption, not ideology.

Republicans aren’t trying to stop illegal immigration, Big Business needs illegals for semi-slave labor. They could stop illegal immigration a lot cheaper and quicker by eliminating the job source by fining employers for hiring illegals, instead of building walls and going after millions of individual illegals.

Building the wall serves two purposes: making a fast buck and pacifying their redneck base.

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By R. A. Earl, October 7, 2006 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sometimes I just have to shake my head in astonishment that a country, as dynamic, exhuberant, creative and capitalistic as the US of A, can be simultaneously a stronghold of profound STUPIDITY.

The fence hasn’t yet been built that will stop humans from “crossing the road.” Sure, it might slow them down for while but they’ll find a way around it.

So why is a country as smart and savvy as the USA pressing on to build a 700 mile astronomically expensive fence that they have to know before they start WILL NOT PREVENT ILLEGAL MIGRATION? The only sensible answer I can generate comes from following the dollar. To build, monitor and repair such a structure is going to provide employment and/or profit for thousands at a cost of hundreds of millions to American taxpayers.

Anyone want to bet that those who get the contracts to build the fence and those who are employed to monitor it will be SOMEHOW CONNECTED TO OUR ELECTED “AUTHORITIES?”

May I be so bold as to suggest that kind of money would do one hell of a lot more good if invested in researching and resolving the reasons Mexicans abandon their homes to live like hobos/slaves/fugitives in America?

STUPID. STUPID. STUPID.

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By Zena, October 7, 2006 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How do u say ‘shotgun’ in spanish?

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By Bukko in Australia, October 7, 2006 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The whole notion of a “700-mile fence” is SO bogus. There was a story in the Washington Post (or maybe the New York Times—I read both online here) about the holes in the fence appropriation. (Pun intended.)

The language in the bill said enough money was being appropriated for 700 miles of fence. (Which would still be far from a complete closure of the 2,000-mile border, even when you include what’s been blockaded already.) However, the stated plans for what will be ACTUALLY built only add up to about 230 miles. That’s because some will be used to make a “virtual fence” with electronic surveillance like motion detectors and other devices favoured by military contractors. This approach is backed by the Pentagon, which wants to test the technology for battlefield use, and also to hand out money to the people who will later give high-paying jobs to the Pentagon brass who funneled the contracts their way. (That last bit was my cynical interpretation…)

There are other wrinkles in this fence plan, such as the fact that Mexicans can easily cut THROUGH the fence. They’re not stupid, you know. A barrier is no good without patrolling it.

I haven’t mentioned half of what’s crap about this fence. Google the story if you want to find out. The point is, it’s a political ploy to appease the anti-immigrant crowd; a way to hand out more federal money to well-connected companies; all the while keeping up the flow of illegal labour who will work for far less money than Americans would demand, thereby keeping wage costs low for big business. Another example of how American politics is a total sham.

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By Guitarsandmore, October 7, 2006 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, I don’t care who thinks it won’t be effective, it’s a start in the right direction and a move away from the “catch and release” policy that lets any wild thing walk across the border and set up shop.

This will be the Achilles heel for Democrats if they don’t take a stronger stand.  It makes no sense to spend 300 billion dollars on a war in Iraq that “might” get some of the terrorists and then leave the our own borders wide open to the terrorists.

No other country is so lax about border control.  I am as liberal as the next person but the entire 3rd world can not live in Southern California and they shouldn’t have to.

Capitalism is meeting its own limitations on this one.  Universities are a business trying to make a buck and chasing after every opportunity on the planet.  Too many American institutions have the same business model and are guilty of inviting in the terrorists to our country.

After the wall we need to enforce the law.

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By harald hardrada, October 7, 2006 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

frightened white folks set our racial policies but their shrillness shows that they’re losing their grip, although many whites who say they’re democrats will vote republican when they get behind that curtain, which is why i don’t believe polls that say republicans will bark their shins next month

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