Saturday, June 16, 2007

Good Fences make Good Neighbors

OK, I take exception to the final two words of his full essay (words not included in my excerpt below), but otherwise Charles Krauthammer nails it:

Generous excerpt (emphasis added):

The reason comprehensive immigration reform remains in jeopardy, despite yesterday's partial resuscitation, is that it is a complex compromise with too many moving parts and too many competing interests.


There is only one provision that has unanimous support: stronger border enforcement. I've seen senators stand up and object to the point system ,... -- except one. I have yet to hear a senator stand up and say she is against better border enforcement.

Why not start by passing what all sides say they want? After all, proponents of this comprehensive reform insist that the current situation is intolerable and must be resolved. It follows, therefore, that however much they differ in the details of how the current mess should be resolved, they are united in the belief that such a mess should not be allowed to happen again. And the only way to make sure of that is border control.


Why am I so suspicious about the fealty of the reformers to real border control? In part because of the ridiculous debate over the building of a fence. Despite the success of the border barrier in the San Diego area, it appears to be very important that this success not be repeated. The current Senate bill provides for the fencing of no more than one-fifth of the border and the placing of vehicle barriers in no more than one-ninth.

Instead, we are promised all kinds of fancy, high-tech substitutes -- sensors, cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles -- and lots more armed chaps on the ground to go chasing those who get through.

Why? A barrier is a very simple thing to do. The technology is well tested. The Chinese had success with it, as did Hadrian. In our time, the barrier Israel has built has been so effective in keeping out intruders that suicide attacks are down more than 90 percent.

Fences work.

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