I’ve gotten mostly kudos for my USA Today piece on building a wall. But, understandably, a few folks disagree. What I find kind of amazing is how there are so few arguments against the wall, other than the symbolism thing. As I said in the piece, I think the symbolism argument is a good and legitimate one. But it pretty much stands alone. Some say it can’t be done, but we know that’s not true. Others say it’s too expensive. But one gets the sense that even if it were cheaper, they wouldn’t favor a wall. Some rightly note that it wouldn’t be fool-proof. Okay. So it would only reduce illegal entry into the United States by a really big percentage.
And even the symbolism arguments are less persuasive than I once believed. I know many wall-supporters favor a “time-out” on legal immigration too. I really don’t, depending on how we define a “time-out.” But the two things hardly go hand-in-hand. How exactly is blocking illegal entry to the United States a sign that we’re “closing ourselves off to the world”? There are soup kitchens, half-way houses and other “open” institutions which still try to prevent people from breaking-in. Are they “closing themselves off to their community” by locking the doors at night? Personally, I think a wall would create a more open climate toward legal immigration. As of right now, would-be legal immigrants sometimes pay the price of people getting fed-up with illegal immigrants. “We’ve got to stop the flooding somewhere” seems to be the logic of many Americans. And the only spigot we control is the legal one. Secure the border, and that’s no longer true.