On some talk-radio shows, though not in these pages, popular commentators such as Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham have suggested closing the Mexican border to avoid a flu pandemic. They contend that the same border regime that allows illegal workers to cross the border puts us at danger of mass contagion.
This is air-borne bull. Here are some facts:
– There were 642,750 apprehensions of illegals crossing the 24 U.S.-border counties adjoining Mexico in 2007.
– These counties host a total of 41 “ports of entry” through which legal traffic crosses: trade, tourism, family visits, shopping, and university commutes.
– There were 239,809,189 legal crossing of these 41 “ports of entry” in 2007.
– Assuming that two illegals cross successfully for each apprehended, the illegal crossings of the U.S.-Mexican border equal one-half of one percent of the total crossings.
Now, unless these illegals eat, sleep, defecate, and mate in some novel way, they are clearly a sliver of a fraction of the “border breaches” available to pandemic viruses.
So get this: Were we crazy enough to seal the border, we could achieve 99.5% effectiveness without a single yard or fence of another border patrol agent. Just close the ports-of-entry.
Of course, 30,000 Americans regularly die during flu season. And there are 37,000 highway fatalities each year. So, after we seal the border, let’s close the roads.
I am constantly astounded at how little folks understand about the routine functioning of a free society.