Lion of the Blogosphere

Do walls work?

According to Rich Lowry in the NY Post:

Robust fencing made an enormous difference in stopping illegal crossings in Yuma, Ariz. The area had only about 5 miles of fencing in the mid-2000s, then saw the extent of its fencing ¬increase 10-fold. Illegal crossings plummeted.

Yuma got that additional fencing thanks to the passage of the Secure Fence Act in 2006 on a ¬bi-partisan basis, prior to the Democratic Party becoming ¬unsettled by the prospect of putting physical barriers in the way of illegal entrants.

That walls keep people out seems obvious, but naysayers insist that people can just dig under the wall, so what’s the point?

People can also get around locked doors, so what’s the point of locking the door to your house?

Seems to me that nearly all of the people who make the argument that walls don’t work are also in favor of liberal immigration policies, some to the extent of underhandedly trying to get to an open borders policy through non-enforcement of any immigration laws. Is there a single person who is strongly against immigration who says a wall doesn’t work? I don’t think so.

The wall is especially important so long as Congress refuses to change the policy that allows anyone to demand asylum once they set foot on U.S. soil and we aren’t allowed to deport them after that.

Even stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting the hiring of illegals and requiring the use of e-verify doesn’t obviate the need for a wall, because there are people who still want to cross the border to either work for those willing to violate the law, or to make money by being criminals.

Also, the porous southern border is the easiest way to sneak contraband into the country, it’s much riskier to do it through a legal port-of-entry (where they have high-tech equipment and drug-sniffing-dogs and people inspecting your stuff).

However, this country also needs entry-exit visa tracking, mandatory e-verify, and many other policies that Democrats in Congress (along with some open-borders Republicans) will refuse to pass, because as I stated above, they want to get to open borders through non-enforcement of the laws. They figure, eventually there will be enough open-borders people in Congress to grant a massive amnesty to all of the illegals. Or maybe, if they can put enough left-wing judges onto the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will suddenly discover that illegals have a Constitutional right to stay here permanently. (One of the huge benefits of the Trump presidency is that he has put off that day of reckoning by appointing conservative judges.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 4, 2019 at 9:38 AM

Posted in Immigration

51 Responses

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  1. “Is there a single person who is strongly against immigration who says a wall doesn’t work?”

    Not sure the Border Patrol union outright claims they don’t work, but they tend to be wall-skeptical, for the obvious reason that the less wall there is the more demand there is for Border Patrol agents.


    January 4, 2019 at 9:47 AM

    • Walls are useless if no one is guarding them. If anything walls will create jobs for Border Patrol agents to sit and man the wall in areas where no one bothers crossing anyway.

      Peter Akuleyev

      January 4, 2019 at 12:03 PM

      • Walls are about as useful as the hundreds of laws we already have against employing or being an illegal alien. That is to say, without a civilizational will they’re probably irrelevant. The wall would almost immediately become just as useless as all the laws, because there is no will to take the problem seriously.


        January 4, 2019 at 5:13 PM

      • See, this is called “physics”: In classical mechanics, two objects cannot occupy a physical space at the same time. If a physical object occupies the space where another physical object is in the way, then the first physical object cannot occupy that same space.

        Hence, it is why walls work.


        January 4, 2019 at 8:46 PM

  2. So here you have the ambiguity of Rich Lowry. He fires John Derbyshire from National Review for writing about warning his kids about the dangers of blacks, thus winning the enmity of alt-righters everywhere, but he hits all the right notes on an even bigger issue, seemingly carrying the same dangers.


    January 4, 2019 at 10:07 AM

    • Immigrants are not nearly as holy as blacks, in the conventional worldview. And even if Lowry doesn’t subscribe to that worldview himself, he may be beholden to people who do.


      January 4, 2019 at 12:49 PM

    • Don’t give Rich Lowry too much credit. He wasn’t praising walls or border security a few years ago. More likely he saw what happened to The Weekly Standard and decided he still wanted a magazine that conservatives read.

      Mike Street Station

      January 6, 2019 at 8:04 AM

  3. What the US needs is full and bilateral free trade, immigration, and a comity procedure with the rest of North America.

    Millions of young US couples who would be having kids can’t afford to because they can’t take advantage of the many financial opportunities outside the US.

    The Old Libertarian

    January 4, 2019 at 10:12 AM

    • Millions of young US couples who would be having kids can’t afford to because the cost of housing has been driven up by mass immigration.


      January 4, 2019 at 10:54 AM

  4. This constitution right has been invented by the European court of human rights : the rights to family and private life. After 10 years of proven illegal residency and if you have a family life, you get a right to residency permit for life by virtue of article 8 of European HR constitution.


    January 4, 2019 at 10:38 AM

  5. Walls work! Fences Fail! The Simms want drones & sensors, for what? To count all the illegals coming across that will register Democrat & vote for them


    January 4, 2019 at 10:40 AM

  6. The Soviet Union didn’t have a wall, but the border was secure. It’s more economical and unambiguous to shoot the the illegal crossers on sight. The money can be used for a bunch of important things that the country needs.


    January 4, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    • True. Fixed walls are stupid. By the time you have properly manned and guarded the wall, and secured the perimeter, you no longer need the wall in the first place. Fences make sense. The problem is that Trump promised a big beautiful wall, and that Mexico would pay for it. It was always a stupid promise, and probably at least 80% of Trump voters took it as a metaphorical promise. But the Anne Coulters of the world seem determined to have their monument and Trump has to placate them.

      Peter Akuleyev

      January 4, 2019 at 2:09 PM

      • Mexico will pay for it.

        Who says they have to pay up front?


        January 4, 2019 at 8:41 PM

    • hahaha funny Yakov . The communist heaven is the only heaven you need guards in the exit not the entrance.


      January 4, 2019 at 2:10 PM

      • You think I don’t know? It’s propoganda om my part, obviously. I’m not against the wall.


        January 4, 2019 at 3:46 PM

  7. Illegal immigration is primarily driven by economics and will continue as long as there are still jobs here for illegals. Instituting nationwide E-Verify and cracking down hard on large employers who hire illegals is something that would actually make a dent in the problem.

    The main purpose of the wall is trolling. We need the wall because it will inflict intense psychological pain on loathsome people who deserve to suffer.

    Horace Pinker

    January 4, 2019 at 11:46 AM

    • Bingo.


      January 4, 2019 at 6:54 PM

    • You cannot use E-Verify because the DoJ will prosecute you for discrimination.


      January 4, 2019 at 8:40 PM

      • Huh? Federal contractors are required to use E-verify.


        January 5, 2019 at 1:08 AM

  8. I’ll repeat what I said about the Egypt/Israel wall. It’s a symbol. The Bedouin control the Sinai (I’ve been there, we had to surrender our passports to them), and the Israelis cut a deal with them. Plus the Egyptians probably got paid off as well.

    The Mexican government just doesn’t want to stop the caravan. Plus they don’t want to stop their own citizens from coming to the US, because it means $53BN in remittances.

    Houston, we have a problem.

    I’m beginning to feel very gloomy about the future of this little experiment.


    January 4, 2019 at 1:00 PM

    • The Israeli wall isn’t just “a symbol”. It actually works as intended:

      Effects on illegal entry

      While 9,570 citizens of various African countries entered Israel illegally in the first half of 2012, only 34 did the same in the first six months of 2013, after construction of the main section of the barrier was completed. After the entire fence was completed, the number of migrant crossings had dropped to 16 in 2016.


      January 5, 2019 at 10:56 AM

      • I’m aware of those numbers. I’m saying that I think there are other reasons why those numbers have dropped so radically. You clearly do not know about how the Bedouin control access through Sinai.


        January 5, 2019 at 12:50 PM

      • Well then why weren’t the Bedouin doing their job (or doing Israel’s job) before the wall was built?


        January 5, 2019 at 8:41 PM

  9. You have to consider the effectiveness of the money you spend against whether you want to spend it… the Wall is not a one-time cost. Maintaining a barrier of that length will be EXPENSIVE.

    So now you really need to consider whether the one-time cost + maintenance cost of the wall will be more effective at your goal (serving the needs of the American population) then the money spent elsewhere (or not at all)

    The Yuma example is a bad one as well – Let’s say I have a 1000 foot border with 5 crossings. Illegal immigration occurs near crossings (because crossings are where border towns are located) – and for this border it occurs at an evenly distributed rate among the 5 crossings.

    So the officials at one of the crossings decides to build a wall to reduce illegal immigration – What would we expect to happen? It becomes more difficult to cross at this border, but not more difficult to cross at the remaining 4 borders so quite obviously fewer illegals pass at the walled crossing (instead they travel to towns near crossings without walls). The NET illegal immigration across the border hasn’t changed.

    If you build a wall across the whole border this effect disappears (and very likely with a Trump wall Yuma will find the gains they made in reducing illegal crossings with their wall will evaporate).

    One last thing – If you create a wall you will create economic conditions where those with capital to bypass the wall have more power… desperate people seeking asylum in the USA will still have no better option, except now their best bet at crossing the border will likely involve putting themselves into the debt of one of these powerful groups who can cross the wall. Perverse incentives and all that.


    January 4, 2019 at 1:05 PM

    • The wall pays for itself because it’s a lot less expensive to keep people out than to deport them after they get in.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 4, 2019 at 1:28 PM

      • Not to mention all the free schools, Medicaid, Section 8, etc that they end up getting. My friend is a doctor in a clinic in San Francisco, and that’s all she treats.

        amused observer

        January 4, 2019 at 2:08 PM

    • This is the stupidest thing I have ever read.

      Each illegal alien family produces pays $20,000 in taxes and receives $30,000 in benefits. They cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

      And you think a wall will be expensive?


      January 4, 2019 at 8:38 PM

  10. How is it that America never had a wall?

    The 50s had Operation Wetback which was a success when the US was still 90% white. Why not at that time, or before, did America never build a wall?

    I mean, how did America stay so white for so long without a wall? Was there less illegal migration in the past for some reason? Different arrangements between companies and governments? Is there a correlation with the 65 Act and illegal immigration?

    How can could American have been so wall-less and so white for so long. . .and then suddenly not? What exactly happened here?


    January 4, 2019 at 2:00 PM

    • In 1950, Mexico had only 28 million people. If you went much distance beyond the border the poor people tempted to emigrate had likely only a vague notion of how to get to the US and what they would do if they got there. Over time, population increased, poor people got TVs and networks of locals were established in the US.


      January 4, 2019 at 6:48 PM

      • Today Mexico has a pop. Of what, 150 million?

        I see, mass migration is a “rising tide of color” type thing. Higher standards of living (because of dead white men) have allowed r-selected people to multiply exponentially. While k-selected have become decadent and soft because of the same advances.


        January 5, 2019 at 12:08 AM

      • That and chain migration. Throughout history most newly colonized territories were filled with incoming extended families. That Cellar fellow who wrote the 1965 immigration act sure knew what he was doing. And, of course, his prole white opponents didn’t have a clue. Ryanism has been with us for awhile.


        January 5, 2019 at 1:15 AM

    • Ironically in the 1950s before we had strict border controls Mexicans would cross over to the US, work, then just go back home. There was no reason to immigrate because they could go back whenever they pleased. When we started tightening the border we effectively locked millions of Mexicans in here with us.

      But as Curri points out we can’t turn the clock back to that era – too many networks now established in the US and with current technology and living standards it’s too easy for people who don’t live near the border (poor Indian Mexicans from Chiapas, Central Americans, Venezuelans, whoever) to come and cross at our weak points.

      Peter Akuleyev

      January 5, 2019 at 2:30 AM

      • We’re locking them in? Bullshit. Nobody these days is stopping Latin Americans from going home if they want to. The difference is that in the 1950s, the wetbacks could not apply for taxpyaer-funded gimmedats that provide them with a strong incentive to stay here.


        January 5, 2019 at 8:44 PM

  11. Yakov, amen to your suggestion. Unfortunately we are way to nice to ever shoot someone for just wanting to live among us.

    Oden's Raven

    January 4, 2019 at 2:11 PM

    • i wouldn’t call it nice


      January 4, 2019 at 3:46 PM

    • Don’t make me laugh now! Nobody is being shot ‘for just wanting to live among us’. People should be shot for violating the country’s sovereignity. Obviously the whole world wants to be here, nothing wrong with that.


      January 4, 2019 at 4:21 PM

  12. Here, maybe Lowe will get his wish after all:


    January 4, 2019 at 2:49 PM



      January 4, 2019 at 2:58 PM

    • If only there has been a recent president who had similarly bypassed Congress and did so to widespread acclaim????


      January 5, 2019 at 1:17 AM

    • I like that he is considering it at least. Not that I don’t like what he says, but he talks a lot. Let’s see him do it.

      After he made these remarks the usual suspects in the media rolled out the former generals to cuck out on TV about how he would be betraying our “men and women” in the armed services, to use the defense budget on a wall. Does our military have a certain quota you have to meet, as an officer? In number of dicks sucked?


      January 5, 2019 at 2:49 PM

  13. IHTG

    January 4, 2019 at 2:51 PM

  14. Of course walls work. Building a 100 yard wide trench filled with burning oil would work too. It is all a cost benefit trade off.

    There is around 700 miles of fences now on the 2000 mile border with Mexico. Why hasn’t Congress authorized more money to finish fencing the whole border long ago?

    Much of the border that is not fenced now is privately owned land. This is especially true in Texas where little of the border is currently fenced. Building a fence or any other barrier would require using eminent domain to purchase the land. In Texas the fence would have to be put on levees that in some cases are miles from the actual border. This would make large pieces of privately owned land inaccessible from the USA. Long, drawn out court fights would be required for the government to purchase the land. Those fights would leave many people angry at the government.

    Texas is controlled by Republicans, but the Texas representatives in Congress have not shown much interest in providing the funding to build the fence along all of the border in Texas. Republicans had control of Congress since 2011, but this was never a high priority for them.


    January 4, 2019 at 4:52 PM

  15. WSJ, 01/02/19 – Government Visa Website Sidelined by Record Demand

    WASHINGTON—The Labor Department received nearly 100,000 temporary worker visa requests in the first five minutes of New Year’s Day, an unprecedented demand that caused the online submissions portal to crash, the government said Wednesday.

    Thousands of small businesses, including landscaping companies, restaurants and other seasonal businesses, remained in limbo as the website remained closed, a roadblock in the first step of the complex H-2B visa application process that yields a limited number of slots and requires approval from three government agencies…

    On New Year’s Eve, business owners and immigration lawyers across the country counted the clock to midnight to get a head start on the competitive process to obtain visas for temporary workers in the spring and summer.

    The number of H-2B visas granted each year is capped at 66,000, divided evenly between two six-month periods. The Labor Department said login volume was about 30 times higher in the first few minutes after it opened Tuesday, compared to last New Year’s Day…

    On Jan. 1, 2018, businesses filed requests for more than 81,000 workers for the following summer season. In response, the Labor Department changed the process, turning it into a first-come, first-serve system where every second counts. On top of that, the tight U.S. labor market has increased demand for H2-B visas…

    E. Rekshun

    January 4, 2019 at 4:56 PM

  16. A couple of points.

    As noted in the OP, regulations work. A wall will make it more difficult to enter the country just as gun control makes it more difficult for criminals to obtain firearms. In each case it’s a matter of reducing crime, not ending crime. So all of the conservatives on this blog can at least strive for a little more internal consistency in their belief system.

    Second, as noted above, the example of Yuma is a poor one because it’s non-scalable. Cars that had the first center brake light were 50% less likely to be rear-ended. It became a standard feature, so did rear-endings dramatically drop? No. The third light ceased to stand out because it became so common.

    Third, in order for a wall to make rational sense, the benefits must exceed the costs. As it stands, they don’t. It’s stupid, and Pelosi is exactly right to call it a “vanity” wall. In terms of opportunity costs, there a far more effective measure available: Go after employers who illegally hire undocumented workers.


    January 4, 2019 at 5:04 PM

  17. Do walls work? If you are talking about good walls make good neighbors.

    Yes, just like dumb miscreants climb the fences of electrical plants only to be electrocuted when warning signs are in place. I say the walls need to be installed with an electrical current which will deter anyone from climbing them.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    January 4, 2019 at 7:46 PM

  18. NO NO NO…

    You don’t need walls.

    Don’t you understand?

    Look what banks do. They just have huge piles of cash in the lobby with an electronic fence and a drone that monitors anyone who tries to take anything.



    January 4, 2019 at 8:34 PM

    • How secure is a modern bank if you don’t post any security guards and turn off all the alarm systems? That is how effective Trump’s wall is going to be.

      Peter Akuleyev

      January 5, 2019 at 2:33 AM

      • So you’re saying the bank would be good with no walls? Just a security guard an alarm system on an open deck, with the money in the middle?


        January 5, 2019 at 2:54 PM

      • Lowe, the problem is that the wall is a false prescription. I know exactly where literally thousands of illegals live, I know where they are being employed, and I can name corporate entities breaking the law by doing business with them. 500 smart guys with badges, guns, vans & buses, and a direct line to capable federal prosecutors could clean up the entire illegal problem in less than eight months with less than $200mm. This is simply not even a billion dollar problem. You can’t pretend the wall is a fix when it’s so obviously easy to solve the real problem for practically nothing. The wall is really just another way to punt while enriching connected people by spinning up new spending.

        The real problem plays out over and over again outside of the question of illegal immigrants: There is simply no will to enforce the law anymore. All manner of cumulatively multi-billion dollar crimes simply go unprosecuted. You see this with the lack of prosecutions after the 2008 crash, lack of anti-trust law application to the healthcare and telecom sectors, and you see it with the blatant Clinton charity frauds, just for examples. The law simply doesn’t matter to anybody anymore. A wall won’t fix that.


        January 5, 2019 at 4:36 PM

  19. Cat, you are a comedy. Israel pays no protection money to Sinai Bedouins. If the wall is touched, rapid dispatch forces including helicopters rush to that area. You really make me laugh.

    Incidentally, Egyptians shoot and kill migrants at the border and I don’t recollect NYT or the UN ever protesting or investigating.

    This is what this country needs to do.


    January 5, 2019 at 5:31 PM

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