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The past few weeks, peppered as they have been with countless think pieces and policy analyses explaining—in great detail—why President Trump’s border wall would be ineffective, promise to continue in a similar vein. This is nothing new. Ever since Donald Trump started running for president, promising to build a great wall, academics and journalists have continually inundated us with arguments about why a physical barrier would be useless and a waste of money.
Up next: a spate of think pieces contending that locks on your doors are ineffective because some burglaries still occur and proper hygiene is a waste of time and money because some germs will survive.
Several articles have helpfully collected many of the arguments the critics have mustered over the past few years. They have told us that most illegal immigrants come into the country legally and then simply overstay their visas. That only six people on the terrorist watch list have been caught trying to cross the southern border. That only one out of every 5,000 people we caught crossing the southern border were suspected or confirmed of being in MS-13. That the drug cartels have come up with far more ingenious ways of smuggling drugs into the country that would easily bypass a border wall. That Mexicans don’t actually want to come to the country in the first place. That illegal immigrants actually make the country safer. That the Obama Administration already enforced border security. That it would be impossible for us to build a border wall for only $5 billion. Oh, and, my personal favorite, that “everyone knows it’s a stupid idea.”
Of course, what they don’t mention is that while it’s true that more than 600,000 people overstayed their visas last year, more than 300,000 people were apprehended crossing the southern border in that same time period. Understand, those 300,000 people were just the ones we caught. We don’t know how many successfully crossed the border.
Those six people on the terrorist watch list we caught in a period of six months? That’s one suspected terrorist apprehended per month. And once again, we simply don’t know how many others crossed the border unseen and unnoticed.
If one out of every 5,000 illegal aliens apprehended is suspected of being in MS-13, that still amounts to 60 MS-13 suspects apprehended at the border. And not to belabor the point yet again, we simply don’t know how many other MS-13 members made it through without getting caught.
The more ingenious drug smuggling methods about which these border wall naysayers warn? They cost more than simply hauling the drugs across the border and a wall would disincentivize less persistent criminals. After all, there are plenty of ingenious ways of breaking into your house, but this doesn’t stop you from investing in a front door with a lock.
Moreover, whether Mexican or not, some people obviously want to come to the country in the first place, because you know… those 300,000 apprehensions. This isn’t nothing. There may be nuances regarding exactly who is coming into the country at our Mexican border, but this doesn’t change the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are crossing it illegally.
It also happens that whether or not illegal immigrants make the country safer, we still have the right, as a sovereign nation, to decide who comes into the country. We are not obligated to accept all comers.
That the Obama Administration obviously didn’t enforce border security enough is clearly the case given that Trump was elected based primarily on his immigration policy.
We should remember, too, that the same people who say enforcing the border will be impossible also said that it would be impossible for Trump to get elected. So it might be the case that their estimation of what is or isn’t impossible is flawed.
And that there are obviously plenty of people who don’t think defending the border is a stupid idea. Including many of those who have made a career out of it.
The lack of common sense exhibited by many of these supposedly well-educated pundits is beyond belief. They are able to take an obvious fact, that an imposing physical barrier would help ensure border security and disincentivize many would-be illegal immigrants from trying to enter the country, and through dissembling and obfuscation to convince themselves and others that it is false.
It’s kind of like listening to your six-year-old kid explain why he shouldn’t have to make his bed. I just made it yesterday. It’s not even that messy. I’ll just end up messing it up again this evening when I go to bed. It takes a lot of time that I could spend playing video games. Why does making my bed matter if we’re all going to die someday. OK . . . I might have been a much more existentially fraught child than most, but the point still stands. While all of these things might be true, it’s also true that it’s important to clean and maintain your room. It’s also important to maintain borders.
It’s striking how nihilistic and defeatist most of these arguments are. Our country spent more than $40 billion on the B-2 bomber program—the notion that we couldn’t spend 12 percent of that on a physical barrier for border security is laughable.
The Left has spent and will continue to spend a lot of time telling everyone why we cannot, should not, and will not make a concerted effort to address border security. Thankfully, successful politics is run on positive visions. We don’t like leaders telling us all the reasons something won’t work.
So let Nancy, Chuck, and all their friends in the academy and the media laugh at our goals and tell us we’re stupid for thinking that physical barriers make a difference. As long as they continue doing so, they continue exposing themselves for what they are: a bunch of defeatist haters.
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