Activism Discussion: A Berlin Wall On The Border?

A Berlin Wall On The Border?
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Steven L. Robinson
2006-02-27 01:13:45 EST
Border security or boondoggle?

A plan for 700 miles of Mexican border wall heads for Senate -- its future
is not assured

Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A proposal to build a double set of steel walls with floodlights,
surveillance cameras and motion detectors along one-third of the
U.S.-Mexican border heads to the Senate next month after winning
overwhelming support in the House.

The wall would be intended to prevent illegal immigrants and potential
terrorists from hiking across the southern border into the United States. It
would run along five segments of the 1,952-mile border that now experience
the most illegal crossings.

The plan already has roiled diplomatic relations with Mexico. Leaders in
American border communities are saying it will damage local economies and
the environment. And immigration experts say that -- at a cost of at least
$2.2 billion -- the 700-mile wall would be an expensive boondoggle.

The December House vote of 260-159 is the strongest endorsement yet for
building a wall, which Rep. Duncan Hunter, a San Diego County Republican,
has been pushing for two decades as a tactic against illegal immigration.
Support for the wall was even stronger than for the bill it was attached
to -- a larger plan to curb terrorism and illegal immigration sponsored by
Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner that passed 239 to 182.

"It is a tangible demonstration of the seriousness of the United States in
not permitting illegal migration into the country," said Jack Martin,
spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an advocacy
group in Washington, D.C., that favors tighter immigration controls.

Hunter estimates that building two rigid, steel-mesh barriers with a paved
road between will cost $2.2 billion, though the price tag could be almost
twice that, based on the actual cost of a similar but much shorter fence now
under construction in San Diego.

Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said the money would be well spent.

"The fence in itself is a force multiplier," Kasper said. "It allows Border
Patrol agents to refocus their attention to other areas because it won't
require as many Border Patrol agents to monitor a location as it would
without a fence."

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in an e-mail interview that she
opposes the Sensenbrenner bill, though she supports a similar fence now
being built along 14 miles of the border in San Diego County.

"Fencing in combination with other things, is useful," she said. "One of the
things I believe is you have to enforce our nation's borders."

Residents fear impacts

The fence plan is likely to change significantly in the Senate when it takes
up immigration reform, border security, employment verification and guest
worker proposals in March. Two versions of immigration reform have been
introduced in the Senate, but a third, released Friday by Sen. Arlen
Specter, was the first to mention a fence, calling for a study of building a
"physical barrier system" along the U.S. borders with both Mexico and
Canada.

Leaders in many border cities already have vehemently objected to a fence.
The city of Calexico in Imperial County passed a resolution in early January
opposing it.

"We should be in the construction of bridges of good relationships with
Mexico," said Calexico Mayor Alex Perrone, whose city has mutual aid
agreements with the police and fire departments in neighboring Mexicali,
just over the border in Baja California. Calexico's retail economy depends
on Mexican shoppers, he added. "If we don't have Mexico, we don't have
Calexico."

Mike Allen, director of the McAllen (Texas) Economic Development Corp., said
leaders from along the Rio Grande agreed at a recent gathering: "Every
single mayor from Brownsville to El Paso is against it.

"We want people to support our immigration laws because we live here," said
Allen, who lives a half-mile from the border. "But this will be a tremendous
waste of money, and it will not stop (illegal) immigration. People will just
go around it."

Among those hurt most by illegal immigration are members of the Tohono
O'odham Indian tribe, whose desert land stretches along 70 miles of the
Arizona-Mexico border. But tribal leaders don't want their land to be
fenced, as proposed under the Sensenbrenner bill, because that would prevent
Indian people and wildlife from crossing the border as they are accustomed
to. "We need the Border Patrol, but we have to balance that with respecting
the sovereignty of our nation, our land and our people," tribal Chairwoman
Vivian Juan-Saunders said in an interview last year. "It's a sensitive
balancing act."

Outside Douglas, Ariz., ranchers Warner and Wendy Glenn have seen the number
of illegal immigrants crossing their land skyrocket over the past decade.
The Glenns rely on the Border Patrol but enforcement doesn't stop the
influx; it just shifts where migrants cross, Wendy Glenn said.

A "monster fence" would block migration paths for deer, javelina, coyotes
and mountain lions, and damage the sensitive desert ecosystem; accompanying
new patrol roads could even create easier routes for smugglers, she said.

"It will only open up more access for drugs and illegals, with more traffic
and more damage," Glenn said. "Washington policymakers have no clue what is
happening out here on the ground."

Barrier takes many forms

Fencing of some kind already exists along 106 miles of the border, mostly
near cities, including San Diego, El Paso and Nogales, Ariz. Most of it
consists of welded panels of corrugated steel recycled from portable landing
strips the Army used in Vietnam.

Elsewhere, the international line varies from a few strands of barbed wire
tacked to wooden fence posts to a winding river where egrets and roseate
spoonbills forage.

A fence could be a valuable tool for the Border Patrol, said spokesman Sal
Zamora, but building it will be easier said than done.

"Though in theory it might sound like a viable option, in practice it might
not be," he said. "I don't know that environmental impact assessments or
feasibility studies have been done."

Zamora also said manpower and technology -- night-vision cameras, motion
detectors, helicopters and unmanned aerial drones -- are as important as
fencing in cutting off illegal border crossings.

Even as fencing and patrols increased steadily over the past dozen years,
the number of people arrested trying to cross illegally fluctuated. Illegal
crossings may be more reflective of the international economy than border
patrol efforts, according to immigration experts.

San Diego's 14-mile double fence has been in the works since 1996. But
construction of the 15-foot-high, rigid, steel-mesh barrier, which is the
model for the proposed fence, has been stalled by environmental concerns
even though Congress gave the Department of Homeland Security authority to
disregard environmental and other laws in an effort to speed fence
construction.

Roughly $39 million has been spent on the project so far, according to
Hunter's office, and Homeland Security plans to spend $35 million more.

If that $74 million is enough to finish the job (Border Patrol officials say
the cost could keep rising) and the price is multiplied over the proposed
700 miles, the new fence could run $3.7 billion. Even that estimate doesn't
take into account the expense of purchasing or condemning many miles of
privately owned land abutting the border or of potential legal challenges.

Other avenues to entry

Illegal border crossings and drug smuggling have dropped in urban areas over
the past dozen years, a sign that fortifying walls there and reinforcing
them with cameras, buried motion detectors and a doubling of Border Patrol
personnel may have worked.

Typical migration routes have shifted to more remote and treacherous
regions, however, and border-crossing deaths have increased eight-fold over
the past decade to 473 last year. Migrants increasingly hire smugglers, at
$1,500 a pop, to help them make the three-day hike through parched and rocky
terrain.

The number of unauthorized immigrants to the United States remained more or
less steady from 1996 to 2005, according to demographer Jeff Passel of the
Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C. He said 700,000 to 750,000 people
enter the country illegally each year, helping raise the total to a record
11 million in 2005.

As many as one-third of those 11 million people did not walk across the
border illegally, instead entering the country on tourist, student or work
visas and simply staying after the visas expired, Passel estimated.

These visa "overstays" are from China, the Philippines, India, South
America, Canada, Ireland and many other countries, said Passel, whose
estimates are used by the Department of Homeland Security. Passel emphasized
that more than 99 percent of the 25 million to 30 million legal foreign
visitors to the United States each year follow the law in general and obey
the terms of their visas.

All 19 of the Sept. 11 hijackers entered the country on legitimate visas and
only six had violated them by overstaying, enrolling in school when they
entered as tourists, or failing to enroll when they entered as students.

Effectiveness is debatable

Building a wall won't address overstays, and it may not even slow foot
traffic across the border, many analysts said.

"People will seek other ways to come into the country," said Maria
Echaveste, an immigration expert at the Center for American Progress, a
liberal think-tank in Washington, D.C. "I suspect more use of water, more
use of fraudulent documents, more use of criminal smuggling.

"So long as there are jobs and there is a demand for labor and we are not
serious about cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers,
people will seek to come in," Echaveste said.

Deborah Meyers, an expert on Mexican immigration at the nonpartisan
Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., said a crackdown at the
border without new legal avenues for immigrants to come and work in this
country is doomed to fail.

"We cannot nor should we barricade ourselves off from everything. It's
completely unrealistic," Meyers said. "With the money we spend on a fence,
we could be reducing the backlogs in processing for legitimate applicants,
we could be putting in a system for verification of work authorization, we
could be helping Mexico create jobs so people wouldn't have to leave."

The $2.2 billion Hunter estimates the fence would cost could fund almost
2,500 new Border Patrol agents for five years, a 22 percent increase in the
force. Or it could increase 15-fold the U.S. Agency for International
Development's spending on economic development in Mexico over the next five
years.

After the Sensenbrenner bill passed in mid-December, Mexican President
Vicente Fox condemned the fence as "shameful" and dispatched his foreign
minister to Washington to raise concerns with senior State Department
officials.

"It has become very emotional in Mexico," said Allen, the Texas economic
development official. Fence backers "say it's not akin to the Berlin Wall,"
he said.

"But it is," Allen said. "Mexico is our second-largest trading partner, and
we're building a wall to keep them out."

Wall is the first step

Hunter, the wall's key backer, is not worried about the impact on this
country's relationship with Mexico, his aide said.

"Homeland security cannot be put on hold for diplomatic concerns," Kasper
said. "We don't need permission from any other nation as to how best to
protect our communities."

Al Garza, executive director for the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a
self-appointed militia group that has been patrolling the border and drawing
public attention to the issue of illegal immigration, said before the Senate
considers guest worker programs or any other immigration reform, it must
beef up border enforcement as a matter of national security.

"The first thing is to secure the border, the rest will take care of
itself," Garza said.





----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Walls around the world

Mexican President Vicente Fox has likened the $2.2 billion double fence
proposed for 700 miles of his northern border to the Berlin Wall, a
comparison angrily rejected by fence supporters. Throughout history, nations
have built walls to keep people in, keep people out or both.

Great Wall of China: One of the greatest construction projects in world
history, the Great Wall runs, with branches, about 4,500 miles. Large parts
of it date from the seventh through fourth centuries B.C. Built of dirt,
stone and brick, the wall ranges from 15 feet to 25 feet wide and 15 feet to
30 feet tall with a 13-foot-wide road on top and watchtowers at regular
intervals.

Berlin Wall: The barrier that separated West Berlin from East Berlin and
surrounding areas in the former East Germany from 1961 to 1989 was a series
of concrete walls up to 15 feet high topped with barbed wire and enhanced
with watchtowers, stationary guns, mines and electrified fencing. By the
1980s, the wall ran 75 miles around West Berlin and 28 miles through Berlin.

Morocco / Western Sahara: The Moroccan Wall is a 1,600-mile system of sand
berms and rock walls built in the 1980s by Morocco to control Western
Sahara, where tensions continue between Morocco and Polisario Front
separatists despite a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. The wall is an earthen mound
about 7 feet high fronted by a 23-foot-wide ditch and studded with bunkers,
barbed wire, and anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.

India / Bangladesh: India has built more than 1,300 miles of a planned
3,034-mile barrier at its border with Bangladesh. The fence will be
patrolled by 50,000 officers and key stretches will be electrified.
Construction of the $1 billion double fence -- which is 10 to 12 feet high,
floodlit and razor-wire filled -- began in 1986 and will be done next year.
It may extend near a demilitarized zone separating the two countries, to
enclose Indian villages on the border.

Israel: Israel has built about 170 miles of the barrier separating it from
the Palestinian-dominated West Bank. Another 140 miles are planned or under
construction, and 155 more are under review. The barrier, a wire fence in
some places and concrete wall in others, has additional enhancements such as
barbed wire, electricity, sensors, watchtowers and sniper posts. Supporters
say it has been routed to foil terrorists and critics say it unfairly
incorporates Palestinian land into Israel.

Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Global Security, CIA Factbook Compiled by
Chronicle research librarian Johnny Miller and staff writer Matthew B.
Stannard

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
---

FORTIFYING THE BORDER

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a plan for fences with
surveillance equipment on either side of a new road 150 feet wide along 700
miles of the United States-Mexico border.

-- HOW MUCH THE FENCE COULD COST

The Border Patrol made 1.17 million arrests of people trying to cross
illegally in 2005. The largest number of arrests was in the Tucson sector.
15 feet .... $2.2 BILLION

Fence sponsor Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine (San Diego County), used
estimates from private contractors to reach this figure.

$3.7 BILLION: A similar fence under construction in California so far costs
$74 million for 14 miles.

MAYBE MORE: Additional costs include potential litigation and the purchase
of land now held privately.

-- BUILDING A ROAD

Unpaved but smooth access road 150 feet wide

Clearing and grubbing $90,000 per mile

Erosion control $25,000 per mile

Grading $633,600 per mile

Road gravel $190,080 per mile



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----

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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/02/26/MNGHIHDUQF1.D
TL





Stan De SD
2006-02-27 02:08:01 EST
> Berlin Wall: The barrier that separated West Berlin from East Berlin and
> surrounding areas in the former East Germany from 1961 to 1989 was a
series
> of concrete walls up to 15 feet high topped with barbed wire and enhanced
> with watchtowers, stationary guns, mines and electrified fencing. By the
> 1980s, the wall ran 75 miles around West Berlin and 28 miles through
Berlin.

And it was designed to keep people in, not out. Lefty Liberals such as
yourself continually lie and distort the facts to push your agenda.



Shannon \N5KOU\ McGauley
2006-02-27 02:32:16 EST
IT'S A FENCE!!

Shannon
www.texasminutemen.info

"Stan de SD" <standesd_DIGA_NO_A_SPAM@covad.net> wrote in message
news:91f1b$4402a530$45035f0b$29245@msgid.meganewsservers.com...
>> Berlin Wall: The barrier that separated West Berlin from East Berlin and
>> surrounding areas in the former East Germany from 1961 to 1989 was a
> series
>> of concrete walls up to 15 feet high topped with barbed wire and enhanced
>> with watchtowers, stationary guns, mines and electrified fencing. By the
>> 1980s, the wall ran 75 miles around West Berlin and 28 miles through
> Berlin.
>
> And it was designed to keep people in, not out. Lefty Liberals such as
> yourself continually lie and distort the facts to push your agenda.
>
>



Malto
2006-02-27 02:42:39 EST

"Stan de SD" <standesd_DIGA_NO_A_SPAM@covad.net> wrote in message
news:91f1b$4402a530$45035f0b$29245@msgid.meganewsservers.com...
> > Berlin Wall: The barrier that separated West Berlin from East Berlin and
> > surrounding areas in the former East Germany from 1961 to 1989 was a
> series
> > of concrete walls up to 15 feet high topped with barbed wire and
enhanced
> > with watchtowers, stationary guns, mines and electrified fencing. By the
> > 1980s, the wall ran 75 miles around West Berlin and 28 miles through
> Berlin.
>
> And it was designed to keep people in, not out.

LOL! what a moron!



Stan De SD
2006-02-27 02:55:32 EST

"Malto" <Malto@blowme.com> wrote in message
news:dtuanb$rou$0@pita.alt.net...
>
> "Stan de SD" <standesd_DIGA_NO_A_SPAM@covad.net> wrote in message
> news:91f1b$4402a530$45035f0b$29245@msgid.meganewsservers.com...
> > > Berlin Wall: The barrier that separated West Berlin from East Berlin
and
> > > surrounding areas in the former East Germany from 1961 to 1989 was a
> > series
> > > of concrete walls up to 15 feet high topped with barbed wire and
> enhanced
> > > with watchtowers, stationary guns, mines and electrified fencing. By
the
> > > 1980s, the wall ran 75 miles around West Berlin and 28 miles through
> > Berlin.
> >
> > And it was designed to keep people in, not out.
>
> what a moron!

Is that an introduction or what?



Hc23hc
2006-02-27 03:02:52 EST
Malto wrote:
>
< Stain de STD wrote>
> > designed to keep people in, not out.

> LOL! what a moron!


Yes indeed. Stain de STD - genetically engineered to keep people away.


.
.
.


Stan De SD
2006-02-27 03:07:44 EST

"hc23hc" <hc23hc1@mac.com> wrote in message
news:1141027372.557457.300080@t39g2000cwt.googlegroups.com...
> Malto wrote:
> >
> < Stain de STD wrote>
> > > designed to keep people in, not out.
>
> > LOL! what a moron!
>
>
> Yes indeed. Stain de STD - genetically engineered to keep people away.

Another sock-puppet from the attention-crack whore that needs to be
killfiled <plonk>



Hc23hc
2006-02-27 03:16:05 EST
Stain de STD wrote:
>
> hc23hc wrote:
> >
> > Stain de STD - genetically engineered to keep people away.


> Another sock-puppet from the attention-crack whore that needs to be
> killfiled <plonk>

Already forgot you said exactly the same last week, Stain-o ?

You're so full of BGH, if you killfile all of your opposition, you'll
be reduced to conversing with your self aka omareno el moron.

Oh wait... you already are.


.
.
.


Antonio Forza
2006-02-27 03:18:27 EST
On Sun, 26 Feb 2006 22:13:45 -0800, "Steven L. Robinson"
<*1@comcast.net> wrote:

>Border security or boondoggle?

The Bush administration has done an excellent job of utterly
destroying the USA's credibility in the world as a peaceful,
reasonable, freedom-loving nation.

Not only has Bush's America attacked foreign countries on utterly
false premises, it is now seriously discussing building new billion
dollar walls, instead of working to tear down the world's existing
walls.

Anyone who claims to love freedom and justice, yet voices support for
the Bush administration, is a hypocrite indeed.
--
Mental Anarchy - Free Your Mind
http://mentalanarchy.com

--
*** Free account sponsored by SecureIX.com ***
*** Encrypt your Internet usage with a free VPN account from http://www.SecureIX.com ***

Malto
2006-02-27 03:45:33 EST

"Stan de SD" <standesd_DIGA_NO_A_SPAM@covad.net> wrote in message
news:ec94e$4402b053$45035f0b$29617@msgid.meganewsservers.com...
>
> "Malto" <Malto@blowme.com> wrote in message
> news:dtuanb$rou$0@pita.alt.net...
> >
> > "Stan de SD" <standesd_DIGA_NO_A_SPAM@covad.net> wrote in message
> > news:91f1b$4402a530$45035f0b$29245@msgid.meganewsservers.com...
> > > > Berlin Wall: The barrier that separated West Berlin from East Berlin
> and
> > > > surrounding areas in the former East Germany from 1961 to 1989 was a
> > > series
> > > > of concrete walls up to 15 feet high topped with barbed wire and
> > enhanced
> > > > with watchtowers, stationary guns, mines and electrified fencing. By
> the
> > > > 1980s, the wall ran 75 miles around West Berlin and 28 miles through
> > > Berlin.
> > >
> > > And it was designed to keep people in, not out.
> >
> > what a moron!
>
> Is that an introduc<SMAK!>

Sorry gayboy, I dont kick that way.:

Try www.jeffgannon.com and tell him the GOP sent ya!



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