TCS Daily

Walls Are for Losers

By Nathan Smith - November 8, 2006 12:00 AM

The Ming dynasty emperors in China (1368-1644) were the biggest builders of the famous Great Wall. A native Chinese dynasty coming to power in the wake of a Mongol occupation, they wanted to strengthen their defenses against the nomadic peoples to the north. But a Manchu army crossed over it and conquered them anyway.

In the years after World War I, France, recognizing its weakness vis-à-vis Germany, built a supposedly invincible fortification along its frontier with Germany called the Maginot Line. Built very high, of concrete and steel, with forts at 10-mile intervals, the wall nonetheless failed to prevent Germany from conquering France with lightning speed in 1940.

In 1961 the Communist regime of East Germany found itself suffering from mass emigration to the freer and more prosperous West. To prevent this outflow they built the Berlin Wall. When the workers of East Germany tore down that wall, they brought down the East German regime with it.

The lesson of history? Walls are for losers.

America doesn't have a frontier with hostile barbarians who want to conquer us. Instead, we have a frontier with friendly Mexicans who want to work for and with us. Nonetheless, the historical pattern—walls are for losers—still applies. It plays itself out, not in battles or revolutions, but in elections.

From 1991 to 1999, Pete Wilson was governor of California, a state where Republicans had long been competitive. Indeed, California was the home state of Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Pete Wilson was a prominent supporter of Proposition 187, a harsh crackdown on illegal immigration (later overturned by the courts). Since then (at least until Arnold), the Republican Party's support in California has collapsed.

In 2005, Jerry Kilgore and Tim Kaine faced off in the race for governor of Virginia. Virginia is a Republican-leaning state which Bush won easily in 2004. But Kilgore ran as an anti-immigration candidate and lost.

Also in 2005, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed HR4437, a fiercely anti-immigrant bill which would have legally defined millions of peaceful, though undocumented workers, as felons. It criminalized those who assisted illegal immigrants as well, and could have led to the jailing of Catholic clergy who ministered to them. (Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles pointed out that the bill would oblige the Catholic Church to engage, not for the first time, in civil disobedience.)

That bill didn't get through the Senate, but another one did. This fall both the House and Senate passed the Secure Fence Act, authorizing a 700-mile fence along the southern border. President Bush signed the bill on October 26.

Republicans had held the House of Representatives for twelve years. After the fence bill was signed, they lasted just twelve days before the voters gave them the boot. Of course immigration wasn't the only, or the main, issue; Iraq was. Nonetheless, the "walls are for losers" pattern has claimed another scalp. Meanwhile, even the Republican Senate, which, before the fence bill, hardly anyone thought was even in play, looks at present writing like it may have fallen to the Democrats.

Why do politicians who take a stance against immigration keep losing—especially when more Americans want reduced immigration (40%) as opposed to the present level (37%) or increased (17%)?

For one thing, though Americans may prefer less immigration personally, they may understand that the government has, and should have, only limited say in immigration levels. The immigration decision should be in the hands of the immigrant. Americans hate high gas prices, too, but at least some of them understand that these are, and should be, a function of market forces.

But the main reason is probably simpler: the political spectrum. Swing voters are in the center. When Republicans crack down on immigration, they lose votes in the center, and gain none on the right, since they had those anyway. It's a guaranteed net loss. It should have been obvious that signing the fence bill on the eve of the election could only be troublesome for Republicans. Congressmen get reams of letters from angry types who want to close the borders. This time, they listened to the siren song.

Despite signing the fence bill, President Bush has long supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. As he said in January 2004:

"Many undocumented workers have walked mile after mile, through the heat of the day and the cold of the night. Some have risked their lives in dangerous desert border crossings, or entrusted their lives to the brutal rings of heartless human smugglers. Workers who seek only to earn a living end up in the shadows of American life -- fearful, often abused and exploited. When they are victimized by crime, they are afraid to call the police, or seek recourse in the legal system. They are cut off from their families far away, fearing if they leave our country to visit relatives back home, they might never be able to return to their jobs.

"The situation I described is wrong. It is not the American way."

Now, with the Democrats in charge of one or both Houses of Congress, President Bush—like another Texan president overseeing an unpopular war, Lyndon Johnson—may have his chance to improve his legacy by achieving a major civil rights advance.

Nathan Smith is a writer living in Washington, D.C.



what part of ILLEGAL immigration don't you understand?
Nathan Smith turns a deaf ear to people's stance on illegal immigration. I have no problem with legal immigration - I have a problem with illegal immigration. Smith is a deaf idiot, just like all of the MSM. And this has nothing to do with civil rights. Illgal aliens have no civil rights, deserve no civil rights and have only the right to be promptly deported. Howeer, I do think they should be stripped of any money and assets they may have to pay the cost of rounding them up and deporting them. Why should I have to pay it?

Congress, Immigration and Border Control
"The immigration decision should be in the hands of the immigrant."

Immigration is NOT and should not be a one party decision. Non-US citizens should be welcomed to submit applications for "Guest Worker" or "Immigrant Candidate" status. In response, the US Congress should set the guidelines for the number of Guest Workers and Immigrant Candidates to be selected, and the methodology for selection. This contractual process will then be administered by Homeland Security.

Non-US residents who do not have papers are in the US illegally, and under current law are felons. To make employing or harboring a felon a crime seems reasonable...similar to the criminal statutes for knowingly transacting stolen merchandise.

While "walls" will not stop illegal immigration, walls in conjunction with improved technology and increased staffing eventually will lead to much improved control of the border. In an era or terrorism, border control is essential to National Security.

TO: Nathan Smith
RE: Funny Thing I Heard....

"America doesn't have a frontier with hostile barbarians who want to conquer us." --

...the other day.

A rally in the park four blocks away; "Viva la RAZA!"


P.S. Wake up and have some stronger coffee.

Excellent Article
Our Immigration policy is broke, and it's not the fault of people who are looking for work. I agree that we should secure the borders, however that's impossible until we start punishing the companies that hire illegals and develope the capacity for needed workers to come across legally.

It's me again.

Why don't you address why Congress won't increase the number of LEGAL immigrants into the USA?

Or steamline the guest worker program so it won't take months for workers to be matched to US jobs?

My take is the State Department doesn't want to be bothered by all the extra work of processing thousands more visa applications at their embassys. They have more important things to do.

Why does it take 20 years for a brother or sister to immigrate legally?

I am all for increasing LEGAL immigration 1,000%.
We need the workers, but we also need immigrants who want to assimilate and not turn the USA into a turd world country they came from.

And I have advocated many times on this site allowing anyone with a valid passport, no criminal record and no diseases into the USA. They can work for whoever would hire them.

This would allow the Indians, Filipinos, Chinese and Europeans to compete with the current illegals from south of the border.
The kickers: no federally mandated welfare benefits like school or health care and if they don't apply for citizenship after 5 years they have to go home.

Historical Corrections
East Germany had failed before the Berlin Wall was knocked down. The Wall served its foul purpose while it was up.
I'm far from knowledgeable about WWII, but my impression is that the Maginot Line was rendered irrelevant by advanced technology (paratroopers) and the simple technique of driving around the end (duh!).
Fences help when they are used appropriately and maintained, and when the human force behind them is adequate.
Immigration is a problem because mixed in among the good imigrants are criminals and the perpetual poor. The fundamental solution to those problems is ending the Welfare State and fixing the drug laws. A fence can reduce the problem by reducing the influx, but we have to stop attracting bad people.

I think you missed the part about the wall.
It's the wall, not the illegal immigration that is in question.

The wall sends the wrong message and mandating it may have cost Republicans control of the oountry.

Any resemblance to historical fact is purely coincidental
Rarely have I seen so much history twisted to suit the caprices of an author. One gathers that the Great Wall of China didn't serve as a significant barrier for centuries or that the Maginot Line didn't bar the path of the Germans?

A nation that cannot defend its frontiers is neither a nation nor a csociety that has laws worth defending since anyone can dictate to you the terms of their entry. If they can dictate those terms what else will they demand and eventually dictate?

The endless dissembling about unrestricted immigration being good for the country demonstrates a moral rudderlessness that is both irresponsible and frivolous.

One only has to look at the civil war now being waged in France to see the consequences of immigration that isn't controlled. Its sad to see people disparage the rules and regulations that prevent disease, criminals, and terrorists from crossing our borders.

Do we need further screeds such as this article?

A slight correction
which strengthens your point. The purpose behind building the Maginot Line was partly demographic. France's population had been shrinking relative to that of Germany for more than half a century. By the end of World War I, the French military was aware that in a future conflict with Germany the numeric disadvantage would be even worse than it was in 1914-1918. The theory behind the Maginot was to fortify heavily the French common border with Germany, allowing the frontier to be defended by relatively very few soldiers to allow the French army to concentrate in reserve and into Belgium. When the German army attacked, the Maginot was never attacked, hence justifying its military utility. The problem was that the Germans penetrated between the end of the Maginot and the bulk of the French army further north in Belgium. The military failure was thus not because of the Maginot Line but of the failure of the French army to defend the remainder of the front and to react to what the Germans were doing. The French had more and better tanks than the Germans did, but abysmal senior leadership had them all in the wrong place when the hammer dropped, and no idea what to do thereafter.

The paratrooper episode to which you refer was one fortification, Fort Eben Emael, in Belgium near Maastricht located at a key river crossing, and many miles away from the Maginot.

The purpose of a fortification is to serve as a force multiplier, and in that regard, the Maginot succeeded admirably, as the Germans never seriously considered attacking it at all. It wasn't technology that made the Maginot Line obsolete, it was blindingly incompetent French generals.

Your fundamental point is absolutely correct. Fixed defences can indeed be effective, which is why humans have been building them profusely for the past 10,000 years or so.

We may not agree
on the subject of immigration, though we do on the subject of illegal immigration, but I have to agree with you completely on this distorted history. The author is being deliberately deceptive by only referring to the Ming Dynasty works and completely ignoring the previous 2500 years that the Great Wall existed.

He also manages to ignore the fact that the Manchus got in because the Ming were in the middle of a dynastic civil war against the Laughing General. Didn't matter how big the wall was, if a traitor was going to open up the gates.

Hideous distortion of history by this author.

I think you are right
History is replete with examples of governments preparing for the last war rather than the next one. The Maginot Line was a WW I solution; think of fit as a fortified trench. It was simply not designed for the advanced technology and accompanying tactics of the WW II era German army.

As for the border fence: from what I have read, in many places it will be more of a virtual fence than an actual one, employing surveillance cameras and other types of sensors to detect border crossings. That's a good idea. Advanced technology and adaptive tactics should be used where it makes sense and continually upgraded as the illegals change their tactics. If we do that we can have an effective deterrent to illegal border crossings. If we don't then we could well end up with a Maginot Line of the 21st century.

Perhaps the answer
is to remove immigration completely from State. Do like some other countries do and create a separate Department of Immigration. Give it quotas and targets, and make it establish entrance procedures.

Yeah, I know, it's the classic problem of creating another bureaucracy. However, if you are right that State is so conflicted on this issue, take it away from them and give it to another organization with immigration as their sole priority. Single focus organizations, including bureaucracies, are usually more effective than ones with many priorities.

Above all, make the process effective and efficient. A prospective immigrant should be notified within days of being able to qualify for immigration, not months. A good guest worker program could largely eliminate the economic need for illegal immigration.

So, aside from State Department, who's really against an efficient immigration program?

Talk about distortion of history....
You say "One only has to look at the civil war now being waged in France to see the consequences of immigration that isn't controlled."

There is no civil war being waged in France!

You did worse than distort facts. You outright lied about the situation in France and either mistakenly or purposefully lied about the effects of immigration.

the wall didn't work.

Thus the author did not necessarily ignore facts. His purpose was not to give reasons why the various walls failed to serve their intended purpose.

The point was that using a wall to stop immigration has turned US public opinion against those who promoted it's construction.

We're almost all immigrants here,

It's still a distortion
Any wall will fail under specific circumstances. The author goes much further by stating that all walls always fail.

Just so
And that doesn't even go into the Maginot reference.

On the other hand, I do agree with Patton who said, "Fixed fortifications are a testament to the stupidity of man; if oceans and mountain ranges can be overcome, anything built by man can be overcome."

But this is a reference to warfare in general. As a defensive force multiplier, fixed fortifactions can be very effective. As a way to control traffic (such as that across our border) a wall can also be quite effective.

I gather that you and the author think Chinese and Mongolian people are very stupid
Han Chinese and Mongolian governments built and renovated the Great Wall for something like 2,000 years. Since you believe it was such a useless undertaking you must also believe that both Chinese and Mongolian people are congenitally stupid and/or crazy.

Civil Rights?
A major civil rights advance?

How do illegal entrants have civil rights?

This author is so clueless about history he should embarrass folks who agree with him
1. Great Wall - rebuilt at great cost many, many times by multiple Chinese governments, yet he calls it useless because it wasn't perfect or everlasting.
2. Maginot Line - an incomplete barrier and outmoded when built, but it was never attacked and penetrated by the Germans who recognized that it was easier to go around, yet he calls it useless.
3. Berlin Wall - a miniscule number of people left East Germany after the wall was built, so it probably greatly extended the life of the communist state by stemming the hemorrhage of people, yet he cites it as a failure.

This article is of a piece with his former articles on this site. So intellectually dishonest as to be embarrassing to whoever gave him a college degree - assuming he has one and assuming his teachers have any self respect.

Stupid discussion...
Certain immigration (to the United States) events are illegal because a purely racist law, the Chinese Exclusion Act, was written in 1882 and the government has been struggling to revise and to enforce immigration laws ever since. It would be political suicide to abolish such rules after all these years of saying how important it was to get on the list and wait your turn and what a sin it would be to come to America otherwise. (Of course, the Church dumped that Meat on Friday mortal sin, but only after countless lost souls went to Hell for all eternity for a mouthful of steak on a Friday night and then could not get to Confession in time...)

The idea that Mexicans, Canadians and Americans should not move freely across our mutual borders was never the intention of the original legislation. Such an idea is ridiculous! The current drama is purely political and constitutes pandering to a voting constituancy. If the federal government did not want the undocumented workers coming here, or if such workers were any threat to the United States then the government could easily stop them. (They are running across the desert in T-shirts, baseball caps and flip-flops. We have Marines! It's pathetic.) But our economy relies on these workers and the growth of our GDP would be severely harmed without them.

The argument that Middle Eastern terrorists are slipping in among the migrant workers is ludicrous. Anyone who wanted to come to this country could always get here with a modest effort. It is unfortunate that some people are tricked into paying human smugglers to facilitate the crossing of our borders. There are lots of simple routes if you take the time. And it is horrifying that we have made crossing our southern border inconvenient enough that the Mexican drug lords in the nearby cities are now able to extort cash for the use of their logistics.

This is not really about fences or walls. And it is not about any threat to our economy or to our security. This is about racism and pandering to racist voters.

These are laws that the Administration should simply not enforce. Just like lots of our laws. You really want to enforce a law regarding something that is dangerous to us? Make people stop running red lights!

Make America less attractive
The wall along the Mexican border was never intended to be a cure-all, it was simply the most expedient way to get the bill passed so that Congressional Republicans could look like they were doing something about the illegal immigration problem. The root of the problem is that the US is very attractive to poor immigrants thanks to our hunger for cheap labor and apparent willingness to share our public infrastructure. Prop 187, which had massive public support in California at the time of its passage, was stopped from implementation due to a 9th Circuit Court decision, but all appeals were later dropped because Gov. Gray Davis didn't want to pursue it.

Sadly the new Congress will have absolutely no reason to address this issue in any substantive manner, and California's latest governor is no more disposed to act than his predecessor was.

Sadly, Nathan Smith's final article at TCS :(
But, we'll probably see him in the Forbes 400 after his bumper sticker business takes the world by storm. [censored]ing brilliant, man. If I ever run into Jim Glichrist (he lives in my city), I'll yell, "yo Jim, walls are for losers."

This is really interesting
I wonder if its just the passion people feel about immigration and a wall that is causing the response in this discussion. Some of these comments are downright Karl Rove.

I don't have that passion. I thought this was a good article. The historical points about walls were light-fare to examine an interesting theory about the election. The rest of you in here need to lighten up. "Walls are for losers" is such a subjective statement in the first place, I thought it was natural to read the article with a light-hearted feeling. Maybe its my lack of passion, that I'm able to "get it".

The author is not clueless about history, his statements are technically correct, just not expansive in detail. I don't think its meant to be.

"1. Great Wall - rebuilt at great cost many, many times by multiple Chinese governments, yet he calls it useless because it wasn't perfect or everlasting."

It was built to keep out barbarians. It didn't keep out barbarians. Is it useful?

"2. Maginot Line - an incomplete barrier and outmoded when built, but it was never attacked and penetrated by the Germans who recognized that it was easier to go around, yet he calls it useless."

Yeah, the Germans went right around it. So was it useful?

"3. Berlin Wall - a miniscule number of people left East Germany after the wall was built, so it probably greatly extended the life of the communist state by stemming the hemorrhage of people, yet he cites it as a failure."

Where is the Berlin Wall now? Where is East Germany? Oh, the Wall came down and Germany unified? I think that means the Wall failed.

And if the point of this article was to write something light-hearted to bunch the panties of whoever took offense, well, good job Nathan Smith. It worked. But I think I'm the only one laughing.

A pretty good idea
Don't people say the Chinese character for "crisis" also means "opportunity"? If the border fence is to be virtual, I foresee a business opportunity in renting cloaks of invisibility to our guest workers, so they are not inconvenienced in returning to their jobs after visiting the folks at home.

Handfuls of Christmas tree tinsel are also good for foiling electric eyes. And a beneficial spinoff of the virtual fence plan is it will require the employment of several million border guards to implement the plan. So all in all, I see a win-win-win situation. Our farm workers get to stay on the job, our low wage domestic employment is given a boost, and entrepreneurs get to sell a new and useful service to the guest workers.

Only in America.

"We're almost all immigrants here," LEGAL immigrants
Don't you have to have papers to work in Europe?

No war if you surrender. The French are good at that.
Haven't muslim gangs taken over in some Paris suburbs and in Malmo, Sweeden?

I guess there is no war if you surrender.

Examine your premises
"It was built to keep out barbarians. It didn't keep out barbarians. Is it useful?""

So - because it wasn't perfect that means it wasn't useful.

"Yeah, the Germans went right around it. So was it useful?"

The Germans also defeated the French and British armies in Europe, so I guess those were as useless as the Maginot Line. The Germans chose to attack the armies by going around the wall rather than through it, so I guess they thought it was useful.

"Where is the Berlin Wall now? Where is East Germany? Oh, the Wall came down and Germany unified? I think that means the Wall failed."

So the Berlin Wall didn't last forever and it couldn't save a rotten system so therefore it failed in its purpose which was to stop emigration. By that logic doctors hospitals and medicines are failures because none of them succeed forever.

As to your point that the three historical references were not germane to the author's point. When an author leads an article with three specific historical references I assume he thinks them germane to his point, unless he likes to waste people's time.

As to taking Nathan Smith seriously I very definitely do that. He's every bit as worthy of taking seriously as were the apologists for other totalitarian causes. Refer back to his previous articles and the comment strings on them if you question that reference. He is a totalitarian in the sense that he believes in winning his open borders position without respect to ethical, political or constitutional constraint.

Another point about walls and the arguments made against them
The anti fence folks never tire of pointing out that there has never been a wall which was perfect or which lasted forever.

By that logic active defense is also futile because one or the other side's army has failed to protect it's country in virtually every war in history, and no army or system of government has ever protected a country for all time.

Also by that logic - medicines, doctors and hospitals are certainly a waste because everyone they've tried to save has eventually died anyway.

This is just silly
"Immigration should be left in the hands of the immigrant"? Can you name any other country with such an asinine policy? No, mainly because any country that did would cease to exist. As will this one, should this foolish policy be enacted. It's called "sovereignty". You may enter only with our express permission.

logical fallacy
The Republicans supported border control and they lost Congress.

Thousands of people were under the care of doctors yesterday and they nonetheless died today.

The author makes a poor case that it was support of border control which cost the Republicans control of Congress, especially given that there is a war on, and there were a certain number of scandals, and the Katrina response was, uh, not ideal, and, and, and. And despite all of that the Republicans lost fewer seats in this elections than the party in power usually loses in the 6th year of a presidency.

You do know your military history
Its impressive the way the author distorted the Great Walls success or as you impressively pointed out in a prior comment the way he distorted the purpose of and success of the Maginot line.

About the closest parallel to unrestricted immigration and the collapse of a society would be that of Rome and the USA. Today the US gets more legal and illegal immigrants than the rest of the world combined. In twenty years the Hispanic population has gone from single digits to 14%.

Duh, just don't get it do you
Most walls have worked very well desopite the contortions of the author. There is a difference between legal immigrants and those who are criminals.

Every day 150 cars are burned and 10 cops are injured fighting Islamists
Anyone monitoring the situation in France realizes that there is a civil war being waged between the authorities and the religion of peace. Entire enclaves are no go areas for the police and the authorities. If such a situation existed in the USA we'd have called out the National Guard long ago. This year alone over 3500 French police have been injured fighting these people.

Please show what the lies are ace. Of course one could argue this isn't a civil war because the jihaddies aren't really French. Then you're right. Till then your comment is about as intelligent and accurate as your other comments here that the readers have all ready commented on.

The fallacy is equating a border fence with doctors
Actually, this is what the author said:

"Of course immigration wasn't the only, or the main, issue; Iraq was."

Besides, you're reading the piece too literally to think its an argument that the fence caused Repubs to lose. There is no case being made in this article. Frankly, the article points out similar historical coincidences as evidence of the coincidence of passing the wall bill and 12 days later the Repubs are voted out. Its a little more than coincidence this time, it did hurt the Repubs, but its a silly notion to begin with. You took it hook, line and sinker. You're confirming my idea that Smith wrote this for the very reason of bunching your panties. And its working.

I'm not familiar with Smith, so I believe you SullyA when you say there is a history with this guy that motivates you to jump on him. So be it.

They lost fewer seats than usual? My understanding is it is right about with the historical average. And they gained more seats than the "republican revolution" of 1994.

Thank you for demonstrating how your logic works!
Let us understand that a structure that kept barbarians out of China and thus preserved Chinese society for 2,500 years failed because a traitor was bribed and openned its doors allowing barbarians to finally defeat it?

Or your brillance regarding the Maginot Line. A structure that was so formidiable that the Germans would not attempt to attack it failed because the Germans didn't want to risk attacking it? Gee, in most of the world when you accomplish your goal this is a success. That the French failed to keep pace with the changes in technology or upgrade their military to keep change with the advances in the twenty years since WWI shouldn't be blamed when Booby can focus on the one item that worked in the French military inventory. Nice one Booby.

Finally in a brillant display of logic ignore the entire purpose and success in stoopping the flow 50,000 people who were escaping from East Germany by simply dismissing it. Yes Booby we realize what you cannot grasp you can dismiss like a bad dream. Unfortunately it took forty years to destroy the regime that errected the wall. It simply didn't just vanish.

Here's your Ignarus Perpertusas Award.

No, it is my passion for history
The Great Wall was a terrific defensive advantage for the Chinese and it worked. Just because, in the final anyalsis it was wasn't 100% successful doesn't mean it didn't do what it was supposed to. It did indeed keep the barbarians out; for a while.

The Maginot line was extremely successful. It was so well built and defended the Germans never even consider trying to breach it. The fact that the French were unable to exploit the defensive advantage is in now way a reflection of the success or failure of the the line.

The Berlin wall was extremely successful. Only after the fall of communism from within did the wall come down.

To even insinuate these structures were some kind of failure is to ignore their significance and a total missrepresentation of history.

On the other hand - I agree with Patton when he said, "Fixed fortifications are a testament to the stupidity of man; if oceans and mountain ranges can be overcome, anything built by man can be overcome."

But the fact remains, walls, bunkers and fortifications make great force mulitpliers in defensive actions and force attacking forces to expend excessive manpower, munitions and time to breach. The fact that a determined foe will usually find a way to breach those defenses does not take anything away from their usefullness at various times and in various ways.

To dismiss three of the most notable of these as "losers" goes completely against their historic significance and successes.

And the only one that is a real comparison is the Berlin Wall. With that as a model, I would be building walls everywhere. No other structure of it's kind has ever been more successful that this one.

BTW, I'm on the fence on the border wall; I see it has possibliities, but it (like he above mentioned fortifications) could create a sense of false security that would result in improper manning and service of the structure. If that happens it will be quickly limited in its success and eventually come down on its own.

I stand by what I wrote
Writing in response to Stephen to point out his (and the author's) logical fallacy I wrote

"The Republicans supported border control and they lost Congress.

Thousands of people were under the care of doctors yesterday and they nonetheless died today."

The fallacy is the same in both cases. The fact that something follows another does not indicate causation.

And - in this case the doctor analogy is, I believe, a particularly good one because the anti-fence folks (especially including the author) insist that any and all method of border and/or immigration control must be perfect for all time or they are useless and total failures. The exact same bad logic can be applied to medicine; and it is often applied to medicine by folks like my mother in law who hasn't been to see a doctor in more than 30 years; but that's another story.

Walls NO, open borders YES.
The US has been the most outgoing and open country in the world. And that has been great for the US and good for the rest of the world.

But because of a bunch of wack job terrorists, middle eastern at that, we are building a wall between us and a neighbor that we have not had an armed conflict with since 1835. (Poncho Villa is an odd enough case and was not the official government of Mexico.)

The US will lose more than just the positive Mexican influence and cheap labor. It will lose its outgoing nature and openness.

The US has build these relationships to improve itself and that has works. We should not destroy it.

Good fences make good neighbors
I'm all for immigration, but immigration should be of identified people who come in through the open gates in a fence, not by anyone who randomly chooses to walk across a line.

Try just walking across the border into Mexico or Canada (or any other country in the world). And then get yourself a job and/or apply for welfare.

We can be friendly and open, yet still make rules about who gets to come here to our country.

Why should we make such rules?...
Really? Why should we make these rules? Go where you want, get a drivers license and take a job. Rent a place and save your money. Buy a house and send your kids to school. Mind your business and hang out with guys who speak your own language. Or drink beer with guys that you mostly don't know what they are saying. Or learn their language if you can.

Guy moves in next to you from Massachusetts or from France...What does it matter to you? He is going to pay property tax and he is going to pay sales tax. He is going to have payroll deductions for State and Federal Income Tax and Social Security. The technicality regarding his citizenship matters to us how?

Oh. He might work off the books. Day labor at the Home Depot. Wait. That kid downtown selling drugs on the corner was born here. He's off the books too. The off the books part is not the real problem, is it? The government is getting plenty of taxes. If the illegal worker is employed at a restaurant he pays taxes. If he is off the books at the restaurant then the restaurant owner cannot claim the deduction. Social Security gets shorted but that worker is not earning his Social Security benefits when he doesn't contribute. Otherwise, it's a wash.

We in America can pretty much go anywhere we want with our pretty Blue Passport. If we want to stay over there then we're pretty much allowed to.

You can make all the rules you want but anyone who wants to come to America can get in here. We cannot keep them out and we don't want to keep them out. These laws are a sham. You want to make rules simply because you think that rules give you more law and order? All such rules do is make it easier for the government to intrude into our private lives. Our immigration laws are simply impossible to enforce in any reasonable manner. And that 700 mile fence is a joke. (Social Security...Another joke.)

Any bets as to whether Forest has a lock on his front door?
Now why would Forest need a lock on hisfront door given his comments, right?

Can someone explain to me how controlling our borders makes the US an ogre?
No nation in the world has open borders. So someone please explain how controlling our borders makes us an exception. Its pathetic to see the kind of logic that these comments feature.

When one speaks of the positive Mexican influence one has to ponder very hard exactly what this might be. Could it be its world class justice system. Its incredible education system. Perhaps we can learn about honest government and business from Mexico?

Do you want to move to Mexico or Guatamala?
Just wait, it will move here with your philosophy.

Ever drive into LA lately?

Who/what is a Nathan Smith?
The bio is not very descriptive.

How well did the Berlin Wall work?
I crossed the border into USSR in 1983 from Finland.

If we need to build a wall, I suggest we contract with the Russians. They know how to build a wall.

there is a hole in your argument
Dear Mr. Smith,

Your argument is weak. Usually politicians that have no ideas and no quality turn to populist things like opposing immigration(which, at least in US, given its history, is unnatural, pretty much like selling your own mother for sex). That's on the "right" side, on the "left" side you will see that poor quality politicians use the incoming environmental collapse as a proxy for immigration.
When you hear people talking about this issues as a central tenet of their political agenda, you know their about to lose. But the election loss is the result of an underlying poor quality as a politician, to which oppossition to immigration is just another symptom, and not a cause.
otherwise said, losing elections and opposing immigration are two effects of an unseen cause, how good of a politician the dude really is.
respectfully yours

Run, Forrest, Run...
i'm kidding to make these two ogre read my message. Good point you's one more: given the current state of immigration laws you cannot immigrate in US legally anymore. really. let's say you're a young lad willing to work and apply for a job in US from, say romania. There are so many formalities a company has to go through that you really have to be gifted to be worth the trouble.for the regular joe,no way. the next option is to get married into citizenship, tough if you have 2 kids already (rather similar with prostitution if no love involved...).
last one, come to study, get your phd and find a job. doable if you can fit into the 60,000 thousand work visas per year, usually are all awarded within a week from the season opening.(about 11*60,000 request left hanging...) let's recap:

1 work -no way
2 marriage- no way
3 phd - what's your IQ?
4 ILLEGAL-the only way for average people nowadays.

Unless US was founded by prostitutes( sorry, mail-order brides or husbands) or by geniuses with a phd and a work visa,i really can't see how somebody can call themselves americans and be against immmigration.its similar with calling your first ancestor around a prostitute...

If borders don't matter, why won't Mexico allow US to arrest murderers in Mexico?
Illegal aliens have commited murder in the USA and cannot be arrested by US authorities in Mexico.

A bounty hunter from the USA is wanted for 'kidnapping' a fugitive in Mexico and returning him to the USA.

Maybe national sovereignty and borders matter?

If you want to be Mexican, then move there

I am sick and tired of being treated like a foreigner in my own country by Mexican CRIMINALS.

Normally, if I wanted to change things, the logical thing to do would be to try to get laws passed. But unfortunately, we now no longer live in a nation of laws.

The Mexinazis and others are breaking existing laws, but traitors like Bush are deliberately not enforcing the law!

It can be summed up by what some of the hoodlums destroying my neighborhood said to me. They were playing their Mexican music at full blast at 2 AM, and I asked them to quiet down. What did they say? "Sus leyes no nos applican, somos MEXICANOS, somos LA RAZA!" "Your laws don't apply to us, we are MEXICANS, we are THE RACE!"

My industry has likewise been decimated by foreign CRIMINALS who don't obey our laws.

Bush called the Minutemen "vigilantes" because they had the audacity to demand that he honor his oath to defend this nation against foreign invasion. Well, he hasn't seen vigilantism yet.

If it is no longer useful to attempt to pass laws to protect myself and my family from the invading army because such laws are simply ignored and unenforced by Country-Club Republicans who get rich off of the misery of the blue-collar workers, then it is time for armed revolt.

Maybe if an armed band kills every single America-hating Mexinazi in one of the numerous Mexican consulates you people might start to understand that we're not going to just passively accept your treachery.

In the 21st Century, an advanced Nation must control it's borders. The rapidly growing population in the underdeveloped regions of the earth has unprecedented access to travel. In order to control it's borders, an advanced country must expend a large amount of human resources and capital. The implementation of new technologies can make the job easier.
In the United States, where illegal immigration has run rampant for the last 50 years, the standard of living is adversely affected by a growing percentage of uneducated people. Many of the uneducated, unskilled workers in the U.S. are second or third generation descendents of illegal migrants.

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