As a solution to illegal immigration, the American government has proposed building a massive wall along the country’s southwest border. This is not a new idea; from Hadrian’s wall to the Wall of China, history is full of walls built to keep foreigners out. The famous American poet Robert Frost wrote, “good fences make good neighbours.” This particular fence on steroids would, of course, be heavily guarded and outrageously expensive. The question is whether or not it would work. Would a wall solve the problem, or just waste a lot of tax money?
When I was in high school, the ceilings in our school building leaked. The ceiling tiles became discoloured and mouldy, and sagged in places. Some of them completely fell down, and then crumbled in heaps in classroom corners.
Did the school system fix the leaks? No. Instead, once or twice a year they sent a repairman around with a can of paint. Rather than fixing the problem, they covered it up with a new paintjob. They said it was easier and cheaper to paint over the mould and damp than to repair the roof. The ceiling, of course, still leaked afterwards. After a few months, the water had again ruined the ceilings, and it looked as bad as it had before the new paint.
Do you see the connection here? Just building a wall is covering up a problem rather than actually fixing it. We should be addressing the ramifications of mass immigration and focusing on how to better integrate Mexicans into American society. Instead, the government proposes to just build a big wall. No matter how high or secure they think their wall is, it will still leak. People will still find a way into the country.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, there were approximately 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. as of spring, 2006. Of these 12 million, almost half (4.5 to 6 million) initially entered the U.S. through legal means, such as visas and entry cards. That’s right. Most of the illegal residents of America entered with government permission. They just didn’t leave when they were supposed to. A wall would therefore have absolutely no effect on approximately half of the people coming into the country.
People trying to sneak into the country are creative. They come up with clever plans and are often willing to risk their lives in order to start a new life in the U.S. Perhaps the government should follow their example, and use a little creativity and intelligence in their legislation on migration.